How exactly does grace save someone?


#41

The truth of James 2:24 is that just because one believes in christ if he producess no work he is dead.

Passage James 2:14-26:

**Faith and Deeds **

  • 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 **In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. ***

This is the theme for the whole passage. Just because one believes there is a God and accepts God does not mean that God will save them.

**18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." 
  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. ** 

Here we see what Catholics believe.

The non-catholic says “they believe in Jesus and that he died for our sins”. The catholic would say “I have deeds.” Then the Catholic asks the non-catholic “Show me your faith without deeds.” But before the non-catholic can answer the Catholic says “I will show you what I believe by what I do.”

  • ** 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. ***

Simple Belief in God and thinking he will save you does not save you.

  • 20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. *

In this passage we see James showing (Abraham believed God, and it [GOD] was credited to him [Abraham] as righteousness," and he[Abraham] was called God’s friend. )

Abraham believed God, God was Credited to Abraham as Rightousness…

This is better written as:
Because Abraham believed God, Abraham credited God as Rightous.

Not:
God Credited Abraham as Rightous for believeing

  • 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.*

A Catholic does not do these works for declaring self justification.

A Catholic does these works by the will of God and for the Glory of God. True complete Faith in Our Lord Jesus will start with the submitting ones life to the Lord. All Works a Catholic does he can not Boast about because the Lord our God works through us and thus Our works are the Work of God allowing only God to boast not man. An act of faith is first Believing in God and then trusting in the Lord to use us to further the Glory of God. A Catholic’s life is a life of submisstion to our Lord every day. We must offer up ourselves to the Lord, so, that the will of God may cover the earth and bring peace to all his children.

True Faith is takeing the First step hoping that God will be taking the second step with you and have the road already laid out ahead of you even tho it is dark and you can not see. Faith that does NOT put complete trust and Hope in God is just belief not True Faith.


#42

Since James 2:24 says that we are not justified by faith alone why do some people claim the exact opposite and say that we are justified by faith alone?

Are they right or is the Holy Spirit that inspired James to write that we ARE NOT justified by faith alone right?


#43

IMO Because they are lazy.


#44

Here is the section in James, followed by several other passages from different books of the NT that, at first glance, seem to contradict the section in James:

20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[a]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”** and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.


What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5**However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. **

For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: **Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
**

6Consider Abraham: **He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10**All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”**** 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.”[e] 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,


The way to resolve the apparent contradiction is to consider the context in each case. James is dealing with the nature of saving faith, while the apostle Paul deals with the nature of justification.

When James says, “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone” He isn’t taking a position contrary to Paul, in fact James isn’t even dealing with the doctrine of justification…even though he uses the the word, “justified.”**


#45

How does the firefighter pull people out of the fire?

What happens if someone refuses to be pulled out? Has the firefighter willed that they not be saved?

As with the firefighter, so with God. We let Him save us, or we fight Him until the flames take us.


#46

If receiving the gift of faith is a “work” then our dreaming while sleeping is working. I have no objection to your calling it a “work” as long as God is given all the credit for the saving faith that He has provided in us by His grace.

Its like "I did not want Faith, but God forced it on me without my having done anything at all. Did you pray “The Sinners Prayer?” Was that an action or wasn’t it?

Yes, I prayed “the sinners prayer” but I wasn’t saved because I said a prayer, I was saved by grace, through faith in Jesus.

Even then God did not have to give you the Grace of salvation.

God had already given me the grace of salvation before I prayed “the sinners prayer”. In fact, God had already chosen me to be one of His sheep before He created anything:

Eph. 1:3-6
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

When He did, did you accept it with thanksgiving? Another action.

Yes, my response to the gift that has saved me was, and is, sincere thanks to God.

It isn’t magic, God’s gift is freely given, but it requires a response. It requires a life of Faith which if you don’t live it, you reject God’s freely given gift.

Well, if you mean that I must DO certain things in order to remain saved, you are preaching another gospel–which is really no gospel at all. The bible tells us that if salvation is a free gift, it cannot also be by our works:

Rom. 11:5-6
So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

No ability to reject it once its given? Then God has not given you freedom, he has made you a slave that can do none other than the Master’s will. Oh, you do occasionally still sin? That is not a rejection of the Lord’s free gift? As they say,“Give me a break.”

That’s a kind of slavery that I don’t mind at all. I’d rather be a slave to Christ than a free man who’s destined for hell. And though I still sin against God, my sins are forgiven.

This once saved always saved business flys both in the face of reason and Scripture. To believe it demands a narrow acceptance of only those parts of God’s Word that support that position and disregarding those parts I don’t want to accept…

I’m kept safe in Christ by Christ, who is the good shepherd. Not because I’m a good sheep, but because Jesus is a good shepherd, who will “lose none of all that he has given me”. (John 6:39)

1 Cor. 6-9
because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.


#47

It sounds like you’re quite determined to take the credit for salvation away from God!

Let’s say that two young men, Teflon, and Nick, were both sinners, who were in fact dead in sin. But one of them, Teflon, came to repentance and didn’t refuse the free gift of faith, that comes by grace, and was saved. But Nick went to everlasting torment because he rejected the free gift that would have saved him.

  1. How did Teflon (who was dead) manage to “let” himself be saved?

  2. Even if it were possible for dead bodies to want what is good (God and eternal life) what was it in Teflon’s deadness that made him different than the deadness of Nick?

You will not be able to provide a cogent answer to these questions because your reasoning is man-centered. If it is God’s grace that brings sinners to repentance, then the “free will” argument is exposed as nonsense. When mankind fell in Adam, our “free will” fell along with the rest of our being. Grace is what makes us born again… into new creatures that want what is truly good.


#48

But it is only the continuation of that free gift of grace that will not only JUSTIFY us at one point in time but continue through time to justify us unto glory and yes that continuation can be broken!

That’s why Faith alone will justify in an instant but will not continue from that instant persevering unto the end without us Not Raising an Impediment to God continuing that Grace.

the not rasing of an Impediment to that grace is the Nothing that we do in Cooperating with God as He does all the saving!

The saving that God does with that faith flows through and is completed by works that he wills

The fact that it is completed by works as it flows through time does not mean that man in any way merits anything or does anything!

Here’s the point and paradox that Protestants never can understand but is the heart of the truth:

Man can Cooperate with God By doing Nothing!

That Nothing Cooperation Is In Addition to Faith so

Faith Alone Never has Never does and Never will Save!

Faith + Man doing nothing as He cooperates with God does not equal Faith alone!


#49

Could you explain the meaning of “Nothing” a little more.

We do exercise our mind to learn about God, our will to assent to what He asks, our bodies to carry out the actions, etc. Our cooperation is to do something empowered by His grace, with Him, in Him, etc. We are not inert.

For example, if I see a starving person and because I know Jesus wants me to give him food, I give get some food and give it to him. Could you explain where the “Nothing” is in that scenario? Why would my decision to feed and acually do it be considered doing “Nothing”?

Thanks,
Nita


#50

In that case you would be doing nothing to impede the impulse to feed the person which would come from God!

Man cannot initiate any God willed work but man can impede God willed works.

So there never is a case of choosing for or against God there is only a choice of impeding God or doing nothing–a neutral nothing zero act.

When man cooperates by doing nothing–a neutral zero act–God grace will continue to flow and sanctify.

That way God does all the saving and man if he is damned damns himself.

That way also man is able to cooperate and paradoxically do nothing at the same time!

So it realy isn’t a question of faith versus works it really is a question of grace or non-impeded grace!

Non-impeded grace is more than just faith alone–it is faith that flows through and is completed by God-willed and God-initiated works.

Thee beauty of it is that God does allthe saving and all of the inititating and even all of completing of these God-willed works–but man gets to exercise his free will and cooperate with God by not exercising man’s will–Surrendering man’s will to a neutral state–how many times at revivals have you heard evangelists preach that we must surrender our wills to Christ?

By doing the positive neutral nothing zero of having a neutral will–man gets to cooperate with God–and God receives all the glory because it is God that does all the saving.

So it isn’t a matter of faith alone and it isn’t a matter of faith plus works it is a matter of non impeded grace of God completing itself by continuing through God willed works.

So faith is not an instant–it is as continual as the “I Am” God that wills it!

Catholics agree wholeheartedly that we are justified by Faith.

Catholics however do not believe that Faith Alone saves—they believe that we are saved by faith that in its fullness is the non impeded grace of God that continues through God willed and God initiated works.

That is more than Faith alone!

Thanks be to God for faith that He gives us by His grace but more than that thanks for the grace of God that continues through His God willed and God initiated works!

The complete unimpeded flow of grace is what sanctifies us and what gives God glory!


#51

I think it means that we’re doing nothing more that God originally super-intended for us to do in the first place. Our failure to do his will is our own fault, not his. :slight_smile:

Therefore, whenever we do good, we give God the credit-- because it a result of his grace which he has freely given us from the beginning.

Whenever we do evil, we know that it is our own fault and not God’s-- because the evil we do is a result of our rejection of his grace which he has freely given us from the beginning.


#52

Actually, we already have answered this. :slight_smile:

If it is God’s grace that brings sinners to repentance, then the “free will” argument is exposed as nonsense.

No. The “free-will” argument turns the grace of God on its head by thinking that man can actually do something that saves themselves, which man cannot.

The simple answer is that when humanity is docile to the Holy Spirit (ie., does nothing), then God can move them according to the motion of the Holy Spirit. When humanity is not docile to the Holy Spirit (ie., does something according to their own “free-will”), then God cannot move them according to the motion of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus himself was true God and true man, taking on the form of a servant, making himself nothing, so that he might be totally docile to the Holy Spirit and lead us back toward his Father in heaven.

When mankind fell in Adam, our “free will” fell along with the rest of our being. Grace is what makes us born again… into new creatures that want what is truly good.

Right. And yet God has offered his grace from the beginning too, correct?


#53

GRACE - is a "step into the Holy Presence of God"
God wills that all mankind be saved. We are given FREE; “windows of opportunity” to experience God. - that’s Grace.


#54

What are you talking about? In my analogy, GOD is the firefighter!

Let’s say that two young men, Teflon, and Nick, were both sinners, who were in fact dead in sin. But one of them, Teflon, came to repentance and didn’t refuse the free gift of faith, that comes by grace, and was saved. But Nick went to everlasting torment because he rejected the free gift that would have saved him.

  1. How did Teflon (who was dead) manage to “let” himself be saved?

“Came to repentance.” Teflon in this case did precisely as the Prodigal Son did. For if the Prodigal Son didn’t return home, he wouldn’t have been reunited with the Father.

  1. Even if it were possible for dead bodies to want what is good (God and eternal life) what was it in Teflon’s deadness that made him different than the deadness of Nick?

We know the dead want. Remember the account of the damned soul yearning for some water to ease the pain in his tongue?

Teflon, unlike Nick, had the humility to accept his faults, repent, seek forgiveness, and perform his contrition. “Go and sin no more.”

You will not be able to provide a cogent answer to these questions because your reasoning is man-centered. If it is God’s grace that brings sinners to repentance, then the “free will” argument is exposed as nonsense. When mankind fell in Adam, our “free will” fell along with the rest of our being. Grace is what makes us born again… into new creatures that want what is truly good.

Actually, I just did.

More Scripture and less Calvin would be my prescription for you, Scripture being God-breathed and Calvin being man-made fiction.


#55

Grace is the ENABLER. Grace flows from faith. But, we must be faithful to that grace, otherwise it goes wasted. Thus, faith alone does not save. It is our response to grace that saves.

God is saying “Beloved, your faith has constrained me. Look now to my son Jesus who shows you the path to follow and I give you the grace you need to succeed”

But, if the person, now enabled to follow Christ’s example, makes a conscious decision to follow his own designs, even disregarding his own conscience, how can God possibly consider him truly justified? Yet, this is exactly the type of faith most of us had when we first started on the narrow road, when we first stepped on the bridge back to God that Christ reconstructed with his sacrifice. We were often half-hearted and vacillating, depending on our moods or what new trial we faced. That’s why St. Paul keeps talking about persevering till the end and winning the race and working out our salvation with fear and trembling.


#56

What if God’s grace - His free, unmerited gift to us - was/is His Son? His saving gift, the grace that saves us is His own Son’s horrible, bloody, human sacrifice on the cross?

What if Adam and Eve’s turning away from God closed the gates of heaven to all? Nothing we, as creatures, could do would ever open them. NO ONE could enter heaven, period. The only way for the gates to be re-opened was for Jesus Christ to die on the cross. When He did the gates of heaven were re-opened and now we can enter - if we want to. God invites all of us to join Him in heaven. We can choose to accept the invitation or not.

In other words, the first hurdle to attaining heaven, the hurdle that we creatures could never have possibly cleared, has been cleared for us by God’s grace of the sacrifice of His Son. Now it is up to us to accept that sacrifice(gift/grace) by faith and follow Jesus through the now open gates of heaven.

Nick, I get the idea from your posts that only certain people are given grace by God. Only those certain people can then be with Him in heaven, am I understanding you correctly? If so, then why have these discussions? Why preach the Gospel at all? Risk our lives traveling to foreign lands to bring the Good News to others? If they have not been chosen by God to recieve His grace then it’s a waste of time, they won’t accept it. If they have already been chosen to recieve His grace, then they don’t need to hear about it from me!

I also believe that you are confusing The Law of Moses (the Torah) with God’s law. The Torah is the Law spoken about when we hear that "10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”

I also think that you are confusing God’s never ending love with salvation (spending eternity with Him in heaven). God loves the worst sinner in Hell just as much as He loves you and me and He always will. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. But that person has chosen to spend eternity in Hell and God allows that choice. We can choose to separate ourselves from God (not His love). I choose to believe that God is deeply saddened and even disappointed by that choice, but He still allows it and He still loves the sinner.

Just my 2 cents
Ken


#57

Grace is living a divine life of holiness. A reflection of holiness is to know the Glory of God.


#58

This doesn’t really tell us how grace saves sinners. It sounds like you are telling us that all God does is provide “windows of opportunity” but not actual salvation. If this is your belief, how does that glorify God?


#59

Yes, in your analogy God is a firefighter who is only able to save those who want to be saved. How do you interpret this verse?

Rom. 10:20
And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”

Was the apostle Paul saved because of Gods grace, or because he had the desire to be saved?


#60

Grace is the free gift of God’s very life and Love within us. With out it we have no supernatural life - God’s life is by definition a supernatural life. Without supernatural life we cannot enter heaven. Supernatural life is the life required to be in heaven in the presence of God. The alternative is eternity without God - aka hell.


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