Sola Fide: A Christianity without Charity


The notion of sola fide (justification by faith alone) reduces the virtue of charity to a silent role in the Christian religion, contrary to the central doctrines of the Faith. Saint Paul wrote that “if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” Therefore, if Christian charity must be present alongside the virtue of faith, then any notion of “faith alone” is a falsehood.

Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us that there is no way that we can be saved through faith alone because each of us is to be judged “according to his works.” When God commands us to love one anotherbecause we shall be judged based on how we respond to His commandment, we should heed His warnings. It is very clear what God has mandated: If we are to follow Him, then we are to do loving works for His glory (Colossians 3:17).

Saint John the Evangelist wrote, “He that does not love, does not know God: for God is charity.” Keeping this in mind, we must remember that, through His Passion, Christ displayed nothing less than the most perfect work of charity ever performed by any Individual for another human being. This is why St. Paul reminds us that charity, not faith, is the most important heavenly virtue that any man can possess or express (1 Corinthians 13:13).

With Christ as our example, we can see that each of us must perform charitable works if we are to reach Heaven by following His lead. And St. Paul echoes Christ’s instructions when he tells Timothy to instruct others “to do good, to be rich in good works”; because, both Christ and the Apostles thought that doing the charitable work of God isn’t just a word of faith: It is a way of life (1 John 3:16–18).

We can only enter Heaven if we follow all God’s commandments (James 2:10). If one will not follow God’s commandment to give charitably of oneself by taking up one’s crosshumbling oneself or mortifying oneself for love of a Christian brother, then what good is one’s faith?

If a man can justify himself and his pathway to Heaven, then Christ would have died for no purpose whatsoever. How can we “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” if we simply have faith alone without the will to walk at all? (Colossians 1:10)

We can only do so in good works of charitable sacrifice. Saint Paul wrote that we bear fruit ,which is righteousness “through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” In these sentiments, Paul again echoes Christ. Only in Christ can we produce the good and fruitful works He demands of us (John 15:5). And only with faith in Christ while performing good, charitable works can we avoid being cast into the fire reserved for the unfruitful. (Matthew 7:19)

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