Not By Faith Alone


#1

Isn’t it curious that the Apostle Paul used the word “faith” and related terms more than 200 times in the New Testament, yet he never once used the phrase “faith alone”?

This seems strange considering how concerned Paul was with passing on the faith accurately and the means to justification would be among the most important truths he would preach. In fact, throughout all of his works, he goes to great lengths to choose his words with precision, so it seems odd that “faith alone” does not appear once in all of his writings.

This is even more surprising given the fact that Paul also used the words “alone” and “only” more than any other New Testament author. Clearly, Paul was well-accustomed to using these powerful qualifiers.

Could it be that the Holy Spirit prevented Paul from ever writing “faith alone” to describe the process of justification? And that same check prevented any of the gospel writers from ascribing “faith alone” to Jesus, either.

In fact, the only time that the Holy Spirit allowed any author to use that infamous phrase, is when He inspired James to write, “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24)

Therefore, for those who propose that Paul taught justification by faith alone, a very haunting question remains: Why didn’t Paul use the specific phrase “faith alone” anywhere in his New Testament writings?


#2

Your right the New Testament contains almost 200 statements that imply faith or belief is sufficient for salvation.

Here are some for example, do we see how human works don’t seem to be a stipulation in these verses

For example: "Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25)

Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned

Jhn 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jhn 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Jhn 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Jhn 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Jhn 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Jhn 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Jhn 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

Jhn 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Jhn 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Jhn 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

Jhn 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

Act 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Rom 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Rom 10:4 For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

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

Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

1Jo 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.


#3

Yes indeed! And i would like to add:

James 2:24

“You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

The “you see” indicates that the purpose of the previous verses on Abraham’s faith and works (21-23) were designed to prove the point expressed in verse 24. Since Abraham’s faith is being referenced and used to prove verse 24, James can only be referring to true justifying faith, not mere intellectual belief or “dead” faith. If he was arguing that man is justified by faith alone as taught by the Protestants, then he would have simply stated that in James 2:24 and not say the complete opposite (not by faith alone) or even bring up works in the first place in relation to salvation.

God bless,
Michael


#4

Steve Ray on his Defenders of the Catholic Faith website has a letter to a guy who wrote the book Do Protestants and Catholics Now Agree? or something like that. Anyhoo, Mr. Ray gives a super rundown of scriptural evidence for the necessity of good works inspired by faith in that letter.


#5

Why?

*Why *didn’t Paul use the specific phrase “faith alone” anywhere in his New Testament writings?


#6

my question is very simple…

If Faith alone is true, and you never do anything that is asked of you in the bible… can you still get into heaven…

Remember two things… One: It is often commented that if you have a true faith you will do these things…

But i dont have to if faith alone is true

two) Faith means very simply the belief in something that cannot be proven. Thats how a dictionary may put it… The bible words the same thing in this manner: The hope for a thing that is unseen. Means the same thing…

It is not a magical mystical supernatural spell that changes our fundamental level and make it so that we will automaticly do anyway. Faith also does not mean beleiving AND acting in that belief… Combining the two concepts into one results in misunderstanding what scripture is saying every time the word faith is used. This is also why, as catholics, we cannont accept the common protestant view of faith to mean more than what it realy does…

To the gentleman who psoted the versus that imply all we are to do is believe… Why would jesus say ‘why do you call me lord lord and not do as I say.’ There are many other versus throughout the NT that mention the imprtance of working in christ, but do not say much about the believing part. so, the question comes…

Is the bible contradictory, or are these versus you bring out merely pointing out that believe is an essential part.

So…

I ask again… if you have a true faith, and never do what is in the bible, can you get into heaven…

In Christ


#7

My friend, you know as well as I that you are taking this verse out of context, for if not the bible would contradict itself.

Here is the response to that verse to help clarify for you…
Jhn 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.


#8

Opinions vary greatly. Yet scripture is very clear.

The answer is no.

Other personal opinions are unscriptural.


#9

I dunno!


#10

By true faith, do you mean saving faith;
In order for faith to be saving faith, it must have the proper content (i.e., conviction of sin, trust in God and Jesus Christ as savior) and it must be God-given (Rom. 12:3,6; Gal. 3:23; Eph. 2:8), residing in a regenerate heart (cf. Rom. 10:8-10). The difficulty for us as modern Christians reading the Bible is that the Bible itself does not clearly indicate what kind of faith it is talking about in all instances.

Consider, for example, John 2:23-25. There we learn that Jesus did not entrust himself to those who believed in him, and that he withheld himself from them because he knew them. Another way to describe these people is to say that they were “believers” who did not have saving faith. The point is simply that what the Bible calls “belief” or “faith” isn’t exactly the same was what modern Christians mean when they use these terms. It also applies these terms to people that have false faith in the gospel, and to people who have faith in a false gospel


#11

The contradiction lies in the belief that one is saved by faith alone. The contradiction lies in THAT tradition NOT in the bible.


#12

The contradiction lies in the belief that one is saved by faith alone. The contradiction lies in THAT tradition, NOT in the bible.


#13

:confused:


#14

Justification: Love and Faith

St. Mark 12: 28 One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first (“protos”: first in a succession of things) of all the commandments?” 29 Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! 30 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ 33 And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that (he) answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

St. Matthew 22: 34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them (a scholar of the law) tested him by asking, 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and the first commandment. 39 The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

I Corinthians 13: 13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13: 7 It (LOVE) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I Corinthians 13: 1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Ephesians 6: 14 So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, 15 and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.

I Thessalonians 5: 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet that is hope for salvation.

Galatians 5: 6 For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working (“energeo”) through love.

**St. James 2: 5—Listen, my beloved brothers. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love Him? **

Psalm 108: 5 For your love towers to the heavens; your faithfulness, to the skies.

St. John** 16: 27 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world.**

Deuteronomy 30: 19 I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, 20 by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land which the LORD swore he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


#15

We I consider post # 14, I believe that love is first. It is first in a cardinal sense and not in a ordinal sense. I borrowed the idea of cardinal and ordinal sense from Saints Basil and Augustine. They used it on the One Day of creation and not the first day of creation. One Day is cardinal. First day is ordinal.

Love is the greatest. Faith is ordered by His love in our heart.

Or, love is superior and in control of faith.


#16

Have you ever thought that it could be your interpretation of the other verses that can be wrong? Please tell me what James meant by being JUSTIFIED BY WORKS and NOT BY FAITH ALONE.

God bless,
Michael


#17

It just amazes me how one can transform James 2:24 from:

“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”

To:

“You see then that a man is justified by faith only.”

This just blatantly defies the rules of grammar and semantics and completely makes James’s argument irrelevant. The “you see then” clearly indicates that the discussion of the sacrifice of Isaac in the previous verses was designed to prove verse 24. The point was to show how both Abraham’s faith and works work together for a common goal, salvation. Remember, the context of the discussion is what kind of faith saves (v.14) and James’s point is that the faith that ultimately saves is faith working through love (i.e. works). Justification by faith must be followed by a life of obedience to God. When Abraham was justified in Genesis 15, he also received the call to obedience (the “obedience of faith”) that could only be “fulfilled” through the performance of righteous acts. Once you are made righteous, you are obligated to perform righteous acts:

1 John 3:7

Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous .

Our righteous status we freely got by grace through faith is fulfilled when we practice righteousness, and hence whenever we perform righteous acts in Christ, they are pleasing to God and ensure the maintenance of our righteous status and our salvation. The call to obedience we automatically received when we were justified is fufilled when we obey God’s commandents, just as Abraham obeyed God’s command to sacrifice his son. God’s commandments can be summarized by the word love, love of God and love of neighbor (Read Luke 10:25-28). Abraham obeyed this call to love when he demonstrated that his love for God was greater than his love for his son. Faith is completed by love. That is why Jesus emphasized that we must love our neighbor in order to remain in Him (i.e. justified) (John 15) and that is why he told the rich man, "But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17). Keeping the commandments is absolutely necessary for entrance into eternal life because it fullfills the purpose of one’s justfication, to live righteously. Failure to fulfill the call to righteousness of justification will ultimately nullify it. That is why James says that man is justified by works and not by faith alone, thus warning Christians not to rely on faith alone for their salvation.

God Bless,


#18

You’d also would have to describe Love. How do you love??? By loving your parents, do you just have faith in them?? Or would you rather do what they say and have faith that they know best?

   That is what good works and faith do. You do the will of God and have faith that He knows best. That's how you achieve the Kingdom of Heaven.

#19

Myfavoritmartin-

Given the centrality of *sola fide *in Protestant theology, I would think this is worthy of some serious thought.

If I just hand an answer to you, you’ll reject it outright because I am Catholic. That’s not a put-down; we need to recognize how entrenched we are in our positions honestly.

On the other hand, if you come up with the correct answer on your own, you will own it, and it could change your life.


#20

I think he was saying that the contradition lies within the tradition of sola fide which is not found in the bible.

I had to read it a couple of times myself. :slight_smile:


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