What's the faith in "faith only"?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by bmerr, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. bmerr

    bmerr
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    To All,

    bmerr here. An obviously popular doctrine is the doctrine of "justification by faith alone". I have a hard time understanding its' popularity though, since the only place the phrase "faith only" is found in the Bible is in James 2:24, where we read, "...not by faith only", and the context of this negative statement is justification!

    Now the Bible tells us that faith without works is dead. (James 2:17,26). And yet, the "faith only" crowd insists that man is justified by faith apart from works of any kind.

    In effect, the claim seems to be that man is justifed before God by a dead, workless faith, but that somehow, this dead, (yet saving) faith produces a living, fruitful, working faith, which results in the person's sanctification.

    IMO, this is completely foreign to anything taught in the Bible, but lots of people are betting their eternity on it.

    So, if someone would like to enlighten me on this subject, by describing the faith of the "faith only" doctrine, please do.

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  2. DHK

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    As it has been explained to you many times, and through many Scriptures, if we were just to take one of those Scriptures--Eph.2:8,9, we would find that that Scripture has "faith alone" or "faith only" written through it many times just not in the exact words that you want it.
    DHK
     
  3. IAD

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    Well, I'll give it a shot.

    It's about understanding our chances apart from God's grace. Romans 3:23 states, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Simply stated, every person has a sin problem that keeps him from God. The idea of being short of God's glory is akin to you and me having a rock-throwing contest. I live just a couple hours from you, so I come down there to TN and we both aim to hit the North Pole. Even if you're twice the rock thrower I am, your rock is still going to fall far short of the target. As sin-stained humans, we fall far short of the target, which is sinlessness (and thus the ability for us to be in God's presence).

    There are pretty dire consequences for this state. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death..." Death! Of course, wages are something you earn by performing some deed or service. Our deeds and service earn us one nasty paycheck -- death! Even when we're trying to do what we believe are good things, they just don't get that rock much further along to the Pole. Isaiah 64:6 tells us, "...our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Even our best isn't worthy, because it is still tainted by our own sinfulness.

    Fortunately, Romans 6:23 doesn't end with death. The full verse says, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." The wages we earn with our deeds are contrasted here with a gift -- a free gift. I don't know how things work in others' homes, but on Christmas Day at our house we don't give to each other based on level of service or a performance review. We give freely out of love for one another. That's what God has offered us -- a gift in the form of eternal life, paid for by His Son, Jesus.

    OK, so all of that is preparatory for this next part. One of my favorite passages of all time, Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." We're talking about a saving faith here -- a beginner's kernel of faith, where the person realizes the truths of his own sinfulness, the consequences of it, and the fact that it is not within his power to do anything about it. But then he hears that Jesus can (and will) take care of it for him, and so the Holy Spirit gives him enough faith to step out in belief and ask Jesus to save him from himself and his sin.

    Titus 3:5-7 further solidifies this -- "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

    There is no amount (or type) of works that can save us. The passage in Ephesians I quoted above flows right into verse 10, which says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works..." The good works are a natural by-product of a saving faith. I suppose you could say that once salvation occurs, faith and works become a sort of perpetual motion machine. That initial faith makes one want to serve his new Master. Service to Christ begets more faith as we see His Holy Spirit empower us to do things for the Lord. That faith causes us to want to serve Him more, and so on.

    The idea of "faith alone," therefore, is based on the fact that our deeds and service are of no significant value (in the eternal perspective) until salvation has taken place. Salvation happens by faith, as outlined in Scripture, and then the works follow as we learn to serve Him. The good works themselves have no salvific value.
     
  4. ascund

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    But bmerr, the context is not justification. It is written to already saved saints. The context is justifying (as in vindicate or prove) their faith before others.

    But there are lots more "alone" verses that we Bible believers like. For instance, "hapax" = "once."

    By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all]. Note this is a perfect tense of sanctified. So it it not a process - which is the normal definition. This is the historic event of separation unto God that occurs at the singular moment of faith.

    Just as Christ die once unto sin, he lives unto God. This is the believer's inheritance: life eternal. Once demolishes conditional security and proves OSAS.


    How many times do you need to be shown the context of James before you learn that it deals with sanctification? Abraham was justified before God by faith alone (Gen 15). He justified before others through faithfulness.

    This is a huge difference that you seem unable to notice.
    Lloyd
     
  5. DHK

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    Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    "For by grace are ye saved." This statement in itself excludes works. One might say it is by grace alone, except that the free grace of God must be accepted by faith alone. By very definition, any form of works; works of any kind at all would destroy the meaning of grace and make it mean something else. Paul states this in Romans 11:6

    Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
    It is either by grace alone or by works. If works has anything to do with salvation, then salvation is not by grace. This is what Paul says; and he says it very plainly; very clearly. if by grace, then is it no more of grace: otherwise grace is no more grace. Grace is defined by the absence of works. It is the free unmerited favor of God. It cannot be worked for. The only way to receive God's grace is by faith, and faith alone. That is how one is saved!

    "salvation is 'throgh faith.' It is "through faith," and faith alone. If Paul had meant anything else he would have inserted it here. But he didn't. He didn't insert baptism. He stated flat out that it was by faith. The rest of the verse verifies this, as the definition of grace does. It is impossible for faith to have any other thing (as works) included in it, for grace excludes it, therefore it is by faith alone. You cannot read into Scripture that which is not there. There is not work there. There is not baptism there. There is only faith there, and faith alone. Salvation is by faith and faith alone. And just to make sure you understand that Paul adds a couple of more phrases:

    "that not of yourselves." It is not of works. It is not of anything that you yourself can do. All that man does is considered a work. It is not of yourself, or man's doing. It is God's doing, and that is grace. Grace that is to be received by faith and faith alone. It is not of yourselves, not of any thing that you can do--that is a work. It is impossible for you to merit salvation through baptism or any other work. Salvation is not of yourself.

    Further Paul says:
    "It is a gift of God." A gift cannot be earned." One does not work for a gift, else by definition it ceases to be a gift.

    Romans 4:4-5 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

    That whicm man works for he deserves. Rom.6:23 says that man's wages, (that which he has worked for is eternal death), but it also tells us that the gift of God is eternal life. The above passage verifies this saying that the one that doesn't do any work at all, but simply believes or has faith, his faith justifies him; his faith is counted for righetousness. No work = justification. Why? Because salvation is by grace through faith without works, without works of any kind, not just the works of the law, without works of baptism, without any kind of works.

    Then in verse nine Paul adds:
    not of works
    Well how clear could that be?? Salvation is not of works. It is by faith and faith alone. It is not of works. Do we believe the Bible at this point or close our eyes to Scripture and keep repeating our mantra that salvation includes the "work" of baptism in spite of what it says here. Do we continue to deny the Word of God? Baptism is a work. There is no place in Scripture where it is referred to as a gift. It isn't. Check a dictionary. It is a work that man does. And this work nullifies the very definition of grace, which is to be accepted by faith alone; not faith plus baptism. There is a curse to those who add to the Scriptures. Salvation is not of works. How many times does Paul have to repeat things in the same passage of Scripture over and over again, before man understands this very essential truth. Salvation is not of works. It is by grace, through faith, and faith alone.

    Why is that? He tells us why. "Lest any man should boast." Are you intending to arrive in heaven and boast about how you helped Jesus to atone for the sins of the world by your baptism??
    DHK
     
  6. ascund

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    Hey DHK

    Super idea. Let's take it to the next easy conclusion. If salvation includes any part human obedience (or works of any definition), then:
    ___(1) faith is voided,
    ___(2) God’s promises are nullified, and
    ___(3) the Cross is canceled (Rom 4:14; 1 Cor 1:17c).

    Errant attempts to use aspects of sanctification as a defintion for justification lead to confusion and heresy.

    Biblical Grace or Human faithfulness!
    Not really much of a choice.
    Lloyd
     
  7. ascund

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    Hey IAD

    Thanks for the straight shot! Your comment. . .

    clearly reflects justification by faith alone followed by sanctification of works in service to our King. Thanks for this clarity!

    How is it that some grasp this so easily and for others it is as if they are blindless in a heavy fog?
    Lloyd
     
  8. Michael52

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    Faith -

    Mt 17:20 He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."

    Lk 5:20 And when he saw their faith, he said, "Man, your sins are forgiven you."

    Lk 7:50 And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

    Ro 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."

    Ro 3:22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:

    Ro 3:25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

    Ro 3:27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.
    Ro 3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

    Ro 3:30 since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
    Ro 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

    Ro 4:5 And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

    Ro 4:11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,

    Ro 4:16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

    Gal 2:16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

    Gal 2:20 It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    Gal 3:2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?

    Gal 3:5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—

    Gal 3:7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
    Gal 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed."
    Gal 3:9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

    Gal 3:11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith."
    Gal 3:12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them."

    Gal 3:14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

    Gal 3:23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.
    Gal 3:24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
    Gal 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,
    Gal 3:26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

    Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

    Eph 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

    Php 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

    2Ti 3:15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

    Heb 10:38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him."

    Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

    1Pe 1:5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    1Pe 1:9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    2Pe 1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

    Amen
     
  9. ascund

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    Hey DHK & other Bible scholars

    I have noticed a pattern in these forum exchanges not peculiar to bmerr per se but embracing all who embrace substandard doctrinal beliefs.

    Let me use any 3 verses related to water baptism; perhaps Acts 2, Rom 6 and I Pet 3.

    Round 1: Show the proper view of Acts 2 using context to show that Acts 2 is not applicable to justification. The response uses Rom 6 as an appeal to water baptism.

    Round 2: Show the proper view of Rom 6 using context to show that Rom 6 is not applicable to justification. The response uses I Pet 3 as an appeal to water baptism.

    Round 3: Show the proper view of I Pet 3 using context to show that I Pet 3 is not applicable to justification. The response uses Acts 2 as an appeal to water baptism.

    This cycle repeats itself showing that the water baptism regeneration group does not learn or does not want to learn from the Bible they claim to use as support for their errant dogma.

    It also reveals that they are more interested in clinging to denominational interpretations than coming to the knowledge of the truth. The human-centered urge to do something is very powerful.

    This cycle is very frustrating.
    Lloyd
     
  10. steaver

    steaver
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    No matter how many brothers show you the truth of Jame's message, you will choose to remain in error of it's teaching and therefore remain stuck in incorrect doctrine.

    If you refuse to understand the correct message from James nothing else will change your thinking either.

    Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness. Faith to Faith to Faith from Noah to Abraham to Peter to Paul and on and on.

    God Bless!
     
  11. ascund

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    Greetings

     
  12. IAD

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    Hey IAD

    Thanks for the straight shot! Your comment. . .clearly reflects justification by faith alone followed by sanctification of works in service to our King. Thanks for this clarity!


    Hey, thanks for the kind words, dude. I guess all those years of AWANA have paid off. :D
     
  13. DHK

    DHK
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    Usually it is James 2:24 without context: "and not by faith only," the only place in the Bible that says 'not' by faith alone. :rolleyes:
    DHK
     
  14. ascund

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    Sigh :(

    Originally posted by DHK:
    Usually it is James 2:24 without context: "and not by faith only," the only place in the Bible that says 'not' by faith alone. :rolleyes: -DHK </font>[/QUOTE]That hide and seek appeal is all too typical. On another forum, I've selected Rom 1:19-3:19 to emphasize the futility of a human-oriented obedience system. The conclusion of human ability is given in 3:19 where it is so convincingly clear that all are guilty that no one can give even one word in response to the awful charges.

    All are guilty! Left to our resources - we all will fail and earn an eternity in hell for our rebellion.

    How is it that bmerr, mman and others can recommend a system of human obedience that ends in death and yet hope to reach heaven?

    bmerr, mman and others have a far to high opinion of human ability.

    bmerr, mman and others have a far to low opinion of the consequences of sin.

    Lloyd
     
  15. steaver

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    Brother Lloyd,

    You have my post mixed up with bmmer's.

    God Bless!
     
  16. ascund

    ascund
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    Yikes! Where is my oft worn sackcloth? Plenty of ashes in the wood burner! And where is the well used "idiot mat" . . . . oh yeah, behind the door! . . .

    Filthy egotistical sinner pleads forgiveness for repeated errors of ignorance, blissful stupidity, and egotistical mudslinging.

    Lloyd
     
  17. bmerr

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    ascund,

    bmerr here. Admitting you have a problem is the first step. I'm proud of you. Now, on to repentance! [​IMG]

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  18. ascund

    ascund
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    Greetings

    Thanks. Repentance is not for eternal life. neither John’s Gospel nor I John use the word repentance.

    Poistively, throughout the entire Gospel proclamation, John presents a clear condition for receiving eternal life. That condition is expressed by the verb pisteuvw “believe.”

    Negatively, John’s Gospel does not make repentance a requirement for salvation. There is not a single occurrence of either metanoevw (repent) or metavnoia (repentance) anywhere in John’s Gospel. Yet, John’s Gospel’s stated purpose is to tell unbelievers what to do in order that they might have eternal life (John 20:31). The apostle John carefully avoids making any reference to repentance. His silence is all the more noteworthy since he heard both John the Baptist and Jesus preach on the necessity of repentance. When these contexts are examined, John the Baptist and Jesus were exhorting national Israelites to return to their covenantal vows preparing the way for acceptance of Jesus as their Promised Messiah. A promise linked with Israel’s repentance leading to national restoration must not be converted into a requirement for Gentile salvation. John’s failure to mention repentance is not an argument from silence. If the express purpose of a book is to state the requirements of salvation and repentance is not mentioned, then it must be clear that this is not an oversight. It must also be clear that John did not think that repentance was a condition for eternal life. The same must be said about Paul. In Galatians, his apologetic defense of his gospel, he likewise never mentions repentance. Clearly, repentance is not a requirement for salvation.

    We must understand that repentance has two definitions. I used repentance here as denying the need to repent over personal sins.

    If you define repentance as a change of mind concerning Jesus Christ and His saving merits, then it is a synonym for faith.

    Beware of the differences in definitions. Context rules! A word has no meaning by itself and has meaning only in a sentence. Do not match an illegitimate transfer of defintions.

    As an example, consider the following three definitions of the word "run."

    __1. I run a race.
    __2. My nose is running.
    __3. Let me run this idea past you.

    If you took the definition of run from #1 and forced it upon either of the other two sentences, confusion and sillyness results. The same error can happen with the word "repent." This is probably why John avoided the word with it potential to be abused with the context of personal sins. That is why he choose believe without any encumbrances. Faith - alone!

    BEWARE!
    Lloyd
     
  19. bmerr

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    ascund,

    bmerr here. In regard to this statement,

    Where do you get that Abraham was justified "before others" from the account of his offering Isaac? Was it doen before a live studio audience? Was there a grandstand full of onlookers that Abraham justified himself to? Was the ram in the thicket the "others" you speak of? Let's go back to Gen 22, and see who's in attendance.

    22:3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

    4 Then on the third day Abraham lifed up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

    5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

    6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offereing, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

    7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

    8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

    9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

    10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay hus son.

    11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

    12 And he said, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

    Now tell me, did God say this of Abraham 20 years before this moment, or was it here, after Abraham offered Isaac? The text says, "...now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son...'

    It was based on the obedient actions of Abraham that God knew Abraham feared Him.

    Not at the point when Abraham was told to offer Isaac.

    Not along the way to Mt. Moriah.

    Not when Abraham left the young men with the ass.

    Not when Abraham and Isaac got to the place God had told him of.

    Not after Abraham built the altar.

    Not when Isaac was laid upon the altar.

    Not until Abraham had knife in hand, and hand raised to slay his son, did God know that Abraham feared Him.

    This is the example given in the book of James, of which James (an inspired man) said that Abraham's faith was made perfect (complete) by his works.

    As Paul pointed out, Abraham was not doing a deed of the law. Nor would anyone in their right mind place this in the class of "good", or "meritorious" works.

    This was simply a work of obedience to the command of God. Oh, and nobody was there to watch, either. Nobody but God, anyway.

    Your attempt to remove the meaning from James 2 is fruitless. Your knowledge of greek is only burying you deeper in error. Not that learning greek is a bad thing; it's not. But with all your greek learning, you still don't know the truth.

    Stick to English. It's less confusing.

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  20. bmerr

    bmerr
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    To All,

    bmerr here. The original question has yet to be answered satisfactorily, or, Biblically. Will someone please describe the faith of the "faith only" doctrine? Does it work? Is it void of works? Is it alive or dead? Is it merely intellectual assent to the facts of Jesus, and of our sinfulness? Is it just feeling sorry for past misdeeds?

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     

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