Justified by Faith Alone cf. James 2:24


#1281

The best answer I can give you is the writings from the new testament. I do not have any early church fathers. James is known to contrast life from death. 1st John does the same. The saving of the soul is simply the saving from death to life. Or.
As John puts it, from darkness to light. These are well known expressions that deliver a person from one place in God to another. From glory to glory. Salvation is understood in more ways than from hell to heaven.


#1282

Ok, in other words, you acknowledge that the gift of salvation received in this life doesn’t guarantee salvation in the next. We believe this too. We both reject Once Saved Always Saved!

However, I am trying to understand where you get your interpretation that works of faith do not justify whether we have saving faith to enter the kingdom.

Jesus clearly Teaches the opposite.

Matthew 25

“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


#1283

To tgGodsway re post 1276

The only constructive thing I’ll say thing is that while you argue James does not say “faith and works” regarding Rahab he does say that faith is completed by works and that faith without works is dead. In a “parallel bar” attempt of my own, when James says we are justified by works and not by faith alone does that not equate to works in addition to faith?


#1284

That is my understanding too, which is pretty close to Catholic theology because we believe in infused righteousness.

Where I get confused with Protestant theology is when it is believed that our sins are “covered” which suggests to me that there is no interior change involved. But, of course, its impossible to make a statement at that level of detail and apply it to all Protestants. While all would say they believe in salvation by faith alone, I have found that different denominations would process that differently.


#1285

As did Martin Luther.

Imagine the activity on this thread if a Catholic referred to a Pauline letter as an epistle of straw !


#1286

An important thing to understand about James’ Teaching, is that he was certainly not saying we are Justified apart from the grace of God, shown to us through Jesus, which He did not bestow on us because we were faithful or doing the work of God. On the contrary, Jesus came to us because the Works of the Law is a witness to our inability to be Justified before God. Jesus is the Law of Love and Mercy so that believing in Him, we can be Reconciled to the Father.

What James was addressing, is vain belief, as St Paul called it. It is a faith or belief which does not manifest into works, and so has no merit. This is why he relates works as having a justifying effect or property. They distinguish whether a person has saving faith, or merely believes but does not do what faith compels us to do. And this is why Jesus Teaches, in Matthew 25 for example, that He determines whether we are faithful or not by our actions and fraternal care.


#1287

This may be an area where we evangelicals are layered and Catholics are binary. :smiley:

I consider it to be both. God declares us righteous (gives us the gift of righteousness) while he works to change us from the inside that causes us to seek righteousness (the work of sanctification).


#1288

Don’t some denominations believe the first and not the second in that all you need to do is believe no matter how you live your life?

And actually this IS binary, we are either infused or not, no?


#1289

You realize you hold us to a standard that you yourself do not follow. Romans 2 nowhere indicates that Paul is talking about a hypothetical or impossible scenario by saying something like “But who can keep the law?” yet you hold to your interpretation (which is fine as long as you realize it is an interpretation).

Same with the justification before men vs justification before God, and this latest topic of eternal salvation vs temporal salvation. These are all interpretations arrived at by matching multiple verses from multiple places. Again that’s fine but your argument against James can be used against any one of these other interpretations.


#1290

Well yes, that is why we say someone is saved or lost. There is no in between. However, when someone is saved they are also being sanctified. So there are multiple things happening.

Probably, we live in an age where anyone can believe anything and anyone can start a church for any reason. I’ll just say that my experience in life has been mostly Southern Baptist but I’ve also attended numerous United Methodist, Assembly of God and Reformed/Presbyterian services and all of them teach that when someone comes to faith in Christ that God changes their heart and as a result how they live their life will change. From my experience, the overriding plea in all of those churches is to come to Jesus and then, by the conviction and power of the Holy Spirit, live for Him.


#1291

ajcstr, I only have a few moments here. I haven’t even addressed your last post. Don’t any of you guys have jobs? I have a job and 7 children.

In regards to Rahab, I think you are being a little too nitpicky with me. You asked me for an example of temporal salvation and I gave you one.

When James says we are justified by works and not by faith alone, … the word alone is also translated only. His point is, that justification by faith is not the only kind of justification there is. There is also a justification by works.

I will get to the Matthew 25 passage later, sorry for the delay but I have to work.

blessings,


#1292

Yes, I’m at work now

You are reading temporal salvation into it by linking it to another passage in Hebrews. And “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.” would imply that her temporal salvation was based on faith not on works.

Anyway, look, lets not turn this into 42 straying posts.


#1293

I find I’m repeating myself a lot here, but since I just watched “Martin Luther” on PBS, I’m inspired to join in.

I’ve never had a problem with this “by faith alone” vs. “good works” issue.

I have always thought of it this way (I’m sure I’m not original): Humanity is locked in a dungeon. There is no way out except one door, and the door is locked. Jesus died on the cross to unlock the door. So we are all saved by faith, or Christ’s sacrifice, or however you want to put it. So now the door is open. But guess what? You have to want to walk out the door–you have to actually walk over to the door and walk out. That’s up to you–and doing that = good works.

So is everyone saved by the sacrifice of Jesus? Yes. Is everyone saved by their own good works? Yes. Good works without the sacrifice of Jesus are useless–they can’t get us to Heaven unless someone opens the door. But the sacrifice of Jesus alone is also useless–it doesn’t mean all people will now go to Heaven, it means that all people now have the opportunity to get to Heaven–the door’s open–by doing good and avoiding evil.

So what’s the problem?


#1294

I would be careful with the wording you choose. We are not saved by good works, especially our ‘own’ good works. We are saved by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; He alone purchased the reward of eternal life for us. The Holy Spirit applies the merits of Jesus Christ through the gift of faith and the gift of His works. The works that we perform are not even ours, they are His working through us (cf. Isaiah 26:12; Philippians 2:12). Salvation is a gift, faith is a gift, and good works are a gift; by the gift of our free will we merely say with Our Blessed Mother, “Let it be done to me according to your word”. :slight_smile:

I get what you were trying to say and it is a beautiful analogy. Just remember, we need grace to walk through that door that Jesus Christ opens for us. Even for the prompting of us to walk through the door with grace we need the actual predisposition of the Holy Spirit nudging us to allow Him to assist us. :slight_smile:


#1295

To all my faith plus works friends out there: I have learned a lot over these last few weeks about the Roman Catholic view of eternal salvation. I can’t guarantee I’ve got it all right but honestly I can’t put my finger on all the moving parts.

Catholics say we are saved by grace through faith (apart from works) it is a gift of God, but with the very same breath, good works must prove over time the genuineness of that person’s salvation, certainly by the end of their life. If the works do not prove this, then their justification is revoked. They cannot come in to heaven.

This person will then go to a place called purgatory where the prayers of the saints may pray them out, or, hell itself, depending on the nature of the sin. Sin is divided into two categories: venial and mortal. Venial is sin-lite, mortal is sin-dark.
This progressive gift of justification, or, I like to use the term justification “pending a final outcome” is based on particular scriptures that warn the believer of failure. For instance, when the Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians and said,

“And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you HOLY, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight, IF INDEED YOU CONTINUE IN THE FAITH, grounded and steadfast and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you have heard.” 1:21-23

This is just one example of several found in the New Testament where the possibility of failure to live for Christ results in a denial of the very justification they received when they came to Christ. The example given here (Col. 1) is not an overt and unambiguous exhortation warning us that one’s justification could be in danger. And actually I can’t find even one passage that will openly teach this view. That should be a big red flag to any honest and un-bias student of the bible. It falls on deaf ears on this site. Paul should be shouting this from the mountain tops, but I can’t hear anything from him on this.

Only through an implicit and unspoken approach to passages such as Colossians 1, does the Roman Church make their interpretation to mean that justification must be a process to be evaluated. This evaluation must find both faith and works present at the end of one’s life in order to enjoy the so-called free gift of eternal life. Really?
If there is anything not quite right in my assessment, please feel free.


#1296

Okay… this must be a nightmare to any Roman Catholic who is honest with themselves. It has all the potential ingredients of breeding fear and terror in the hearts of God’s people. Here’s why. The failing believer walks on egg shells wondering if they have enough faith and works to cross the finish line. Will they make it? … The post-protestants worry they will lose their faith and go to hell. The Roman Catholics worry they will lose their faith and works and go to hell. Both sides are pathetic and unscriptural in my view. Fear and torment is the only outcome on both sides.

Maybe there is a tormenting sin that is still undealt with and it has the potential to send them to hell. I agree that all sin should be confessed, but not all sin is as cut and dry as that. Where is the good news in this doctrine? Secondly, how do Roman Catholics perceive a loving Father? a Father mindful of our frame, a Father full of compassion and grace, a Father who no longer has wrath in His hand to the one who so deserves it? but has poured out all of His wrath on His Son.

That’s another moving part I can’t get my brain around. The work of Christ covers our sin, but then it doesn’t cover it all at this future judgment. We need to throw in some good works to finish the deal. This is the formula to get to keep the free gift.

All of this makes me grateful I did not stay at Holy Rosary Catholic Church when I was young. Justification is a one time for all time pronouncement of favor on us. It is based on the finished work of Christ alone. If we were to do all good works for 10,000 years, it would still not be enough to move the needle with God. Our sin debt was too expensive. Only Christ alone could take it all away that one resurrection morning.

Now this is good news. This is the kind of news that causes me to want to do good works the rest of my life, not to stay saved, but because I’m already saved. He loves me, and I love Him. This is the greatest commandment.


#1297

[quote=“tgGodsway, post:1296, topic:442045, full:true”]Now this is good news. This is the kind of news that causes me to want to do good works the rest of my life, not to stay saved, but because I’m already saved. He loves me, and I love Him. This is the greatest commandment.
[/quote]This part I agree with. I don’t believe it is opposed to the Catholic faith, as you claim.

Loving neighbor and God, as He has loved us without our deserving produces the works of faith which justifies.

Mere confidence in Jesus, while deliberately continuing in sin, is a double minded person. He is actually at enmity with God’s grace, as opposed to cooperating in it.


#1298

replying to rcwitness when he said, "Ok, in other words, you acknowledge that the gift of salvation received in this life doesn’t guarantee salvation in the next. We believe this too. We both reject Once Saved Always Saved!
NO THAT IS NOT WHAT I’M SAYING… THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE RECEIVED IN THIS LIFE IS EXACTLY THAT, “ETERNAL.” IT NEVER ENDS. I DO NOT REJECT ONCE JUSTIFIED ALWAYS JUSTIFIED. THE NEW TESTAMENT SPEAKS OF THIS AS A FINISHED WORK, NOT SOMETHING INCOMPLETE, AS YOU DO.

However, I am trying to understand where you get your interpretation that works of faith do not justify whether we have saving faith to enter the kingdom.
I’M NOT SURE WHAT YOU ARE SAYING HERE. … WORKS OF FAITH DO JUSTIFY US, BUT LIKE PAUL SAID, IT’S NOT THE WAY IT IS DONE BEFORE GOD. RO.4:2 OUR JUSTIFICATION HAPPENS IN A MOMENT OF FAITH. THIS IS WHEN THE GAVEL IS STRUCK AND WE ARE PRONOUNCED “INOCENT” BASED ON THE WORK OF CHRIST ALONE.

AS TO THE MATT. 25 PASSAGE. AT FIRST GLANCE I CAN SURELY SEE HOW YOU GET A FAITH-WORKS JUGEMENT FROM THIS. SCHOLARS ARGUE WHAT KIND OF JUDGEMENT THIS IS. IS IT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST? IS IT THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT? I THINK IT IS NEITHER. IT IS THE JUDGMENT OF NATIONS, JUST AS JESUS SAID IT IS. I’M NOT SURE WHAT THAT IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE BUT APPARENTLY GOD WILL PICK APART NATIONS AND HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE, HE WILL JUDGE THEM ON THEIR WORKS, BOTH GOOD AND BAD. THE EVIL NATIONS WILL RECEIVE THEIR SENTENCE IN HELL WHILE THE RIGHTEOUS WILL ENJOY THE KINGDOM.

I HAVE ALWAYS SAID THAT ON A PERSONAL LEVEL, WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE AND JUDGED BY WORKS. THIS IS A CLEAR TEACHING FROM SCRIPTURE. BUT THIS PASSAGE IS MISSING THE TYPICAL FACTORS SUCH AS GRACE, GIFT, OR NEW BIRTH. NO DOUBT IT DOES SUPPORT THE IDEA THAT OUR WORKS PLAY A PART IN HOW ONE INHERITS. INHERITANCE IS MERITORIOUS.

rcwitness, I was looking over my last few post and realize that some of my comments sounded very harsh. I apologize. that is not the message I want to communicate. please forgive me.

tgGodsway


#1299

ajcstr, I’ve been looking over some of my post and find that I sound very harsh. I apologize.


#1300

good works that will result in justification is an obligation. Good works done in gratitude because of justification, is a love response. If I do good works, with the knowledge that I win salvation for myself, it ceases to be a gift. It is a duty. If I do good works in response to God’s benevolent gift, there is no obligation. I freely respond back in love.


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