How are Lutherans Saved?

So I was raised a question about Lutheranism and I don’t know how to answer it. I am a Catholic, but I like everyone to understand other faiths as best they can.
Luther promoted sin. Because you are saved by faith alone. So my question is, do Lutherans believe in Once Saved Always Saved? Or something else?
This would be a huge help!

Thanks!

Nevermind, I figured it out.

They are saved by converting to Catholicism.

By grace.

Lutherans are saved by God.

And while Lutherans do have specific doctrine concerning Perseverance of the Saints, saying that OSAS is equivalent to that is not exactly accurate even in more colloquial use and it’s certainly not at all the same thing when you get down to the technical doctrinal details of Lutheran doctrine. OSAS, to a mainline Protestant, is typically seen as a pejorative term not accurate to what Lutheran teaching, belief, and practice is or has ever been. If you wish to spend some time running down the topic of OSAS, and in particular if you really want to explore it specifically with Lutherans, you need to hear that and you need to become familiar with some key distinctions. Lutherans will demonstrate it to you using a Lutheran catechism, among other things, and you need to see that and hear what they’re saying to you.

I can suggest something that may be a more rewarding topic, however. Lutherans have some carefully worded teachings on baptismal regeneration. And yet Lutherans also teach sola fide, which is also carefully worded and you will have to ask for a detailed explanation. There seems to be a bit of tension between one and the other; you could ask about that tension and see how some detailed explanations can allow Lutherans to espouse these beliefs together, particularly when infant baptism is part of the discussion. I think that would be a fair question, and you would probably get more out of that inquiry than you would out of asking them if they believe in OSAS. No, not really, they don’t. Really? Yes really. Detailed explanation. Wait, I thought you believed in OSAS. Really? That’s the basic idea.

According to your take, the first two chapters of Ephesians (written by the blessed and inspired apostle Saint Paul) as well as the first five chapters of Romans also promote sin, because both teach sola fide.

:juggle:

Sola fide is in James 2:24

Where it says: “Not by Sola Fide”

First of all, are you setting James against Paul, or arguing they say the same thing?

Paul says,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

James says,
“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

If the Scriptures are inspired then (I hope we agree) these statements must both be equally true. James clearly defines faith here as intellectual belief (he does so in verse 19, when he says that even the demons “believe” i.e. have “faith” as he defines it). In his epistles, Paul defines faith in Christ as a combination of knowledge, assent and trust.

Works, for Paul, are the fruits of this sort of faith, but it is only the faith that justifies (i.e. faith is the means by which God imputes the righteousness of Christ to a person, this being communicated to God’s elect through the means of grace).

Read Rom. 4:1-8 and compare with the James 2 text. Both are the Word of God.

=badnewsbarrett;12155462]Lutherans are saved by God.

And while Lutherans do have specific doctrine concerning Perseverance of the Saints,

Yes. We reject it.

saying that OSAS is equivalent to that is not exactly accurate even in more colloquial use and it’s certainly not at all the same thing when you get down to the technical doctrinal details of Lutheran doctrine. OSAS, to a mainline Protestant, is typically seen as a pejorative term not accurate to what Lutheran teaching, belief, and practice is or has ever been. If you wish to spend some time running down the topic of OSAS, and in particular if you really want to explore it specifically with Lutherans, you need to hear that and you need to become familiar with some key distinctions. Lutherans will demonstrate it to you using a Lutheran catechism, among other things, and you need to see that and hear what they’re saying to you.

Or confession:

Article XII: Of Repentance.

1] Of Repentance they teach that for those who have fallen after Baptism there is remission of sins whenever they are converted 2] and that the Church ought to impart absolution to those thus returning to repentance. Now, repentance consists properly of these 3] two parts: One is contrition, that is, 4] terrors smiting the conscience through the knowledge of sin; the other is faith, which is born of 5] the Gospel, or of absolution, and believes that for Christ’s sake, sins are forgiven, comforts 6] the conscience, and delivers it from terrors. Then good works are bound to follow, which are the fruits of repentance.

7] They condemn the Anabaptists, who deny that those once justified can lose the Holy Ghost. Also those who contend that some may attain to such 8] perfection in this life that they cannot sin.

9] The Novatians also are condemned, who would not absolve such as had fallen after Baptism, though they returned to repentance.

10] They also are rejected who do not teach that remission of sins comes through faith but command us to merit grace through satisfactions of our own.

I can suggest something that may be a more rewarding topic, however. Lutherans have some carefully worded teachings on baptismal regeneration. And yet Lutherans also teach sola fide, which is also carefully worded and you will have to ask for a detailed explanation. There seems to be a bit of tension between one and the other; you could ask about that tension and see how some detailed explanations can allow Lutherans to espouse these beliefs together, particularly when infant baptism is part of the discussion. I think that would be a fair question, and you would probably get more out of that inquiry than you would out of asking them if they believe in OSAS. No, not really, they don’t. Really? Yes really. Detailed explanation. Wait, I thought you believed in OSAS. Really? That’s the basic idea.

Actually, not too much tension at all, since scripture teaches both Baptismal regeneration and justification by grace alone through faith in Christ.

Article IV: Of Justification.

1] Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for 2] Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. 3] This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.

Article IX: Of Baptism.

1] Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary 2] to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God’s grace.

3] They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism.

Jon

Scripture teaches that baptism is a sign and seal of regeneration and new birth, but not that it is the instrument. It is clear that it functions the same as the Old Testament sacrament of circumcision, and is spoken of in the same way, yet reveals Christ to us more clearly than does the former rite - see Rom. 6:1-4.

Lutherans reject Luther’s doctrine of double predestination, also taught (Rom. 9) in Scripture. They also teach that salvation can be lost (presumably by lapsing into unbelief) whereas Reformed teach that the Holy Spirit does not deal in lost causes. They also teach that Jesus died for all men, so presumably even for people who end up in hell.

Not sure how much it can be called Luther’s doctrine. It seems he played with the idea, but he was in full support of the Augsburg Confession, which clearly rejects it, as does scripture.

From the Formula of Concord:

  1. We also reject and condemn the dogma that faith and the indwelling of the Holy Ghost are not lost by wilful sin, but that the saints and elect retain the Holy Ghost even though they fall into adultery and other sins and persist therein.

Jon

Can you show, in Scripture, where the words sign or seal are ever used in conjunction with Baptism?

They also teach that salvation can be lost (presumably by lapsing into unbelief) whereas Reformed teach that the Holy Spirit does not deal in lost causes.

As Hebrews 6 teaches, and as our Lord teaches in Luke 8, yes.

They also teach that Jesus died for all men, so presumably even for people who end up in hell.

How do you know He died for you?

Faith alone is [only] found in James 2:24.

Paul doesn’t say faith alone anywhere in his writings.

If he does, please cite the book, chapter and verse. But we both know he does not.

Regarding what Scripture teaches,

How do you make sense of the rhetorical question in verse 14? Surely Paul is anticipating objections from people who will say that God is “unjust” because he sovereignly elects and reprobates according to his will. Verse 18 says that God “has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”

The illustration of Jacob and Esau is particularly illuminating. God loved Jacob, the younger, and hated Esau, the older. Hence, things happened the way they did. But Jacob was just as wicked as Esau, if not mroe so.

God sovereignly elects and saves his chosen people. See Rom. 8:29:30.

Christ says that God so loved the world, not part of the world.
Clearly all are predestined to salvation, though not all will be saved. As in 2 Peter 3
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Jon

Hi Jose,
Does Paul anywhere mention anything else but faith as something that justifies?

Jon

No.

Eph. 2:8-9. Paul is clearly excluding that works contribute to salvation. His logic is quite simple: if we could get into heaven by our works, there would be room for boasting. We cannot. Our works are not a factor in our justification at all, but faith, wrought itself by grace, is what applies to us the benefit of Christ’s saving work. If the salvation economy were anything else, there would be room for boasting.

Boasting here means “glorying” - being able to have some glory held back for ourselves. Paul is absolutely determined in his writings to say that all glory belongs to God alone.

This logic is a little indifferent to the absence of the word alone.

Your first proposition is Eph 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God— 9 not because of works, lest any man should boast.
That phrase actually looks like:

  1. By grace you are saved through faith.

From the start we see 2 elements working here: Grace and Faith. So from the start, faith is not alone and it is absent from the text.

  1. Not because of works, so no one should boast.

So works by themselves, don’t work. It doesn’t say works alone either.

Now let’s go back and look at James 2:24
24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

  1. Man is justified by works.

James is not using works alone. In the same manner that Paul is not using faith alone.

  1. Not by faith alone.

Here’s the show stopper. Faith alone doesn’t save.

You are trying to say that I am saying that Paul and James are against each other. Neither am I saying that, nor the text is saying that. The [only] exception for [alone] the text provides is James 2:24. This is an explicit teaching. Whereas the others are implicit. I suspect you know the rules between implicit and explicit? You interpret the implicit with the explicit.

Not by faith alone is explicit.

Let’s keep reading Eph 2, past verse 9, shall we?

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Another show stopper!

We are created in Christ Jesus for [good works]! That we should walk in them!

Let’s go back to James 2:
14 What does it profit, my brethren,** if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?** 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
And here we see the conflict reconciled! Not by faith alone and not by works alone.

Did Paul say anything about this?

Yes he did!!!

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.
And we come full circle! Lots of elements working together: Grace, Faith, Good Works, Love.

Did Paul say anything else about this?

Yes he did!!!

1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Hardly the words of someone who preaches faith alone.

Actually the whole book to the Galatians speaks to faith alone as the means of salvation. We are heirs to salvation through faith alone by the promise of God to Abraham. Gal 3:39 Nothing else. Otherwise Christ died in vain. Gal 2:21

The Law is against faith and is Hagar the bondwoman. The promise is by faith in Sarah the freewoman. Those who are born of the flesh are under the law and cursed. Those born under faith are free and heirs of God through Christ.

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