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Faith and Works Are Necessary for Salvation (Part 3)

Tim Staples

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Is justification instantaneous or a process? How might that process work? Would works be part of it? Tim Staples and Cy Kellett conclude their discussion about the relationship between faith and works in salvation.

Cy Kellett: Here’s the final part of our conversation with Tim Staples on salvation.

Cy Kellett: Hello and welcome to Catholic Answers Focus, I am Cy Kellett, your host, and today we continue a conversation we’ve been having. As a matter of fact, bring it to its conclusion. A conversation we’ve been having with Tim Staples, director of apologetics and evangelization here at Catholic Answers about faith and works. And particularly about the role of works in our salvation. Hello Tim.

Tim Staples: Hello Cy Kellett, it is great to be with you again. I can’t believe this is number three?

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: Maybe we should do another three.

Cy Kellett: At the end of this everyone will know how to be saved.

Tim Staples: That’s it brother.

Cy Kellett: And we should do another three, I’m glad that you invited yourself to that because we should.

Tim Staples: Yes.

Cy Kellett: I should mention, you’re the author of Behold Your Mother: A Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines, in addition to other things. And in our first two episodes we kind of, we’re talking about salvation and justification in its past, present, and future kind of iterations.

Tim Staples: Yes.

Cy Kellett: So we talked about how you might prepare to receive justification, how justification happens, and the role of works particularly in that, and now we talk about the ongoing process of justification, which, according to Romans chapter 10, does not exist. There is no process of justification. Or wait a second, I say that because you were mentioning to me that you were at mass and you were bothered by the translation in particular, and I’m sorry that translations bother you during mass. But, maybe you could elucidate that because this is a common text, as you were saying, that people will use to say how to oppose the Catholic view on ongoing justification.

Tim Staples: Right, and in fact this is the famous text that’s used be evangelicals, Romans 10, and for those of you who are viewing this or are hearing this at a different time, I’m talking about the first Sunday of Lent, which we just experienced yesterday.

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: The reading, or the epistle from the first Sunday of Lent is Romans chapter 10, verses eight through 13, and the problematic verse, and I know this drove my Greek professor crazy, was verse 10 in the process there. For those of you who don’t know, this is a famous text, I’ll just quote nine and 10 to you. “If you believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is raised from the dead you will be saved.” Right? This is the one, if you jump down to verse 13, “For whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This is used by evangelicals all over the world to say, “Hey, all you have to do is confess Jesus Christ is Lord and you are saved.” Right?

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: It’s like a done deal, done transaction. Well, verse 10 says, and here’s the problem child. After it says “For if you believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is raised from the dead, you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, you will be saved, for,” verse 10 says, “with the heart man believes and so is justified.” Now I’m quoting the New American Bible translation, which unfortunately we use as our translation in the lectionary, although certain verses have been changed, thanks be to God, because the translation is so poor. And this one needs to be, if any bishops are listening to me, maybe the Holy Father, we need to change this.

Cy Kellett: I know he listened to the first two parts.

Tim Staples: Absolutely. “For with the heart man believes and so is justified, and with the mouth confession is made and so he is saved.” That is not what the Greek text reads, it actually says, “with the heart man believes unto justification. Little preposition there, eis, eis dikaiosynēn, so “:with the heart man believes unto justification.” And by the way, eis, as a preposition, is different than the preposition en, that is epsilon-nu, versus epsilon-iota-sigma. Because eis means leading up to, like if I say “Paul is going to the city,” and I use eis it would be “Paul is going up to the city.” He’s not there yet, but he’s going up to the city. But if you say “Paul is en the city,” epsilon-nu, he’s there.

Cy Kellett: Got it.

Tim Staples: He’s arrived. He’s there, done deal, okay? Well this is isn’t en, it’s eis, and so “with the heart man believes unto righteousness or justification” means that that belief–and it implies you must keep believing. This is a process leading up to justification, not that you’ve already got it. But unfortunately the New American Bible translates it as if it’s a done deal. That’s a big error, and then in the next line, “and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,” it’s eis sōtērian, not that he’s already arrived, so it’s not “and so was saved,” it’s “unto salvation.” And why is this important? Because, the context of Romans chapter 10 makes clear that we’re not talking about a one-time confession of faith. And so in Romans 10:13, “Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” to my Evangelical mind, when I was a young Baptist kid, I always thought “Sinner’s Prayer!”

Cy Kellett: Okay, yeah.

Tim Staples: “See, whoever calls on the name of the Lord, that means one time, done deal, I’m saved, hallelujah!” That’s not what the Bible is teaching us here. In fact, I like to draw parallels to other biblical texts that bring this out as well. Let me give you another example of how this mistranslation clouds people’s minds and then they begin to view other verses of scripture in the same incorrect way. In Mathew chapter 10, verses 31 and 32, Jesus says “If you or whoever acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge you before my Father. If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father [my heavenly Father].” Right? Once again, just like Romans 10 this is used as, “See if you confess or if you deny, today this Sunday, come, accept Jesus and you’re saved!” Right?

Cy Kellett: Yeah right.

Tim Staples: That’s not the context of Romans 10 and it’s not the context and Mathew 10 either.

Cy Kellett: Okay.

Tim Staples: Because if you back up and get the context leading up to verse 32, this is what you had: Jesus, in fact, in the whole chapter, is warning the disciples of the coming persecution. He says “You’ll be taken before magistrates, you’re gonna be prosecuted, you’re ultimately gonna be put to death.” And in fact in verse 22, that would be 10 verses before 32, he says “You shall be hated of all men for my namesake, but he who endures til the end shall be saved.” Fast forward to verse 28, he says “Don’t fear him who is able to kill the body, but fear him who after having killed the body is able to cast both body and soul into hell.” That leads up to, “If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father, if you acknowledge me before men I will acknowledge you before my Father.”

Tim Staples: What’s the context? “In the coming persecution,” and in the context of “you must do this until death, you shall be hated of all men for my namesake, but he who that endures til the end shall be saved.” This is such a crucial point, because what we have is this false presupposition that justification, salvation, is a one-time transaction, a legal transaction; “When you accept Jesus you are saved, no matter what you do in the future, hallelujah. Your past, present, and future sins.” Cy, I can remember hearing this as a child and I must admit it sounded really good.

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: You know? “All your sins past, present, and future are forgiven.” “Why?” “Because you’ve confessed Jesus, you’ve acknowledged him before men. Therefore, he’s gonna acknowledge you before the Father.” It’s very important that we understand that justification is not simply that legal transaction. And here’s kinda the tricky point, I suppose would be the proper word, is there is a truth to this. That justification as we talked about two sessions ago, justification, we mentioned it last session too, there is a sense in which when we are baptized, incorporated into Christ, right, through faith in baptism, we are justified, right?

Cy Kellett: Sure.

Tim Staples: We receive that initial grace of justification, all sins, through faith and baptism right? All sins are taken away, original and personal, and all punishment due for, oh man, baptism is quite a deal. All punishment due for sin is gone, as long as we don’t put up any obstacles like unrepentant mortal sin. You know, you get an awesome deal here, right?

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: That’s the initial grace of justification or salvation. The Protestants see that as a done deal, that’s a completed act, and they’re partially right. But we know that is just the beginning. As we quoted last time in Romans chapter 5 verse 1, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have access into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope.” Hope, Romans 8:24, remember, if you’re hoping for something that means you ain’t got it yet. Right? ‘Cause if one sees or possesses something why would he have hope for it? We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. So we enter into this relationship of grace whereby if we continue to cooperate we will be justified. And justified as Revelation 22:11 says, I hope you’re getting these verses, “He that is justified let him be justified still.”

Tim Staples: What does that mean? You grow in grace, 2 Peter 3:20, grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and you grow in justice. Grow in righteousness, you increase in your state of righteousness or justice before God. Indicating this is a process my friends; and then the coup d’état is that you can fall from that state of justice as well, which is indicated all over the place. Mathew chapter 12 verse 37, “By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Jesus is speaking to Christians here, there is a final judgment where we are finally justified. This is why Romans 2:13 will say, “It’s not the hearers of the law who shall be justified,” future, “but the doers of the law who shall be justified.”

Tim Staples: And this is why Romans 6:16 says, “Know you not whosoever you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are. Whether it be sin,” and we’re gonna get that preposition again here, eis, “whether it be sin unto death [hamartia eis thanaton], or obedience unto justification [hupakoé eis dikaiosynēn].” So once again, a process indicating we must persevere in order to finally be justified. Crucial, let me tell you, Cy, when I was Protestant this is what did me in on my belief in justification by faith alone. Once I saw, and I’m just gonna give you one more, I gotta do this.

Cy Kellett: Yeah, okay.

Tim Staples: ‘Cause this is the one, let me, for everybody listening, this is the one that just knocked me unconscious. I’m using a metaphor, I wasn’t literally knocked unconscious, but this one took me out. Alright, when you understand justification as a process this changes everything. Because no longer is it just “Accept Jesus one time,” no longer is it that you just take up your cross one time and follow but all of a sudden oh my gosh, Jesus says in Luke 9:23, “Unless a man take up his cross daily and follow me, he can not be his disciple.” But catch this Cy, I’ll never forget when I first discovered this, it was one of those moments. In Romans chapter four verse three, we have a famous text where Saint Paul uses Abraham as the paradigm for justification. And he says, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness” or “justice,” “justification,” right?

Cy Kellett: Okay.

Tim Staples: See? He believed! Faith alone, and he was just. Woo! Let’s all become Protestant, right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Tim Staples: Wrong! And this is why. Because, see, in the Protestant mindset, and I’m emphasizing this again here, when it says Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness, they’re thinking what? “Transaction. Done deal. That’s when he was justified,” and that’s what I believed, Cy.

Cy Kellett: Okay.

Tim Staples: Until it was shown to me that Abraham was already justified, years before this. Remember, Romans 4:3 is quoting Genesis 15 verse six, when Abraham believed God concerning the promise that his barren wife would conceive a child.

Cy Kellett: Okay.

Tim Staples: The “child of the promise,” as he’s called, right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Tim Staples: “And he believed and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Does that mean that’s first where he was justified? No. “What do you mean?!” This is what destroyed my Protestant world, right?

Cy Kellett: Really?

Tim Staples: He wasn’t justified right there in the first sense or even in the initial grace of justification. How do you know that? You go to a little verse called Hebrews chapter 11 verse eight, and guess what you find? You find, and by the way, the context of Hebrews 11, this is the great Hall of Faith where the inspired author shows us the great men of faith from Abel all way to 2 Maccabees, all of the great men of faith who changed the world through their faith. What kind of faith? Saving faith. The faith Hebrews 11:6 says, “without which it is impossible to please God,” right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Tim Staples: Well, in Hebrews 11:8, among this litany of showing these great men, the Hall of Faith, he says, “By faith Abraham went out from the Ur of Chaldees.”

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: Oh, wait a second.

Cy Kellett: Wait a second.

Tim Staples: That’s years before.

Cy Kellett: That’s right.

Tim Staples: That’s years before, way back in Genesis chapter 12 verses one and two, when Abraham is first called, and he believes, and in an incredible act of faith goes out, not knowing where he was going, he becomes the patriarch of faith. So, there you have Hebrews 11:8 refers to Abraham already having a saving faith, a justifying faith, many years before Genesis 15:6, and then to add to that, so we have Hebrews 11:8 referring back to Genesis 12, and then you have Romans 4:3 referring back to Genesis 15:6. Then you have, in James chapter two verse 24, or back up to verse 21, “For what hath Abraham found in offering up his son Isaac on the altar. Seest how that faith did cooperate with works and by works his faith was made complete. We see then,” I’m at verse 24, “that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” So Abraham is justified again in offering up his son, and that’s way forward to Genesis chapter 22 many years later after the child of promise is born and has grown up a bit.

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: So what do we have Cy? Justification as a process.

Cy Kellett: Right, yeah.

Tim Staples: A lifetime process which completely explodes the Protestant myth of justification by faith alone, because justification of course involves faith as it’s prime mover in many ways, of course grace even before faith because we’re saved by grace through faith, says Ephesians 2:8 and 9. But of course faith is essential, we’re justified by faith, but guess what? We’re also justified by obedience, by perseverance, by cooperating with God’s grace firmly unto death, and that’s why, as we mentioned in the last show, Cy, verses like Revelation 2:10 will say “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.” Is that good or what?

Cy Kellett: That is good, and I wondered, so it’s a process, the process does in fact have key moments.

Tim Staples: Yes.

Cy Kellett: Like the moment of giving your assent, saying “Yes, I do believe.”

Tim Staples: Amen.

Cy Kellett: The moment of baptism.

Tim Staples: Yeah.

Cy Kellett: These are, so but it is also a daily taking of the cross. Right?

Tim Staples: It is.

Cy Kellett: So it’s not just “Go out and do the best you can;” it has the key moments where, like in baptism, I am utterly helpless, it has to be God who does all of it there.

Tim Staples: Amen brother.

Cy Kellett: But, okay, so now I see this is a process.

Tim Staples: Right.

Cy Kellett: I have to cooperate in an ongoing way with this process, not “I cooperated, now it is done.” I have to, in an ongoing way, cooperate with that process. In a practical way, what does that look like?

Tim Staples: Yes, well let me explain something to you brother, here’s another mind blower, okay? Because one of the key components of understanding justification as a process is to understand that you can lose your state of justice. Now, John Calvin says no. Interestingly though, Martin Luther says yes, but only if you completely reject faith. ‘Cause it has nothing to do with what you do. Luther said “You can commit adultery, murder, doesn’t matter, you’re justified by faith alone. The only way you could lose your state of justice is to reject the faith.” Which is fascinating with Luther, because Luther also taught that your will is entirely passive, because God chooses who he will and gives faith to whom he will.

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: So in essence what Luther was saying is God will give you faith and then go “Sike, I’m taking it now.” And you go to hell. You know?

Cy Kellett: That’s bad, “Sike.”

Tim Staples: That’s right, but Calvin of course says it’s impossible, because he teaches the perseverance of the faith and the heresy of Monergism which says “God works the faith in you, so you have no choice, you are absolutely secure.” But here’s the deal: when you see verses of scripture that clearly teach that you can in fact lose, and I’m just gonna give you two examples here, okay?

Cy Kellett: Yeah, okay.

Tim Staples: This throws a wrench into everything. Let’s start with 2 Peter, chapter two verse 20, through 22. Listen to this, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” now that sounds like folks are saved, am I right?

Cy Kellett: Yes it does.

Tim Staples: “…after having escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ if they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them to never to have known the way of righteousness and then after knowing it the turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘the dog turns back to his own vomit, the sow having been washed,'” that’s an important metaphor in 2 Peter.

Cy Kellett: Wait a second, yeah.

Tim Staples: Because Peter is the one is 1 Peter 3:21 that says “Baptism does now save us,” right? “‘…the sow that has been washed only to wallow in the mire.'” Now I kid you not, I remember my defense against this text many years ago when I was a protestant I would say, “Wellllllllll…this isn’t talking about people that were really saved.”

Cy Kellett: Ohhhh.

Tim Staples: “They knew about Jesus, but they didn’t really know him, they weren’t really, ’cause if they were saved they couldn’t fall away.” That’s what you call coming to a verse of scripture with a presupposition.

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: That’s what you call eisegesis, reading into the text something that’s not there. But here, let me give you the one that did me in, and let me borrow my glasses once again here.

Cy Kellett: I’m glad it did you in, by the way.

Tim Staples: 2 Peter chapter one, because what we have to understand, 2 Peter is a very short book, it’s three chapters. If you read the first two chapters you see it’s one continuing thought, St. Peter is writing against the antinomians who were teaching, you know “Believe in Jesus, you can do whatever you want.” That’s what he’s writing against. But listen to how he starts his epistle, he says, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal understanding,” this is verse one, does this sound like folks that are saved? Listen, “Simon Peter, servant apostle of Jesus Christ. To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours in the righteousness,” that’s the justification.

Cy Kellett: Alright, that’s-

Tim Staples: “…in the justification of our God and savior Jesus Christ, may grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Now that sounds like they know Jesus, okay, but listen to verse three. “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, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the pollution that is in the–” does that sound familiar?

Cy Kellett: Mm-hmm.

Tim Staples: “…escape from the pollution that is in the world, because of lust, and become partakers of the divine nature.” Right? Now, you keep reading down, these are people who have escaped the pollutions of the world right?

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: Through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Then we get down to verse 20 here of chapter two, alright? “If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are entangled again in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse than the former.”

Cy Kellett: There’s no question about who he’s talking about.

Tim Staples: You know what, you just can’t get away from it. Right?

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: And what I had to do is finally bow to the word of God and say, “You know what, my theology is wrong, oh my gosh.” And that was part of the process for me to become Catholic. But this has implications, think about it, for our spiritual lives. You know, the fact that we must persevere, it changes everything in your life. I know from being raised in a “Once saved, always saved” church, Southern Baptist, it changes everything about your day-in and day-out activity. Because if the decisions you make right now, even decisions like whether you’re gonna commit adultery or not, have nothing to do with your salvation, do you think that might have a little impact?

Cy Kellett: Yeah, right, you will not persevere. There’s not way you’re gonna persevere if there’re no consequences for not persevering. You’re not.

Tim Staples: And you know what, the fact that Christians do persevere says a lot about them doesn’t it? That they love Jesus.

Cy Kellett: Yeah, right, amen.

Tim Staples: Because as you know, I mean we should serve Jesus because of what he did for us on the cross because we love him. Not because, you know, we’re gonna go to hell if we don’t. Our first impetus for serving Jesus should be from love.

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: But thanks be to God, you know, the fact is fear is a good motivator that’ll get us kick-started in the right direction. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” says Proverbs 1:7, and the fact is, the real possibility of hell is a good motivator as well. Now it’s not the best motivator, because of course perfect love casts out all fear and perfect love destroys sin. There’s no doubt about that. But let’s face it, most of us are not Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

Cy Kellett: Right.

Tim Staples: We need a little bit of fire and brimstone. In fact, the book of Jude says “Save some with fear, snatching them from the fire.” Right?

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Tim Staples: Because sometimes fear is a necessary motivator, but let me give you just this one more, and then we can make some more application here. Hebrews chapter 10 verse 28 says this: “A man who violated the law of Moses died without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the spirit of grace.” Right? “For we know him who said ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, and again the Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Tim Staples: Verse 36, I’m gonna jump down, or 35: “Therefore do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. For yet a little while, and the one who is coming shall come and shall not tarry. The righteous one shall live by faith, but if he shrinks back, my soul will have no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but are of those who have faith and keep their souls.” So once again my friend, it doesn’t get much more plain than that. And so, in that context…and I should say here that, yes, we should serve God because we love him and not because of fear of punishment; but thanks be to God, this is reality. And for those who need a little bit of fear to get ’em kick-started, well praise God for that my friend. And I want to emphasize this as well, that salvation from a Catholic perspective or from a biblical perspective is not just about what you don’t do. Right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Tim Staples: It’s not about, you know, “Don’t do this, don’t do this, don’t do this.” And of course that’s important because if you commit adultery and you don’t repent and everything else, St. Paul gives us a list of sins, in fact multiple, in Galatians 5:19, 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 10, and Ephesians 5:3-6 and also Colossians 2, man he gives us lots of them–or Colossians 3, verses about 4 through 6. He gives us four lists of mortal sins and he says “If you do these things, you’re not going to heaven.” But we also have to remember this, that Christianity is first and foremost a religion of love.

Cy Kellett: Yes.

Tim Staples: Because Jesus, and we were reminded this today in our daily mass with Father Hugh who once again knocked it out of the park.

Cy Kellett: Right.

Tim Staples: In today’s reading from Mathew chapter six, and where we have the Lords’ Prayer, the Our Father, and that starts in verse nine but we also have verse 14, which says, “If you do not forgive your brother, your heavenly Father will not forgive you, if you forgive your brother your Father will forgive you.” We have to remember first and foremost what Jesus teaches about the new covenant, it is principally about love. Forgiveness absolutely, it should be unthinkable for us to harbor grudges and to even imagine for a moment that we wouldn’t forgive someone. It doesn’t matter what they do. Why? Because God forgave us and we deserve hell; I Tim Staples deserve hell more than anybody I know. And you know how I know that?

Cy Kellett: How?

Tim Staples: It’s because I know me.

Cy Kellett: Yeah, right, right.

Tim Staples: I know me better than anybody I know and I know I deserve hell.

Cy Kellett: Right, yeah. I see what you mean, yeah.

Tim Staples: That’s why I say I deserve hell more than anybody I know. Because I know me. Anyway, but it’s about love isn’t it? Because Jesus gave us the greatest commandment in John 13:34 and John 15:12, he said it twice, it must be important. “Love one another as I have loved you,” and that’s our salvation. This a commandment, not just that we avoid this, avoid this, and avoid that. But we should be known for our love for one another, we should love one another and yes, to save our souls, as well as because we love God and we love our neighbor, but to save our souls. If you want to get to Heaven my friends, it’s not optional, you must love. Jesus makes it very clear. You know it’s kind of interesting, in Mathew 19:16, remember he has the rich young man approach.

Cy Kellett: Right.

Tim Staples: And you know, “What must I do to be saved?” “If you want to eternal life keep the commandments, give everything, and follow me.” Because he was rich, right? And then that is the impetus for Jesus to say “How hardly shall a rich man enter the kingdom. It’s easier for the camel to go through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.” ‘Cause this man he knew was rich, he walked away because he loved his riches more than God. So he says, “Keep the commandments.” Interesting there’s kind of a parallel, it’s a different guy, but in Luke chapter 10 it’s a lawyer, remember?

Cy Kellett: Okay, yeah.

Tim Staples: Who says “Tell me, what must I do to inherent eternal life?” Jesus turns the table on him and says–he’s a lawyer, right?

Cy Kellett: Right, “Tell me the law.”

Tim Staples: “Tell me, tell me, let me hear your thoughts on this.” And he quotes the two greatest commandments.

Cy Kellett: Right.

Tim Staples: Love God and love neighbor as yourself. And of course he’s right, so here in these two stories of coming to the rich young man as well as to the lawyer there in Luke chapter 10, the answer was both. It’s both “Keep the commandments, give everything, don’t do this, don’t do this, do this;” and in Luke chapter 10 it’s “Love God, and love your neighbor.” Isn’t that awesome?

Cy Kellett: Yes, it is awesome.

Tim Staples: Because in both of those stories it’s about what you don’t do. Yeah, you don’t commit adultery, you don’t do this, you don’t do this. But, perhaps even more importantly, you love God and love your neighbor, my friends. If you want to have eternal life, and both of them were answers to the question “What must I do to have eternal life?” I will guarantee you this, if I, when I was an Assembly of God pastor, had somebody walk up to me and say, “Tim Staples, what must I do to have eternal life?” I will guarantee you, I wouldn’t have said “Keep the commandments, love God and love your neighbor.” You know what I would have said? “Let’s sit down right here and we’ll say the sinners prayer, you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and you are saved.”

Cy Kellett: You used to save people with a real southern accent.

Tim Staples: Amen brother, I had to, I had to get on my southern accent. But think about it.

Cy Kellett: But you weren’t saying what Jesus said.

Tim Staples: That’s right.

Cy Kellett: That’s the problem.

Tim Staples: Jesus wouldn’t have been welcome in my church–no I’m joking of course, we loved Jesus. But our theology was so skewed that Jesus would have been– “Oh no, you can’t say that, Jesus. Don’t you know, haven’t you been to Billy Graham crusade? All you gotta do is accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.” Again, the only problem is the Bible doesn’t say that.

Cy Kellett: I think we’ll leave it there.

Tim Staples: Alright brother.

Cy Kellett: Tim Staples, thank you very, very much.

Tim Staples: Great to be with you man.

Cy Kellett: And thanks to everybody who listens to Focus, we appreciate you stopping by to listen and if you’d like to share Focus with other people or maybe make sure you get an alert every time there’s a new one just go to CatholicAnswersLive.com, put in your email address, you’ll be an automatic member of radio club. You’ll get a bunch of free stuff, and you’ll get alerted whenever there’s a new Focus. We’ll see you next time on Catholic Answers Focus.

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