"Faith alone" means Jesus died for nothing!


#1

The teaching the apostles handed down on salvation
is that salvation is: “this great gift of God which is liberation from everything that oppresses man but which is above all liberation from sin and the Evil One, in the joy of knowing God and being known by Him, of seeing Him, and of being given over to Him.” Evangelium nuntiandi

Scripture is a witness to this teaching.

“He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,”** Luke 4:18. **

                              "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. " **Matthew 20: 28**
                               To ransom means to free a slave, prisoner, or a captive for a price.   By His suffering and death out of love, Jesus earned the grace that frees us from being a slave to sin, from being a prisoner to sin, from being a captive to sin, from being blinded by sin, from being oppressed by sin.
                               “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

John 8:36

"Our old self was crucified with him so that…we might no longer be enslaved to sin"
Romans 6:6

16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 16-23

Therefore the Church teaches that the PRIMARY meaning of salvation is to be set free from the slavery of sin, starting here and NOW, not just in the next life.
Adam lost original grace, thus man become inclined to evil, inclined to sin, thus we became slaves to sin, prisoners to sin. Jesus, the new Adam, reversed what Adam has done, and He has merited the grace that frees us from the slavery of sin, that ransoms us from being prisoners, to sin, so that we can obey Him and share in His life. Of course we receive this grace, from the sacraments, also from prayer, mortification, obedience. Since the Law of Moses could not confer this grace, then the Law could not save anyone, that is, it could not give the grace which frees man from the inclination to sin, from the slavery to sin.
The man-made tradition that “faith alone” is sufficient means that Jesus died for nothing. Because if Jesus died to free us from the slavery of sin, and if sin can no longer keep us out of heaven, and if sin does NOT separate us from God, then
Jesus died uselessly.
Why suffer and die to free us from the slavery of sin, if sin makes no difference to our salvation?

Therefore the doctrine of “faith alone” makes void the cross of Christ. Jesus suffered and died for naught.


#2

I am afraid that your argument makes no sense to me at all. How does faith alone deny that we are freed from sin? Salvation is a gift received by the grace of God. Faith alone is how we accept the gift. However it does not affect the nature of the gift. If Jesus did not die to save us and free us from sin then there is no gift to accept. It is faith in Jesus, His sacrifice and ressurection for the forgiveness of our sins that is required. Nothing says that sin doesn’t matter. Being freed we will be able to do things pleasing to God and resist the temptation to sin. All of this though is still accepted by faith alone but not a faith that is alone.


#3

It’s not just Faith alone. While it is Faith that saves you, that Faith is dead (useless) with out works.

For just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
James 2:26


#4

Faith alone is the doctrine that sin cannot separate us from God. Faith alone is the doctrine that we cannot lose our salvation, (freedom from the inclination to sin), by committing sin. But, if we commit sin, we are no longer free from sin. Then why did Jesus suffer and die to free us from sin, if it makes no difference if we sin?

Faith alone means Jesus died for nothing.


#5

Let me restate dcdurel’s argument (this may be a completely different argument!):

If sin can be dealt with through forensic justification, it follows that the problem posed by sin and dealt with by Christ is a purely legal one. Christ’s atoning work was necessary because God’s justice would not let Him simply forgive us.

I think that dcdurel is working from the assumption that Christ’s saving work must have actually had something to do with making us holy–getting rid of our actual sin and not simply the legal imputation of sin. But if Christ in fact died to save us from our actual sins, then we cannot be said to be truly saved until we are actually freed from sin, and not simply forgiven for our sins.

In other words, I think dcdurel is pointing to a disconnect between the Protestant doctrine of atonement and the classical Protestant doctrine of sanctification. If those two aren’t connected, then doesn’t salvation simply become a piece of legal trickery?

This is not a valid argument against all forms of Protestantism. But I think it is a valid argument against some forms.

Edwin


#6

Faith alone has nothing to do with being able to lose our salvation or not. That is the Calvinst doctrine of perseverance of the saints, commonly known as Once Saved Always Saved. Habitual sin certainly can separate us from God in that we either never truly believed or have lost our faith. It seems that you see freedom from sin as inability to sin. Correct me if I am wrong on this. That we are freed from slavery to sin does not mean that we will not sin. That is why John tells us in his first epistle that if we do sin we have a mediator with God, namely Jesus. Does Catholicism teach that commiting a sin means that Jesus has not freed us freed us from the slavery of sin? Even if a Catholic commits a mortal sin, it does not mean he is a slave to sin because he can still repent of that sin and confess, which a slave to sin would not do.


#7

His argument though is phrased in terms of faith alone and not the nature of justification. I think that most Protestants would agree that upon regeneration our sins are actually forgiven and we are given a new nature by which we are not slaves to sin. However we can still sin and so cannot be said to be completely holy or righteous. Hence the forensic nature of justification. Sanctification relates both to regeneration whereby our new nature resists the remnant of our sinful nature that remains and to justification as evidence that it is right to view us as righteous.


#8

Makes sense! :thumbsup:


#9
 Sure we can still sin after we have been saved, (freed from the inclination to sin), but all we have to do is repent.

And since we now have a new nature and the right to heaven after we have received the grace of salvation, after repentance we regain that right to heaven.

Luther wrote (Weimar ed.vol
2, p. 371; Letters I, "Luther’s Works,"
American ed. vol 48, p. 282: “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly… No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.”

 Again, we come back to the problem.  If Jesus suffered and died to save us from our sins, that is, to free us from the slavery of sin, then the doctrine of salvation by faith alone means Jesus died for nothing. If "No sin will separate us from the Lamb" then Jesus suffered and died for nothing. 

Jesus came to give his life a ransom for many. "
**Matthew 20: 28
**This means that that He gave his life to free us from being a prisoner to sin, since ransom is something of value given to free a prisoner. But, what is the point in freeing us from being a prisoner to sin, if “No sin will separate us from the Lamb.”

Thus, salvation by faith alone, means Jesus died for nothing.

If we study this how Luther got around this, he did so by changing the primary meaning of salvation from liberation from sin, or from freedom to the slavery of sin, to
final salvation alone
or justification alone.
But, final salvation and justification is only part of salvation. Jesus did much more than simply justify us, or atone for our sins, or give us the right to heaven. The primary reason He suffered and died was to free us from the slavery of sin NOW, in this life. He gave Himself as a ransom, to free us now. Ransom has nothing to do with atonement, or justification, or being declared righteous. Ransom means we are no longer prisoners. Ransom means that Jesus freed us from our inclinations to sin, by grace through the sacraments, that we are no longer considered to be prisoners.
It is true that in the process of freeing us from the slavery of sin, this grace also justifies us. BUT, the primary meaning of salvation is NOT justification or atonement but "liberation from everything that oppresses us, especially sin."
Even the prayer that comes down from the apostles says, “by your cross and resurrection you have set us free, you are the savior of the world.”

Savior means one who sets free. Save means to be set free.
Savior does NOT mean justifier. Savior does NOT mean atonner. Savior means one who sets us free. Free from the slavery of sin.
Simply to be declared righteous, even then we are still full of sin, and still full of the inclination to sin, does NOT mean we are set free from the slavery of sin.
Thus, the primary reason Jesus came was to “save us”, to set us free, and thus He is called our Savior. All this is setting us free from the slavery of sin, all this ransoming, all this salvation is meaningless if “No sin will separate us from the Lamb” as Martin Luther taught.

Thus, the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, that “no sin will separate us from the Lamb”, means Jesus died for nothing.


#10

This quote has been referred to many times on these forums and it is constantly pointed out that the nature of the letter and context is important. If we can ignore context then we could say that the Catholic Church claims to be built on Satan because Jesus Himself calls Peter Satan.

Advocates of faith alone do not advocate antinomianism and neither did Luther. However even if he did, Luther was not infallible and neither are his writings.

For example, Luther also wrote:

In chapter 6, St. Paul takes up the special work of faith, the struggle which the spirit wages against the flesh to kill off those sins and desires that remain after a person has been made just. He teaches us that faith doesn’t so free us from sin that we can be idle, lazy and self-assured, as though there were no more sin in us. Sin is there, but, because of faith that struggles against it, God does not reckon sin as deserving damnation. Therefore we have in our own selves a lifetime of work cut out for us; we have to tame our body, kill its lusts, force its members to obey the spirit and not the lusts. We must do this so that we may conform to the death and resurrection of Christ and complete our Baptism, which signifies a death to sin and a new life of grace. Our aim is to be completely clean from sin and then to rise bodily with Christ and live forever.

ccel.org/ccel/luther/romans/files/romans.html

Or perhaps we should hold Catholics to the same standards you seem to impose on Protestant beliefs from the words of Luther.

Let us look at Pope Pius XII. In his enyclical Fulgens Corona he wrote:

  1. But where - as is the case in almost all dioceses, there exists a church in which the Virgin Mother of God is worshipped with more intense devotion, thither on stated days let pilgrims flock together in great numbers and publicly and in the open give glorious expression to their common Faith and their common love toward the Virgin Most Holy. We have no doubt that this will be done in an especial manner at the Grotto of Lourdes, where there is such ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary conceived without stain of sin.
  1. But let this holy city of Rome be the first to give the example, this city which from the earliest Christian era worshipped the heavenly mother, its patroness, with a special devotion.

vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_08091953_fulgens-corona_en.html

Here we have a statement from a modern Pope that Catholics worship Mary, and this taken from the Vatican’s own site. Surely if Protestants are to be bound by Luther’s statements, then Catholics, despite all their protests to the contrary, must be taken to worship Mary for the Pope acknowledges it and tells them to do so.

I recognize that this is not a infallible papal pronouncement and, despite what he says in it, that Catholics do not worship Mary. I would hope you could see the same with respect to proponents of faith alone and Luther’s statement you quote.


#11

Sy Carl: Did the followers of Jesus who left in John chapter 6 have faith in Jesus?


#12

Yet, the quote you gave to show that Luther said Christians should obey God does nothing to contradict his clear doctrine, taught over and over, not just once, but upon which is built his whole faith, that in the end sin cannot separate us from God. I just gave one quote. If you have a less extreme quote I will use that. I have certainly seen worse quotes of his about Moses and the commandments. I never denied the fact that all Protestant denominations teach that Christians should obey God, that they should all live holy lives. But, in the end it comes to the same thing, and that is that “faith alone” means that no sin can separate us from God, that obedience to God is not necessary. From these teachings other errors come, thus some teach it is not necessary to repent, others teach that if we obey the commandments with the intention of pleasing God so as to enter heaven, then we are sinning because we are performing “works salvation”.

 As for the writings where a Pope said we should "worship" Mary, everyone knows that in the older use of language worship was taken to mean honor given to Mary, and not  honor  given to God.   Everyone knows that the Catholic Church teaches Mary is NOT God, thus it is impossible to give her the honor due to God alone. And everyone knows that Jesus did not consider Peter to actually be Satan, but was only acting like Satan at that particular time.

It is not like that with the doctrine of “faith alone”. Luther was clear, that keeping the commandments were NOT necessary for salvation. To keep them was commendable, a great thing, worthy of Christians, the highest goal, but still NOT necessary for our salvation.

The Church teaches and Jesus and Paul make it clear that the primary reason Jesus suffered and died, was NOT to justify us, was NOT to atone for our sins, was NOT so we could enter heaven, but to free us from the slavery of sin. All these other things He also did, but they were NOT the primary reason He became man. He became man for our Salvation, which means to free us from everything that oppresses us, especially sin and the power of the devil. To save us from our sins, means to free us from the slavery of sin. Savior means one who saves, that is one who frees us from the inclination to sin.

In order to justify his teachings, Luther used the word salvation and save to almost always refer to final salvation, or justification. ALL protestants pick up that idea when they interpret the word “save” in scripture to refer to a one time event, or to assurance of final salvation. When they teach
"How to get to heaven" they typically quote something like this
**** If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus**, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED. (Romans 10:9)**

They have been influenced by Luther to understand the word “saved” to refer to final salvation or assurance of final salvation, instead of the correct meaning, which is that we will be freed from the slavery of sin. Because to believe Jesus meant to believe the Gospel He taught, and Jesus said we could learn His Gospel ONLY through His Church, not through the bible. His Church teaches we receive the grace that frees us from the slavery of sin, first through baptism and then the other sacraments, especially the Eucharist, (which continues the work of salvation) as the Church teaches and through prayer, mortification, etc. The saints prayed 5 hours a day, NOT because they were holy, but because it took that much prayer to free them from their own desires, so that they could do God’s work.


#13

Go over my OP. I only gave one quote from the Church. There are many, many others of the Church to show that the primary meaning of salvation is liberation, especially liberation from sin. JP II was very very insistent on this meaning as one of the primary reasons to follow Christ. Of course this liberation starts in this life and the final goal is heaven, but still the meaning of salvation is to free us from the slavery of sin.
Study the scripture quotes of Jesus and Paul on how they understood salvation and the word save. Look up the meaning of the word “ransom” and redeem. They do NOT refer to final salvation. They refer to freeing prisoners, buying us back from our state of bondage.
Thus, I repeat again. If Jesus same for our salvation, that is, for our liberation from the slavery of sin, then the doctrine of faith alone, meaning that sin cannot separate us from God, because Jesus came to “cover up our sins” and not remove them, **makes void the cross of Christ.
**
Why did Jesus go through that horrible suffering and death to free us from the slavery of sin, if sin cannot separate us from God?

Thus the doctrine of faith alone makes void the cross of Christ.

The only way one can reconcile this doctrine is to do what Luther did, to make the primary meaning of salvation to be going to heaven.

This incorrect meaning is so pervasive, that it even spread to the Baltimore Catechism, where it teaches that the primary reason Jesus became man was to “open the gates of heaven”.
It spread to the Baltimore Catechism, because the theologians and bishops of that time understood it this way, as most still do today.

This if false. This is only a secondary reason. No where does the Church teach that the primary reason Jesus became man was to open the gates of heaven. The primary reason Jesus became man was to free us from the slavery of sin.

The Church teaches that the kernel and center of the Gospel is Salvation, this great gift which is liberation from everything that oppresses us, especially sin and the power of the devil, in giving ourselves over to Him.

Catholics can’t evangelize because they bought into this false meaning promoted by Luther. Every where faith and works is discussed, it is always with this false understanding in which which salvation is always understood as primarily meaning final salvation. Of course Catholics teach that it is a process, but they still miss the primary meaning, the meaning which would clear up what St. Paul was speaking about, if they understood that the primary meaning of salvation is freedom from the slavery of sin, meaning Jesus came to take away our inclination to sin, to evil, and to give us a love of Him, so that we can share in His life by doing His will.

I repeat, the reason Catholics can’t evangelize is because most have been taught this false doctrine, the doctrine that the primary reason Jesus became man and suffered and died was so that we could go to heaven. If that is believed, then the primary purpose of the mass is made void. The primary purpose of the mass is to make present the work of salvation. But if salvation means that Jesus opened the gates of heaven, then why is this salvation made present? It has already been accomplished. This is the reason so few Catholics go to mass.
But, when the correct meaning of salvation is taught, that is, to free us from the slavery of sin, then the mass becomes important. Because the greatest source of grace, the grace Jesus merited by His suffering and death and resurrection, is made available through the Eucharistic sacrifice. This grace is made available through the mass to free us from the slavery of sin, to free us from the inclination to sin, to remove the bondage of sin, to ransom us from being prisoners to sin and to give us a love of Him so that we can do His will, and share in His life.

Thus faith alone, and the false doctrine that Jesus came primarily to suffer and die so we can go to heaven, not only makes void the cross of Christ, it makes void the mass, the sacraments, prayer, etc.


#14

I still cannot see how “Faith Alone” makes void the cross of Jesus. Salvation is not a simple concept and it involves a great deal, put being with Christ in Heaven is a major part of it.I will not throw out a bunch of Bible quotes but Jesus talks much about eternal life and being with Him in Heaven. Paul talks about being with Christ and the glorification of our bodies. The ultimate end of the salavation process is to be with Christ in Heaven and, yes, salvation is a process that will not be completed in this life. But even if the whole of salavtion was eternal life with Christ in Heaven, it would not make void the cross of Jesus.

We are all sinners. What do we deserve but damantion? What else gives us the opportunity to go to Heaven but the death of Christ on the cross? No death on the cross means no forgiveness of sins and no Heaven. So even if salvation is solely going to Heaven it does not void the cross of Jesus. Why can we go to Heaven but that Jesus died for our sins? That by itself gives meaning to the cross of Jesus. By grace we are given the free offer of salvation, including enternal life, solely because of Jesus’ sacrifice. We accept that offer through faith but faith does not save us. Only Jesus sacrifice saves us; faith is how we claim the benefits. So no, the cross of Jesus is not made void.

But as indicated, salvation is indeed a process. Eternal life in Heaven is only the final part, which many Protestants have called glorification. But before glorification come regeneration, justification and sanctification.

By regeneration our sins are forgiven and we are given a new nature that is capable of truly doing things that are pleasing to God. We are freed from the slavery to sin and our sins are forgiven us. Why can we be reborn except that Jesus died for us? So regeneration does not void the cross of Christ; it relies on it.

In justification we are viewed as righteous by God, even though there is a remnant of our sinful nature still in us and we are not totally righteous. But by Christ’s total obediance, even to death on the cross, we are treated as if we were what we have not yet truly become. Justification does not make void the cross of Christ; it relies on it.

In sanctification we struggle against the sinful impulses that remain in us and strive to love God and to love others as we do ouselves. How are we able to do this? Only because by His death on the cross Jesus has freed us from slavery to sin and obtained for us the Holy Spirit. Yes we can still sin but those sins wll be forgiven us. Why are they forgiven us except that we repent of them and Christ is our mediator and advocate. He is this because of His death on the cross and we are forgiven for His sake. Even though we can never become perfect in this life because Christ’s death freed us from slavery of sin we can and must try to be. Sanctification does not make void the cross of Christ; it relies on it.

The whole of salvation is possible because of God’s grace and Christ’s death on the cross. We lay claim to this treasure by faith. We are not saved by faith but accept the gift through it. Will sin separate us from God? Not if we repent and seek forgiveness. If we have faith, will we do good works? Certainly but we do not accept the gift through our works. Rather they are made possible by the gift accepted through faith and are the evidence of it.

This was Luther’s point, not that we should sin but, that however heinous a sin we commit it cannot separate us from Jesus if we trust in Him and repent. Luther was clearly engaging in hyperbole. He clearly could not think that Melancthon, or anybody else, would murder or commit adultery a thousand times a day.


#15

Quote:
33. But where - as is the case in almost all dioceses, there exists a church in which the Virgin Mother of God is worshipped with more intense devotion, thither on stated days let pilgrims flock together in great numbers and publicly and in the open give glorious expression to their common Faith and their common love toward the Virgin Most Holy. We have no doubt that this will be done in an especial manner at the Grotto of Lourdes, where there is such ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary conceived without stain of sin.

  1. But let this holy city of Rome be the first to give the example, this city which from the earliest Christian era worshipped the heavenly mother, its patroness, with a special devotion.

It would be interesting to know just what Latin word or phrase was translated to give us “worshipped” in this quote. I cannot recall even in the days of Pius XII, who died when I was a senior in high school, that we ever worshipped Mary as we worshipped God. We certainly had a lot of devotion to her, but worship? Please!

I also think that dcdurel has a complete misunderstanding of what the Catholic Church means by the phrase “saved by Faith alone.” There may be some non-Catholic churches that understand it differently, so which context is dcdurel talking about, because what he is claiming makes no sense in a Catholic context.


#16

I don’t know Latin so I wouldn’t be able to tell. I don’t known if there is a Latin translation on the Vatican website. I should emphasize that I am not saying that Catholics worship Mary, but quoted it to show that quotes from wharever side should not be taken out of context to the letter they are found in or the rest of a person’s teaching. I assume though that since it is on the Vatican website that it was translated properly.


#17

The doctrine of faith alone teaches that sin cannot separate us from God, because Jesus “covers up” our sins. We still have sins, but they are “covered up.” Thus, even though we still have sin, God just declares us righteous. Thus no sin in the world can cause us to lose our salvation. This is what Luther taught over and over.** If sin does make a difference to our salvation, THEN this becomes Catholic Church teaching.
** Then it is no longer the doctrine of “faith alone”.

Now, the fact is that the Church teaches that Jesus suffered and died and rose to free us from the slavery of sin, to free us from the inclination to sin, to take away our concupisence, to free us from the bondage of sin, to give us liberty to serve Him, to let those oppressed by their slavery to sin to go free.

Jesus and St. Paul teach exactly the same thing.

“He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,”** Luke 4:18. **

                              "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. " **Matthew 20: 28**
                               To ransom means to free a slave, prisoner, or a captive for a price. By His suffering and death out of love, Jesus earned the grace that frees us from being a slave to sin, from being a prisoner to sin, from being a captive to sin, from being blinded by sin, from being oppressed by sin.

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
John 8:36
"Our old self was crucified with him so that…we might no longer be enslaved to sin"
Romans 6:6

22 "But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 22-23

But, if sin cannot separate us from God, if sin makes no difference to our salvation, as Luther teaches then WHY DID JESUS SUFFER AND DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH TO FREE US FROM THE SLAVERY OF SIN? Why did Jesus free us from the slavery of sin, if sin cannot separate us from God. If God only declares us righteous, but we are still as filthy rags on the inside, then Why did Jesus suffer and die to free us from the slavery to these sins? It does not make sense.
Thus the doctrine of faith alone makes void the cross of Christ.

Again, If no sin can separate us from Christ, then it was pointless of Jesus to suffer and die and rise again to merit the grace which frees us from the slavery of sin.


#18

Sin separates us from God. That is the very reason that faith can save us. If we have faith but Jesus did not die on the cross then that faith would have no effect. Since faith can only save us because Jesus died on the cross, it is impossible to say that believing in faith alone makes Jesus’ scarifice pointless.

If we freely sin then we have never truly believed. If we truly repent then there is no sin so great that it cannot be forgiven through Christ’s death on the cross. If I say that I have faith but continue to live as a slave to sin then, whatever I may think I have, it is not faith.


#19

A typical Protestant tract tells
"How to get to heaven"

Acts 16:30 What must I do to be saved? They said, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.

Notice how the word “saved” is interpreted to be going to heaven, instead of to be “freed from the slavery to sin”.

This is how the Protestant doctrine of “faith alone” can only be promoted. It is done by changing the primary meaning of the word “salvation” from meaning “freedom to the slavery of sin” to “going to heaven”, or justification, or final salvation.

Thus, the cross of Christ is made void.

And practical secularists (believers who act like secularists) no longer have a need for God. They either all believe in Jesus, thus they are “saved” (going to heaven), or God is so good that he would never send anyone to hell.

They don’t realize that once they get caught in the slavery of sin, that Jesus did not come to condemn them for their sins, but to free them from the slavery of sin. That is why He suffered and died. That is why He founded His Church, to make available this grace, through the sacraments, prayer, mortification, that frees us from the slavery of sin.

The whole reason for Jesus becoming man was to free us from our bondage to sin, so that we can be free to love God and love our neighbor and in the end be in heaven with God.


#20

You seem to have a rather distorted view of faith alone different from any I have seen. I don’t know where you got that “typical Protestant tract” statement but I have never been to any church that says that you can freely sin. Even Calvin in his Institutes on the Christian Religion recognizes sanctification as an essential part of salvation. He links it directly to the concept of regeneration in the sense that we constantly strive to be like Jesus.

I fail to see how the common Protestant practice of confessing directly to God makes Jesus’ cross void any more than the Catholic confession to a priest does. You may disagree with the form the confession takes but both involve confession to God and relying on Jesus’ sacrifice for forgiveness.

Looking for example at the Westminster Confession of Faith, we see that the freeing from the dominion of sin is clearly set out.

  1. **When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He freeth him from his natural bondage under sin; and, by His grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; **yet so, that by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil. (Chapter IX, 4)
  1. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them, the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. (Chapter XIII, 1)
  1. Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the Gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.
  1. By it, a sinner, out of the sight and sense not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature, and righteous law of God; and upon the apprehension of His mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins, as to turn from them all unto God, purposing and endeavouring to walk with Him in all the ways of His commandments.
  1. Although repentance be not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act of God’s free grace in Christ; yet it is of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.
  1. As there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great, that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.
  1. Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man’s duty to endeavour to repent of his particular sins, particularly.
  1. As every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon thereof; upon which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy; so, he that scandalizeth his brother, or the Church of Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or publick confession, and sorrow for his sin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended, who are thereupon to be reconciled to him, and in love to receive him. (Chapter XV)
  1. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will, and to do, of His good pleasure: yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.
  1. Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in Him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreproveable in God’s sight; but that He, looking upon them in His Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections. (Chapter XVI 3 & 6)

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