An exchange on Baptism and Works, part 2
By Matt1618

This is continuation of an email exchange on the matter of whether baptism regenerates, and saves, and whether works are necessary for salvation. The Protestant comments are marked in brown and my response follows in blue. Scriptures that I quote are in red.
Hi Matt
Hi there,
I In John 4:1-2 it says that "The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptising more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptised, but His disciples."
I think you missed something, as stated in my article: John 3:22: 22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. ******
The Pharisees misunderstood the news (as reported in John 3:22) and thought it was Jesus that was baptising - but it was His disciples.
Now, Scripture is not repeating what the Pharisees did. Pharisees did not write Scripture. Now, after reporting that in order to the kingdom of heaven, he specifically goes out with his disciples to baptize. Now, it is with his authority, and after he specifically taught it on baptism. BTW, why did no one in Christendom for 1500 years come up with your view on John 3:5. From the beginning, including those who listened to the disciples themselves, believed in and taught baptismal regeneration. No one taught as you did. Why not? He went with his disciples regardless. It says he tarried with him and baptized. John 4:2 does not do away with John 3:22.
This is clarified in John 4:1-2. Scripture never contradicts Scripture.
Mark 16:16 He that BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
This passage contrasts those who have been baptised (that is believers) with those who refuse to believe and are condemned. This does not teach that baptism saves, since the lost are condemned for unbelief, not for not being baptised.
Mark 16:9-20 is in harmony with the rest of the New Testament. Mark 16:16 is a strong argument for the essential nature of baptism, but far from being the only one. Jesus said "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." Question: If someone said, "Whoever believes in the tooth fairy and jumps in my pool will get $100," what would one have to do for the $100? Answer: Believe in the tooth fairy and jump in the pool, and nothing less.

But Jesus did not include the failure to be baptized as a condition for condemnation. That's because the logical statements of our Lord do not require him to do so. For example, if someone said:

“If I fall in love with Jane Doe and legally wed her, I will be married to her. But if I do not fall in love with Jane Doe, I will not be married to her." Would this mean a wedding is not necessary for a marriage? No. The same logic is present; the wedding follows falling in love, and the wedding is still necessary for marriage.

Or, follows these steps: "(1) If you take my car keys and (2) start the engine, (3)you can drive my car; but if you do not take my car keys (step 1), you cannot drive my car (step 3)." Starting the engine (step 2) requires the keys (step 1), and is necessary to drive the car. Jesus gave a progressive order in our response to God's grace: First, believe; second, be baptized. If you don't get to the first step, the second step is meaningless. To say that Jesus negated baptism here is to overlook simple logic and common sense.

My Earlier comment, Mt. 28:19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, - If baptism is so irrelevant, why did he commission them first to baptize?

Baptism is not irrelevant. Christ commands that all believers should be baptised - but it can only occur after they have been saved, as in the passage you quoted - Here Jesus tells them firstly to make disciples of the people (that is to get them saved) then to baptise them. Throughout the Acts of the Apostles you will always find people believing on the Lord Jesus Christ (salvation) and then being baptised.
You again refuse to deal with the Scriptures I gave you. Acts 2:38:
Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
What part of that don’t you understand? You get the forgiveness of your sins, and you receive the Holy Spirit, when you repent and get baptized. At the same time. Now, he does not say well, repent and believe and you get the Holy Spirit, and the forgiveness of sins and then you get baptized. But he says repent and be baptized and you will get the forgiveness of sins and the Holy spirit. Thus, baptism brings the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins.

See Romans 6:3-7 as well, as cited earlier. Baptism doth now save you 1 Pet. 3:21. It doesn’t say, believe, then you are saved, then afterwards baptism, but baptism doth now save you. For as many have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ, Gal. 3:27. It doesn’t say, have faith first, that puts on Christ, and afterward you show everybody else by getting baptized, but baptism puts on Christ. You are fighting mightily to avoid clear Scriptures. Also, Paul gave other people the ministry to baptize. So what if he did not personally baptize people: he still taught its necessity.

I did not say baptism was unnecessary - I said in Scripture it always comes after a person is saved.
No. Again, Paul is shown, how to get his sins washed away. Now, he had already been shown Jesus, he already had known the truth of him. But his sins were not washed away yet. Here is Scripture, which shows even after being knocked down, after already placing faith in him, and turning to him, his sins were not washed away. What washed those sins of Paul? Well, Scripture says:
Acts 22:16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.
Why did Ananias didn’t tell, him, well, you believe first, and you get your sins washed away then after get your baptism done to show others. Instead, who God designed to teach him more about Jesus, said, Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins!!! Why does he say get your sins washed away when he tells him to get baptism? Also, Paul gave other people the ministry to baptize. So what if he did not personally baptize
1 Cor.6:11 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Remember, he was told, that if one gets baptized he washes away sins. Paul remembers that his sins were washed away by baptism, and he relays that in 1 Cor. 6:11.
This confirms what I said about "the washing of water by the Word." It does not speak about baptism, but salvation. When I was baptised I was not washed in water. The act was symbolic of washing - "the washing of water by the Word" Even in the O.T. it speaks about the washing and sprinkling of the Holy Spirit - not about baptism, because it wasn't a sacrament then.
And it gives a foretaste of how one would get washed: In the New Testament the sins are washed by baptism as shown in the Scripture I just gave you: Acts 22:16. Remember I told you in Acts 2:38-39:
38 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls
Two Scriptures in Acts directly contradict your teaching.
You talk about baptism washing away a persons sins. Well I have never seen this in my church and I'm sure that you and your fellow Catholics are not sinless.
Who in the world said anything about being sinless? Baptism washes away past sins. After that point, one must walk in Christ, exactly as the Catholic Church teaches. Baptism is the new creation, but afterward, one still must walk in him, and if he sins, he has access to the sacrament established by Christ himself (John 20:22-23).
In Acts 10:43 Peter says, "Whoever believes in Him [Jesus] will receive remission of sins" - not whoever is baptised. When I was saved I received the remission of all my sins.
They go in hand as a package. 1 Pet. 3:21 says baptism saves you. Does that mean belief for an adult is not necessary? Well, did he say in Acts 10:43, well, I cancel out what I meant in Acts 2? Well, this was an extraordinary event, the Jews were not accepting Gentiles into the Church. Peter had this extraordinary vision which in effect got it into his head that you now can bring Gentiles into the Church without them being circumcised. This experience, with the witnesses, brought to the Jews the point that very fact. Notice that when the Holy Spirit came upon Cornelius, then Peter said right away, get him baptized. He saw the tie in right away Acts 10:47-48. This is a one-time event, and never repeated. He did not say, ‘I cancel out what I said earlier.’ No, in Acts 2:38 he said:
38 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Peter writes 1 Pet. 3:21
21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
You quote the Catholic Catechism as saying, "By Baptism all sins are forgiven....... Why then was Jesus baptised? He was not a sinner. He was pure and sinless. He didn't need saving.
Jesus, knew that, but he served as an example to us.
Yes He did. He showed us that baptism was necesaary but not in order to forgive our sins.
I guess Jesus was mistaken when he said:
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Scripture says that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sins" (Hebrews 9:22). It is the blood of Jesus that saves - not baptism. It cannot be both. Christ's blood was shed 2,000 years ago and the moment it was shed it was efficacious for the whole world (not just Catholics - as they didn't exist then). I believe it is blasphemous to declare that Christ's blood is not sufficient to save the foulest sinner - and that something else is required - such as baptism. Why do you not think Christ's death is sufficient for salvation? Sufficient is sufficient.
Ok. Then it must be blasphemous to say that you must believe in order to be saved. I can say, "Scripture says that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sins" (Heb 9:22). It is the blood of Jesus that saves - not believe.’.. I believe it is a blasphemous to declare that Christ’s blood is not sufficient to save the foulest sinner and that something is required - such as belief." Now, do you say that one must believe to be saved? That is doing something now isn’t it? Then how in the world is that not blasphemous if you say baptism is blasphemous!!
I DIDN'T SAY BAPTISM IS BLASPHEMOUS - just the idea that it can save.
Then Jesus is blasphemous: Mk. 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned (already discussed above)
Then Peter is blasphemous:
1 Pet. 3:21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Then Paul is blasphemous:
Rom. 6:3-43 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
You are inconsistent. If one is blasphemous, then the other one is blasphemous. If one is not blasphemous, then the other is not blasphemous!! I think neither is, but you put yourself into a box you can not get out of.
O yes I can...... You do not understand the Gospel of salvation. Faith is not an act, a "good work" - faith is a GIFT FROM GOD. "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no-one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is totally the work of God - we do not earn it (by baptism or good works) it is given to us as a free gift from God - and even the faith to believe is a gift. Praise God, or I never would have been saved. When you realise this you too can be wonderfully saved - and God will get ALL the glory - not you.
You do not understand the gospel, it is clear as you do all you can to avoid the clear words of Scripture that I just gave you on baptism and salvation. Of course baptism is God’s work. I never said it was purely man’s work. The great thing about God, is that it is he who works through his sons. I am an adopted child of God through baptism. Right, now on Eph. 2:8, I don’t say that it is my own work. My own works are nothing, nor do I boast about it. If one tries to earn their way towards salvation, no one will do it. However, it is a God who works within his son, through his grace. Paul shows it in the very verse you give me, but forget to cite!! You cite Eph. 2:8-9, but forget or ignore verse 10!!!!
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Thus, good works are necessary to stay in his grace. When he is talking about salvation, he says it is God’s gift to his children, but it is not my work, but his work within me. He is the one who brings the Holy Spirit to empower me to be in his grace. And it is not me by myself because that merits nothing, but it is when God works within me, only when that it results in salvation.

But obedience is necessary for salvation, and acts of disobedience can cause one to lose their inheritance. That is why in the very same letter to the Ephesians, holiness is absolutely essential to get to heaven, because if one acts in sin, he loses the inheritance!!!

Eph. 5: 3 But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
I am afraid, that when you tell someone that ones own obedience is not necessary for salvation, you are utterly destroying any meaning of Paul’s words. If one is impure, or covetous, or filthy, etc. they can lose their inheritance. Thus, that is why Christ gave a sacrament of confession, which Jesus gave to the apostles. See John 20:22-23.
With regards to the thief on the cross you say......."This of course is an exception...... There are no exceptions to the work of salvation. If he could get to heaven by faith then so can you.
He did several things though on the cross, showing an active faith, and it was not merely faith alone. He rebuked the thief who remained unrepentant. That is doing something That is a good work."
Really, that is truly stretching things isn't it? The thief on the cross was given the grace to believe (remember faith is a free gift from God) and he repented of his sin and was thereby saved.
By his recognizing his own sin, but also making an act of faith, where he publicly defended Jesus, that is doing something more than recognizing his own sin. That it not stretching a thing. I just read Scripture. He did not go to Jesus and Jesus only. He spoke righteousness directly to the other person, defending Jesus. That is more than just recognizing his own sin. He said this publicly to not only the man (that is a good work), defending Jesus in front of other men that were previously mocking him. How in the world is that not a good work.?
No, repentance is not works -
Why not? It is something that one must do. Just like good works must be done empowered by God’s grace, so repentance is only good when done by the power of God‘s grace.
it is necessary for salvation and it is something a baptised baby cannot do - and so he cannot be saved.
So babies can not be saved? Remember, I pointed this out to you earlier. You said there were no exceptions allowed, and that is why the thief on the cross supposedly disproves baptismal regeneration. Well, you say that one must believe in order to be saved. Do all babies, whether baptized or not, go to hell when they die? You know, they can’t believe, right? Do you make an exception for them? If you do, please preach that as part of your ‘gospel’ that this is what you teach. If you do not teach that they all go to hell, then you allow exceptions to the case. Then, why are you allowed to make exceptions in your case, but I am not being allowed to make an exception for the thief on the cross before the mandate to baptize was even given?
Repentance refers to a change of mind and purpose that turns an individual from sin to God, when he has heard the Gospel (1 Thess. 1:8-9). Baptism does not produce forgiveness and cleansing from sin.
Acts 22:16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'
Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Scripture answers that silly objection.
Genuine repentance brings the forgiveness of God for sins. All the thief on the cross had to offer Jesus was his sin (that is repentance). Are you saying the thief did not go to heaven? If he did go to heaven you must then ask yourself how did he manage it without baptism and joining the RCC?
He did not go to heaven right then and there, because Jesus did not go to heaven then and there, see the Scriptures I gave you. Anyway, this was before the mandate for baptism was actually given, and that was before Jesus had died and made the commission. So your objection is irrelevant.
The RCC says that almost everyone needs purging in Purgatory after death. Why then didn't the thief go to purgatory? Why didn't the rich man (who was evil) go to Purgatory? Why didn't Jesus mention Purgatory? Did He forget to?
Now, we do not say that everyone has to go to purgatory. If he was perfectly repentant, in initial justification (prior to the commission to baptize that was given in Mt. 28:19 and Mk. 16:16, thus, the objection to baptism falls on that count alone), all past sins would be wiped away, and one would not need to be baptized. You are diverting trying to go in several areas. No he didn‘t forget, but he at least alluded to it, several times, but that is another issue. If you want to see the Scriptural support for purgatory, I recommend going here, fairly short:

I have written on the matter as well:

That is a whole other discussion, though.

No, He told us about the rich man and Lazarus, who at death went straight to hell and heaven respectively - no purgatory there ! You are foolish indeed to ignore the warnings of Jesus and accept the traditions of mere men instead. This will bring eternal regret.
Those who go to heaven, go there because they did good works. Those who go to hell, go there because they did not do good works.

You are calling Jesus rubbish. The basis for that statement was His words, John 5:28-29:

28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
RUBBISH - They go to heaven because they received the free gift of God's grace.
Why did you forget to look at the passage of Matthew 25:31-46, because that is what Jesus said. You are blaspheming Jesus when you call him rubbish, because this is what he specifically said:
31 "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. 34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' 40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44 Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' 45 Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
No one can do good works, because all men are sinners. "There is none who does good, not even one....For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:12, 23) and "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
You know that you are misreading the passage now don’t you? Where is Paul quoting from? Psalm 14. What does Psalm 14 say?
1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. 2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD. 5There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous. 6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.
All Paul is saying is telling the Jews that they are not righteous just by being Jews. We are all born sinners, and being a Jew is not enough. We need God’s grace to free us from sin. That is why Jesus came, to make us righteous. Jesus makes believer righteous. That is what God’s grace does. He makes one righteous, and we must act in that same way. That is why Paul says in Romans 5:17-19 exactly the opposite of what you think Paul is saying:
17 If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous.
In justification, one is made righteous. So your understanding of Paul is obviously deficient. In fact we even see this in the Gospel that people can be righteous, Luke 1:5-6.
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechari'ah, of the division of Abi'jah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
This is why we need Jesus, because on our own we cannot get to heaven.
Right, Jesus said, ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5). But with his grace, he lives within me, empowering me to obey him. Why did Jesus, when asked on what to do to heaven, say:
Mt. 19:16-17:
And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" 17 And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments."
Paul said, "I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died in vain." (Galatians 2:21)
I did not say that righteous is gained by Law, but it is gained by grace. Obviously you don’t know what grace is. Grace not only is divine favor, but divine empowerment. The law does not provide grace, that is why it does not save. Paul says in the previous verse in Gal. 2:20: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

Now, what does grace do? Titus 2:11-14 explains:

11 For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, 12 training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, 13 awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Grace empowers his sons to live soberly uprightly and godly lives (that is obedience and works). That is salvific, as verses 11 through 14 show. That grace redeems us from all iniquity so we can live righteously.

Besides that, did you not notice Romans 8:2-4?

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The law does not provide grace, but he gave his sons through grace, so the law of the Spirit we can fulfill. The law of the Spirit must be met, Rom. 8:2. Now, notice that Paul specifically says that the just requirement of the law is fulfilled in us. Not because Jesus fulfilled it. So you have Paul contradicting himself.
God "has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace." (2 Timothy 1:9)
Right, it is not us just doing it ourselves, because it is God at work in us. Stuff done on our own power merits nothing, but as shown in the Scripture I just gave you, when it is done in the Spirit, one can meet the just requirement of the law.
"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:24)
"When the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." (Titus 3:4-5)
Of course it is freely by his grace, but you forgot to mention what that grace does. I wonder why?

Oh, you forgot to mention Titus 2:11-14, which preceded Titus 3:4-5, Also why don’t you look at Tit. 3:5-7. And the washing of regeneration is in Titus 3:5 too, and that points to baptism.

"Where then is the boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." (Romans 3:27-28)
The phrase is works of the law. One is not justified by works of the law. We agree that one is not justified by works of the law. Now what does works of the law mean? I go over that in my essay on the matter: Works based on law does not save. Whether it is circumcision, ritual laws, or attempting to earn salvation, that is the works that do not save. However, works done in God’s grace does save. See this:

"If in fact Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about - but not before God... Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness." (Romans 4:2-5)
This shows that it is not works done as an Employer gives an employee. It is not as though he is a debtor. The Catholic church teaches that. It is a Father giving a son. Now Abraham himself is shown already to be justified in Scripture prior to Genesis 15, where Paul quotes him. He was already saved in Genesis 12, as shown in Hebrews 11:8. Also, does Paul give you the right to ignore the rest of Sacred Scripture, which deals with Abraham‘s justification?. I gave you the Scripture yesterday, James 2:21-26:
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.
How can you say we are saved by works not faith? We are saved by faith - but we show that we are saved by producing works - but they are only the works that he has pre-ordained for us to do (see Ephesians 2:10). Who said faith or works, it is faith and works as James and Paul are clear. Since you are on Paul, maybe you can look at what he wrote, not only in Rom. 8:2-4, but also Romans 2:6-13
Rom. 2:6-13: 6 For he will render to every man according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality. 12 All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. It is obvious that you misreading Paul, and I hope that you turn from such theology that allows you to ignore clear Scripture.
They are only the works that the Holy Spirit produces in us - all others are wood hay and stubble and will be burnt up on the Last Day. Did you realise that you can commit "dead works" believing them to be "good works"? It will not be until the Last Day that these will be exposed. This is why I am trying to warn you so earnestly.........
I appreciate the effort, I am earnestly trying to save you from deceptive theology that allows you to overlook clear Scriptures that I gave you.
Jesus said that "Whoeverbelieves in Him [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son." We will send ourselves to hell by not believing in Christ and we will be saved by believing.
You are quoting John 3:18. However, belief ain’t enough, because just a couple of verses later Jesus says:
20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.

36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.

Right after the belief statement, he says in order to come to the light, one must do right. He also speaks on obedience being necessary to go along with that faith, or God’s wrath will come on even believers.
Christ asks for nothing more - and if you try to present Him with your good works (which He calls "filthy rags")
In justification one is made righteous according to Paul in Romans 5:19. It demeans Jesus to say that he can not make us righteous, to only cover us up.
He will laugh. Only Christ's finished work at Calvary will be acceptable. All else is blasphemy to our Lord. What can you possibly offer the King of glory for entrance into heaven? All you can offer Him is your sin.... and then cry out for mercy.
Now, of course there must be a sincere repentance, and in baptism, one must renounce Satan and all his works.
How can a baby do this? Did you do this at baptism? It is no good saying you did it at Confirmation - because you have already declared that you were born again and cleansed of your sin at baptism - so you would have had to have repented at baptism. How did you do this when you were a little baby? Please use your brain. You sound an intelligent man...yet the things that you are saying are just not logical.
Where does the Bible ever say, Bapism symbolizes anything? As an adult, one must renounce sin before he comes to baptism. I renounce sin every day of my life. In baptism, original sin is forgiven, and one puts on Christ. See here:

In Scripture, whole households were baptized, in the New Testament. In the Old Covenant, babies were circumcised as a requiremnt to enter, and in the new covenant, babies are brought in during baptism. However, that is a diversion again. I would be happy to discuss infant baptism but you are going all over the place.

Have you forgotten? You keep quoting it. It says that baptism symbolises your death with Christ and your burial with Him.
No. It does not say baptism symbolizes death. It says, Rom. 6:4:
4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
It says by baptism we are buried with him. One is in Christ as a new creation.
Since you were not there personally with Christ at Calvary 2,000 years ago - it must be symbolic musn't it. You see, you cannot have it both ways. It cannot be symbolic in one passage and real in another.
Who said that this is symbolic? It is a real passage that speaks to the effect that baptism does.
"For you have been born again.....through the living and enduring Word of God" (1 Peter 1:23). James the brother of Jesus wrote, "He chose to give us birth through the Word of truth.... humbly accept the Word planted in you which can save you" (James 1:18,21). We are saved and made holy through "the washing of water by the Word" (Ephesians 5:26).

It is the Word of God that does the washing (or cleansing) because it is truth. As you say, FF Bruce agrees with me.:"the noun translated ‘washing’ occurs only one other place in the New Testament - in Titus 3:5, where Christ is said to have saved his people ‘by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.’ Here he says the washing is the rebirth or regeneration - not baptism.

It is clear that Bruce means baptism. In fact Evangelical commentator admits this refers to baptism as well. Skevington Wood writes in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Grand Rapids, Mi: Zondervan, 1978), 11:77, There seems to be little or no doubt that the reference is to baptism. The ‘washing with water’ is equivalent to the ‘washing of rebirth’ in Titus 3:5.

Let us go back to FF Bruce‘s statement: who writes in his commentary on Ephesians, on Eph. 5:26, I‘ll give a little more for you:

"the noun translated ‘washing’ occurs only one other place in the New Testament - in Titus 3:5, where Christ is said to have saved his people ‘by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.’ The reference is to Christian initiation, in which the bestowal of the Spirit and baptism in water play a central part - the baptism involving not only the external washing but also the inward and spiritual grace which it signifies.. The phrase ‘with the word’ in our present test: the ‘word’ is the convert’s confession of the name of Christ’s baptism is administered."
Again, he agrees with me.
You do not seem to able to grasp this. Rebirth is when you are born again by the Word of God. Rebirth is not being baptised, it is being born from above.
Being born from above is in baptism. You don’t seem to grasp this. Christians for 15 centuries unanimously grasped this. Are you saying all of Christendom was wrong for 15 centuries, including those who studied under the apostles?
As I said before, John 1:12-13 states, "To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, not of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." So how do we become "born of God"? We receive Christ and we believe in His name. It does not say we have to be baptised to be reborn?
Baptism and belief is part of the same package. I went over that in the last response.
You did not answer this.........How can a baby hear the truth of the Word of Christ and believe it? How can a baby call on the name of the Lord? How can a baby confess his sins? It is quite obvious that a person must be old enough to understand the Gospel, believe it and repent of his sins before he can be saved. You say adults have to believe but babies don't. Why not?
Divert, divert, divert. Now, do you want to discuss on baptismal regeneration, works, and not infant baptism? If you want to have a discussion on infant baptism, maybe later. The main issues up to this point are what baptism does, and are works necessary for salvation. I have shown you that baptism regenerates, and works done in grace, are salvific. Divert, divert, divert. Now, do you want to discuss on baptismal regeneration, works, and now infant baptism? Ok, I will if I have to:

A baby is born in sin with Adam, as Paul clearly shows in Romans 5. He needs to be washed. If you want to have a discussion on infant baptism, that can take up a whole bunch of time of which I have already spent alot of. The main issues up to this point are what baptism does, and are works necessary for salvation. I have shown you that to reject baptismal regeneration is to reject Scripture and that works in grace are necessary for salvation. Works outside grace do not justify, as Paul shows. Fine. However, works inside grace is also necessary. The faith of the parents will suffice in infant baptism and that suffices. That is completely Scriptural, as I document. There are 8 principles that I identified in an exclusively Bible Study which shows the Scripturalness of infant baptism. That is principle 6. Again, that is found here:

Where do you get that from? Since most Catholics are baptised as babies then faith does not seem to be required at all in the RCC.
The faith of the parents are required.
Don't tell me you believed at Confirmation - that just will not do. Your church declares that you are born again when you are baptised - when you were a baby. You cannot be "born again" twice. Please use some logic.
I didn’t say that I was born again twice. One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. I don’t know how that is illogical.
I have given him a copy. I also give him copies of discussions on Catholic Forums - which are much more enlightening. He has seen the venom and contradictory thinking of the Catholics on other sites and is not greatly impressed. Nor is he impressed with with the answers he receives from his local priests. I know you are sincere, but your thinking is not always logical. You are giving out Catholic doctrine - and then trying to find passages in the Bible to match it - with very tenuous arguments.
Then please I recommend him to get the books, ‘Surprised by Truth’ by Pat Madrid, Basilica Press, which has a series of people who have converted from the falsity and unbiblicalness of Protestantism to the truth of Catholic Christianity. or ‘Rome Sweet Rome’ by Scott Hahn, or ‘Crossing the Tiber’ by Steve Ray, which shows a person thinking he was following the Bible, and being a Baptist, like you, when he saw the truthfulness of Catholicism through the Bible. That is here:

Now, in fact I did leave the Catholic faith about teenager time.

Then there must have been something wrong with it.
No. There was nothing wrong with it, but I was not fully taught the truths of Catholicism, and shown from Scripture the truths of Jesus as found in Scripture. I did not fully study this, and I went into the world, unfortunately. I was back into sin and out of communion with Him. I truly came back into the faith when I went to confession, taught by Jesus himself, when he said to the apostles, John 20:22-23‘22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." He gave the apostles authority to forgive sins, and that authority has been passed on. I know you will again say that Jesus really didn’t mean that they had authority to forgive sins, he was just faking that when he told them, or give some other way around clear Scripture, but the Bible way, put me back into the faith. I went directly to Jesus when I obeyed him in John 20:22-23. That is directly going to Jesus. In fact, I became ‘born again’ from your perspective when I was led on the ‘Romans Road of salvation’, by a Baptist so I know very clearly what you believe.
Why did you need to "born again" again, you had already been born again once.
I did not need to be born again. I was only born again once in baptism. I said ‘from your perspective’ which is a false perspective. To be born again in Scripture, is to be born of ‘water and Spirit’. The Baptist line of You are born again by accepting Jesus into your heart’ is a thing I said was from ‘your perspective’. Of course that perspective is false. That is why I called it ‘your perspective’.
I am sorry, but you could never have been truly "born again" and then recanted. It would be impossible, because it is God who births us into the family of God - it is not us making a decision. What you obviously had was a crisis of faith - and changed your mind temporarily.
No. I didn’t change my mind temporarily. I changed my whole life. I read the Bible on a daily basis, I accepted Scripture alone and faith alone. I stopped cussing, not temporarily. I stopped committing sins of the flesh and I started to go to Church, including Protestant Churches for a long time. I thought I was ‘born again’ in your false perspective, but I was not. That was at infancy.
It was an intellectual, rather than spiritual experience.
Who in the world are you to tell me what my own experience was? It was an experience that I changed my life. But when ultimately I started reading the Bible, I ultimately found all these passages that showed that Jesus taught and founded the Catholic Church, and the doctrines of the Church as taught in Scripture. I saw that all those who followed Jesus, were taught by the apostles, believed in not only the truths of Scripture, but the teachings of the Fathers who believed in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the necessity of baptismal regeneration, the necessity of works. There were no Baptists in the 1st century, but Ignatius of Antioch, called those who followed Jesus were of the Catholic Church.

Ignatius of Antioch

"Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).
This is what is happening to my friend at the moment. He is believing all the factual evidence I give him - but until he receives a revelation from God he will not be born again. And I will not encourage him to leave the RCC until he has this encounter with God. Otherwise it will simply be a change of theology which could end up making him miserable, as it obvious did you.
No. It got me into the right direction, in the sense that it got me started into doing more reading from Scripture, I started doing prayer, I changed my whole life, out of the world, and into Christ. Then as I started reading Scripture, I ultimately saw that Jesus taught the truths of Catholicism. Ultimately it pointed me back to Christ and His Church and a full, and blooming relationship with him as I now have.
Salvation is not head knowledge it is coming into a relationship with the very Son of God Himself. I can tell by the way you write that you do not yet "know" God - your faith is just pedantics. However, (although it looks hopeless) I shall still pray for you, that you too will come into a living relationship with the living God - then (and only then) will "you know the truth, and the truth will set you free." I deduce that you probably had a problem with the friend who guided you out of the RCC, more than you had a problem with the doctrines.
No. Your guess is wrong. I came back to a living relationship with God. I believed all the stuff that you do. Faith alone, Bible alone, sacraments not necessary, baptism doesn’t save, etc. Then I saw clear Scripture teach otherwise. I had lost contact with my Baptist friend.
Also fear is a tremendous blockage when anyone is trying to let go of RC teachings - since (like a cult) they scare you with the threat that if you leave their denomination you will be damned eternally. I can quite understand why you were afraid to leave.
Doesn’t have anything to do about being ‘afraid’ to leave. I have an article showing that you are correct that we don’t earn salvation, but works are still absolutely necessary or Jesus is a plain liar. See this:

We both agree that works must be produced - but they are not our works, but the works of the Holy Spirit. However, this is not what the RCC teaches.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit are central to our salvation. This is what Catholicism teaches. See our Catechism, section 1698:
"The first and last point of reference of this catechesis will always be Jesus Christ himself, who is 'the way, and the truth, and the life.'Jn+14:6.] It is by looking to him in faith that Christ's faithful can hope that he himself fulfills his promises in them, and that, by loving him with the same love with which he has loved them, they may perform works in keeping with their dignity: I ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head, and that you are one of his members. He belongs to you as the head belongs to its members; all that is his is yours: his spirit, his heart, his body and soul, and all his faculties. You must make use of all these as of your own, to serve, praise, love, and glorify God. You belong to him, as members belong to their head. And so he longs for you to use all that is in you, as if it were his own, for the service and glory of the Father.[St. John Eudes, Tract. de admirabili corde Jesu, 1, 5.]"
Grace and Justification is shown in the passages of the Catechism, from 1987 to 2029. After giving a Scriptural basis for justification, it concludes with the following when talking about Christian holiness, and merit and justification:
2017. "The grace of the Holy Spirit confers upon us the righteousness of God. Uniting us by faith and Baptism to the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, the Spirit makes us sharers in his life. "

2018. "Like conversion, justification has two aspects. Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, and so accepts forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "2019. "Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man. " 2020. "Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God's mercy. “ 2021. "Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons. It introduces us into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life. "2022. "The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom. " 2023. "Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. " 2024. "Sanctifying grace makes us 'pleasing to God.' Charisms, special graces of the Holy Spirit, are oriented to sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. God also acts through many actual graces, to be distinguished from habitual grace which is permanent in us." 2025. "We can have merit in God's sight only because of God's free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man's collaboration. Man's merit is due to God. " 2026. "The grace of the Holy Spirit can confer true merit on us, by virtue of our adoptive filiation, and in accordance with God's gratuitous justice. Charity is the principal source of merit in us before God. "

This is a summary of some very Biblical stuff. The previous sections go over this with many Scriptures., which serve as a basis for this conclusion. We would not be saved without the Holy Spirit. His work in our life is central to all our merit before God. So you are outright either totally confused about the Catholic Church teaching on justification, or if you are aware of the true Catholic teaching, putting out a lie. (Sections 1981-2016), which is found here:
It teaches that many things can assist the Catholic to earn his salvation throughout his life - such as baptism, Confirmation, a priest's absolution, the Mass, indulgences, penance, purging in Purgatory, prayers to Mary, and the prayers of others after he has died. If you declare that these do not "earn" salvation, then why are they necessary?
It is obvious you don’t know what grace is, or filial adoption is. I am an adopted son of God. I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Since I love him, I want to do all that I can to serve him. I must ‘pursue holiness without which no one will see the Lord’ Heb. 12:14. I don’t do things to earn salvation, I do it because I am a son. I am an adopted Child. As a Son, I will come into his kingdom only if I do pursue such holiness, only in his grace. See Mt. 25:31-46. I will inherit, however, only if I suffer with him. See Romans 8:17:
17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
I have become literally a partaker of the divine nature, 2 Pet. 1:3-4:
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.
Skipping a few things, because this is about 20 pages now.

Yes, the RCC is vast, it is ancient and it is powerful .... but does it have Christ as its Head?
Yes, we have Christ as its head. We are the descendants of those who Jesus commissioned to preach the gospel. Jesus said: ‘He who hears you hears me, he who rejects you, rejects me.’ Lk. 10:16. This is the Catholic Church descended from the apostles.

Now, onto the original discussion that we had:

The Bible says that baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21). You say that baptism does not save. The Bible says that baptism washes away sins (Acts 22:16). You say that baptism does not wash away sins. The Bible says that one must be born of water and spirit (John 3:3-5). You say that water is not necessary. The Bible says that baptism causes the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). You say that baptism does not cause the remission of sins. The Bible says that baptism makes us sons of God and puts on Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). You say that baptism does not make us sons. The Bible says that baptism makes one put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). You say that baptism does not make us put on Christ. The Bible says by baptism one puts off the body of sins (Col. 2:12-13, Rom. 6:3-4). You say that baptism does not put off the body of sins. The Bible says ‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved’ (Mk. 16:16). You illogically say, ‘well, you don’t need the baptism part.’ All your dancing on those verses that explicitly teach that baptism is salvific, is done to ultimately make the Bible explicitly contradict itself. Do you really believe in the Bible? Or did you do your dancing only because a man-made tradition told you that the Bible really doesn’t mean what it says on baptism?

Your concept of doing the will of the Father is to ignore what Jesus said, and focus on a few Scriptures that with your interpretation, contradict other clear Scriptures. Now, can you truly tell me you are following Jesus, or you are following what somebody told you about him? For example, the only time Scripture says that the term faith alone is used it said:

James 2:21-26 - 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.
Is it really that hard to understand that what you teach contradicts clear Scripture? Now, you must be following a cult, to say that the above really doesn’t mean what it says. I hope you will again give your friend this message. I am doing this and truly praying for you that you will get out of the cult like mentality that you must have, to render the above Scriptures null and void. I hope you pass this message along to your friend one more time. Jesus gave authority to the disciples to teach all nations. He said he would be with his people until the end of the age. There were no Baptists in the 1st or 2nd or 3rd century. But there were sure Catholics, who died for the faith like Ignatius of Antioch. The gates of hell shall never prevail against Christ and his Church. Apparently you believe he failed. I don’t think so. In Luke 10, he tells that those he would send would preach what he did. That includes those who passed on what he did to the apostles. He said to the apostles, Lk. 10:16
He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.
Paul also wrote that the correct interpretation is found in Christ’s Church.
15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.
I have shown you from Scripture what has been taught for 2000 years. Baptism regenerates, and works empowered by grace, are a necessary cause, not a mere after effect, of salvation. The Church, which is the pillar and foundation of truth has taught this since Christ himself taught it. You were taught by man, that no these Scriptures don’t mean what they say. And twist some Scriptures, and ignore others to come to that conclusion. I am just a messenger. I hope you don’t continue to be as one who rejects Jesus, now that you have been shown the truth. Please look at the Scriptures I gave you, without the biases that you have been taught, that they really don’t mean what they say, for your soul’s sake.

To all Visitors, Grace of Christ to You

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