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Faith Alone vs Obedience To The Faith Luke Haskell

Jerome writes:

” ‘But since in the Law no one is justified before God, it is evident that the just man lives by faith.’ It should be noted that he does not say that a man, a person, lives by faith, lest it be thought that he is condemning good works. Rather, he says the ‘just’ man lives by faith. He implies thereby that whoever would be faithful and would conduct his life according to “the faith “ can in no other way arrive at the faith or live in it except first he be a just man of pure life, coming up to the faith by certain degrees” (Commentaries on Galatians 2:3:11 [A.D. 386]).

Take into consideration that Gentiles were never under the Mosaic Law as the letter of the law. They never killed a bull, they were never sprinkled with its blood as a sign of this blood oath where breaking the oath is separation from God ( spiritual death) which requires atonement through blood in order to correct the separation. Blood of God. The greater the one you sin against the greater the reparation. Sin against an infinite God requires atonement through the blood of an infinite God in an infinite sacrifice.

Jerome says, one needs to adjust their lives according to “the faith”. Jerome lived the Catholic faith.

This idea of coming to the faith by certain degrees shows us this transforming process in the sacramental life. This could also have been the foundation of the teaching structure of the church. An example would be how from very early on the Mass was separated into two parts. The liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the Eucharist. Those who were not yet baptized into the Church were asked to leave after the liturgy of the word. They did not yet reach the degree of participation in the liturgy of the Eucharist which needed to be taught after the deity of Christ was established. In their thinking process they were also most likely influenced by paganism to the point where clear distinctions between the Trinity and paganism needed to be taught. Paganism even had triune gods and food of the gods to become one with the god. Tabernacles of the gods. Queen mothers as fecundity goddess’s. Clarity between Satan’s deceptions and truth had to be taught. The church father Justin Martyrs first apology could be summed up as, Satan created paganism to keep people from Catholic truth.

With  this image  Jerome provides ( separating mosaic law from charity) we will begin to see how even when Clement says we are saved by faith not works, he is not referring to faith as modern Protestantism understands faith,  he understands faith according to covenant and he, like Paul, never said , faith alone. And of course, there is no Catholic doctrine that says we are saved by works only.

Paul tells us when he writes in  his letter to the church at Galatia (to give context, here in many parts of this letter he was addressing Jews in the church who were falling back into the letter of Mosaic Law and ceremony and not understanding it’s spiritual reality as being fulfilled in the laws written on our heart and the Mass) he tells us:

2But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, 23Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. ( this is Mosaic Law)  24And they that are Christ's have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences.

Gal 5:22 Paul is showing the contrast between the letter of the law and a truly virtuous life. Of course in many of these verses we are going to end up repeating some themes but calling them to mind will help develop the bigger picture.

Paul says, Longanimity meaning long suffering with patience and endurance. The same Paul says:

But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway

1 Cor 9:27

So Paul is also talking about suffering as part of living in the truth. He is showing humility and an understanding of holy fear. 

Again here we see the word concupiscence or that propensity as creatures of fallen nature to fall into sin which would include separating from the truth through free will or denying truth as it is revealed to the soul. 

The early church understood that being crucified with Christ is our spiritual bath of rebirth into the flesh of Christ through our baptism into a life of obedience to the faith of the sacramental life. 

You would not see the sacraments across the New Testament and lived in the earliest records of Christianity, if this was not true. It makes faith alone impossible and not logical. In Galatians 2:20 Paul says that he was crucified with Christ and in the end of the next chapter he explained how when he said:

26For you are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you be Christ's, then are you the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise.

Gal 3:26

We understand this death and rebirth through baptism by expanding our vision to see the life of the early church. To the Colossian church Paul writes:

0And you are filled in him, who is the head of all principality and power. 11In whom also you are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand in despoiling of the body of the flesh: but in the circumcision of Christ. 12Buried with him in baptism: in whom also you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God who hath raised him up from the dead.

Colossians 2:10.

Jesus was buried or placed in the tomb because he was crucified. Paul is telling the church that was previously baptized, In our baptism is a spiritual crucifixion, and exorcism, and dying to the Adam of flesh and rising in the Adam of spirit. This is just the beginning of being born again.

Faith alone is a diabolical deception that separates people from this spiritual reality of these things. The separation occurs through separation from obedience to the faith.

This obedience is the narrow road that contains the tools against concupiscence and as God told us, wide is the road that leads to destruction. In scripture when we see the word the “ way”, this was not the name of the original church, it was living obedience to the faith in the sacramental life; living the New Covenant. Blood of an eternal God needed to be spilled because as Thomas Aquinas explained, the greater the one you sin against the greater the sacrifice must be. Since we sin against an infinite God a presentation of an infinite sacrifice on earth as it is in heaven was put in place through grace given freely. Of course it is Jesus who as our one mediator is who mediates this sacrifice to the Father through the flesh of His own body which is the church on earth united to heaven. Participation as the body of Christ and Royal Priesthood is part of the “ Way”. Christ as high priest is the head of the body and Royal Priesthood. There is no high priest without a subordinate priesthood.

Let’s look at a couple verses referring to the “way “ so I can explain this further to our audience. 

Acts 9:2 tells us:

And asked of him letters to Damascus, to the synagogues: that if he found any men and women of this way, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Here Saul the Pharisee,  who will later become Paul, identified Christians by a specific faith and practice, a “ way”.

In Acts 19:23 we read:

23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way.

Again, a faith and practice is how you identify specific groups. A faith and practice through all generations back to Christ is how you identify the true church.

To him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus unto all generations, world without end. Amen.

Eph 3:21

If you cannot trace your faith and practice back to Christ through all generations then your house is built on sand.

Acts 19:23 is not in the context of a name of a church but in the context of a practice Christians  were living. Living the religion and ritual of the New Covenant as the “ way” God established,  so when Paul explained that it was his job to bring about obedience to the faith, he is referring to obedience to the faith in the “ way”, the faith and practice of Christianity.

Acts shows us a summation of the way.

And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Acts 2:42

The early church had a clear understanding that confession was part of the way. In confession the spiritual blood is applied for atonement when the priest in Christ Jesus, in his office of apostolic succession, says, " I absolve you of all of your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We read in the Didache written around 70 AD which I consider to be the proto catechism of the Catholic Church:

"Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the (((way )))of life. . . . On the Lord’s Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure" (Didache 4:14, 14:1 [A.D. 70]). 

The " way" is confession before participation in the Holy Mass. Why? Because you cannot participate in the graces of the Mass celebrated with the host of heaven in mortal sin. You participating in the body of Christ, cannot be part of the Son with the body presenting itself to the Father without spot or wrinkle.

25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church and delivered himself up for it: 26That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: 27That he might present it to himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church: 30Because we are members of him, body, of his flesh and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother: and shall cleave to his wife. And they shall be two in one flesh. 32This is a great sacrament: but I speak in Christ and in the church.

Eph 5:25-32

In the Letter of Barnabas dated to before 130 AD possibly back to 74 AD we read:

"You shall judge righteously. You shall not make a schism, but you shall pacify those that contend by bringing them together. You shall confess your sins. You shall not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the (((way )))of light" (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D. 74]). 

You shall not go to prayer. They were dedicated to the doctrine and the breaking of the bread and the “ prayers” which is the liturgy of the Eucharist in the Mass. Paul refers to this when he says we need to present our selves as a living sacrifice. Or, as sacrifice of a pure heart before going to prayer.

So the way is the opposite of faith alone. It is a complete system of belief ( doctrine/ dogma) including the communion in the breaking of the bread and the prayers which from the beginning of Christianity was understood as the liturgy of the Eucharist in the Holy Mass. Doing so is obedience to the faith on this road of our transformation. Paul shows us this transformation as a process when he writes to the church as Galatia saying:

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

( 2 Cor 3:18)

Being transformed is a process occurring while living the “ way”.

In this transformation we find help against concupiscence. On the narrow road one of the greatest helps is the grace given freely of the sacrament of confession. Obedience to this is what God knows we need as creatures of fallen nature or else he would never have said, “ receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive are forgiven.” It’s a healing process that needs to be experienced in order to understand why God established it. After baptism and confirmation of the spirit It is next in the soul’s preparation in our daily lives in order to be present in truth with the hosts of heaven spiritually in the true Passover for the general redemption of the world. Again, it is the “ way”, far from faith alone.

Therefore Paul tells us:

The sacraments suppress our desire to sin by understanding the power of God's mercy and love through them and at the same time we are reminded by James that:

Whoever knows the good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

James 4:17

Again, the opposite of faith alone.

Once truth is revealed to the soul, if you live as a Christian, you cannot deny that truth revealed. This is how through humility, God leads people to the requirement of dying to self in order to truly find truth. There is no true faith in going against the conscience. This is the sin of omission. It is falling from grace and not running the race to win. It takes a certain level of humility to accept this. This humility leads to taking God at His word when He said, " This is my body ", it leads to obedience to the faith of the sacramental life as a member of the chosen people, the holy nation, the royal priesthood.

Protestantism has a problem with tradition due to the false exegesis of scripture alone that is a tradition of man. Apostolic tradition is simply the faith that was lived in obedience to the will of God. The epistles are letters limited to specific subjects for  praise or correction addressed to those who were baptized into the church living the sacramental life, participating in the HolyMass, who were already instructed in the faith. In the early historical record we see over and over again that this is fact. 

From the book The Incredible Catholic Mass by father Martin Von Joachim we read:

"For the Christian who reads the Church Fathers, this is not surprising at all. St. Hegesippus (d. A.D. 180) records that the Apostle, St. James the Less, wore Temple vestments; and St. Polycrates of Ephesus (d. A.D. 196) records that my patron, St. John the Beloved Apostle, wore a primitive Bishop's mitre, in which he was buried. Liturgy is not a corruption of Christianity; it is *indigenous.* "

Before Paul admonished the Jews in the church for not understanding the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5, He admonished them for falling back into the Jewish. He explains to them the error of falling back into the Jewish law while they were also participating in the Holy Mass where Christ is portrayed as crucified before us. Catholics understand this verse because we live the sacramental life. We experience the intimate personal relationship in the Eucharist. We contemplate the spiritual reality of being present in the true Passover with the hosts of heaven because we walk by faith not by sight. This is  one of the keys to truly seeing scripture.

Paul writes:

1O senseless Galatians, who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the truth: before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been set forth, crucified among you? 2This only would I learn of you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? 3Are you so foolish that, whereas you began in the Spirit, you would now be made perfect by the flesh?

Gal 3

Returning to the laws of flesh is contradictory to obedience to the faith including participation in the Holy Mass. The truth according to Paul, needs to be “ obeyed”. There is no true faith outside of obedience to the faith.

When Paul talks about transforming grace, (this is for for those outside of the sacramental life, ) if you lived the New Covenant you would understand that he even does so in the context of the grace given freely of the Holy Mass which we celebrate in obedience to the faith.

Paul who told us that the consecrated bread is participating in the body of Christ and Paul who explained that if you do not discern the body you sin against the cross, said,

But even until this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. 16But when they shall be converted to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. 17Now the Lord is a Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18But we all, beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Cor 3:15

The Eucharist is right  in front of us as it was for the apostles and apostolic church; the true bread of the presence which always must be before the Father. We  behold the glory of the Lord by looking upon our Lord in the Eucharist through faith and true understanding not veiled in type. We contemplate this divine condescension in an act of humility beyond human understanding. This is what Paul was beginning to expain in Hebrews 9 when he began to describe the types and heavenly realities of the image of the meeting tent. Yet in this focus on what is holy we are being transformed. 

We discern the body ( the true bread of the presence in the Holies, which is fulfilled in the church the body of Christ, and receive the grace. But we must have the faith of complete abandonment that Peter had. Peter not understanding Jesus when he said we must eat His body and drink His blood, responded through dying to self faith, saying “ Where shall we go, you have the words of eternal life.”

Obedience to authority  

Obedience to the faith includes obedience to the leaders of the church. The church which is the reestablished Kingdom  of David and Mount Sion which through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, teaches the angels the manifold wisdom of God. This happens not according to our timeline but through God's timeline through the magisterium guided by the Holy Spirit even though Satan will plant weeds in the wheat until the end of time. The council of Jerusalem assembled 18 years after the crucifixion was our first example. Most of the early councils were councils established to defend against heresy by the establishment of clear concise definitions of doctrines that were in the heart of the church from the beginning. Councils that scripture tells us will be guided by the Holy Spirit to all truth.

Paul writing to the Hebrews who were living the sacramental life said, 

Obey your prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account of your souls; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief. For this is not expedient for you.

Hb 13:7 DRB

Prelates is defined as 

A high-ranking member of the clergy, especially a bishop.

An ecclesiastic of a higher order, having direct and not delegated authority over other ecclesiastics.

A clergyman of a superior order, as an archbishop or a bishop, having authority over the lower clergy; a dignitary of the church.

So Paul is writing to people who have submitted themselves to the hierarchy of the church as they are living obedience to the faith of the New Covenant sacramental life. It is common sense to say that the only prelates Paul would be saying we need to be obedient to are prelates of this one sacramental church.

Paul who calls us to obedience to the faith even tells us that in this New Covenant even the priests have a rule over us in spiritual matters.

He writes to Timothy the Bishop of Ephesus about the authority of the priests who were under him,

Let the priests that rule well, be esteemed worthy of double honour: especially they who labour in the word and doctrine:

1 Timothy 5:17

And again , I cannot over emphasize this, we cannot separate  obedience to the faith from sacraments and liturgical practice.

James tells us.

Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man. And the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.

James 4:14

From the earliest days of Christianity this process of anointing and forgiveness was understood as a sacrament conveyed by the Holy Spirit through the priesthood. It is grace given freely as all sacraments are. It can only occur  through living obedience to the faith which begins with the sacrament of baptism into the church. If you do not live in obedience to the faith then you do not have these abundant gifts, this land flowing of milk and honey, grace given freely of the sacraments.

St JOHN CHRYSOSTOM writes about James 4:14 . He says,

“The priests of Judaism had power to cleanse the body from leprosy—or rather, not to cleanse it at all, but to declare a person as having been cleansed. . . . Our priests have received the power not of treating with the leprosy of the body, but with spiritual uncleanness; not of declaring cleansed, but of actually cleansing. . . . Priests accomplish this not only by teaching and admonishing, but also by the help of prayer. Not only at the time of our regeneration [in baptism], but even afterward, they have the authority to forgive sins: ‘Is there anyone among you sick? Let him call in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he has committed sins, he shall be forgiven’” (On the Priesthood 3:6:190ff [A.D. 387]).

So the Protestant understanding can never separate from these contradictions and these things that are ignored. At its foundation is a body of contradiction. 

JOHN 3:16

Protestantism reads one of the most quoted verses in scripture, wrong. In order to separate from the original church it had to develop a false construct.

John 3:16 says

For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. 

Taking into consideration everything we have said about obedience to the faith, when we look at John 3:16, what does it mean to believe if Paul says it is his job to bring about obedience to the faith and Christ says, “ not everyone who says Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven accept those who do the will of my Father? What does it mean to believe if God, after establishing the Jewish Passover, came in the flesh 1300 years later and said, “ I strongly desire to celebrate this Passover with you,”and then speaking to His church called bread His body, wine His blood, and said , do this? What does it mean to believe if Paul said he should be considered as a dispenser of the mysteries of God ( 1 Cor 4:1) and the word sacrament is derived from mystery and Irenaeus said, “ all of the apostles were priests.”?  Or, consider us priests as dispensers of the “mysteries, mysterion , sacramentum, sacraments” of Christ?

Remember that Jesus even raised obedience to the fathers will above prophecy and miracles.

21Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

Mt 7:21-23

John 3:16 has to be a summation of belief. John who lived obedience to the faith had the entire image of faith in his mind when he wrote this because this was his life in Christ.

Before modern English the words for I believe, " Pistis" In Greek and "Fide" in Latin, were verbs. They meant to adore, to commit to, to be all in, to covenant in. This understanding compliments Paul's call to " obedience to the faith". It is the opposite of faith alone. 

To not believe is disobedience or apiethe in Greek. 

To not live in the mosaic law was disobedience that led to the curse being fulfilled, why would people think it would be any different in the New Covenant?

Here are a few Greek dictionary entries for this word apeithe? 

36.23 apeithe? unwillingness or refusal to comply with the demands of some authority—‘to disobey, disobedience.’ ‘whoever disobeys the Son will never have life’ (literally ‘… will never see life’) Jn 3:36. ‘God’s wrath comes upon those who do not obey him’ Eph 5:6.

(Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 467–468.)


apeithe?.  This word means “to be disobedient” and is a significant term in the LXX (Greek Old Testament) for disobedience to God. In the NT it is used of the wilderness generation in Heb. 3:18, that of the flood in 1 Pet. 3:20, all sinners in Rom. 2:8, and Gentiles in Heb. 11:31. Rom. 11:30. “

To believe” is the opposite in Acts 14:1–2, and unbelief is parallel. We find an absolute use in Acts 14:2. Rom. 15:31; 1 Pet. 2:7. Important phrases are disobeying the word (1 Pet. 2:8), the gospel (4:17), and the Son (Jn. 3:36).

(Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 819–820.)�*******************************************

"The  concept of commitment, supports the true nature of belief as it was lived in the apostolic church. This  is also at the root memory of the original Latin in the word “credo”. Etymologically, credo, appears to be a compound of two other Latin words, cor, cordis, meaning “heart” (as in the English derivatives “cordial, “concord”, and “accord”) …The primary meaning of credo in classical Latin was to “entrust”, or to commit”to just like the true understanding of belief in Christianity meaning obedience to the faith. "

Commit to, or, to covenant in. Again brings to mind Gods words, 

“This is my blood of the New Covenant, DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.” This is obviously part of obedience to the faith.

The Catholic Creed is an expression of faith that is lived in the heart, “cordis”.

 The covenant life in the sacraments in obedience to the faith is what God established as the narrow road to assist us who are in fallen nature. Protestantism separated from the essence of true faith. This narrow road among other things, was established to keep us from Satan’s preternatural deceptions.

Satan who has the power to implant thoughts in people's minds even coming as an angel of light  and even creating false miracles. 

Therefore Paul warns us, “

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.” Gal 1:8

So what  brings you closer to the Eucharist is of God, what  pushes you away cannot be. It’s separation from truth, it’s being influenced by a different type of angel.

Even the understanding of the word belief was manipulated through time and a fork in the road that began to move people away from truth. This could have been a diabolical deception. 

I first saw this in Marthaler’ s book “The Creed”.

With what I have previously presented it should be clear that with Marthalers understanding of the etymology of belief, it should be clear that when proper honest exegesis is applied to scripture, you should see that there is not one word in scripture that goes against the Catholic faith. It’s a Catholic book.

From the Creed we read:

“Etymologically, “believe” is related to a broad range of familiar words, some archaic, like life (dear, willing), some still in use, like “beloved,” and “love”. The history of “believe” in its various forms----ranging from Old English be loef to the early modern English synonym “beloved”, through the seventeenth- century misspelling that gave us “believe” instead of “beleeve”---is a chronicle of its gradual change in meaning…In the fourteenth century, about the time of John Wycliffe (1330-1384), important changes began to take place that mark the transition from Middle English to Modern English. A new word, “faith,” was coming into use as the English form of the Latin Fides. Early evidence of the transition can be seen in two versions of the English Bible attributed to Wycliffe, both based on the Latin Vulgate. In the first, bilefe translates fides, whereas in the second, “faith” appears in a number of places. By the seventeenth century the transition was virtually complete. The 1611 King James Authorized Version used the word “faith” 246 times, while using “belief” only once. The Oxford English Dictionary, which describes this evolution (s.v. belief), states,

…the word faith, though being through O[ld] F[rench] fei, faith, the etymological representative of the L[atin fides, it began in the 14th c[entury] to be used to translate the latter, and in course of time almost superseded “belief” esp[ecially] in theological language, leaving ‘belief” in great measure to merely intellectual process or state…Thus “belief in God” no longer means as much as “faith in God.”

So with this in mind, when we look at the faith of the fathers, let’s start with how Protestants falsely read Clement.

Clement writes  to the church at Corinth 

And we, too, being called by His will to Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

First examine what Clement means by called. Clement understood the “ elect” as those who through faith by way of God's grace, have entered the church, the family of the elect. So everything is in the context of the elect living the grace given freely of the religion and ritual of the New Covenant in obedience to the faith. He refers to this when he talks about participating in the blessings of the elect.

Chapter 29. Let Us Also Draw Near to God in Purity of Heart.

Let us then draw near to Him with holiness of spirit, lifting up pure and undefiled hands unto Him, loving our gracious and merciful Father, who has made us partakers in the blessings of His elect. For thus it is written, When the Most High divided the nations, when He scattered the sons of Adam, He fixed the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God. His people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, and Israel the lot of His inheritance. Deuteronomy 32:8-9 And in another place [the Scripture] says, Behold, the Lord takes unto Himself a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man takes the first-fruits of his threshing-floor; and from that nation shall come forth the Most Holy.

So the elect are those living obedience to the faith in the sacramental life through faith. If this were not true then Clement would be contradicting himself when he said:

Behold, the Lord [comes], and His reward is before His face, to render to every man according to his work. He exhorts us, therefore, with our whole heart to attend to this, that we be not lazy or slothful in any good work. Let our boasting and our confidence be in Him. Let us submit ourselves to His will. Let us consider the whole multitude of His angels, how they stand ever ready to minister to His will. 

Let us therefore join with those to whom grace is given by God. Let us clothe ourselves in concord, being humble and self- controlled, keeping ourselves far from all backbiting and slander, being justified by works and not by words. . . . Why was our Father Abraham blessed? Was it not because of his deeds of justice and truth, wrought in faith? . . . 

So Clement also lived by the true understanding of belief in obedience, living as one of the elect in the Church which is the body of Christ. He lived by obedience to the faith of the New Covenant or else he would never have been recognized by the Church.

These same elect as the chosen people, the holy nation the Royal Priesthood are who Paul refers to in Romans 9 as the family of God that has entered the promise of Abraham fulfilled.

6Not as though the word of God hath miscarried. For all are not Israelites that are of Israel. 7Neither are all they that are the seed of Abraham, children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8That is to say, not they that are the children of the flesh are the children of God: but they that are the children of the promise are accounted for the seed. Roman’s 9:6

Through obedience to the faith in our baptism, we enter the family of God.

The early church was clear on the belief that faith included living the Christian life in the church as we saw earlier in reading Jerome expressing  this when as a member of the Catholic church he says we must conduct our lives according to the faith.

This idea of coming to the faith by certain degrees shows us this transforming process in the sacramental life.

Caesar of Arles 468/470 – 27 August 542 AD)

gives us even a clearer vision of the image of faith.

“I beg you, beloved brethren, let us consider more attentively why we are Christians and bear the cross of Christ on our forehead. For we ought to know that it is not enough for us that we have received the name Christian, if we do not do Christian works. If you say a thousand times that you are a Christian and continually sign yourself with the cross of Christ, but do not give alms according to your means, and you do not want to have love and justice and chastity, the name of Christian will profit you nothing….Above all, as I already said before, give alms to the poor according to your means. Present offerings to be consecrated on the altar; a man of means should blush to communicate in the offering of another. Those who are able should give either candles or oil which can be put in lamps. Know the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer yourselves and teach them to you children. I do not know how a man can call himself a Christian…when he neglects [this]” (Sermons 13:1-2 [ante A.D. 542]).

We see righteousness along with obedience to the faith in the sacramental life here. From the beginning of Christianity, members of the church brought the bread and wine from their own means, to the altar in order for the priest to, through the Holy Spirit, perform the consecration.

Going back to Basil and his letter to the Bereans, we are reminded that Basil praised the church at Berea for their “ exactitude when it came to the rituals of ministering at the altar, He writes:

 “He has told me of the exactitude of those of you who are entrusted with the ministry of the altar, and moreover of the harmonious agreement of all the people, and the generous character and genuine love towards God of the magistrates and chief men of your city.”

The Apostolic Constitutions shows us the history of Berea and how the very first bishop of Berea was 

Onesimus, formerly Philemon's slave. Berea was a province of Macedonia in Greece , from the beginning it went from pagan to Catholic and has always had representation for the  Catholic councils.

And of course, faith cannot be separated from a righteous life. People need to understand that  John 3:16 is a summation of the “way”. You see this through a true understanding of “ belief ”.

Gregory of Nyssa

“Paul, joining righteousness to faith and weaving them together, constructs of them the breastplates for the infantryman, armoring the soldier properly and safely on both sides. A soldier cannot be considered safely armored when either shield is disjoined from the other. Faith without works of justice is not sufficient for salvation; neither is righteous living secure in itself of salvation, if it is disjoined from faith” (Homilies on Ecclesiastes 8 [ca. A.D. 335- 394]).

St. Polycarp of Smyrna (d. 155), a disciple of John the Evangelist: Polycarp was a bishop of Smyrna and a disciple of the apostle John. He stressed the importance of good works as evidence of one's faith, and he urged Christians to live according to the example of Christ. He wrote, "Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood, and being attached to one another, joined together in the truth, exhibiting the meekness of the Lord in your intercourse with one another, and despising no one" (Letter to the Philippians, Chapter 13).

St. Justin Martyr (d. 165): Justin was an early Christian apologist who defended the faith against pagan critics. He emphasized the importance of both faith and good works, arguing that Christians should live lives of virtue and charity. He wrote, "We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, chastisements, and rewards are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Otherwise, if all things happen by fate, then nothing is in our own power. For if it be predestined that one man be good and another man evil, then the first is not deserving of praise or the other to be blamed" (First Apology, Chapter 43)

Paul would never have required obedience to the faith outside of this church God established as the reestablished kingdom of David. Augustine showed us the same when he wrote in regards to the book of Daniel:

“O magnify the Lord our God, and worship Him upon His holy hill: for the Lord our God is holy.” As he said above, “O magnify the Lord our God and fall down before His footstool:” now we have understood what it is to worship His footstool: thus also but now after he had magnified the Lord our God, that no man might magnify Him apart from His hill, he has also praised His hill. What is His hill? We read elsewhere concerning this hill, that a stone was cut from the hill without hands, and shattered all the kingdoms of the earth, and the stone itself increased. This is the vision of Daniel which I am relating. This stone which was cut from the hill without hands increased, and “became,” he says, “a great mountain, and filled the whole face of the earth.” Daniel 2:34-35 Let us worship on that great mountain, if we desire to be heard. Heretics do not worship on that mountain, because it has filled the whole earth; they have stuck fast on part of it, and have lost the whole. If they acknowledge the Catholic Church, they will worship on this hill with us. For we already see how that stone that was cut from the mountain without hands has increased, and how great tracts of earth it has prevailed over, and unto what nations it has extended. What is the mountain whence the stone was hewn without hands? The Jewish kingdom, in the first place; since they worshipped one God. Thence was hewn the stone, our Lord Jesus Christ....That stone then was born of the mountain without hands: it increased, and by its increase broke all the kingdoms of the earth. It has become a great mountain, and has filled the whole face of the earth. This is the Catholic Church, in whose communion rejoice that you are. But they who are not in her communion, since they worship and praise God apart from this same mountain, are not heard unto eternal life; although they may be heard unto certain temporal things. Let them not flatter themselves, because God hears them in some things: for He hears Pagans also in some things. Do not the Pagans cry unto God, and it rains? Wherefore? Because He makes His sun to rise over the good and the bad, and sends rain upon the just and the unjust. Matthew 5:45 Boast not therefore, Pagan, that when you cry unto God, God sends rain, for He sends rain upon the just and the unjust. He has heard you in temporal things: He hears you not in things eternal, unless you have worshipped in His holy hill. “Worship Him upon His holy hill: for the Lord our God is holy.”...

13And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying: Men, brethren, hear me. 14Simon hath related how God first visited to take to the Gentiles, a people to his name. 15And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written:

16After these things I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down: and the ruins thereof I will rebuild. And I will set it up:

17That the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all nations upon whom my name is invoked, saith the Lord, who doth these things.

18To the Lord was his own work known from the beginning of the world. 19For which cause, judge that they who from among the Gentiles are converted to God are not to be disquieted:

Acts 15:13-19

Jesus would never have given Peter the keys of binding and loosing and succession of the Davidic Kingdom if he was not reestablishing the Kingdom in the church. At the council of Jerusalem Peter being influenced by his dream, through the power of the keys, separated the church from 1300 years of Mosaic Law when he said we are saved by grace not the law of Moses.

So with everything we have discussed here in the back of our minds, let’s look at the failure of proper exegesis Protestants have fallen into when they look at Ephesians 2 . 

Here we find what Protestantism uses in its attempt to separate from the Catholic Church a proof text of faith alone that when proper exegesis is applied looking at the big picture of the faith lived, will prove the opposite.

For by grace you are saved through faith: 

( For those of the age of reason, faith in baptism was saving faith. All of the sacraments are grace given freely not works of Mosaic Law. The prophecy fulfilled of the law written on our hearts is grace given freely. The apostles were Jews who never understood belief outside a life of obedience to the faith in a covenant relationship with God.)

and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God. 9Not of works, that no man may glory. 

( Baptized Pharisees at the council of Jerusalem saw themselves as being closer to God than the Jews in the church were because they kept the letter of Mosaic Law, the ceremonial aspects, and circumcision. This was their glory, their boast.)

10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them.

Created in Christ Jesus in good works. Only God is good. It is God expressing unconditional love through us through a partnership with the Holy Spirit that gives Paul the reason to say, “ for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works.” Yet Paul gives us a warning to this in his words, “ We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus in good works, PROVIDED THAT WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM.

If you do not walk in them then you are not doing the will of the Father and Christ said, not everyone who says, Lord Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven accept those who do the  will of my Father.

In conclusion,

I recently came across a great apologist named Joshua Charles who is also a convert. He is also a presidential speech writer. I love how he  has the ability to present the profound in simplicity.

He wrote recently 

The Church Father who “red pilled” me about my protestantism, and finally got me to look into the claims of the Catholic Church, was a disciple of the Apostle John, St. Ignatius of Antioch.

On point after point, this disciple of an Apostle was teaching profoundly Catholic doctrine most (sometimes all) of my protestant forebears had abandoned, supposedly in the name of being “biblical.” But for this disciple of an Apostle, Catholic doctrines were biblical, and protestant ideas are nowhere to be seen in his writings. Here are 10 points he affirmed that shocked me into reality:

1. The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist;

2. The New Testament ministerial priesthood;

3. Christian worship = the sacrifice of the Eucharist;

4. We become Christians through being spiritually regenerated in baptism (baptismal regeneration);

5. Christians can forfeit their salvation through grave sin, including heresy/schism;

6. Authority in the Church is exercised by bishops who are successors of the Apostles (apostolic succession);

7. Lay Christians must be under a successor of the Apostle’s authority, and cannot start their own independent congregations;

8. The Church of Rome has greater authority than other churches;

9. Schism and heresy from the one true Church possessing the one true Faith is not of Christ, and always unacceptable;

10. This one true Church is called the “Catholic Church.”

All of this was apparent in just seven short letters written as he proceeded to his martyrdom in Rome.

St. Ignatius of Antioch forever changed my life. He gave me a glimpse into the truth that the biblical Church was and has always been the Catholic Church, and that my inherited protestantism, far from being a “restoration” of the primitive Church and gospel, was a complete departure from it.

One example among many:

“See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God.

Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. 

Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.”

St. Ignatius of Antioch, “Epistle to the Smyrnaeans” (§8) (c. AD 107)

Ignatius was simply teaching a life of obedience to the faith in the New Covenant God established.

The Holy Mass is the true Passover for the general redemption of the world so if there was no obedience to the faith then there would be no salvation. Salvation has a variable that has to include obedience to the faith.


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