Today, we will continue with our response to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.
Armstrong presents the seven passages that follow under the heading, “The Crucial Role of Works (And Absence of Faith) in Judgement Day Accounts.” Beneath these passages Armstrong writes, “All of these passages are in complete accord with the Catholic belief that although works themselves do not save us, they are intimately connected with the process of salvation, being always enabled and caused by God’s grace. The remarkable thing about these passages is the utter absence of “faith alone” in them. This cannot fail to strike a person who believes in that doctrine (the standard Protestant position).” – pp. 90-91.
#48) Matthew 7:16-27
Those who are genuinely trusting in Christ as Savior by faith alone will manifest good works and charity as evidence of their faith. But works do not justify. This lengthy passage states that while those who are condemned to Hell may have done “mighty works,” their faith was not in Christ, the “rock.” Because Armstrong is spiritually blind, he doesn’t even realize this passage refutes his argument for merited salvation.
#49) Matthew 16:27 – “For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.”
John MacArthur writes of this verse, “In the future, God will reward believers (1 Cor. 4:5, 2 Cor. 5:8-10, Rev. 22:12). Here, however, the Lord is concerned with the reward of the ungodly – final and eternal judgment (Rom. 2:5-11, 2 Thess. 1:6-10).” – The MacArthur Bible Commentary, p. 1155. Yes, individuals who have not trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior will be judged according to their sinful works.
#50) Matthew 25:31-46
This lengthy passage describes the “judgment of the nations,” which many theologians describe as the judgment that will precede Christ’s millennial reign and the subjects being only those who are alive at His coming” (The MacArthur Bible Commentary, p. 1175). As we have discussed previously, the good works mentioned in this passage are the fruit/verification of genuine, righteous faith, not the basis of salvation.
#51) 2 Corinthians 5:10 – “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.”
#52) 1 Peter 1:17 – “And if you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.”
As I’ve stated previously, Catholicism confuses the Judgement Seat of Christ (the Bema Seat) where believers will be rewarded according to their service with the Great White Throne Judgement where the Lord will judge unbelievers according to their sinful works. The two verses above are directed to believers regarding their rewards for service at the Bema Seat of Christ.
#53) Revelation 22:12 – “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done.”
MacArthur and J. Vernon McGee believe this verse also refers to the Bema Seat Judgment for believers.
#54) Ecclesiastes 12:14 – “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
Yes, God will judge every unbeliever according to their sinful thoughts and action. Verses like this one lead the repentant sinner to the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Armstrong presents the seven passages above as proof texts for merited salvation, but as I’ve shown, he has done so without referencing the passages in their proper context. While Catholicism, with its false gospel of merited salvation, understandably prioritizes passages that refer to God’s judgment for works, it ignores the “red thread” of the Gospel of grace that runs through the entire Bible. If people could merit their own salvation, Jesus Christ would not have had to die on the cross to pay the penalty for sin.
We’ve patiently witnessed Armstrong’s arguments for Catholicism’s false gospel of merited salvation over the last six weeks, which included twenty-six Scripture passages that he presented as supportive proof texts. Upon examination, we are certainly not “confounded” by Armstrong and his “evidence” as we keep in mind the main themes of the Bible; man’s sinfulness and the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
101 Bible Verses That Teach Salvation Is Not By Works