The "shibboleth" of the Biblical doctrine of Justification

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by The Biblicist, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    Jud 12:6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

    Just as in the case with the Ephramities who could no say "shibboleth" and thus betrayed themselves by their speech, so it is true of those who embrace a false doctrine of justification by faith.

    Those who embrace a false doctrine of justification cannot say with Paul:

    But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
    6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,


    They cannot say justification before God is "without works." If they say it, they must redefine "works" in order to say it. These are the enemies of the gospel of Christ. Yes, I said they are the "enemies" of the cross. They are the ones who preach "another gospel."

    A. Redefining "works"

    All Christian cults redefine "works" in Romans 3-4 in order to say that we are justified "without works." However, the use of "works" in Romans 4:1-6 which is illustrative of Abraham and his works as the example for what Paul taught in Romans 3:27-31 are "works" performed by Abraham 430 years prior to the Law of Moses. Therefore, "works" cannot be defined as becoming a Jew or the Jewish culture or as obedience to the Mosaic Law.

    The proper definition of "works" is provided by Christ when he defines them negatively in Matthew 15:17-18. He defines "evil" works as the product of the "thoughts" and actions of the heart. Paul defines the root of sin to be the failure to "glorify God" as God (Rom. 1:21-22) and thus coming short of the "glory of God" (Rom. 6:23). Evil works has its source in the human heart's attitude toward God in everything originating from the heart that is not motivated to glorify God. Externally it is the violation of any moral code, whether it is the code of conscience or the Mosaic Moral Code.

    Therefore, "works" in Romans 4:1-6 is anything and everything originating from Abraham's heart that is not rooted in the motive to glorify God and/or is a violation of any moral code provided by his own conscience or revealed to him in nature or directly by God. In contrast, good works must originate with the heart motive to glorify God and are not in violation of any moral code. The Mosaic Law is the most comprehensive moral code revealed to man and therefore is the epitome of all lessor moral codes.

    Therefore, doing the "works of the law" is not becoming a Jew or adopting Judaism as a religious culture, but is about attempting to conform to the most complete moral code revealed to man by God. It is a superior moral code than revealed in creation or conscience or culture. With the Jew it is about attempting to be justified in God's sight by their own works when in reality God never provided it to the Jew for justification but for revealing sin and his inherent inability to obtain justification through personal obedience to God by conformity to any moral code.


    B. Contextual Sibboleth instead of Shibboleth

    Those who are enemies of the gospel cannot say "to him that worketh not BUT believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly" without qualifying it to mean exactly the opposite of what it says. Instead their view of justification is progressive and ulitmate of the godly not the ungodly. Their view of justification is defining "believeth" as inclusive of good works or "faithfulness."

    Those who are the enemies of the gospel strip justification of its essentials which is both imputed righteousness that is foreign to the "ungodly" and complete and total remission of sins both of which Paul demands is the essence of the "blessedness" found in Biblical justification in Romans 4:6-11.

    Those who are enemies of the Gospel cannot say Abraham was justified by faith without works EXACTLY as we are so that he can be called "the father OF ALL who are of faith." These are the sibboleths of the enemies of the gospel.
     
  2. Martin Marprelate

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    Without at all disagreeing with you- justification is indeed by grace ALONE- your case will be stronger if you comment briefly on James 2:14-23.
     
  3. The Biblicist

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    I think James 2:14-23 is looking at justification from a completely different view than how it is treated in either Romans or Galatians.

    In Romans the view is from God's perspective - Rom. 4:1 "before God"
    In James the view is from Man's perspective - "shew me...I will shew you" - James 2:14-16

    In Romans it is the "ungodly" that is being justified "without works" - Rom. 4:5
    In James it it is profession of justification that is dead without works- "though a man say" - James 2:14-16

    In Romans it is a completed action at the point of faith within a restricted time - Romans 4:9-11
    In James it is a progressive manifestation by works unto men - James 2:23-26

    In Romans it is the doctrine of justification being dealt with in a systematic fashion - Rom. 4:1-22
    In James it is the demonstration of justification as a practical profession that is being dealt with - James 2:14-16

    There is no contradiction between Paul and James as Paul is teaching the basis for justification while James is concerned with manifest demonstration that one has been justified.
     
  4. JamesL

    JamesL
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    I hate to burst your bubble, but your comments on James just put you in the camp you denounced in post #1

    James had in mind the promise of reward to Abraham in Genesis 15:1 "Great is your reward"

    to which he replied "what shall you GIVE me, seeing I have no son?"

    Then God assured him that he would have a son coming from his own loins, and that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. THAT is why his willingness to sacrifice Isaac was so commendable. He believed God about his descendants. The writer of Hebrews wrote that Abraham knew that if God let him go through with the sacrifice of Isaac, God would raise Isaac from the dead.

    James absolutely did not have "justified before men" in view, because there weren't any men around to see it.

    Abraham was justified in receiving the reward. You should read James 2 in light of Hebrews 11, where the likes of Moses endured because he was looking to tge reward.

    James 2:12 says to speak and act as those who "will be" judged by the law of liberty

    Then 2 verses later comes "what if a man says he has faith, but has no works. Will such a faith save him?"

    Save him from what? What's coming at this future judgement that a brother might need to be saved from?

    Remember that James follows this tidbit about works with "do not many aspire to be teachers, knowing WE shall receive a stricter judgement."

    James included himself in this future, stricter judgement. What's there to be afraid of? What's there to be "saved" from?
     
  5. Martin Marprelate

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    I disagree. I think Biblicist has pretty much got it right.
    More than thirty years separate God declaring Abraham righteous and Abraham offering up Isaac.
    God justified Abraham (ie. declared him righteous) when he believed God; thirty years later, his works justified him: that is, they declared that he believed God (Hebrews 11:17-19).

    God justifies the ungodly (Titus 3:3-7):
    'Nothing in my hand I bring,
    Simply to Thy cross I cling.'

    But He doesn't leave them ungodly. 'I.......declared.......that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance' (Acts 26:19-20; cf. also Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:8).

    With reference to James 3:1, it means exactly what it says. Woe to those of us who preach if we do not preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!
     
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  6. HankD

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    By the 3rd verse James through the Spirit says

    James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
    This is reiterated elsewhere as well.
    e.g.
    James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

    Those to whom he was writing had FAITH already.
    These were post salvation believers to whom he was writing.

    However their faith had not been perfected or matured in Jesus Christ as the kingdom of God was still in transition from Israel to the church(es). - In my Opinion.

    They had failed even to the point of falling into severe sin. James 4:4.

    Biblicist (again IMO - I don't want to put words in his mouth) is speaking of PRE-salvation works of ANY KIND which presumably lead to justification constitute "another gospel" and I personally agree.

    My own testimony:
    As a former Catholic struggling with GUILT when I discovered in the scripture that there was nothing required of me by way of "sacraments" that is when both my sins and my guilt disappeared in His blood in that moment of enlightenment.

    Call it "easy-believism" if you want but the gift of faith in His work and blood freed me from my sin which my Catholic works could never do no matter how many "absolutions" I received from the hands of a man my conscience continued to throb in pain like my thumb smashed by my own hammer (until Jesus came).


    HankD
     
  7. JamesL

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    I agree with that premise as well. But the additional requirement of works post-justification is out of bounds

    Now, I don't mean to infer that good works aren't expected of a believer, for they are commanded. But any time one veers into an inevitability of good works, then they have departed from biblical truth.

    Even Jesus said some receive the word eith joy, then immediately fall away. And some endure for only a little while. And they get caught up in the cares of this world. What the heck are they enduring in if it's not real faith?

    Why would it be expected that someone with a spurious faith should endure in any kind of work?

    Why would John write that many, even of the rulers believed in Jesus, but weren't confessing because they were afraid (Jn 12:42-43) ?

    Simply, because there is nothing in scripture which hints at any inevitability of anything after faith, except that God will not fail.

    If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself
     
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  8. HankD

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    I would agree with your premise as well, however anyone who is not demonstrating the indwelling Spirit emanating agape love has certainly missed the mark of expectation.

    One of , if not the greatest purpose of our redemption according to the scripture is as follows

    Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    While works might not be inevitable they are an expectation of high priority (IMO).

    Of course there is one thing which is greater than any work - agape love.

    NKJV 1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.


    HankD
     
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  9. The Biblicist

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    I think you and I have already resolved this supposed conflict as I make a distinction between justification before God and your profession of justification as part of sanctification.



    It is their profession of justification before men that is being verified by good works. And yes there were other around to witness it (1) Isaac (2) all future readers of scripture.


    I think I will have to give your words more thought in order that I understand you correctly before I make any assessment of them.
     
  10. Jordan Kurecki

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    Excellent OP.
     
  11. Van

    Van
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    Justification is based on faith, not works. This view is not called "easy believism." And the faith in view is the person's faith which God has credited as righteousness. The "gift of faith" (meaning instilled by irresistible grace) is no where in view.

    We are saved by grace through faith. Our faith provides our access to saving grace. Romans 5:2.
     
  12. HankD

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    Thanks Van, I have long been very critical of the phrase "easy believism" because belief in Jesus Christ is not "easy" it is impossible for the flesh, however for the children of God it is as easy as breathing pure clean air with a set of healthy lungs provided by the Holy Spirit.

    Personally I use the phrase "phony believism" in which the tares in the church learn to "talk the talk" and even (to an extent) to "walk the walk".

    It is also my belief that God is even able to save tares (surprised?! - we shouldn't be).

    This has been my hope and prayer that they hear the voice of the father in heaven rather than the words of the prince of darkness, the father of lies.

    HankD
     
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  13. The Biblicist

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    Complete hogwash! There is no such thing as human generated faith (Jn. 6:44) as the fallen human nature has no ability ("No man CAN") to believe in Christ FROM THE HEART. That faith must originate with God and is by grace (Rom. 4:16) not by works of man. A rock can't get water out of a rock it takes the power of God to get water out of a rock. You cant get faith out of fallen man, it takes God to get faith out of a fallen man as "no man CAN come to me EXCEPT" and that exception clause demands faith originates from God without exception as "NO MAN" can.

    Denying that faith is of grace is essential to the Arminian scheme because if they admit that faith is of grace then they must admit first that "saved by grace" includes faith and second they must admit that God obviously has not given it to all men and he has not as John 6:64-65 plainly and explicitly states. However, when they deny justifying faith is of grace they are forced to embrace the only other possible alternative to grace and that is "by works." That is the only two alternatives offered by Paul in Romans 4 and in Ephesians 2:9 so Van and others who deny faith is by grace must teach that faith is of works and therefore if they say we are saved by faith they are admitting they are saved by works.
     
    #13 The Biblicist, Aug 14, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  14. Van

    Van
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    Yes, HankD, even scripture supports the idea that our efforts to reach the lost should be both within the church and outside the church. I cannot count the times someone has "come to the Lord" as a child, and then "recommitted" themselves as an adult.

    The LORD takes us where we are, warts and all. We do not need to get wet (water baptism) to be saved. Or talk in another language. Or stop smoking. Or, or,...

    But we do need to be discipled and taught all Christ commanded.
     
  15. The Biblicist

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    And so we don't need to stop the negatives to get saved but we need to do all the positives in order to be saved "discipled and taught ALL Christ commanded" in order to get saved? Are you defining "justified by faith without works" as "justified by faithful works"??????
     
  16. Van

    Van
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    LOL, "your faith" appears in scripture more than a 10 times, but "instilled" faith cannot be found. It is a fiction.

    To repeat once again, we are saved by grace through faith. Therefore our faith precedes saving grace. It is a lock. When you enter a room through a door, you go through the door before you enter the room. Our faith provides our access to saving grace. Romans 5:2

    Pay no attention to those who deny scripture after scripture after scripture, such as Ephesians 2:8, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Romans 5:2 and so forth.
     
  17. HankD

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    I agree, but I also agree with Biblicist in his propositions as to how we came to Christ in the first place - not duplicitous thought or compromise or a paradox because I believe that somehow it is both the sovereignty of God and the will of man combined. The "somehow" could very well be that God provides a predisposition to the "elect" coming into the world.

    Alternatively: (a question for all to contemplate but not necessarily answer):

    Is it possible (underline possible) for God to provide every fallen man with the ability to believe?
    NOT IF HE ACTUALLY DOES THAT - just is it possible?


    HankD
     
  18. Van

    Van
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    Yet another material false statement from Biblicist. He would misrepresent a stop sign.

    Discipline someone does not put them in Christ, only God does that.
     
  19. HankD

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    There is a good argument for "your faith" being provided faith - not that this is my position (I am a mugwump) but here it is:

    I buy my children shoes (for instance). My children call them "my shoes", I tell them - "put on your shoes". Yet they are actually daddy's shoes which he purchased for them, they did nothing to get the shoes except 1) they are my children 2) they have the need.

    HankD
     
  20. Van

    Van
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    Hi Hank, another question for contemplation, why does scripture say "your faith" rather than implanted faith? Because it is our faith, which God credits as righteousness. There would be no need to credit implanted faith as righteousness. Think about it!

    Why did Jesus speak in parables if no one could believe? Why did God harden the hearts of the Jews in Romans 11, it they were unable to believe. How could the men of Matthew 23:13 be entering the kingdom of Heaven unless they had the ability to believe in God?

    And again no scripture says God compelled our faith, it is a fiction.
     

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