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Featured Reconciling Paul, Hebrews and James

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Martin Marprelate, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Romans 2:4-5. 'Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.'

    Ephesians 2:8-9. 'For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.'

    James 2:24. 'You se then that a man is justified by works and not by faith only.......For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.'

    Hebrews 11:17. 'By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.'

    James 2:21. 'Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar. Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works his faith was made perfect?'

    Hebrews 11:31. 'By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she received the spies with peace.'

    James 2:25. 'Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?'

    On another thread @kyredneck and I crossed swords over the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone. The question is, how do we reconcile the verses above? I intend to set out my understanding shortly, but I thought I'd open it up to others to post first.

    I haven't posted anything from the Gospels. Readers may think of verses like Mark 5:38; Luke 7:9; John 3:16; 6:28-29; 7:37-38; 11:40 etc.
     
  2. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    I did this already, here. You didn't participate. The bottom line is that the reconciliation is just too simple for you Reformed devotees to accept. It evidently isn't brought out or addressed plainly enough in the Reformed dogma that you adhere to.
     
  3. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    The word “justify” has a different meaning according to the context.

    Paul uses “justify”, in context, as a forensic justification in a court of law; being declared not guilty.

    James uses “justify”, in context, as validation of faith. Your works validate your faith.

    In Ephesians 2, Paul says a person is saved by grace through faith, not of works. He then says we should do the works God has prepared beforehand for us to do.

    So Paul agrees with James the works validate the faith.

    peace to you
     
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  4. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Romans 2:4
    Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

    Romans 2:5
    But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

    Maybe the first reference should be Romans 4:4-5?
     
  5. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    James 2:24 (NASB95) You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
    Here the Greek verb translated "is justified" actually refers to evincing or exhibiting just or right behavior. The idea is we demonstrate our faith based on the works we exhibit.
     
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  6. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    Wrong. The 'works' to which James is referring...:

    27 Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. Ja 1
    15 If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food,
    16 and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit? Ja 2

    ...are the very same works that BOTH the regenerate and the unregenerate are going to be judged by.

    The just:

    34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
    35 for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in;
    36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

    The unjust:

    41
    Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels:
    42 for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink;
    43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Mt 25

    These works demarcate the 'just' from the 'unjust':

    15 having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust. Acts 24:15

    28 Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice,
    29 and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment. Jn 5
     
    #6 kyredneck, Sep 4, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
  7. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    The works 'validate' what's in the heart, not our faith. Both our works and our faith validate what's in the heart.
     
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  8. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    Ultimately, I cannot tell anyone how they should reconcile them;
    That's for you to decide and a matter of one's own personal "theology".

    However, how I reconcile them for myself is by not looking at them as "verses", but in context with other passages as well as among themselves.
    I take every word of God on a subject, and see how it all relates to every other word.

    To summarize my current understanding of "justification by faith":

    After many years of study,
    I do not see the Scriptures, as a whole, declaring that God accepts us because of our faith, and He definitely does not accept anyone because of their works.
    Neither do I see that a person's faith, all by itself, as the internal and external evidence for God having saved that person.
    Though I once did see it that way, I no longer do.

    Rather, I see the whole of Scripture declaring that faith in the Lord is the evidence ( Hebrews 11:1 ) of a person being saved.
    By it, they do many things for the Lord, they endure all their trials in this life and they commit themselves to God and His promises.

    To me, justification ( the act of God making someone righteous in His own eyes ) involves several separate items that all work together:
     
    #8 Dave G, Sep 4, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
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  9. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    Justification from man's point of view:

    1) Justification by faith, which is evidential and has no bearing on our having gained favor with God.
    2) Justification by works, which again is evidential and has no bearing on our having gained favor with God.

    Ephesians 2:8-9. <----- Not of works, in case any man should boast in those works.
    God's mercy is in no way dependent upon anything that we have, do, or are in His sight.
    Man is stripped of all avenues of approach unless God causes that person to approach ( Psalms 65:4 ) by His gracious act of regeneration.
    Romans 3:21-26. <---- The righteousness of God ( justification by faith ) is manifested, or shown.

    Justification from God's point of view:

    3) Justification by His Son's blood ( Romans 5:9 ), making all who were atoned for, just ( or righteous ) in His sight.
    This includes imputation, or God crediting a person with righteousness because of their faith and belief...which ( way down at the heart of it all ) are gifts given to them by God as a product of His grace through the new birth. ;)
    4) Justification by grace ( Romans 3:24 ), which, in the light of Romans 11:5-6, cannot be because of our works or efforts to gain God's favor in any way, shape or form.


    God's mercy is His to bestow ( Romans 9:14-18 ), and it is God alone who justifies ( Romans 8:33 ).
    To mix anything with God's grace would be to taint it with our works ( Romans 11:5-6 ) and cause Him to be indebted to us ( Romans 4:4 ) as rebellious sinners...

    and God will not have His holy work of salvation to be polluted by the efforts of unworthy sinners to buy our way out of what we justly have coming to us.:Notworthy
     
    #9 Dave G, Sep 4, 2021
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  10. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    @Martin Marprelate :

    In other words, I see that the first two are bound by the constraints of the second two...
    making justification a sole act of God,
    with no strings attached and with no efforts on the part of His people to secure any of it for themselves.

    Salvation and its accompanying gifts are all totally reliant upon God's mercy, compassion, kindness and good will alone...
    God, in His act of saving someone, does so out of no compulsion to recognize anything that we do as being worthy of lifting ourselves out of our own mess that we willfully got into over the centuries.


    So, when I look at Romans 5:1 for example, I see it teaching that we as believers are shown to be justified by our faith...
    Not that the act of believing actually caused God to bestow His favor on us.

    When I look at James 2:24-25, I see it teaching that we as believers are shown to be justified by those acts...
    Acts that we as believers were not only ordained by God to walk in ( Ephesians 2:10 ),
    but that our works ( deeds ) as believers were wrought ( worked ) in God ( John 3:21 )...
    Because it is God who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure ( Philippians 2:13 ).:)

    Apologies for the "dissertation" ( some here might call it a "thesis" ),
    but I thought it best to get it all out in the open in as few posts as possible, and then turn everything back over to the floor.


    I'll make these my only replies in your thread, Steve,
    and wish you and the rest of the readers well.
     
    #10 Dave G, Sep 4, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
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  11. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    redneck, there is no doubt the Bible tells us that both the unregenerate and the regenerate will have their works judged by God. In that judgment, not one work of either group will result in them being justified. The result will be damnation based on works. Only in Christ will God justify those whom Jesus imputed righteousness has been given and established by faith. I provided a link to all of this. I actually posted the article for you. You ignored it completely.

    You have left the traditional faith and gone down a path of your own imagination.
    Justification | Reformed Theology and Apologetics
     
  12. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    No I haven't and I'm growing weary of your juvenile accusations. Justification by our faith alone might be 'traditional' to you but it is corrupting to the gospel message to me and is absolutely ANTI-scriptural.
     
    #12 kyredneck, Sep 4, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
  13. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    AMEN! WINNER!!!
     
  14. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    Sure you have. The Reformation and Baptists all confirm justification by faith alone. You reject this truth and argue the theology of Rome. This is factually seen in your posts.

    There is nothing corrupting about God imputing Jesus righteousness to me through faith alone. We have already established that God-given faith produces works. It is not those works that justify us. If it were, we could boast. But, Paul goes out of his way in both Romans and Ephesians to tell us we have no boast in our works.

    Presently, redneck, you have abandoned the Reformation and gone down a theological path blazed for you by Rome.
     
  15. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps. But the “works” do not contribute to your gaining salvation, which is the point Paul is making, and do validate your profession of faith, which is the point James is making In context.

    peace to you
     
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  16. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    Justification by faith is not the same as Justification by "our" faith. The latter is Van's claim, not mine.
    Faith is a gift of God that does the works God has ordained us to do. That faith from God is the faith that justifies our belief in the imputed righteousness of Jesus on our behalf. We cannot be righteous by any effort of our own, therefore the faith we have is not our effort, but is God's gift since Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.
     
  17. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Right! The first thing we need to note is that God justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5; 5:6). We must also note that the Lord Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.(Mark 2:17 etc.). Anyone who supposes that his good works will save him could be in for a nasty shock even as the Rich Young Ruler was. Harlots and tax collectors are entering the kingdom of God while the chief priests and elders are rejected - specifically for their lack of faith (Matthew 21:31-32).

    The meaning of the Greek words dikaioo, 'justify,' is to declare someone just or righteous (Deuteronomy 25:1, LXX). God declares righteous the ungodly, specifically on the grounds of their faith (Romans 4:5), and the shed blood of Christ (Romans 5:9).

    So at the point of salvation, good works cannot help us - indeed, as Ephesians 2:9 tells us, they are specifically excluded. As Isaiah says, they are like filthy rags in the sight of a holy God (Isaiah 64:6) because they are tainted with sin (Romans 3:23).

    But the God who justifies the ungodly does not leave us ungodly. The great promise of the New Covenant is that God will, 'Put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts' (Hebrews 8:10 etc.). 1 Corinthians 8:9-10 lists a whole pile of different sins and tells us, 'Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?' But Paul continues, 'And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.' The Christian is no longer what he was; he has been sanctified, set apart for, and zealous for good works (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14), born anew of God and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. There remains within the flesh of all believers a remnant of the old sinful nature ('flesh'), which which he must do battle all his life (Galatians 5:16-18; Colossians 3:5), but sin no longer masters him (Romans 6:14) and he no longer finds God's commandments irksome(1 John 5:3).

    So what is the meaning of these texts in James? They mean that the believer's works are the evidence of his justification; they declare him righteous. A good way to understand James 2:18 is like this: 'Someone will say, "Do you have faith?" I also have works. Show me you faith without your works and I will show you my faith by me works.' James' works are the evidence of his faith.

    Consider all those heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. They were all people who went out and did something. Imagine Abram in Ur saying, "I really believe that God wants me to leave Ur and go somewhere he will show me - and then staying where he was! What sort of faith would that have been? No, his obedience, both then and in Genesis 22, was the evidence that his faith was genuine. Likewise Rahab was saved by faith when she came to believe that she was a sinner living in a sinful city scheduled by God for destruction. But her faith was a living faith and it led her to hide the spies and send them on their way. Her deeds were the evidence that her faith was real; they declared that she had been justified by faith.






     
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  18. percho

    percho Well-Known Member
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    For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous. Romans 5:19 ASV

    who in the days of his flesh both prayers and supplications unto Him who was able to save him from death -- with strong crying and tears -- having offered up, and having been heard in respect to that which he feared, though being a Son, did learn by the things which he suffered -- the obedience, Heb 5:7,8 Is V 7 speaking of the time in the Garden of Gethsemane ? Not my will but thine be done.

    and in fashion having been found as a man, he humbled himself, having become obedient unto death -- death even of a cross,
    Phil 2:8

    Is that, the specific obedience spoken of, through which the many could be made righteous ie justified? Obedience unto death, the shed blood of Christ?

    Now look closely at the following verses.

    And before the coming of the faith, under law we were being kept, shut up to the faith about to be revealed, so that the law became our child-conductor -- to Christ, that by faith (that out of faith, faith being in the genitive) we may be declared (made) righteous, and the faith having come, no more under a child-conductor are we,

    Out of faith, we are made righteous ir justified. Through the obedience of One, made righteous
    Before the coming of, the faith
    the faith, having come

    obedience of faith. The faith that came was Christ's obedience unto death.

    That is, the faith, only, by which we are made righteous.

    IMHO.
     
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  19. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    Reading 1 Timothy 1:12-14 we see that God gave Paul faith by God's ordained choice. This faith, given by God, justified Paul.

    I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
     
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  20. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    There are two 'hearts' that Paul is writing about in Ro 2.

    The 'hard and impenitent' heart...:

    5 but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
    6 who will render to every man according to his works:


    ...and the circumcised heart with the law written upon it:

    13 for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified:
    14 (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves;
    15 in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them);
    29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.


    God renders to each of these hearts according to (not because of) their works.

    7 to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life:

    8 but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation,
    9 tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek;
     
    #20 kyredneck, Sep 5, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2021
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