Faith and works -- huh?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by FLMike, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. FLMike

    FLMike
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    OK, I've been hearing for years and years faith alone vs. faith and works. And for all those years I've never understood exactly what the argument was about.

    Faith alone people understand that we need to act out our faith in love, to do God's will, to do the works prepared for us, to take up our cross. Faith and works people know that works by themselves don't save them (I've certainly never heard one claim otherwise). Both sides finally agree that it is grace that saves.

    So, why the never-ending argument? What exactly is the big deal? What difference does it all make in the life of a Christian? Why is this question such an obsession with some folks? I don't get it! :confused:
     
  2. Matt Black

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    I think you'll find that even the Lutherans and Catholics have managed to finally bury the hatchet after nearly five centuries on that one, too:-

    "The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification essentially says that Lutherans and Catholics explain justification in different ways but share the same basic understanding. The central passage reads, “Together we confess: by grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping us and calling us to good works.” The declaration acknowledges that good works are a genuine response to God’s grace—not the cause of it. The declaration also rescinds the formal condemnations of both the Catholic and Lutheran Churches against one another.

    Date and location of the joint signing were carefully orchestrated. The ceremony took place in Augsburg, Germany, on October 31, 1999, Reformation Sunday—the anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses of protest to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Augsburg was chosen because it was there that Luther was confronted by Cardinal Cajetan in 1518, and there on June 25, 1530, reformers presented the Lutheran position in the presence of Emperor Charles V to Roman Catholic authorities in a futile attempt to mend the growing rift. This Augsburg Confession is considered the foundational document of Lutheranism. "

    SOURCE: http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Jun2000/feature2.asp

    The other thing that puzzles me on this whole issue is how people who say that faith alone is sufficient for salvation can then claim that this saving faith is somehow totally negated if an individual believes in salvation + works.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  3. BobRyan

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    Faith "apart from the works of the law" is clearly identified in Romans 3 and is specific to the Justification "past" that you see in Romans 5:1-2.

    The context there is - "How do you get salvation". In other words - the drunk in the gutter and the sinner in the business place must both come to Christ the same way - "apart from any claim to merritorious works".

    Nothing but our acceptance of the grace of God forms the basis for our acceptance with Christ.

    (Of course we have those who "like to snippet about the MECHANICS" of how that works and how God first draws all mankind or "just a few" etc ... but that is another topic entirely).

    ------------------------------------

    The second part of this - is the James 2 "NOT Justified by FAITH ALONE" statement. (Also found in Romans 2 - "NOT the hearers but the DOERS of the Law WILL BE justified")

    This gets to the point of WHAT HAPPENS AFTER you accept salvation (the new birth, the new createion, saved, and IN Christ).

    CAN you do something to lose salvation? (Do works stop you from retaining salvation?). Do works "objectively SHOW" your changed life and could they be used in the Daniel 7 context of an open, corporate, objective review to PROVE that you really are a saint?

    AND IS THIS kind of "FUTURE justification" -- that is "ON the day when God will judge the secrets of men through the man Christ Jesus" (Rom 2) really the SAME as the PAST justification of Romans 5 and Romans 3?

    IS James right when he says "you see then that a man justified by WORKS and NOT by faith ALONE" (JAmes 2)? If so - then is it only the context of works that are done AFTER salvation, AFTER the new birth and is it only a justification that is the FUTURE context of Romans 2's justification idea?

    #1. If you can not lose salvation and your works play no part in justification (future or not) then James is clearly wrong in James 2. PAul is wrong in Romans 2, but right in Romans 3 and Romans 5.

    #2. If you CAN lose salvation - and your works somehow play into that - then James 2 is right and so is PAul in Romans 2. But then you must find ANOTHER context for the kind of justification seen in Romans 3 and Romans 5.

    (I distinguish between the TWO as justification PAST vs Justification FUTURE).

    Justification FUTURE - does not change your status at all. You are either already saved or you are not. It simply SHOWS you faith BY your works. (The Matt 7 PRinciple in the Gospel).

    Justification past - DOES change your status and IS "by faith ALONE".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  4. FLMike

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    Bob,

    Do me a favor and answer this question: So what? Tell me what difference it makes to my Christian life. Tell me why it's important enough to argue over with half the other Christians on the planet.
     
  5. BobRyan

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    The RCC claims that the first type of Justification (past justifcation - salvation APART from works) does not exist - rather they argue for sacraments as being a necessary work to get justification IN the fIRST place.

    Some of the non-RC churhces also argue against the second type of Justification (future) where it is "the DOERS of the law that WILL BE JUSTIFIED" in fact most on this board would argue against that being true at all.

    So given those TWO errors and with the teams dividing up behind one error or the other - is it any wonder that they both "vigorously" chastised the other group for ITS error - while clinging to their OWN form of it??

    The works-salvation view of the RCC (error in full bloom) that was promoted for centuries resulted in the Protestant backlash -- that went too far.

    (Not exactly a one word sentence - but still)

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  6. Matt Black

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    Actually, no. The Catholic Church believes in the first kind of justification - through faith - but blurs the distinction to a degree between salvation and sanctification wrt the works/sacraments bit re what you call 'future justification' . Catholics basically don't believe in OSAS; therefore they say you can lose your salvation if you fail to 'work' at it, chiming in with your #2 above

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  7. av1611jim

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    And then there are the many folks like me who are in neither camp.

    By our faith ALONE are we justified for eternity.

    By our faith PLUS our works are we justifed for entrance into the coming Millenial Kingdom of Christ.

    This is the only view which will reconcile BOTH apparently opposing views, IMO.

    What difference does it make? Plenty. The difference being on how you view your chances of "reigning and ruling" with Christ for 1000 years.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  8. BobRyan

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    In Romans 2 -- it is the gentiles etc of PAUL's day that are reveiving that future justifcation that is "the Doers of the Law" that WILL be justified on the day when Christ judges the secrets of all mankind through the man Christ Jesus.

    In your view - I am guessing it is just the gentiles that happen to be alive during the millenium - correct?

    -----

    My point is that the future Justification that is "not by faith alone" where the "doers of the Law WILL BE justified" of Romans 2 and James 2 - is applied to Abraham (James 2) and the people of Paul's day (Romans 2) not just to some future group during the Millenium.

    This is the "corporate" justification that is being demonstrated in Daniel 7 - at the future time when the "court sits and the books are opened" and at the close of that justification - the persecuting powers that persecute the saints have their dominion taken away.

    It is corporate, objective and future to all the Bible writers.

    But it is applicable to "all the saints".

    It does not change their status - it merely results in "judgment passed in FAVOR of the Saints" (Dan 7).

    It does so based on the rule of Christ in Matt 7 which Christ applied to the people of HIS day. (Again - not limited to some future group of people) -- As HE said - "Not everyone who SAYS Lord Lord will enter the kingdom but he who DOES the will of My Father".

    The rule is applicable to all the saints.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  9. av1611jim

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    Bob;

    No, you misunderstood me. Sorry. I tried to be overly simplistic. My fault.

    My view is that our justification by faith plus works is what qualifies ALL for entrance into the coming Kingdom of Christ.

    Our justification before God is by faith alone. This justification is based solely on the finished work at Calvary. There is another justification spoken of and is coupled with a myriad of warnings to believers only. This justification is for (as I said) qualification for entrance into the Kingdom of Christ as "kings and priests" to rule the nations. (Ten talents=ten cities, etc.)

    Your citing of Matt. 7 is a perfect illustration of what I am writing about. But it is not limited to the people of His day exclusively. He was addressing his disciples. Hence it is applicable to believers of all times.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  10. BobRyan

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    Jim,

    I find this facinating! I did not know that other groups had this view as well. This is truly good news.

    So then the Daniel 7 future judgment where "Judgment is passed in favor the saints" based on things written in the books - is something that your group sees as a judgment that is based on works that "show" living faith and the new birth (proving that it either has or has not already taken place in the life of the believer)??

    Is this combined with OSAS? Is it Arminian or Calvnist or both?

    Bob
     
  11. BobRyan

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    One more thought on the errors of Catholicism that resulted in that reactionary - "no works" salvation idea beyond our being accepted in Christ and being born-again...

    The reformers clearly saw that in making salvation a matter of works-based-magical-sacraments not only was the RCC making justification-past a "works based" event and not "faith apart from the works of the law' - but they were also making themselves the "source of salvation".

    That meant that the RCC giveth and the RCC-can-taketh-away the salvation of the individual.

    That meant that the RCC could "require" its own list of penance "duties" and could add to it "requirements" for indulgences to be earned for the dead. So the "works based errors" of the RCC had gone into "overtime" as it were.

    Because they were so twisted around on the idea of "pleasing a strict and angry God" much of the penance was in the form of an abuse of the body in some way. Their god demanded suffering and sacrifice (self-imposed) rather than in service for mankind.

    Is it any wonder that the reformers developed such a sharp backlash reaction to those errors?

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  12. FLMike

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    I still don't feel I've gotten a good answer to my "so what?" question. Do faith alone Christians, simply by virtue of that belief, fail to be good followers of Christ? Do faith and works Christians, simply by virtue of that belief, fail to be good followers of Christ?
     
  13. FLMike

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    Bob,

    You've taken the RCC to task many times in this thread. Are you explicitly excluding the Orthodox, or are you forgetting them, or ignoring them? And my question doesn't just apply to this thread, but in general to your references to RCC theology (as opposed to history).
     
  14. Gold Dragon

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    Some interesting ideas presented by Bob and Jim here.

    My initial gut feeling is that it sounds too much like dispensationalism and reconciling apparent contradictions by saying some verses apply to this situation while these verses apply to that one, instead of actually wrestling with the meaning of the texts themselves. Or maybe I've misunderstood you.

    I'm curious. Do either of you subscribe to dispensationalism?
     
  15. av1611jim

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    Gold;

    Dispensationalism as you know is very fractured.

    In the sense that it is generally understood, I do NOT subscribe to it. Meaning that some folks are saved one way and others are saved another depending on thier place in history. I don't buy that notion at all. Everyone is saved the SAME way. Faith in God.

    It is complete error to assume otherwise for God is no respector of persons.

    I am currently trying to post a complete response to bob but the server won't let me. Perhpas I have to post in two parts. If so, then look for it here.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  16. av1611jim

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    Yes and no. It is combined with OSAS and yet seperate from it. It is neither Calvinist nor Arminian.

    On the one hand we have a myriad of Scriptures which state, "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved".

    On the other we have, "He that endureth to the end shall be saved."

    Salvation, like justification and sanctification, is two parts of the whole. We are saved for eternity based on Christ's work on the cross. Jesus said, It is finished. We are saved for The Kingdom based on BOTH the new birth and our works. Jesus also said "Unless you are born again you CANNOT enter the Kingdom of God." So the new birth is the FIRST thing we must have to enter the Kingdom. But it is not the ONLY thing.

    Paul addressed this in Galatians to believers.
    Ga 5:18
    But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
    19
    Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
    20
    Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
    21
    Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

    So we see either; warnings of the conditional entrance to the Kingdom OR a blatant contradiction.

    Some will say that Paul is addressing the unbelievers in Galatians, but the CONTEXT is clearly believers.

    To be born again is only PART of the qualification to "reign" with Him. Can you find any "crownless" kings or priests in the Bible? I can't. Yet our brethren will have us to believe that those who face Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ who "lose their reward" only lose a crown but still gain entrance to the Kingdom based on their new birth. Yet the Bible NOWHERE speaks of a crownless king. And the Bible is clear that they who GAIN the Kingdom will be "kings and priests".

    PM me for more if you like.

    In HIS service;
    Jim


    (SUCCESS!!!)
     
  17. BobRyan

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    Ok - one more question it seems like we are on the same page (unbelievably!).

    You are saying that if that Daniel 7 "review" in that future day when "God judges the secrets of mankind through Christ" shows that somoeone has no fruit - that they fails to endure, that they in fact do not do the will of the Father and so they do not enter into the Kingdom of heaven -- they go to hell -- correct?

    The 5 point Calvinist position would be "They never were saved to start with".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  18. av1611jim

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    Bob;
    That is correct. But they will be saved in eternity. See Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    Many have tried to wiggle out of this one but if "whosoever" in Romans means some will and some won't then it must mean the same thing here.

    Obviously there will be some who ARE found in the book of life in this passage or the wording makes no sense to use "whosoever".

    So we can see that some come OUT of hell whose names are in the book of life. Remember, that death and hell give up their dead prior to this event. And death and hell are then cast into the Lake of Fire AFTER they give up their dead. This is what SHOCKS most who encounter this view. And as shocking as it is, even still we must ask ourselves; what implication does that have for ME?

    The answer is that there is a very REAL danger of my being excluded from the Kingdom even though I am STILL a child of God. Therefore I must "watch and pray" that I be accounted "worthy" of the Kingdom.

    The concept can be likened to a parable, albeit a bit modern.

    You have a child. He is disobedient. The family has a picnic planned to celebrate Dad's promotion. The disobedient child is EXCLUDED from the picninc. The disobedient child does not lose his RELATIONSHIP to the family but he does experience exclusion from the FAMILY'S celebration at the picnic. After the picnic, all is forgiven. The child may now JOIN the family again. The child has shed MUCH TEARS while he was missing out on the picnic. But Dad comes back from the picnic and lovingly encourages the child and wipes away his tears and restores the child to his POSITION of being part of the family.

    This is a simple form of the doctrine of Millenial Exclusion. In Scripture it is called "The Gospel of The Kingdom".

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  19. BobRyan

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    Ok .. so there is "a difference" after all.

    Well it was good while it lasted ;)

    "Some come out of hell because their names are still IN the book of life" means that some "go INTO hell with their names in the book of life" in your view.

    Here is my view on this...

    The "Hades" of Rev 20 is in fact the grave - the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Sheol.

    The Lake of Fire is the actual burning death - torment in fire and brimstone that is promised to the wicked - to those "over whome the second death DOES have power".

    In John 5 there are only two resurrection.

    In Rev 20 John CONTINUES to only present TWO resurrection.

    One of the Just... and one of the unjust.

    ONe of the holy and blessed... and one of those over whom the second death does have power.

    Jesus says of THAT fiery death - that second death (which is in fact the wages of sin) - that "God is able to DESTROY BOTH body AND SOUL in Fiery hell"...

    Regardless of where you want to put that fire-and-brimstone death -- the fact remains from Matt 10 that "BOTH body AND SOUL" are destroyed there.

    Consider this --

    #1. There is no place in all of scripture where those who are saved go to fiery hell.

    #2. There is no place in all of scripture describing anyone leaving fiery hell - the place of fire and brimstone -- to go to heaven.

    The conclusion is that the 2nd resurrection is the resurrection of those whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life and over whom the second death has no power.

    The implication then is that "not entering the Kingdom of heaven" is fatal. Those outside the kingdom suffer the wages of sin -- the second death.

    Otherwise you would have Christ paying for all the sins of someone who is going to heaven to live forever - but still goes to hell.

    In my view if you pay for your own sins in hell - that is it - you are not going to heaven after that.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. av1611jim

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    But you haven't dealt with Rev. 20:15 properly.

    Why the use of "whosoever"?

    If "whosoever" can be either-or anyplace else in Scripture then why not here.

    I anticipated your view of "soul sleep". It is not taught in Scripture. I will deal with that at a later time perhaps. For now...I goota get to my College Algebra class.

    One clarification. The cross paid for all sins for all time. That is finished at the cross.

    But as children of God , He has the perogative to "punish" for disobedience. If your view is correct, then we have God admittting the saved but disobedient equally with those who have PRACTICED practical holiness of life into the Kingdom which is SEPERATE from the Eternal state.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     

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