Faith and Works

I would first say that James is not talking about appearances before men, but about salvation, justification before God. That’s why he says earlier, “What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?” The implication is obviously that faith without works is unable to save a man.

Thank you for your answers. I’m sorry I have not been able to respond in a timely manner.
Many great responses, it clears up many questions.

Not speaking for bobnj, but I would assume he would agree that what you state would not be the Lutheran view.

From our confessions:

  1. We believe, teach, and confess also that all men, but those especially who are born again and renewed by the Holy Ghost, are bound to do good works.

9] 4. In this sense the words necessary, shall, and must are employed correctly and in a Christian manner also with respect to the regenerate, and in no way are contrary to the form of sound words and speech.

10] 5. Nevertheless, by the words mentioned, necessitas, necessarium, necessity and necessary, if they be employed concerning the regenerate, not coercion, but only due obedience is to be understood, which the truly believing, so far as they are regenerate, render not from coercion or the driving of the Law, but from a voluntary spirit; because they are no more under the Law, but under grace, Rom. 6:14; 7:6; 8:14.

11] 6. Accordingly, we also believe, teach, and confess that when it is said: The regenerate do good works from a free spirit, this is not to be understood as though it is at the option of the regenerate man to do or to forbear doing good when he wishes, and that he can nevertheless retain faith if he intentionally perseveres in sins.

Bound here meaning more than just certain, be also required.
Further, we teach that it is not an option to not do good works, for failing to do good works, which is “love our neighbor”, is perseverance in sin.

Additionally, from Martin Luther’s commentary on Galatians:

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.

Faith must of course be sincere. It must be a faith that performs good works through love. If faith lacks love it is not true faith. Thus the Apostle bars the way of hypocrites to the kingdom of Christ on all sides. He declares on the one hand, “In Christ Jesus circumcision availeth nothing,” i.e., works avail nothing, but faith alone, and that without any merit whatever, avails before God. On the other hand, the Apostle declares that without fruits faith serves no purpose. To think, “If faith justifies without works, let us work nothing,” is to despise the grace of God. Idle faith is not justifying faith. In this terse manner Paul presents the whole life of a Christian. Inwardly it consists in faith towards God, outwardly in love towards our fellow-men.

Jon

Romans 10:9 That 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 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Would it be possible to receive some more answers to this question?
Thanks!

What Luther is stating is this , grace alone through faith alone saves , and works are the necessary fruits of conversion , let me put it like this , we are saved without doing works , but now that we are saved we are bound to do works .

Yep.

Jon

I’m no expert of Lutheran theology but this is very similar to what the Catholic Church teaches. Our salvation comes through faith and works, not faith alone nor works alone. I believe our faith helps us to want to do works.

I think where people get hung up is what are “works”? God may just ask that you be a good parent, child, sibling, spouse or whatever. Maybe God calls us to be our best at our job. Works are not always labor intensive acts or even difficult acts. They just have to be done with a willing heart and great love.

Interpret Matthew 25:31-46.

Christ I am pretty sure could have just said to the sheep I say enter into the Kingdom that has been prepared for you…for you had Faith in me.

He does not even mention faith in that entire Gospel reading. Seems to me that if FAITH ALONE is the essential aspect He would have mentioned it.

No, in fact what He does point out is that the TRUE FAITHFUL will ask…WHEN DID WE EVER SEE YOU OR FEED YOU?

Now, most Christians (especially devout faithful followers) know that verse very well. So, I am wondering who these people are that are going to be asking that question.

The bottom line here is Christ will have the LAST WORD. Not us.

Two things did not happen at Calvary that I think is essential to point out. Especially to those of protestant faiths.

One…Jesus did not take away our free will. There is no glory with out or free will and life is about the GREATER GLORY of God manifested through the death and resurrection of the Lord and redemption of fallen man.

Two, Jesus did not give man the last word.

All judgement has been given to Him. So, when Christ says, I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH IN THE LIFE, NO MAN COMES TO THE FATHER BUT THROUGH ME…

He is emphasizing that it is Him who will be the decider. He will choose whomever He chooses. He will show mercy on anyone He so chooses.

Romans chapter 9 reiterates this.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. He did not say blessed are the merciful Christians…

He said the merciful. We should NOT presume anything, and we should not judge anyone. Something else He told us not to do.

I am hoping some of these things help. You are searching.

=CatholicKnight3;13365972]Interpret Matthew 25:31-46.

Christ I am pretty sure could have just said to the sheep I say enter into the Kingdom that has been prepared for you…for you had Faith in me.

He does not even mention faith in that entire Gospel reading. Seems to me that if FAITH ALONE is the essential aspect He would have mentioned it.

Does Christ mention faith anywhere else?

No, in fact what He does point out is that the TRUE FAITHFUL will ask…WHEN DID WE EVER SEE YOU OR FEED YOU?

Now, most Christians (especially devout faithful followers) know that verse very well. So, I am wondering who these people are that are going to be asking that question.

Amen!! From a Luther perspective, those works are bound to be their, and not just bound in the meaning of sure, or certain, but required. Luther says, without works, faith serves no purpose.
Faith alone simply means that it is only by faith that we can access justification. By no other means, can we do so. Good works do not access justification. Faith does, faith that works through love.

The bottom line here is Christ will have the LAST WORD. Not us.

Amen.

Two things did not happen at Calvary that I think is essential to point out. Especially to those of protestant faiths.

One…Jesus did not take away our free will. There is no glory with out or free will and life is about the GREATER GLORY of God manifested through the death and resurrection of the Lord and redemption of fallen man.

Two, Jesus did not give man the last word.

On number one, of course Christ did not take away our free will. We can choose even after justification, to reject His grace.

One number two, absolutely!

All judgement has been given to Him. So, when Christ says, I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH IN THE LIFE, NO MAN COMES TO THE FATHER BUT THROUGH ME…

He is emphasizing that it is Him who will be the decider. He will choose whomever He chooses. He will show mercy on anyone He so chooses.

Romans chapter 9 reiterates this.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. He did not say blessed are the merciful Christians…

He said the merciful. We should NOT presume anything, and we should not judge anyone. Something else He told us not to do.

I am hoping some of these things help. You are searching.

Sounds good to me.

Jon

Christ does talk about Faith sure. However, in that verse Matthew 25:31-46, it seems that there are those who are SERVING Christ who do not know that they are SERVING CHRIST. Are those who are serving Christ, who do not know they are serving Christ, have faith in Christ? I am just trying to figure out which devout faithful bible believing Christians do not know they are serving Christ. Cause it does say they will be asking, WHEN DID WE DO THESE THINGS FOR YOU? I am wondering who these people are that are going to be asking that.

What does Blessed are the merciful mean? Is it a specific group of people? What does it mean to be MERCIFUL? Only merciful Christians? Does any biblical translation say that that it says BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL CHRISTIANS? Where?

In reading this thread, I see a subject often discussed here ar CAF.

It seems some points are missed.

We are redeemed, saved, sanctified, made holy, become a holy people by the grace of God thru faith…not of works lest any man should boast . It is not eaened, worked for, bergained for or sold. It is a gift of mercy, grace, love and hope to us by God thru Christ.

We are changed, regenerated, made alive in Christ…we are “new creations”, we have a regenerated spirit, we are now in dwelled by the Holy Spirit.

Good works are now the natural “by producgs” of the change that has occurred in us brought to us by grace thru faith.

We don’t do good works to gain favor with God, we already have favor because of who we are, God’said , beloved children.

We are His heirs. We share in r he divine nature. Works are part and parcel of Whom we now have become like. We have become and we are becoming like Christ.

Good works are signs of what is occurring within us. they are not “necessary” to receive Grace, Unmerited, not earned, not bargained for, Grace is freely given.

Works are “what we do” it is natural for us to do good works, Christ now lives within us, it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives within us. We are NEW CREATIONS with new natures…we don’t do good works to keep our free gift, we do good works because of the free gift bestowed upon us.

It is He who works in us, it is He who causes us to walk in righteousness.

“The righteous shall walk by faith” “without faith it is impossible to please him”

Works occur because it is not we who live, but Christ who lives within us.

I would suggest reading the article by Dr. Marshner. It examines the Catholic and Protestant (Lutheran also) view and contrasts them.

chnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/salvation.pdf

Justification By Faith
By Dr. William Marshner

The Protestant Reformers, however, impatient with metaphysics, preferred not to cope with such an entity and denied its existence.4 To them it seemed simpler to say that grace is something wholly in God, namely, His favor towards us. But then, if grace is not something real in man, our “justification” can no longer be conceived as a real change in us; it will have to become a sheer declaration on God’s part, e.g. a declaration that, thanks to the work of Christ, He will henceforth consider us as just, even though we remain inwardly the sinners we always were. Hence, the Protestant doctrine of “forensic” or “extrinsic” justification. Now watch what happens to our own act of faith: it ceases to be the foundational act of an interior renewal and becomes a mere requirement, devoid of any salvific power in its own right, which God arbitrarily sets as the condition on which He will He will declare us just. Whereupon, watch what happens to our good works: they cease to be the vital acts wherein an ontologically real “new life” consists and manifests itself; they become mere human responses to divine mercy—nice, but totally irrelevant to our justification—or else they become zombie-like motions produced in us by irresistible divine impulses, whereby God exhibits His glory in His elect.

I forgot the source, by these are quotes by Mcgrath:

Justification by Mcgrath

Alister Mcgrath quotes: Reformation Thoughts

Whereas Augustine taught that the sinner is made righteous in justification, Melanchthon taught that he is counted as righteous or pronounced to be righteous. For Augustine, ‘justifying righteousness’ is imparted; for Melanchthon, it is imputed in the sense of being declared or pronounced to be righteous. Melanchthon drew a sharp distinction between the event of being declared righteous and the process of being made righteous, designating the former ‘justification’ and the latter ‘sanctification’ or regeneration.’ For Augustine, these were simply different aspects of the same thing… The importance of this development lies in the fact that it marks a complete break with the teaching of the church up to that point. From the time of Augustine onwards, justification had always been understood to refer to both the event of being declared righteous and the process of being made righteous. Melanchthon’s concept of forensic justification diverged radically from this. As it was taken up by virtually all the major reformers subsequently, it came to represent a standard difference between Protestant and Roman Catholic from then on…The Council of Trent…reaffirmed the views of Augustine on the nature of justification… the concept of forensic justification actually represents a development in Luther’s thought… Trent maintained the medieval tradition, stretching back to Augustine, which saw justification as comprising both an event and a process…

Starting with Augustine, the Roman Catholic tradition has understood justification as the entire process by which God forgives and then transforms Christians. Based on their reading of the use of “justification” in Paul’s letters, the Reformers took justification to refer specifically to God’s forgiveness and acceptance. The term “sanctification” was used to refer to the lifelong process of transformation. Thus the Roman Catholic term “justification” effectively includes both what Protestants refer to as “justification” and “sanctification.” This difference in definitions can result in confusion, effectively exaggerating the disagreement. However the difference in definitions reflects a difference in substance. In the Protestant concept, justification is a status before God that is entirely the result of God’s activity and that continues even when humans sin. Thus using different words for justification and sanctification reflects a distinction between aspects of salvation that are entirely the result of God’s activity, and those that involve human cooperation. The Roman Catholic tradition uses a single term, in part, because it does not recognize a distinction of this type. For the Roman Catholic tradition, while everything originates with God, the entire process of justification requires human cooperation, and serious sin compromises it.[1]

The Catholic tradition, following Augustine, has identified justifying works as those works performed by the regenerate, i.e., the baptized, i.e., the justified. Works do not bring bring about the state of justification–God does this gratuitously in the sacrament of baptism–but they do contribute to our growth in justification. Please note that in the traditional Latin usage, “justification” comprehends initial justification, growth in justification (sanctification), and final justification. Hence it is meaningful for Catholics to speak of works as justifying–not in the sense that they earn God’s favor, not in the sense that they effect the transition from a state of sin to a state of righteousness, but in the sense that they contribute to our growth in holiness and sanctity and thus deepen our communion with the Holy Trinity

According to Matthew 25:31-46, Christ makes it abundandtly clear that there are those who are serving the Lord that are not aware that they are.

Christ will have last word. He will choose whomever He chooses (Romans ch 9). In no way is the Lord “obligated.”

Keep bumping it, my friend. :thumbsup:

Might I add James Akin’s column.

One will note, in the definitions of the virtues offered above, the similarity between hope and the way Protestants normally define faith; that is, as an unconditional placing our trust in Christs promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. The definition Protestants normally give to faith is the definition Catholics use for hope.

However, the Protestant idea of faith by no means excludes what Catholics refer to as faith, since every Evangelical would (or should) say that a person with saving faith will believe whatever God says because God is absolutely truthful and incapable of making an error. Thus the Protestant concept of faith normally includes both the Catholic concept of faith and the Catholic concept of hope.

Thus if a Protestant further specifies that saving faith is a faith which works by charity then the two soteriological slogans become equivalents. The reason is that a faith which works by charity is a faith which produces acts of love. But a faith which produces acts of love is a faith which includes the virtue of charity, the virtue of charity is the thing that enables us to perform acts of supernatural love in the first place. So a Protestant who says saving faith is a faith which works by charity, as per Galatians 5:6, is saying the same thing as a Catholic when a Catholic says that we are saved by faith, hope, and charity.

We may put the relationship between the two concepts as follows:

Protestant idea of faith = Catholic idea of faith + Catholic idea of hope + Catholic idea of charity

The three theological virtues of Catholic theology are thus summed up in the (good) Protestants idea of the virtue of faith. And the Protestant slogan salvation by faith alone becomes the Catholic slogan salvation by faith, hope, and charity (alone).

This was recognized a few years ago in The Church’s Confession of Faith: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, put out by the German Conference of Bishops, which stated:

Catholic doctrine . . . says that only a faith alive in graciously bestowed love can justify. Having mere faith without love, merely considering something true, does not justify us. But if one understands faith in the full and comprehensive biblical sense, then faith includes conversion, hope, and love and the Lutheran formula [by faith alone] can have a good Catholic sense. According to Catholic doctrine, faith encompasses both trusting in God on the basis of his mercifulness proved in Jesus Christ and confessing the salvific work of God through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Yet this faith is never alone. It includes other acts turning away from sin and turning toward God . . . hope in God, and love for God. These are not external additions and supplements to faith, but unfoldings of the inner essence of faith itself.1

Jon

The confusion with this event is because we must first identify who is involved. In v.32 it says all nations shall be gathered. This does not include believers. In scripture, the Church is NEVER referred to as the “nations”. The word nations means ethnicity and therefore would mean the world as a whole. There is also another group in view here. In v.40 is mentioned
“My brethren”. Jesus always identified believers as his brethren. The other possibility is that it is the Jewish people, but I am inclined to believe the former.

And yes, I believe there are “good” unbelievers in the world who will have the opportunity to be saved. God provides every chance he can for people to be redeemed.

Good post, seeker!

I would only add that our good “good works” are those that are done by the HS. as in Gal 5:22. They are the fruits of the Spirit and not the fruits of us.

What. do you say about the atheist that does the right thing? An atheist that gives to the poor, visits the sick, etc.

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