The doctrine of "works"

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by The Biblicist, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    The Greek term translated "works" is "ergos". It can best be understood and defined by looking at it from the negative or "bad" works. What is "bad" or "sinful" works? Jesus defines this in Matthew 15:19

    19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

    Evil works have their source with the heart and first consist of evil thoughts. This is why Jesus can claim that adultery and murder are violated by evil thoughts regardless if the external actions take place or not:

    But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger......28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

    That is why God looks upon the heart and why it is the tree (heart) that determines the nature of the fruits:

    Mt 7:16 You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    Mt 7:17 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.

    Mt 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    Mt 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

    Jas 3:12 Can the fig tree, my brothers, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

    Thus "works" are the fruit of the heart, which include the intent/motive of the heart as well as "evil thoughts" manifest in evil words and evil actions.

    Now, what is the standard to define works as "evil" or "good"? Those who do not have special divine revelation that standard is their conscience as the conscience does "the work of the Law" in that it provides a standard of approval or disapproval of your intents, thoughts, words and actions.

    For those who have special revelation (The Scriptures) then these scriptures provide training for their conscience, and in addition to the conscience provide a standard of right and wrong.

    Hence, "the works of the law" simply means the works approved or disapproved by the Law's standard of righteousness. Hence, "works" refers to the heart intent, thoughts, words and actions approved or disapproved by some kind of standard (conscience, special revelation, cultural standards, etc.)

    Now, consider Abraham, who did not have the Scriptures, did not have the Law of Moses, but Romans 4:1-5 speaks of his faith in contrast to his "works" as THE EXAMPLE, because in regard to his faith he is the example of "all who believe" regardless if they lived prior to Abraham (like Adam, Eve, Able, Seth, Noah, etc.) or after Abraham (like Moses, John the Baptist or us).

    Romans 4 is definitive concerning HOW Abaham was and was not justified before God.

    1. He was not justified by his works - intents, thoughts, words and actions derived from his heart (good or bad)- but "without works" good or evil- Rom. 4:1-5

    2. He was not justiifed by divine ordinances (sacraments) but before and thus without divine ordinances- Romans 4:9-13

    3. He was not justified by Law keeping - Romans 4:14-15

    4. He was justified by faith which is of grace - Rom. 4:16-21
    a. Grace that makes the promise sure to all the seed
    b. Grace that brings life out of death - supernatural power - v. 17
    c. Grace that depends upon God's promise not our abilities - vv. 18-20
    d. Faith that is fully persuaded in God's power to provide God's promise

    5. This is how we are justified by faith in the gospel promise without works- as was Abraham - Rom. 4:22-25

    Abraham was not justified by his works - intents, thoughts, words and actions derived from his heart. The fallen man's heart is desperately wicked and thus all his intents, thoughts, words, and actions are sinful in God's sight as an "evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit" and thus one must first be "created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works."

    There is NONE GOOD, NO, NOT ONE and there is NONE that DOETH GOOD, no, not one, and there is NONE GOOD but one and that is God, because the only right HEART INTENT for thoughts, words and actions is FOR THE GLORY OF GOD and no human is born with the right heart intent becuase the fallen human heart by nature comes into this world with a complete and total SELF-ISH and SELF-CENTERED heart intent.

    Justifying faith is the manifestation of a "good tree" or a NEW HEART and only if the tree is first good can it produce good fruit. Thus, as with repentance, so faith is a gift of God that does not originate with the fallen human nature (Acts 11:17; Eph. 2:8) but with the regenerate nature. Justification originates with the believing heart God gives and confession of faith is the manifestation of that new heart - no chronological distinction, only a logical distinction. God turns us and we are being turned.

    The doctrine of works is the doctrine of "personal acheivement" which is the basis for all boasting.
     
    #1 The Biblicist, Jan 13, 2014
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  2. Yeshua1

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    believe that it was John calvin who stated that while faith alone in Christ is what justifies/saves us as sinners, that faith if true will not be alone, but be accomping the true faith. to attest to its genuiness!
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    The idea of works with regard to salvation in scripture is only and ever talking about the OT law. It has nothing to do with anything anyone does beyond that.

    The assumption in the op, and the problem as well, is that anything done is a work. And there was no clear connection made between the action listed in the op and what a work is with regards to salvation. The op failed ot make its point.
     
  4. Yeshua1

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    The only 'work" a sinner does is to receive Jesus as their saviour/Lord, but that is the very work of God to get them able to do that simple thing even!
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    That is not a "work".
     
  6. plain_n_simple

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    It's simple belief right?
     
  7. The Biblicist

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    Your view is a common one. However, your view completely falls apart with Abraham as he lived 430 years prior to the law and yet Paul contrasts his "works" with his faith - Rom. 4:1-5

    1 ¶ What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
    2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
    3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.



    Your view breaks down when sinful works are defined by Jesus. He claims that works begin with the "thoughts" from the heart, thus defining works negatively as everything that issues out of the human heart. The intents and thoughts are the unseen works as "evil thoughts" are judged as works, viiolation of God's Law as much as violation of the conscience.

    Your view breaks down with the conscience of gentiles who have not the law of Moses as it is works (Rom. 2:6) which are being judged by conscience without the Law of Moses (Rom. 2:14-15).
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    I am sorry for your error. I am quite surprised as I thought you could do much better than this. These "works" you refer to are not the same thing. You need not conflate every "work" into one lump sum.

    For instance Jesus did many "works" but no one would conflate them with claiming that those works are tied to salvation.

    Gal_2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
     
  9. The Biblicist

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    I am not going to enter into a contest with you about who can out ridicule the other.


    Are you saying the "works" in Romans 4:1-2 are not the same "works" in Romans 4:5-6??? The works in Romans 4:5-6 cannot possibly refer to the "works of the Law" as in Moses because Abraham lived 430 years prior to the giving of the Mosaic Law.

    Note that the "works" in verse 2 is found in direct relationship with justification before God as is "works" in Romans 4:5-6 and neither can be the "works of the Law" as the Mosaic Law was non-existent. Indeed, that is the very reason Paul uses Abraham to show justification before God is "without works" of EVERY KIND, whether the "works" of Abraham "pertaining to the flesh" or the works of obedience to divine ordinances (vv. 9-12) or the works of the Law under Moses (vv. 13-15) or works of conscience.

    The term "works" in Romans 2:6 are the consequences of violation Moses Law OR violating conscience (Rom. 2:11-15) and therefore must refer to WORDS and ACTIONS condemned or approved either by conscience or Law which in turn originate internally with thoughts and intents of the heart which are either "good" or "bad" as determined by either the standard of Law or conscience.
     
  10. Revmitchell

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    OK well there was no ridicule. We will end this right here.
     
  11. The Biblicist

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    If you have missed my point, my point is that the nature of the heart determines the nature of intents, thoughts, words and actions. The fallen nature has a BAD heart and thus the intents, thoughts, words and actions are bad as they can be no better than the intent of the heart of fallen man which is SELF-centered rather than GOD-centered. The only intent that God can judge thoughts, words and actions as "good" is one that has "God's glory" as the motive for all that it thinks, says and does - 1 Cor. 10:31


    All have come short of the glory of God - Rom. 3:23 and that is why ALL HAVE SINNED and there is NONE GOOD, no, not one, and there is NONE THAT DOETH GOOD, no, not one, and there is NONE GOOD except ONE and that is God.

    Regeneration is giving fallen man a new INTENT of heart created in true holiness and righteousness which is an act of creation - "created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works." The NEW heart given is a BELIEVING HEART.
     
  12. The Biblicist

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    Should I say, "I am sorry for your error and I thought you could do better than this"??????? If I said that, Van, Winman, Skandelon, YOU and the Squire would charge me with ridicule and you know it. You would charge me with rhetoric only intended to inflame and you know it becuase you have done this in the past with the exact same kind of rhetoric coming from others.

    However, you should withdraw because you know that your position cannot be candidly defended by sound scholarship as it is a self-contradicting position as I pointed out in my last post. If you think not, then simply answer my questions and leave ridicule out.
     
  13. Revmitchell

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    You are a real piece of work. But this is my fault for engaging you. I knew better but forgot myself.

    Have a nice day.
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    Readers, look at this response! More ridicule! He can't simply avoid ridicule and answer the questions asked. Read the last two posts between us and you judge who is "a real piece of work" for yourself.

    However, is there anyone out there who can, without ridicule, simply take up Mitchell's position and defend it without ridicule?????
     
  15. The Biblicist

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    There is no Biblical basis to define works other than the intents, thoughts, words and actions of men.

    The adjectives "good" and "bad" are determined by a standard such as the Law of Moses or the conscience (Rom. 2:11-15)

    The issue of Justification BEFORE THE LAW was "without works" (Rom. 4:1-6) regardless of what standard is used to determine whether those works are "good" or "bad."

    Since the Law of Moses is the purest revealed form of right versus wrong, if a man cannot be justified by Law of Moses, he cannot be justified by any LESSOR standard either. Abraham did not have the Law of Moses but yet he could not be justiifed by the standard of conscience any better than He could by the Law - Rom. 4:1-6.

    Works are defined by Scriptues as inclusive of the INTENT of the heart from which all issues of life originate and come from as thoughts, words and actions.

    We are not justified "by works" but we are justified "by faith" because faith is the "work of God" (Jn. 6:29) and is "of grace" (Rom. 4:16) or the expression of a NEW heart and it is with that new heart we belief and confess the gospel.
     
    #15 The Biblicist, Jan 13, 2014
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  16. BobRyan

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    The OP is in error. No text in all of scripture claims that "the intent of the heart" is a work or that accepting the Gospel is "Salvation by works".

    Not a single example in all of scripture where thoughts-as-works are presented as a basis for eternal life instead of going the gospel route.

    Instead of that game - what we find in actual scripture is Romans 8:5-8 - that the lost do not submit to the law of God "neither indeed can they".

    So then comes - the creative ways to try and make up of the lack of a "how dare you enter heaven by the works of accepting the Gospel" warning in actual scripture.

    Not all that surprising.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
    #16 BobRyan, Jan 13, 2014
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  17. The Biblicist

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    I have found it is impossible to discuss anything rationally with you. However, for the sake of readers, I will ask this question. Why is it that God look upon the intent of the heart rather than outward manifest words and actions???? 1 Cor. 10:31 and other like scriptures demand that the intent of the heart determines if our thoughts, words and actions are acceptable to God.

    Nor have I said that "accepting the Gospel is 'salvation by works"! I said regeneration is the giving of a believing heart. Quite a difference than what you conclude.

    Again, I said no such thing. I said thoughts are regarded as the unseen aspect of works as is the intent of the heart while words and actions are the manifest aspects of works. That is why mere unseen "lust" can be regarded as adultery already committed "in the heart."

    Let the readers carefully distinguish what I said in the OP from how my words are perverted by Bob.
     
  18. BobRyan

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    I think you are dancing around the issue - the "giving of a beliving heart as regeneration" (New birth before choosing Christ or choosing salvation) is precisely the point to be proved - not merely assumed.

    Your thread on "doctrine of works" clearly tries to invent the case that to choose Christ without first being born-again would be salvation by works -- a statement not found anywhere in scripture. When I address that very point - you then respond as if "frustrated" but I cannot help the fact that we all see the issue and the challenge for Calvinism in not having a text that says "to accept the Gospel without first being born again would be salvation by works" -- or any such thing.

    Your complaints not withstanding - the issue remains clear.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     

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