Justified by Faith Alone cf. James 2:24


#1061

[quote="seanman611, post:1059, topic:442045"]
I think that there is much confusion over faith vs. works and I think that confusion is, in some cases, over semantics.

The way I understand it, true faith cannot be true faith if there isn't any works flowing from this faith. Therefore, I believe that the original intent of "faith alone" is correct because faith will always be accompanied by works. If you fast forward to today, there folks who take the "faith alone" argument to an extreme place, which doesn't represent the original intent behind "faith alone."

At the the time shortly before the reformation, there certainly was strong shift of the pendulum toward works. I think many of the original, more conservative shall we say. reformers wanted to see that pendulum swing in a more balanced direction.

That is just my take on this issue. :)

[/quote]

Yet Paul speaks of a faith that moves mountains but has no love in 1st Corinthians and he stresses the obedience of faith.


#1062

[quote="seanman611, post:1059, topic:442045"]
I think that there is much confusion over faith vs. works and I think that confusion is, in some cases, over semantics.

The way I understand it, true faith cannot be true faith if there isn't any works flowing from this faith. Therefore, I believe that the original intent of "faith alone" is correct because faith will always be accompanied by works. If you fast forward to today, there folks who take the "faith alone" argument to an extreme place, which doesn't represent the original intent behind "faith alone."

At the the time shortly before the reformation, there certainly was strong shift of the pendulum toward works. I think many of the original, more conservative shall we say. reformers wanted to see that pendulum swing in a more balanced direction.

That is just my take on this issue. :)

[/quote]

I would say that transformational faith alone saves. By this I mean more than an intellectual faith or an emotional temporary faith. Those are both works of the mind. A transformational faith is when the Holy Spirit changes the soul and heart of a person. It is impossible to have a transformational faith without having a changed life that is lived out in service and love. But the works someone who has transformational faith does not in anyway earn or grant them eternal life. If it did then eternal life would not be a free gift. It would be something we earn.


#1063

In view of the prominent place given the mass (and the concept of the Eucharist) in the present day Roman Church, it is of particular interest to find that it was unknown in the early Church, that it was first proposed by a Benedictine monk, Radbertus, in the ninth century, and that it did not become an official part of Rome’s doctrine until so pronounced by the Lateran Council of 1215 under the direction of pope Innocent III.

It was reaffirmed by the council of Trent, in 1545. So we can say that it’s concept is quite removed from that of scripture.

It is based on the assumption that the words of Christ, “This is my body,” and “This is my blood,” Mt. 26, must be taken literally. The accounts of the institution of the Lord’s supper, both in the Gospels and in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, make it perfectly clear that He spoke in figurative terms.

I have often shown a friend a photograph of a family member, and said, “This is my wife”; “This is my son”’ This is my daughter.” Such language is readily understood in ordinary conversation. Nobody take such words literally.

I believe that the real meaning of Christ’s words can be seen when they are compared with similar figurative language which He used in John 4:13. There, speaking to the woman at Jacob’s well, he said, “Every one that drinks this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinks of the water I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

On other occasions he used similar language. He said, “I am the door (Jn.10:7) but of course He did not mean that He was a literal wooden door with lock and hinges.

He also said, “I am the vine” (Jn. 15:5) but no one understood Him to mean that he was a grapevine. When He said, “I am the good shepherd” (Jn.10:14) He did not mean that He was actually a shepherd. He was a carpenter.

When He said, “You must be born again, (Jn.3:7) he referred not to a physical birth but to a spiritual birth. When he said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn.2:19) He meant His body, not the structure of wood and stone.

When He said, “He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, (Jn.6:54) He was speaking of a spiritual relationship between Himself and his people in terms of the Old Testament type, that is, eating the Passover lamb and drinking the Passover wine;

But His Jewish hearers, being literalist, as are many Roman Catholic leaders, misunderstood His words, he said, “You are the salt of the earth” Mt. 5:13, and “You are the light of the world” Mat. 5:14. He spoke of the “leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” Mt. 16:6.

James said, “The tongue is a fire (3:6) and again, “You are a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. (4:14)

Moses spoke of “the bread of affliction” (Deut. 16:3) and Isaiah spoke of “the bread of adversity and the water of affliction. (30:20)

None of these statements is true if taken literally. The disciples had no trouble understanding Jesus’ figure of speech. Similarly, the expressions, “This is my body,” and This is my blood,” are clear enough for all except those who will not see, or those who merely follow medieval theologians.

It is unreasonable in the extreme to take these two expressions literally while taking the others figuratively.


#1064

[quote="lanman87, post:1062, topic:442045"]
I

A transformational faith is when the Holy Spirit changes the soul and heart of a person.

Can you explain or provide an example of how the HS changes the soul and heart?

It is impossible to have a transformational faith without having a changed life that is lived out in service and love.

How does this changed life come about?

But the works someone who has transformational faith does not in anyway earn or grant them eternal life. If it did then eternal life would not be a free gift. It would be something we earn.

Then, what are works for? Or what is the purpose of doing good works?

[/quote]


#1065

[quote="tgGodsway, post:1063, topic:442045"]
In view of the prominent place given the mass (and the concept of the Eucharist) in the present day Roman Church, it is of particular interest to find that it was unknown in the early Church, that it was first proposed by a Benedictine monk, Radbertus, in the ninth century, and that it did not become an official part of Rome’s doctrine until so pronounced by the Lateran Council of 1215 under the direction of pope Innocent III.

It was reaffirmed by the council of Trent, in 1545. So we can say that it’s concept is quite removed from that of scripture.

What are you talking about?

It is based on the assumption that the words of Christ, “This is my body,” and “This is my blood,” Mt. 26, must be taken literally. The accounts of the institution of the Lord’s supper, both in the Gospels and in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, make it perfectly clear that He spoke in figurative terms.

How did you come to this conclusion? Did you decide this for yourself?

When He said, “You must be born again, (Jn.3:7) he referred not to a physical birth but to a spiritual birth. When he said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn.2:19) He meant His body, not the structure of wood and stone.

Is your understanding then without error? And how do you know that your interpretation to be the sole and absolute truth? What is your basis?

None of these statements is true if taken literally. The disciples had no trouble understanding Jesus’ figure of speech. Similarly, the expressions, “This is my body,” and This is my blood,” are clear enough for all except those who will not see, or those who merely follow medieval theologians.

How do you know what the disciples understood?

[/quote]


#1066

Let me share the words of an Anglican:

Justification by Mcgrath

Alister Mcgrath quotes: Reformation Thoughts

books.google.com/books?id=Zk6MhgGl2MEC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

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…


#1067

John 6
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”[d] 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” 59 This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper′na-um.

The Jews in this passage ask how Jesus can give them His flesh to eat. Jesus doesn't tell them it's a parable but confirms their understanding.


#1068

The Bible has a lot to say about the heart, which I’ve always understood to mean our inmost being, the deepest part of ourselves.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 says: 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

This is exactly what happens when someone has a transformational faith in Christ. God changes us into new creations and adopts us as Children of God and changes our heart.

An example is when Peter is addressing the Council in Jerusalem. When speaking of the household of Cornelius Peter says.

8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and he made no distinction between us and them,* having cleansed their hearts by faith*. Acts 15:8-9

This change that the Holy Spirit works in our heart is also referenced in Romans 5:5.

Romans 5:5 says “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us

Paul even says that to be a Jew (written to Jewish Christians in Rome), when speaking of the value of circumcision is not a matter of physical circumcision but it is a the heart, by the spirit, not the letter. Romans 2:29.

Physical circumcision happens externally but God gives us a spiritual circumcision that is a matter of the heart. Colossians 2:11 says *In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ * The circumcision of Christ is not external, done with hands, but is internal.

I’ve often heard it said that being a Christian isn’t about a change in our head it is about a change in our heart.

How does this changed life come about?

God changes our heart and that change produces a changed life. Our heart is the sum of our thoughts and motivations and desire. When God changes our heart our thoughts and motivations and desires change. We move from being an enemy of God to being a Child of God. We move from not caring about the things of God to wanting to serve and grow the Kingdom of God. Following Christ becomes who we are and not merely what we do.

But is important to remember that it is not us who is doing the changing but it is God who is working in and through us to change us.

2 Corinthians 3:18 says, And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ESV

I like the way the NLT words 2 Corinthians 3:18: So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Then, what are works for? Or what is the purpose of doing good works?

Works are the love of God being displayed through His adopted children. It is the desire to share the Love and Joy of being a relationship with God through Jesus so others may experience the same Grace and Forgiveness and Joy that we have experienced. It is to lead others to accept this same gift of eternal life that we have received. It is the result of the desire God gives us to help the poor and needy and those in pain and suffering.

The purpose of works are not to earn something from God, it is display His glory to a lost and dying world. The more we “work” for the Kingdom, the more and more God makes us into the image of Christ and the more we are made into the image of Christ the more we “work” for the Kingdom.


#1069

[quote="lanman87, post:1068, topic:442045"]

Works are the love of God being displayed through His adopted children. It is the desire to share the Love and Joy of being a relationship with God through Jesus so others may experience the same Grace and Forgiveness and Joy that we have experienced. It is to lead others to accept this same gift of eternal life that we have received. It is the result of the desire God gives us to help the poor and needy and those in pain and suffering.

The purpose of works are not to earn something from God, it is display His glory to a lost and dying world. The more we "work" for the Kingdom, the more and more God makes us into the image of Christ and the more we are made into the image of Christ the more we "work" for the Kingdom.

[/quote]

And if one doesn't do these works?


#1070

[quote="lanman87, post:1068, topic:442045"]
The Bible has a lot to say about the heart, which I've always understood to mean our inmost being, the deepest part of ourselves.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 says: 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules..

[/quote]

I would just like to add Ezekiel 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.


#1071

[quote="James248, post:1069, topic:442045"]
And if one doesn't do these works?

[/quote]

2nd Corinthians 13:5 comes to mind. * Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
*

If someone hasn't been changed by God and claim to have faith then they either have an intellectual faith or maybe that had a emotional experience that didn't result in a changed heart. Many claim to have Jesus in them but don't and I suspect that many think they have Jesus in them but don't.

It is not my place to judge anyone's heart. But my first question to ask someone who claims to have faith is to ask what difference their faith has made in their life (if the chance presents itself). Are they more loving and compassionate because of their faith? Do they desire for others to come to faith? Do they go out of their way to help others in need? Do they give to help the poor? Do they support those missionaries and ministries in their church? If they answer no to most of those (and similar) questions then I ask them if the are sure they have faith in Christ instead of just knowledge about Christ?

That is an important question for all of us.


#1072

[quote="lanman87, post:1071, topic:442045"]
2nd Corinthians 13:5 comes to mind. * Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
*

If someone hasn't been changed by God and claim to have faith then they either have an intellectual faith or maybe that had a emotional experience that didn't result in a changed heart. Many claim to have Jesus in them but don't and I suspect that many think they have Jesus in them but don't.

It is not my place to judge anyone's heart. But my first question to ask someone who claims to have faith is to ask what difference their faith has made in their life (if the chance presents itself). Are they more loving and compassionate because of their faith? Do they desire for others to come to faith? Do they go out of their way to help others in need? Do they give to help the poor? Do they support those missionaries and ministries in their church? If they answer no to most of those (and similar) questions then I ask them if the are sure they have faith in Christ instead of just knowledge about Christ?

That is an important question for all of us.

[/quote]

I agree. And the test is whether they produce works of faith, or if they only claim faith. The first work of the Holy Spirit is conversion. You are saying the same thing as our Catechism.

CCC 1989
The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus' proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.


#1073

[quote="lanman87, post:1071, topic:442045"]
2nd Corinthians 13:5 comes to mind. * Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
*

If someone hasn't been changed by God and claim to have faith then they either have an intellectual faith or maybe that had a emotional experience that didn't result in a changed heart. Many claim to have Jesus in them but don't and I suspect that many think they have Jesus in them but don't.

It is not my place to judge anyone's heart. But my first question to ask someone who claims to have faith is to ask what difference their faith has made in their life (if the chance presents itself). Are they more loving and compassionate because of their faith? Do they desire for others to come to faith? Do they go out of their way to help others in need? Do they give to help the poor? Do they support those missionaries and ministries in their church? If they answer no to most of those (and similar) questions then I ask them if the are sure they have faith in Christ instead of just knowledge about Christ?

That is an important question for all of us.

[/quote]

Interesting how you didn't mention Romans 11.


#1074

[quote="James248, post:1067, topic:442045"]
John 6
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”[d] 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” 59 This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper′na-um.

The Jews in this passage ask how Jesus can give them His flesh to eat. Jesus doesn't tell them it's a parable but confirms their understanding.

[/quote]

It wasn't a parable like a story. It was a figure of speech that demanded a correct interpretation. Obviously standing in his own body and holding up bread saying "This is my body..." could never be His literal body. That would be nonsensical. Neither was He trying to promote Catabolism. The spiritual interpretation makes sense while the literal does not. This principle applies to the many other figures of speech. But what good is it if God only has teachers in Rome? No... he has teachers all around the world who can, and do, hear from the Holy Spirit and know how to interpret Matthew's intent. The Jews in the passage were not for Jesus, they spent their time trying to catch Him in what He said. Jesus had no obligation to give them the kingdom of God.


#1075

[quote]

[quote="lanman87, post:1068, topic:442045"]
Th

This is exactly what happens when someone has a transformational faith in Christ. God changes us into new creations and adopts us as Children of God and changes our heart.

[/quote]

So...God will change us, even if we do not want to change? God will just zap us..and in an instant one will change?

Are you saying there is no growth involved?

God changes our heart and that change produces a changed life. Our heart is the sum of our thoughts and motivations and desire. When God changes our heart our thoughts and motivations and desires change.
But is important to remember that it is not us who is doing the changing but it is God who is working in and through us to change us.

But how does God accomplish this change?

Works are the love of God being displayed through His adopted children...........It is the result of the desire God gives us to help the poor and needy and those in pain and suffering.The purpose of works are not to earn something from God, it is display His glory to a lost and dying world. The more we "work" for the Kingdom, the more and more God makes us into the image of Christ and the more we are made into the image of Christ the more we "work" for the Kingdom.

So, if I understand you...works then are an automatic response?
[/quote]


#1076

[quote="tgGodsway, post:1074, topic:442045"]
It wasn't a parable like a story. It was a figure of speech that demanded a correct interpretation. Obviously standing in his own body and holding up bread saying "This is my body..." could never be His literal body. That would be nonsensical. Neither was He trying to promote Catabolism. The spiritual interpretation makes sense while the literal does not. This principle applies to the many other figures of speech.

And who decides when to apply the right princilpe and figure of speech?

But what good is it if God only has teachers in Rome? No... he has teachers all around the world who can, and do, hear from the Holy Spirit and know how to interpret Matthew's intent.

But how do you determine who has the right message or interpetation?

How do you decide which is the truth?

[/quote]


#1077

One quick correction. Cannibalism is the eating of dead human flesh.....Jesus is very much alive.


#1078

[quote="pablope, post:1075, topic:442045"]

So...God will change us, even if we do not want to change? God will just zap us..and in an instant one will change?

Are you saying there is no growth involved?

[/quote]

No, I'm saying that if someone doesn't want to change then they probably don't actually have faith. And yes growth is involved. But it is growth that comes from a changed heart.

But how does God accomplish this change?

The Holy Spirit causes our heart to change. We are changed when we place our faith in Him and we continue to change as we growth in faith and the power of the Holy Spirit.

So, if I understand you...works then are an automatic response?

Yes, if we truly have faith then our heart is changed and we care about what God cares about. That is the redemption of mankind and declaring His love and glory. That is not to say we are perfect in carrying out this desire but, yes, I believe if someone is truly a Child of God by the power of the Holy Spirit then they will be inclined to work for the Kingdom of God. I would even say a lack of desire to work for the Kingdom indicates a lack of true faith.

I think of works as what God does through us, not what we do for him.


#1079

Yes, but from what I can tell the difference is if our works after conversion contribute to our salvation or are a result of our salvation. My contention is that they are a result of our salvation because if they contribute to our salvation/eternal life then salvation/eternal life is no longer a free gift that we accept by faith, but something we somehow earn.


#1080

[quote="pablope, post:1065, topic:442045"]

What are you talking about?

I'm talking about what we call Holy Communion and you call the Eucharist.

How did you come to this conclusion? Did you decide this for yourself?
No, I study God's word and compare scripture with scripture. I study the opinions of others and compare it to the word of God. It is a lot of work but worthy it.

Is your understanding then without error? And how do you know that your interpretation to be the sole and absolute truth? What is your basis?

If I can find the "intent" of the bible author I can get close to the truth. What did the author mean to say? .... But to get to the truth of a matter I must first find at least two or three eye-witnesses all saying the same thing in it's context and without contradiction.

When I find that, I have arrived at a truth. see Psalms 119:160. "The sum of thy word is truth." The word SUM in Hebrew (into the New American Standard version) is an accounting word meaning, all the added parts.

These practices are not my own personal method, but the Church has had over two thousand years to practice how to interpret the bible and has shared these principles in many Christian circles, including Roman Catholic.

How do you know what the disciples understood?

I can only know what I read from them and what they say. Again, If you can find out what they meant, you are getting close.

[/quote]


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