Okay, this is very much a “we are all saying the same thing so loudly that we can’t hear that we are being agreed with” issue. Protestants say that salvation comes through faith alone — Sola Fide. They believe that Christ’s sacrifice has judged us acceptable and righteous to God, a free and unmerited gift, therefore if we believe in Christ then we are saved. This leads the Catholic and Orthodox people to erroneously believe that Protestants believe as Martin Luther said, “Love God and sin boldly,” which, of course was taken out of context. But the idea that just because you believe in Jesus you are saved — regardless, does not make sense. Demons believe in God. Hitler was a Christian. Protestants don’t believe that demons are saved because of the demons have belief. Protestants say that they believe they are saved by faith alone, but if you have to look at it closer, they actually believe that Jesus through His sacrifice made us savable. They believe that salvation is obtained by Grace, which is a free and unmerited gift of God, through faith in Christ.
I think that definition of “Faith Alone” should sound very familiar to the Catholics, who believe that salvation is obtained by Grace, which is a free and unmerited gift of God, through Christ our Lord.
Both the Protestants and the Catholics believe that it is not through what we do that we are saved but through what God does.
This brings us to the Orthodox Church, which believes not Faith Alone, but that salvation is achieved by “faith working through love”. Which is from Galatians 5:6:
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
For the Orthodox people faith is a lifelong journey or process in which you strive to be closer to God by living a holy life, and salvation is by Grace.
So, in sum, we are all saying the exact same thing in different ways so that everyone is thinking we are saying different things. Let’s just simplify this.
Salvation comes from God by way of His Grace which is unmerited and a freely given gift. Christ’s sacrifice for our sins has allowed this salvation to occur. As Christians we believe that to truly have faith in Christ we must act on those beliefs, because faith without works is dead.
We can come together. We have more in common than you think.
Peace be with you.