Rebuttal: We cannot earn Christ, but we can honor him here on earth with our good deeds and works of mercy.
What the Bible Says
What The Church Teaches
In Other Words
Here, the Church does not teach people can earn salvation, I’m glad we agree Jesus Christ is the Way to heaven. We should not however discount what/how Jesus taught his disciples about salvation, justification and how to live as a community of believers. We must use all of what Jesus said to his apostles, and what they intern taught their successors. You can see from the quotes of the Catechism of the Catholic Church above, it is believed and taught that Jesus is our savior and salvation is a free gift from God the Father almighty. This free gift cannot be earned otherwise we would not have needed a savior.
So let it be clear, the Catholic Church does not teach salvation is to be earned, apart from Christ’s passion and death, as though salvation is something we can grasp. This is the way the Catholic Church prescribes works and good deeds, see Mt 25:40-45. “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the lest of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Jesus identifies himself with all men, especially the poor and afflicted. Thus by serving others we serve Christ. By performing works of mercy we hope to find mercy (Jas 2:1-13). “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will do the works that I do; and greater works than I do, because I go to the Father (John 14:12).
Our life is a growing process, a daily conversion in which God reveals himself to us first and by a free act of our will we answer yes to his call. After baptism He then possesses our souls so that we can begin to obtain the graces necessary to reach paradise. Maturity in Christ, is not reached in an instant, but, is living in a relationship (religion) with him and being guided by grace so that we can be transformed into who we are meant to be, his children. Even Paul did not feel as though he possessed salvation, but that Christ possessed him. Phil 3:12-16 – “Not that I have already obtained this, or am already perfect;
To further the point, Lucifer (Satan before his fall) was created as the leader of God’s legion of angels. He willfully chose to reject God and his glory. Because of his pride, he fell from salvation. It is not guaranteed.
WE MUST DO WHAT JESUS AND THE CHURCH TELLS US TO DO!
This is how the Catholic Church views good deeds and good works; it IS NOT a means to earn salvation. It is Christ and the Spirit working through us, for “every good thing is from God.” James 1:17.