By faith alone?


#1

Hi all, I’ve posted this question elsewhere and received an interesting response, which I shall mention below, but basically the question is for those who believer in salvation and/or justification (beyond initial justification) by faith alone. The question is: How do you interpret Matt 25:31-46?

[31] “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
[32] Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
[33] and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
[34] Then the King will say to those at his right hand, Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; [35] for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, [36] I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' [37] Then the righteous will answer him,Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
[38] And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
[39] And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’
[40] And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' [41] Then he will say to those at his left hand,Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;
[42] for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
[43] I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
[44] Then they also will answer, Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' [45] Then he will answer them,Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’
[46] And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (RSV)

The response I received was essentially this:

  • the “sheep” in the parable are believers in Christ, since “sheep” is used as a metaphor for a follower or believer elsewhere in the Bible, primarily in John’s Gospel (see John 10:1-16);
  • the “goats” are unbelievers;
  • this is a descriptive not prescriptive account, that is, it doesn’t tell use about how the sheep are saved, only that they are, whereas the goats are not; and
  • the sheep are saved by their faith or belief in Christ: the works are just an outcome of their grace-filled life, whereas unbelievers cannot perform such good works or they are not recognised by Christ.

My basic response to this is:

  • in Matthew’s Gospel, “sheep” is not used as a metaphor for believer or follower, and it is not good biblical exegesis to import terms from another Gospel (especially one which isn’t a Synoptic Gospel) into Matthew to frame what is going on here;
  • this point is especially pertinent when considering that John’s Gospel was written at least 15-20 years after Matthew’s and so would not have been available to the Matthean community, which means their interpretation or understanding of this parable could not have been framed within the context of John’s use of the term “sheep”;
  • if it is a prescriptive account rather than a descriptive account, Jesus’ mention of works (which dominate the parable: there are nineteen mentions of “work” activities and not once is faith or belief mentioned) is irrelevant and confusing, but it takes up most of the parable;
  • following on from this, if Jesus just wanted to tell us in a parable form that believers are saved but non-believers are not, he could have done it in a clearer way: most of the time, the content of Jesus’ parables is meaningful to his message, but in this case, it would not seem so;
  • both the sheep and goats call Jesus “Lord”, which suggests faith, yet neither recognised him in their service, so it is difficult to square this completely with a fully aware follower of Christ;
  • this parable seems to echo what came earlier in Matthew, namely Matt 7:21: “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (RSV) Again, there is an emphasis on works here, just as in the parable, and the use of the word “Lord” to refer to Christ; and finally,
  • one the face of it, I think it is fair to say that a straightforward reading of the text suggests works contribute to salvation.

What do you think?


#2

Hi all, I've posted this question elsewhere and received an interesting response, which I shall mention below, but basically the question is for those who believer in salvation and/or justification (beyond initial justification) by faith alone. The question is: How do you interpret Matt 25:31-46?

[31] "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
[32] Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
[33] and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
[34] Then the King will say to those at his right hand, Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
[35] for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
[36] I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
[37] Then the righteous will answer him,
Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
[38] And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
[39] And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'
[40] And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'
[41] Then he will say to those at his left hand,
Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;
[42] for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
[43] I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'
[44] Then they also will answer, Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?'
[45] Then he will answer them,
Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.'
[46] And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (RSV)

The response I received was essentially this:
- the "sheep" in the parable are believers in Christ, since "sheep" is used as a metaphor for a follower or believer elsewhere in the Bible, primarily in John's Gospel (see John 10:1-16);
- the "goats" are unbelievers;
- this is a descriptive not prescriptive account, that is, it doesn't tell use about how the sheep are saved, only that they are, whereas the goats are not; and
- the sheep are saved by their faith or belief in Christ: the works are just an outcome of their grace-filled life, whereas unbelievers cannot perform such good works or they are not recognised by Christ.

My basic response to this is:
- in Matthew's Gospel, "sheep" is not used as a metaphor for believer or follower, and it is not good biblical exegesis to import terms from another Gospel (especially one which isn't a Synoptic Gospel) into Matthew to frame what is going on here;
- this point is especially pertinent when considering that John's Gospel was written at least 15-20 years after Matthew's and so would not have been available to the Matthean community, which means their interpretation or understanding of this parable could not have been framed within the context of John's use of the term "sheep";
- if it is a prescriptive account rather than a descriptive account, Jesus' mention of works (which dominate the parable: there are nineteen mentions of "work" activities and not once is faith or belief mentioned) is irrelevant and confusing, but it takes up most of the parable;
- following on from this, if Jesus just wanted to tell us in a parable form that believers are saved but non-believers are not, he could have done it in a clearer way: most of the time, the content of Jesus' parables is meaningful to his message, but in this case, it would not seem so;
- both the sheep and goats call Jesus "Lord", which suggests faith, yet neither recognised him in their service, so it is difficult to square this completely with a fully aware follower of Christ;
- this parable seems to echo what came earlier in Matthew, namely Matt 7:21: "Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (RSV) Again, there is an emphasis on works here, just as in the parable, and the use of the word "Lord" to refer to Christ; and finally,
- one the face of it, I think it is fair to say that a straightforward reading of the text suggests works contribute to salvation.

What do you think?


#3

if you get the baptism of the Holy Spirit and then actually and factually do what the spirit tells you - then you are Sheep-
if you go to chruch and are religious - and follow your own leading - or church direction- you are a goat-

this is also why different people who don't know they are goats get the answer"i never knew you"
saint paul used Romans 10;8,9,10 for the application of faith alone-- but if you don't get the Holy Spirit- you stay deceived and a goat

or as Jesus said to the religious leaders
John 8:44-45

King James Version (KJV)

44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.


#4

I understand what you’re saying but that is not what the text says. Nowhere does Jesus explain the parable in that way. In fact, he doesn’t explain the parable at all, which is telling, that is, that it is self-explanatory purely by reading what it says at first sight.

Also, those quotations are from John’s Gospel and Paul, not from Matthew.


#5

113 posts here already:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=760348


#6

[quote="jonathan_hili, post:1, topic:317322"]
Hi all, I've posted this question elsewhere and received an interesting response, which I shall mention below, but basically the question is for those who believer in salvation and/or justification (beyond initial justification) by faith alone. The question is: How do you interpret Matt 25:31-46?

[31] "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
[32] Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
[33] and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
[34] Then the King will say to those at his right hand, Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
[35] for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
[36] I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
[37] Then the righteous will answer him,
Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
[38] And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
[39] And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'
[40] And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'
[41] Then he will say to those at his left hand,
Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;
[42] for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
[43] I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'
[44] Then they also will answer, Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?'
[45] Then he will answer them,
Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.'
[46] And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (RSV)

The response I received was essentially this:
- the "sheep" in the parable are believers in Christ, since "sheep" is used as a metaphor for a follower or believer elsewhere in the Bible, primarily in John's Gospel (see John 10:1-16);
- the "goats" are unbelievers;
- this is a descriptive not prescriptive account, that is, it doesn't tell use about how the sheep are saved, only that they are, whereas the goats are not; and
- the sheep are saved by their faith or belief in Christ: the works are just an outcome of their grace-filled life, whereas unbelievers cannot perform such good works or they are not recognised by Christ.

My basic response to this is:
- in Matthew's Gospel, "sheep" is not used as a metaphor for believer or follower, and it is not good biblical exegesis to import terms from another Gospel (especially one which isn't a Synoptic Gospel) into Matthew to frame what is going on here;
- this point is especially pertinent when considering that John's Gospel was written at least 15-20 years after Matthew's and so would not have been available to the Matthean community, which means their interpretation or understanding of this parable could not have been framed within the context of John's use of the term "sheep";
- if it is a prescriptive account rather than a descriptive account, Jesus' mention of works (which dominate the parable: there are nineteen mentions of "work" activities and not once is faith or belief mentioned) is irrelevant and confusing, but it takes up most of the parable;
- following on from this, if Jesus just wanted to tell us in a parable form that believers are saved but non-believers are not, he could have done it in a clearer way: most of the time, the content of Jesus' parables is meaningful to his message, but in this case, it would not seem so;
- both the sheep and goats call Jesus "Lord", which suggests faith, yet neither recognised him in their service, so it is difficult to square this completely with a fully aware follower of Christ;
- this parable seems to echo what came earlier in Matthew, namely Matt 7:21: "Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (RSV) Again, there is an emphasis on works here, just as in the parable, and the use of the word "Lord" to refer to Christ; and finally,
- one the face of it, I think it is fair to say that a straightforward reading of the text suggests works contribute to salvation.

What do you think?

[/quote]

the dating of the Gospels is not relevant, because as both authors walked with Jesus, and listened to his parables. It was a common understanding among their group. To understand how they would see the teaching would be to see that they all walked among sheep, and goats, and understood their Nature. Sheep are docile. They follow their master, and look to him for daily food, water, and protection. Goats are contrary, will butt you and push you all over the place. They prefer to be on top of everything, and in charge. They may recognize that God is Lord, but don't do what their master wants. They demand to be the leader! The goats may call him Lord, but they never followed him. The sheep, heard and obeyed. :)

We can choose to be teachable, and to do what God says will benefit us eternally.


#7

I think the dating is important because John doesn’t mention this parable, and Matthew doesn’t mention that sheep = believers.

Good point made, Regina. Do you think the parable is suggesting that the sheep are followers of Jesus but the goats are not?

I think your point agrees with mine when you say: “They (the goats) may recognize that God is Lord, but don’t do what their master wants.” Therefore, works, that is, what is done, are important for salvation.


#8

Is it valid to focus on one or two words in the English [translation] without first reviewing the Hebrew and the Greek and the Latin?


#9

At the end of the age every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 14:11) So the goats calling Jesus Lord only means they acknowledge the truth. Works have no value toward our salvation. We are not saved by works, we are saved to do good works. If works gain us salvation then God owes us salvation, and it is not a free gift. Works perfect our faith, share God's love with the world, and teach new Christians how a mature Christian lives.


#10

Works matter to Jesus.


#11

God doesn’t owe us anything, works or not. Works are necessary for salvation as evidence of a living faith. If you do not have works, your faith is dead and cannot save you. You must have the works as evidence of your faith. The works do not grant us salvation, but neither does the faith alone. And actually, it is only grace that saves us. And grace is given to those who have a living faith. And a living faith is only evident if you have good works. They are inseparable.


#12

Hi Steve, I understand the theology you are saying but I’m more interested in how to interpret this specific passage.

A couple of points:

(i) It doesn’t follow that if works contribute to our salvation, then God owes us. This would be true if we were saved only by our works. Then, logically, God would have to save those who work. But if salvation is - through grace - a result of both faith and works, then it doesn’t follow that God owes us anything. Both Catholics and Protestants acknowledge that salvation is by God’s grace, and I think this is the key point. Because even if salvation was by faith alone, it would still be by grace - or else, God would owe you because of your faith. Similarly, Catholics hold that it is by both faith and works but, again, by grace. In both cases, God is gifting (hence “grace”) salvation to us.

(ii) If works had no value towards salvation, I don’t understand what the point of this parable is. If Jesus wanted to say, that we are saved through faith, why even mention works? In fact, it is interesting that he doesn’t mention “faith” or “belief” even once, but uses terms that have to do with works over and over again.


#13

If you want to believe works is salvation then you are sadly mistaken. Because Jesus warns anyone who takes credit for His work done. By belief and or trust do we do. And the work of the Father is to believe. Our work is to believe and according to what we believe or trust we will do, just as a man thinks, is he. If a man doesn’t believe its good to give those people something they were in need of, then the man won’t give them a crust of bread or relief for distress.

Its simple if you do according to your own judgement then how is it that Jesus is your Lord, or how is it that you trust and believe the Lord? By lip service of Lord, Lord? Those who gave to those they knew not to be friend or fo, didn’t do according to their own judgement, hence not judging for them selves what is good and what is evil. Those who would not do according to their own judgement but according to the Lord’s Judgement (in this case Mt:5:43-48) trust, believe God’s Judgements and not their own. As James has said faith without works is no faith at all, but what many try to twist this knowledge with, is self-righteous works of the flesh. Like the Pharisees with their look at me, you should admire me and want to be like me.

The faith is of Christ hence the ability to believe and trust the Lord God. Jesus is the Word of God, correct? Then what is faith without knowing there is a God unless He speak to us? How can one trust what they don’t know is? It was the Presence of the Lord God with Israel that gave them the faith (Abraham’s faith) through out their generations. (Note, God was with Abraham, still is)

If you are familiar with OT history of Israel and their God, this is apparent through out the books.

Therefore if you don’t believe you won’t do, note, religions and many other organizations test for this all the time. As in do you believe or trust what they say. Hence in this case do you believe and trust what the Lord says, if so, then you will do according to His Judgements, and not your own.

Therefore by faith alone (belief and trust) will you do according to the Lord’s Judgements. If you don’t trust the Lord’s Judgements, then He isn’t your Lord.


#14

Hi D Martin, thanks for the reply.

The Catholic Church doesn’t believe you are saved by your works, but by the grace of God. Yes, the initial justification is through faith. However, you need works along with faith for salvation. Jesus says that we need to follow his commands to remain in him, for instance, in John 15. He specifies more than belief - if it were purely belief, why say commands (plural)?

Now, with regards to the parable, as I’ve noted above, there is no mention of faith or belief. There is no suggestion that the sheep believed or were more consciously faithful than the goats were. All we see are deeds done to others (and by extension, to Jesus himself). In fact, the sheep are not referred to as “believers” but “the righteous”, which suggest just or godly behaviour.

I don’t think it’s fair to import a 15th-16th century theology onto the biblical text when it isn’t warranted. If you can show me that Matthew, either in this passage or elsewhere in his Gospel, teaches that salvation is by faith alone and that works only evidence such faith, I will be convinced.

From what I read in this passage, Matthew is saying that we are saved depending on how we treat one another. This, of course, does not mean that our faith is not important nor that we earn salvation. Rather, than God will judge us on our love towards Him and our brothers and sisters.


#15

[quote="jonathan_hili, post:14, topic:317322"]
Hi D Martin, thanks for the reply.

The Catholic Church doesn't believe you are saved by your works, but by the grace of God. Yes, the initial justification is through faith. However, you need works along with faith for salvation. Jesus says that we need to follow his commands to remain in him, for instance, in John 15. He specifies more than belief - if it were purely belief, why say commands (plural)?

Now, with regards to the parable, as I've noted above, there is no mention of faith or belief. There is no suggestion that the sheep believed or were more consciously faithful than the goats were. All we see are deeds done to others (and by extension, to Jesus himself). In fact, the sheep are not referred to as "believers" but "the righteous", which suggest just or godly behaviour.

I don't think it's fair to import a 15th-16th century theology onto the biblical text when it isn't warranted. If you can show me that Matthew, either in this passage or elsewhere in his Gospel, teaches that salvation is by faith alone and that works only evidence such faith, I will be convinced.

[/quote]

So what you are telling me is you do what you don’t believe or trust, is that correct? Where in the concept of one will do what the Lord says for him to do, because he trusts and or believes the Lord Jesus, is in any way contrary to John 15? Where is the statement by the Lord Jesus that the work (in our case) is other than belief? Is seems you see Jn:15 as something other than, where the faith is there is the fruits, and where there is no fruits there is no faith. There is more then that in Jn:15, but the subject is whether salvation requires godly behavior or not.

Also if the Lord Jesus says this:

Jn:6:28: Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29: Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Where in do you get the retention of salvation is a work or works other then belief, since Jesus says the work is believing on Him?


Just where do you think righteousness is from? And it is you who suggests that it is just or godly behavior that imputes righteousness to you. How can what you say be true if this is true?

Rom:3:10: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Hence it is the Lord Jesus Christ that is our righteousness, because righteousness that God recognizes as righteousness doesn’t come from men, nor what they do. And because we believe the Word of God, the name of Jesus Christ, like Abram:

Gen:15:4: And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
5: And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6: And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Gal:3:6: Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

Note here that Abram was in the Presence of the Word of the Lord, and Abram believed and he (the Lord) counted it to him (Abram) for righteousness.

And according to Apostle Paul:

Rom:1:17: For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

It doesn’t say here the just shall live by works or godly behavior. You say that, and I am sure there are some theologies and doctrines that say that, but scripture doesn’t say that.

Paul also continues that by faith is the key to it all works, hence even in Heb:11 it is by faith they who he mentions did. Without believing you cannot please God, you won’t please God and you won’t do what God says. I don’t understand what it is you think faith is, in English it mean simply to believe and or trust. Adam and Eve believed and or trusted what the serpent said, through them placing their faith in the lies, they died. Now by placing one’s faith (believing and trusting) the Lord Jesus Christ one lives.

Rom:3:22: Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Rom:4:5: But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Rom:4:6: Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

Phil:3:9: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Rom:3:20: Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Rom:3:24: Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Rom:3:26: To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

From what I read in this passage, Matthew is saying that we are saved depending on how we treat one another. This, of course, does not mean that our faith is not important nor that we earn salvation. Rather, than God will judge us on our love towards Him and our brothers and sisters.

1Jn:4:19: We love him, because he first loved us.


#16

Pope Benedict XVI on Paul's teaching on Faith and Works

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081119_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081126_en.html (begins abit down the page)


#17

Hi D Martin,

Thank you for the barrage of quotations - none of which, interestingly, is from Matthew! I’m not saying that you are not saved by faith. Yes, we are initially justified by faith through God’s grace. However, ordinarily, that is, in the course of one’s life, the Lord expects of us good works. If we neglect good works or do evil instead, we cannot expect salvation (without repentance and forgiveness, of course) even if we think we have faith.

You say, trust in God - I agree! You say, believe in God - I agree! But… part of this belief and trust is doing good works. Technically, if you really want to say you are saved by faith, fine, I won’t complain, but you can’t say faith alone because the works you do are part of your judgement (again ordinarily, because you may be killed the instant you are baptised, or whatever).

Okay, you ask: “Where is the statement by the Lord Jesus that the work (in our case) is other than belief?”

Here is one, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)

Yes, he says the work we need to do is believe in Him - of course. But we shouldn’t read this passage as restrictive. Or else it makes no sense of Jesus saying things like:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

or

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love…” (John 15:10)

Again, these speak of plural: commandments. If Jesus says that a new commandment for us is to love, then this must go along with faith.

You also say:
“Is seems you see Jn:15 as something other than, where the faith is there is the fruits, and where there is no fruits there is no faith.”

Now, we may be saying the same thing here. I am not saying that good works can be produced without the grace of God or that one can be righteous without the grace of God and the merits of Christ. What I am saying is that explicit faith or belief is not always a condition of good works, and even of salvation. Some can be saved even if they have never heard of Jesus. Yes, where there is true faith, there should be good fruits of this faith: but I don’t think this is what Matthew is on about here.

Again, in this passage there is no mention of faith. If we had to assume that the “sheep” had explicit faith or belief in Jesus, then that means all the goats are unbelievers. But the parable doesn’t say this, and in fact, going back to what Matthew says earlier, (“Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’…”), I think the suggestion is that some will be saved even without knowing Christ (“knowing” in the sense of explicit belief in) because they have lived lives of goodness.

Oh, by the way, using Paul’s use of “works” from Romans is sticky because he is specifically talking about “works of the law”, that is, the Mosaic Law, not works of the natural law.

Catholics don’t believe you earn salvation nor that you are saved by your works. You are saved by what Christ did on the cross and the giftedness (grace) of that merit to mankind. Ordinarily, one needs to believe in Jesus and live a godly life but there are exceptions. I think what Matthew is highlighting through this parable is just that.


#18

jonathan_hili

Most people try to interpret a thing by view, meaning their own. Which seems to be the case, but what is the Lord’s view?

Again where there is faith there is fruits, where there is no faith there is no fruits. If you seek to bear fruits that are of the Lord then it requires faith. If you have the faith that is of the Lord Jesus then you will bear fruits accordingly.

No different then these two you quoted

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

or

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love…” (John 15:10)

One is not without the other, that is what the Lord Jesus is telling us, no different then, you know a tree by its fruits. Not keeping of commandment, no love, keeping of commandment there is love, and he who loves the Lord Jesus is a keeper of the commandment. Therefore showing us His view, or maybe better said Judgement. Our judgements, or views, don’t count at the throne of the Lord our God, though He loves us enough, to hear us out, but this I can assure you of (been there done that), He won’t hear a man that does not listen. And he who don’t love, and have faith in (believe/trust) or hope (have expectations in like Abraham had) the Word of God will not bear fruits, and will not please God.

This I would have to disagree with:

“but you can’t say faith alone because the works you do are part of your judgement (again ordinarily, because you may be killed the instant you are baptized, or whatever).”

This is the very point I am trying to make, in your view your works are according to your own judgement if that is true then your works are not of faith, and are purged away in the fire. If the Lord Jesus tells you He wants you to do something, then of who is the work? And the work isn’t done if you don’t trust what you heard, is it? But if you trust what you heard, “listened” then the work is done do to your belief that what you heard is of God and your trust in God, learning to love God and His fulness because of your relationship with Him. No faith in the Lord God no works according to His Judgement that are the Lord God’s.

Prov:16:11: A just weight and balance are the LORD’s: all the weights of the bag are his work.

Faith in one’s own judgement, are works of one’s self that will not withstand the fire.


1Cor:3:11: For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12: Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13: Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14: If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15: If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Thanks for the replies.


#19

Hi D Martin, again great replies.

I don’t think we disagree that much, because I would agree that any good works done by someone is through the grace of Christ. But I’ve a question:

“Can an unbeliever or someone who does not explicitly know Christ do good works or are good works (in the sense used in this passage from Matthew) only done by those who are conscious believers in Christ?”


#20

Nothing in Matt 25:31-46 need be twisted. We’re judged on our love, and our works or actions are a natural outworking of that love. Faith and love are not the same. Faith can exist without love while love always includes and encompasses such virtues as faith. Our salvation begins with faith but faith must lead on to love or its worthless.


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