Challenge for non catholic christians

Non catholic christians who believe in sola fide…

Please consider this verse

Philippians 2:12

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. "

Using any version of the bible you want, please explain, if you can, how this does not contradict sola fide. If you believe that it does contradict it, explain to me how you can still believe in sola fide, since the bible thus contradicts it.

It doesn’t conflict with sola fide, because sola fide talks about how we are justified, as in Romans 3:28. Phil 2 is speaking to our sanctification. We receive the means of grace - hear the word, confess and receive absolution, receive the sacraments - and display the fruits of our justification through an active faith which shows love to God and our fellow human beings.
Grace alone through faith alone justifies, but faith can never be alone. Those who believe that a simple statement of faith is all they ever need, do not understand the gospel. They fail to read taking up your cross, and caring for the least of his children, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Jon

Jon

This is what I read in the context of the passage that you asked about:

Phil.2: 12 (KJV): Wherefore my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my abscence, ‘work out your own salvation’ with fear and trembling
v. 13 For it is God which ‘worketh in you’ both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
v. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings

    Here I find Paul addressing believers ('my beloved') in Phillippi, exhorting them to 'work out' what God had 'worked in'  v. 14 already, in order to do his good pleasure. It does not read 'work for your salvation' but 'because of your salvation'. And do this without complainings.

As it has been said, this is the process of santification, not justification which is an event, not a process in non-catholic christianity. Different hermeneutics leads to different comprehension of the word of God. I say this but have no intent in being drawn into discussion on any ‘solas’, just pointing out why the verses must be looked in context and have an understanding other that working for salvation.

Don’t you think if Paul was referring to sanctification (hagiazo), he would have used the word sanctification instead of the word salvation (soteria)?

You cannot arbitrarily insert a word or concept into a passage to suit your preconceived notions.

Grace alone through faith alone justifies, but faith can never be alone. Those who believe that a simple statement of faith is all they ever need, do not understand the gospel. They fail to read taking up your cross, and caring for the least of his children, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Jon

Jon

I didn’t. Paul says to "work out your salvation, implying current ownership. It is the “working out… with fear and trembling” part, what we do in response to justification, that is sanctification.

Jon

You did. The doctrine to which you are referring, at least in the way you are applying it eisegetically to this passage, is man-made.

If salvation was something we had secure and permanent ownership of, we wouldn’t have to work it out. Your interpretation of Paul’s statement makes little sense considering in vs. 16 he is concerned that his labor will be for nothing. Why would it be for nothing? Because if the Christians stop working out their salvation, they will no longer have it.

Salvation is spoken of in the past, present, and future tense in the New Testament. Christians experienced it (in regeneration in the waters of Baptism), work it out presently (with fear and trembling), and in the future will be saved from the wrath of God (if we persevere to the end). You can’t have the present without the past, and you can’t have the future without the other two. Salvation is NOT by faith alone. The only time the phrase faith alone appears in the New Testament is a negative statement (i.e. we are not saved by faith alone).

Here I find Paul addressing believers (‘my beloved’) in Phillippi, exhorting them to ‘work out’ what God had ‘worked in’ v. 14 already, in order to do his good pleasure. It does not read ‘work for your salvation’ but ‘because of your salvation’. And do this without complainings.

that is how i understand it also Tito:

Also there is a tendency to just quote that first verse in Philippians 2, when i read it and continue with that 2nd verse, the meaning becomes clear.

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

13 **For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. **

In verse 13, the word FOR means BECAUSE

Our good deeds do not save us.

Any good works that we do is not OUR good works but is God doing a good work in us :slight_smile: Ephesians 2 says that

**Ephesians 2:8-10 **

8 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.

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

And on to the James verses that say faith without works is dead. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his ( Abraham ) works, and by works was faith made perfect?

And one of my favorites Rahab the harlot was a harlot when she believed God. She is justified ( absolved ) b/c she chose to aid God’s men. Remember that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

I read James as this, if you say you have faith in Christ, then you will naturally do good works because it is God in you who does the good work. Conversely there are many who say they believe but they truly don’t they are imposters and God by the HOly Spirit is not in them which is why there are no good works.

Before James said all that he was speaking about even a little sin is a sin and his example of the hungry and you send them away with a blessing but no food, you have sinned you did not show the love of God. If you have the love of God in you, you will love and care for people naturally b/c God is at work in you. Not you doing the work. :slight_smile:

OnlyJesus
I understand it just as you do and your examples are very clear.
Applying the Philippian’s passages ‘work out what God has worked in’ is what both Abraham and Rahab did exactly. And is supported by the Ephesians 2 passages about what we were created to do, good works, which is the purpose for which we were created. About James 2: I find no contradiction between James and Paul; one is faith before God and the other one is faith before men (what James is addressing). The conclusion is that a living faith produces fruit and a dead faith does not. The issue again is that the fruitfulness of our faith is the evidence or testimony for others to see that it is a living faith.
And you are also right in that quoting Phillippians 2:12 and leaving verse 13 out misses the mark of what the apostle Paul is conveying. Thanks OnlyJesus, good explanations.

How does that help your interpretation, exactly? I’ve seen Calvinists redifine words to fit their preconceived notions before, but never seen it applied to this passage. Usually this claim gets applied to Acts 2:38.

Our good deeds do not save us.

Nobody said they do. They are, however, a condition of our salvation, just as faith is. We never would have heard of Abraham had he not obeyed.

Any good works that we do is not OUR good works but is God doing a good work in us :slight_smile: Ephesians 2 says that

**Ephesians 2:8-10 **

8 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.

This is quite clearly referring to who does the initiating in salvation. We do not merit salvation because of some works we do, and God did not send his Son because we earned it. You misunderstand the relationship between faith and works.

If Faith naturally produced works, the Epistles would have been very short letters with no need for explanation or condemnation of sins. Why would Paul need to correct Christians’ behaviors or tell them something was inappropriate if right action was simply a result of having the Holy Spirit?

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

And on to the James verses that say faith without works is dead. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his ( Abraham ) works, and by works was faith made perfect?

And one of my favorites Rahab the harlot was a harlot when she believed God. She is justified ( absolved ) b/c she chose to aid God’s men. Remember that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

I read James as this, if you say you have faith in Christ, then you will naturally do good works because it is God in you who does the good work. Conversely there are many who say they believe but they truly don’t they are imposters and God by the HOly Spirit is not in them which is why there are no good works.

Of course, that’s not what James said.

Before James said all that he was speaking about even a little sin is a sin and his example of the hungry and you send them away with a blessing but no food, you have sinned you did not show the love of God. If you have the love of God in you, you will love and care for people naturally b/c God is at work in you. Not you doing the work. :slight_smile:

Again, if this was the case, we’d find much shorter and simpler lessons in the Epistles of the New Testament. They would look like this:

*Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus, to the church in Ephesus:

Just have faith, and the Holy Spirit will make you do everything you need to do. Amen.*

=ckempston;5247511]
Nobody said they do. They are, however, a condition of our salvation, just as faith is. We never would have heard of Abraham had he not obeyed.

Now you are talking of sanctification. Works are a condition of our salvation, in that they are evidence of the faith that justifies. If we continue in disobedience, it drives the Holy SPirit out, and our faith is a dead faith.

This is quite clearly referring to who does the initiating in salvation. We do not merit salvation because of some works we do, and God did not send his Son because we earned it. You misunderstand the relationship between faith and works.

If Faith naturally produced works, the Epistles would have been very short letters with no need for explanation or condemnation of sins. Why would Paul need to correct Christians’ behaviors or tell them something was inappropriate if right action was simply a result of having the Holy Spirit?

Couldn’t agree more. True faith *should *produce good works, but Christians need guidance, which is why we have the Scriptures and the Church which provides us the means of Grace. This is where we work out our salvation in fear and trembling. This is where our faith becomes an active faith. If you choose to say that we must in this way cooperate in our salvation, it is in our sanctification that we do so.

Jon

Do the 2nd and 3rd verses quoted merely state that it is God who works in us “to will and to do” the things that he wants, so we certainly shouldn’t complain about doing what He expects us to do?

I don’t see how those lines change the meaning of the first. They certainly don’t say that the “to do” part is optional or to no effect.

The next 3 quoted verses say that God created us for a purpose and that purpose is to do his will. Though he expects us to do his will, these works cannot alone save us, because we can’t save ourselves. Without God there is no salvation, not because doing God’s will counts for nothing, but because mere man is incapable of doing what God does, save.

All the good works in the world won’t save you of themselves. You don’t have the ability, no matter how much good you do, to save yourself. God saves.

But does this necessarily mean that we don’t need to “work out our salvation”? If so, why? How does man’s inability to save himself mean that he doesn’t have to work out his salvation?

It seems that many take that simple concept - that man is incapable of saving himself - to mean that “works” have no effect, that God is talking simply to give a suggestion that we can choose to follow or not, and either way it doesn’t matter.

I think that the big issue here is that, from a Protestant perspective, Catholics confuse justification and sanctification. Article IV of the Baptist Faith and Message gives the Baptist view of the relationship between justification and sanctification.

Works come from a person who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and justified by faith and is part of sanctification.

What happens if we don’t cooperate in our sanctification?

People do good works without being regenerated all the time. Evidence the centurion in Acts whose gifts to the poor went up as a memorial offering to God (Acts 10). You get regenerated in a valid water Baptism with the intention and understanding that you are having your sins forgiven therein. Baptists, afaik, don’t do this; it would seem to me that they are the confused ones.

Eventually we stop growing in grace, the Holy Spirit is driven out, and we loose that saving faith. It becomes a dead faith, and a dead faith cannot save.

Jon

I agree, with some reservation, with what you say here; I mostly take issue with your use of the word “eventually”, but not necessarily because it’s not true, but because it is often misconstrued by “Christians” to be a license for continuing in sin or not doing the work of God. “Eventually” is where Satan wants to keep us. Satan is subtle. He doesn’t want us to stop going to church. He doesn’t even want us to stop doing good. He “parades as an angel of light.” He simply wants us to be “pretty good” Christians instead of being disciples daily. That is my problem with the theology of guys like Luther and Calvin (and Catholics for that matter) - they gave/give people license to be “pretty good” Christians, when this is not what Jesus demanded at all.

Luke 9:23-24 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

You MUST take up your cross DAILY and follow Jesus.

I believe that we are saved by grace, through faith; when we accept Jesus into our heart, as our personal Saviour! It is because of this surrender, that we are inspired to do the work that God has designed for each and every one of us!:thumbsup::thumbsup:

Please point to “accepting Jesus into your heart as your personal Savior” in the Bible.

I would not argue with your reservation, except to say that clearly we are incapable to walk in His ways all the time. We sin, sometimes gravely, and the Spirit does not desert us in that instant. He gives us time to confess, and come back to Him. It is not an excuse to fall away intentionally, but He is patient. That’s what I meant by eventually.

I don’t know that much about Calvin to characterize him, but I would be curious as to why you think Luther, (and Catholics) give license to not be the best Christian possible.

Jon

One thing I have always wondered about regarding your POV; you say saved by Grace through faith, then you say *you accept *Jesus into your heart, which makes it sound like you are performing a good work. I guess it is the Lutheran in me which says that without Grace I am not even capable of faith. Even faith is a gift of Grace. So, therefore, I cannot accept Jesus into my heart, but instead receive Him. It is a passive faith. The active faith - sanctification - that ckempston and I have been discussing, leads us to good works, and receiving the sacraments which helps us grow in grace.

Scripture also tells us that we must be Baptized as well. Do you believe this to be the case?
Jon

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