Tuesday, January 12, 2010

“FAITH ALONE” (Part 1)

Introduction

Perhaps the most important question that could ever be asked is, “How can a person be made right in the sight of God, that is, how can he be eligible for Heaven?” Or, as the Philippian jailer asked, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)

Thankfully, the apostle Paul gave the Philippian jailer a very simple and direct answer… “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (v. 31). No complicated formulas, no list of good works, no sacraments to observe, no prayers or Bible verses to memorize, no Jewish laws to maintain… Just believe on (trust in) the Lord Jesus, i.e., on the work that He accomplished on the cross. This is the biblical answer to that most important question, and it reflects a teaching called “Sola Fide” (faith alone), that many (if not most) Protestants believe in. Of course, Catholics will strongly deny this teaching, and will insist that one is saved by faith PLUS WORKS, and not by “faith alone.”

First off, we want to say that the term “faith alone” is not a perfectly accurate term, in the sense that faith is not the only thing present at the moment of conversion. Along with faith, there will certainly be joy, thankfulness, sorrow for one’s sins, a love for God and a willingness to serve Him, etc. A similar (imperfect) expression would be the Catechism of the Catholic Church saying that “Christ alone” teaches us (CCC #427), yet the Catholic Church (as well as every other church) also has human teachers. Another example is the phrase “salvation comes from God alone” (CCC #169), yet Catholics will argue that the Church certainly has a part in it. Just as these Catholic phrases are not precise, so it is with the phrase “faith alone.”

The focus of the term “faith alone” is on the ABSENCE OF WORK done in attempting to make Heaven. As the Scripture says, it is by faith APART FROM WORKS (Romans 3:28). It doesn’t mean that you never do any good works, it just means that none of your works contribute to your salvation. Justification is a trusting, a changed attitude of the heart (repentance), a surrender toward God, not a work which deserves a reward. Justification is always seen as a GIFT in Scripture, not a reward. Attempting to achieve justification (even partially) through works only disqualifies a person from receiving it (Romans 4:4-5).

Secondly, we are not against Christians doing good works. We should be anxious to do good works, and should do them out of love and thankfulness. However, good works are not the cause of justification, but the result; they are not the root, but the fruit of our salvation; we don’t do good works to be saved, we do them because we are saved. We do get heavenly rewards for our works, but justification itself is purely a GIFT.


The Catholic View

But what is the stance of the Catholic Church on the role of works in the believer’s life? To their credit, the Catechism says that a person is justified by grace (CCC #1996), through faith in Jesus Christ (CCC #1987). So far, so good. But we need to note some other things, as well. Here are a few quotes from official Catholic sources:


“Of this justification the causes are these… the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism…” (Council of Trent, Sixth Session, Decree on Justification, Chapter 7)


“From the most ancient times in the Church good works were also offered to God for the salvation of sinners… indeed, the prayers and good works of holy people were regarded as of such great value that it could be asserted that the penitent was washed, cleansed and redeemed with the help of the entire Christian people.” (Second Vatican Council, Apostolic Constitution on the Revision of Indulgences)


“The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation…” (CCC #1129)


“If anyone saith that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Sixth Session, Canon 24)


“If anyone saith that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation… Let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session 7, Canon 4)


There is no doubt or mystery here. The Catholic Church is telling us plainly and openly that one’s works are the CAUSE of his salvation. According to these sources, we discover that a person is justified (at least partially) by good works, prayer, and sacraments (especially baptism). Faith plus works.

But if we are indeed justified by “faith plus works,” we must ask, “How many good works does it take to save someone? When does a person know that he has accumulated enough of them to make it to Heaven?” As for as anyone can tell, we don’t know.

But, there is another problem. According to the Bible, if we are going to follow the law (any law of works) to be saved, we had better follow it PERFECTLY:


For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for “The just shall live by faith.” And the law is not of faith: but, “The man that doeth them shall live in them.” (Galatians 3:10-12)


For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (Galatians 5:3)

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)


If anyone is trusting in good works to be justified, then he must do them completely and perfectly. But it’s too late for that. Every one of us has already defiled his own “record,” since we have all sinned (Romans 3:23). God demands moral perfection, but there is only One Who is perfect and able to follow the Law flawlessly. There is only One Who was ever able to pay the debt for our sins… Jesus Christ. And He already paid this penalty 2000 years ago on the cross to make us eligible for Heaven, that is, IF we trust in that work alone.

This is one of the reasons that it is called “the gospel.” The Greek word for “gospel” means good news. It is good news because we don’t have to wonder and fret about whether we have done enough good deeds to make it into Heaven. This is a foretaste of that Christian “rest” that God has for us. (Hebrews 4:1-11)


Two Kinds of Righteousness

No one is “good enough” to be saved on his own. We all need the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Remember, there are two kinds of righteousness in Scripture:

1) Our Personal Righteousness

A. It is imperfect (I John 1:8)
B. It can grow (John 15:2,5; 2 Corinthians 9:10)
C. We all have unequal “amounts” of it (I Samuel 24:17)
D. It is part of our Sanctification (Philippians 2:12-13; Titus 3:5)
E. It is inherent (since the new birth) (I John 2:29)
F. It is a result of Salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10)

2) The Righteousness of Jesus Christ

A. It is absolutely perfect (Ephesians 5:27; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
B. It cannot grow (Hebrews 13:8)
C. We all have the same “amount” (Romans 5:18)
D. It is for our Justification (Romans 10:3)
E. It is imputed (from outside) (Romans 4:6, 11, 22-24)
F. It is the cause of Salvation (Romans 5:18-19)

The Christian possesses both. Number 1 above (what people see in us) is a direct result of Number 2 (what happens in our heart).

One final thing: The Catholic Church sees essentially no distinction between “sanctification” and “justification” (CCC #1989; CCC #2019), but the Bible shows that justification is a one-time event (Romans chap. 3, 4, and 5), while sanctification is a process which begins at the new birth, and continues throughout the life of the believer (2 Timothy 2:21). There are no human works to do in justification, rather our works are used by God during the process of sanctification, which is our time of growth. The two terms are closely related, but still distinct.

In Part 2, we will look at some Catholic arguments against Sola Fide and see if they are valid. Until then…

45 comments:

  1. Hmmm, I really hope in the next part you will talk about Matthew 25:31ff

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  2. Hello nuntym,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Yes, I certainly do intend to address Matthew 25. And please feel free to comment on it.

    Russell

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  3. (2 of 2)
    R: But, there is another problem. According to the Bible, if we are going to follow the law (any law of works) to be saved, we had better follow it PERFECTLY:

    N: This is a serious misunderstanding. Paul was not fighting any law, but rather the Mosaic Law. To think Paul was ruling out "any law" is without Biblical warrant (e.g Gal 6:2). Further, the issue never was about keeping the Law perfectly, that's another misunderstanding. Paul explains even if one kept the Law perfectly they wouldn't be saved because salvation was attached to Abraham's promise and not the Mosaic Law (e.g. Gal 3:15-18).

    All your quotes are speaking of the Mosaic Law, mistake or misunderstand that, and you've totally misunderstood Paul: Gal 4:21ff.

    R: If anyone is trusting in good works to be justified, then he must do them completely and perfectly.

    N: That never was Paul's argument, and in fact such reasoning is foreign to Paul's thought.


    R: Remember, there are two kinds of righteousness in Scripture:

    N: There are multiple kinds of righteousness in Scripture. The two primary ones Paul focused on is the righteousness of the Mosaic Law (which only gives one earthly blessings, nothing more) and the righteousness from God (which is and always was the only kind that saves souls).

    R: D. It is part of our Sanctification (Philippians 2:12-13; Titus 3:5)

    N: Where does Phil 2:12f and Titus 3:5 say it's about sanctification only? Protestants are forced to make Phil 2:12f about sanctification, but this is without warrant. Titus 3:4-7 is actually speaking of justification!

    R: 2) The Righteousness of Jesus Christ

    N: Note that the Bible doesn't actually speak about the "Righteousness of Christ" as something given/imputed to people. It's an unbiblical category.

    R: E. It is imputed (from outside) (Romans 4:6, 11, 22-24)

    N: Nowhere does the Bible say it's "Christ's Righteousness" that is imputed, that's read into the text.

    R: The Catholic Church sees essentially no distinction between “sanctification” and “justification”, but the Bible shows that justification is a one-time event (Romans chap. 3, 4, and 5), while sanctification is a process which begins at the new birth, and continues throughout the life of the believer (2 Timothy 2:21).

    N: The Bible does not make this distinction, at least not as Protestants do. This is a purely invented distinction and one which the Bible does not teach.

    I'm going to look at part 2 now. I welcome your comments.

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  4. Hello, you invited us to look at your sola fide series, so I've come to look it over and comment.

    R: the apostle Paul gave the Philippian jailer a very simple and direct answer… “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (v. 31). No complicated formulas, no list of good works, no sacraments to observe...

    N: That's a bit of an oversimplification. The Jailer's life was at stake, and so Paul didn't have time to tell him everything the average Christian is to know and believe. Also, it clearly says he took the whole family out in the middle of the night and baptized them.

    R: it is by faith APART FROM WORKS (Romans 3:28). It doesn’t mean that you never do any good works, it just means that none of your works contribute to your salvation.

    N: The text says "works of the Law," which is not "any and all works" much less at any time. Also, if you do a search for "eternal life" it most often listed as a reward for good works.

    What is really key here is defining what "saved" means, because in the Protestant framework "saved" means all legal requirements have been met to enter Heaven, thus it makes no sense to say "faith plus works" or anything similar. Catholics mean something different by "saved," thus we are really speaking two different languages. Most don't realize this. The deciding factor is which language matches up with Scripture.

    R: Justification is always seen as a GIFT in Scripture, not a reward.

    N: It depends. Catholics would point to texts such as Mat 12:37, Rom 2:13, 1 Cor 4:4, etc which speak of it as a reward for good living. Further, one must distinguish between "entering Heaven" and "justify", for they are not necessarily synonymous.

    R: Attempting to achieve justification (even partially) through works only disqualifies a person from receiving it (Romans 4:4-5).

    N: I disagree with your interpretation; it is oversimplified.

    R: we don’t do good works to be saved, we do them because we are saved.

    N: Nowhere does the NT say good works are guaranteed, and the fact we see Christians in the NT (and today) sin proves they are not guaranteed.

    R: We do get heavenly rewards for our works, but justification itself is purely a GIFT.

    N: Where does Scripture make such a distinction? In the Final Judgment passages there is no such distinction as "rewards" versus "no rewards" but rather entering Heaven or being damned.

    R: The Catholic Church is telling us plainly and openly that one’s works are the CAUSE of his salvation. ... Faith plus works.

    N: You're attacking a strawman for you're using Protestant notions when reading Catholic teaching. The TRUE issues are the fact we see the cross differently, justification is not forensic, different view or original sin, etc, etc.

    R: But if we are indeed justified by “faith plus works,” we must ask, “How many good works does it take to save someone? When does a person know that he has accumulated enough of them to make it to Heaven?” As for as anyone can tell, we don’t know.

    N: The issue never was about quantity. But this indeed can be turned around to put the Protestant in a bind of their own: How many good works must flow for one to know they were initially saved?

    (cont)

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  5. Hello again Nick,

    (Part 1 of 2)

    NOTE: In case anyone is interested, Nick and I had some additional discussion previously on this same topic over at Dr. Joe Mizzi’s blog. Our responses can be found in the “comments” section of Dr. Mizzi’s article, “Catholics Misunderstand Sola Fide”: http://evangeliku.blogspot.com/search?q=sola+fide

    Nick, sorry for taking so long to respond.

    You said:

    “R: the apostle Paul gave the Philippian jailer a very simple and direct answer… “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (v. 31). No complicated formulas, no list of good works, no sacraments to observe...

    N: That's a bit of an oversimplification. The Jailer's life was at stake, and so Paul didn't have time to tell him everything the average Christian is to know and believe. Also, it clearly says he took the whole family out in the middle of the night and baptized them.”

    Ok, as I said in the article, what Paul told him is the BIBLICAL answer to the question of “What must I do to be saved?” It doesn’t matter whether the jailer’s life was at stake or not. The answer is the same. Paul had enough time to tell him the simple requirement of salvation: to believe (i.e., to trust in Jesus’ work on the cross). Sure, there is much to learn in Christianity, but one doesn’t have to know every aspect of it to be saved / justified. Perhaps it is not Protestants who are “oversimplifying” the gospel, but rather, it is Catholics who are “overcomplicating” it.

    And yes, the jailer and his family got baptized right away. This proves nothing except that God wants us to be baptized.

    You said:

    “R: we don’t do good works to be saved, we do them because we are saved.

    N: Nowhere does the NT say good works are guaranteed, and the fact we see Christians in the NT (and today) sin proves they are not guaranteed.”

    James 2:18 says, “But someone may well say, ‘You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith BY MY WORKS.’” [NASB] Works may not always come immediately, but they will come in due season, IF the person really is saved. When a person becomes a Christian, he becomes a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). It doesn’t mean he will never sin, but that his heart changes. He now has a DESIRE to serve God and do good works. He may not do the works perfectly… he may not even do them well. He may still be somewhat carnal, but his heart will be toward good works.

    As far as your comment about Christians sinning, this proves nothing except that we are human. We ALL sin, Nick. But does this prove that NO ONE is really a Christian? Obviously not.

    (CONTINUED)

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  6. Nick,

    (Part 2 of 2)

    You said:

    “R: We do get heavenly rewards for our works, but justification itself is purely a GIFT.

    N: Where does Scripture make such a distinction? In the Final Judgment passages there is no such distinction as "rewards" versus "no rewards" but rather entering Heaven or being damned.”

    The Final Judgment passages are not focusing on the rewards that will be received, but on the final destination of the person. But 1 Corinthians 3:4-15 tells us of this distinction between “rewards” versus “no rewards” for the works we do. However, this particular GIFT of justification / salvation can never be earned / merited. This is one reason that you “see the cross differently” than we do.

    You said:

    “R: D. It is part of our Sanctification (Philippians 2:12-13; Titus 3:5)

    N: Where does Phil 2:12f and Titus 3:5 say it's about sanctification only? Protestants are forced to make Phil 2:12f about sanctification, but this is without warrant. Titus 3:4-7 is actually speaking of justification!”

    Philippians 2:12f is clearly about sanctification, i.e., being “set apart” for God and living the Christian life. It is about the perseverance and growth process of the Christian (which includes doing good works). So, I would say that it cannot be speaking of justification, since justification is “APART FROM [the merit of] WORKS” (and I stress ANY and ALL good works).

    Since there are no works done in justification (in the “saving” sense, not the “vindication” sense), then sanctification is the “phase” in which works are done. Nick, I know that we already went through all of this, but there is no escaping the message of Romans chapter 3, 4 and 5: JUSTIFICATION IS BY FAITH, APART FROM WORKS.

    Now, I know that you’ll say that the works Paul was speaking of in Romans 3 thru 5 were only the Mosaic Law, because it is in the context. But if your view is correct, Paul would be seriously lacking as a teacher, since (and you agreed on this earlier) he is DEFINING a most critical doctrine (justification) in Romans 3, 4 and 5, yet he mentions NONE of the works that supposedly DO save us. Where is baptism, or giving to the poor, or helping your neighbor, etc., in the context of Romans 3 thru 5? Over and over, he only mentions FAITH as that which saves. No “saving” works are even mentioned. Kinda strange, don’t you think, if he’s here defining what it is to be justified? If Paul were going to tell us which works justify, it seems that he would list them HERE. (See the “Owner’s Manual” analogy in Part 2)

    Concerning Titus 3:5, I know that it is about justification, but I mentioned this verse simply to show that there are no “works of righteousness” in justification. My point was to show that our personal righteousness and our good works are in the “sanctification phase” and not the “justification phase.”

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  7. Hi,

    I don't think the Philippian Jailer account on it's own does anything decisive for either side. The deeper issues need to be resolved via other texts.

    As for my claim that good works are not being guaranteed, I don't see where you've proven they were. Your fundamental claim is "Works may not always come immediately, but they will come in due season, IF the person really is saved," but this doesn't have Scriptural backing. My point about Christians sinning is not to say they are not Christians, but to refute the idea good works are guaranteed to flow. And depending on one's view of free will, they might be forced to say since free will is a myth, that God is causing the Christian to sin. (But that's another issue)

    You said: "The Final Judgment passages are not focusing on the rewards that will be received, but on the final destination of the person." I agree, and that's my point. Even 1 Cor 3:14-17 makes this distinction.

    Your comments on Phil 2:12f being about sanctification only is begging the question. The problem is you're assuming justification is static, and a one time event.

    Lastly, I'm not sure your point on Titus 3:5, when you originally said it was speaking of sanctification.

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  8. Russell,

    I have slight difficulties understanding the concept of Sola Fide. I have done some research on this Protestant teaching, but I could not find much. Could you give me a solid definition of Sola Fide and briefly explain it? I would honestly appreciate it.

    Does Philippians 2:12 disprove this concept? If not, why not? I would be happy to know what you think about this passage.

    Jonathon

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  9. Hi Jonathon,

    Thanks for your inquiry.

    Concerning a definition of Sola Fide, I would say that it simply means that salvation comes to a person who exercises faith in the Person, work, and suffering of Jesus Christ while on the cross. One is justified by his faith (or trust) in that work. And it is by faith ONLY, not in baptism, speaking in tongues, wearing the right clothing, Bible studies, church membership, giving money to church or charities, helping your neighbor, or by the merit of any other good works that we can do. Exactly what are YOU trusting in, Jonathon?

    You asked about Philippians 2:12. This verse says to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Paul is writing to the church in Philippi, and encouraging Christians there to live a godly life. The context is NOT “how to get right with God,” but “how to be set apart for godly living.” It is about perseverance and growth, not justification. He is talking about the outworking, or the living out, the sanctification of our Christian lives, that’s all.

    By the way, Jonathon, the term “faith alone” is not totally accurate, since there will be other things present at salvation, like love for God and man, perhaps joy, a feeling of a weight lifted, humility, peace, surrender, and other feelings. And “faith alone” does not mean faith apart from the PRESENCE of works (since there will be works to follow if his faith is real), but faith apart from the merit of works.

    Hope this helps.

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    1. Russell:

      What is the difference between "works" and "works of the law" in texts such as Romans 3:28 and Galatians 2:16? If they are not different, then why not? What about the new perspective of the Apostle Paul that most bible scholars hold today?

      Jonathon

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  10. Hey Russell,

    Check out this totally awesome argument for Sola Fide:

    "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

    On the day of judgment, every man's work will be tested by fire. If a man's work withstands the testing of the flame he will receive a reward as stated. However, do notice what happens if a man's work does not withstand the fire: he will still be saved. In either result, a man is saved. So what does this tells us? The basis of salvation is not determined by works!!!

    On the contrary, it is works that determine the rewards which is something to be earned. Eternal life is a gift from God (Romans 6:23), and we know gifts are not earned but they are freely given by the giver. On the other hand, our text in 1st Corinthians 3 tells us that rewards are earned if our works passed the testing by fire.

    The Apostle Paul is consistent here when he says salvation is not by works. Notice how the text is in harmony with Romans 4:4-5:
    "Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness."

    Check that out Russell!!! I pulled this Sola Fide tactic on Jonathon and I had him STUMPED!

    Jesse

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  11. Hello Jonathon,

    There is not much difference between “works” and “works of the Law,” since they both fall into the same category, as you can see in Part 2 of this same series here:

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2010/01/faith-alone-part-2.html

    For example, in Romans chapter 3 and 4, Paul is indeed dealing with the Jewish (Mosaic) Law. But we know that he is going BEYOND that since he also deals with Abraham in Romans 4:1-3. Abraham was NOT under the Mosaic Law, and Paul says that the Old Testament saints – those who lived before and during the Mosaic Law - and we (the church today) are saved in the SAME way… by grace through faith, apart from works.

    Jonathon, I am not real familiar with the “New Perspective” on Paul, but I believe that Scripture is clear enough on the doctrine of “faith alone,” especially in Romans 3, 4, and 5.

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  12. Hi Jesse,

    You are absolutely correct. This is a great argument for “Sola Fide.” But I’m a little concerned with your last statement:

    “Check that out Russell!!! I pulled this Sola Fide tactic on Jonathon and I had him STUMPED!”

    Even though you are RIGHT concerning your argument, it is important to try our best to maintain a proper Christian attitude. I know it’s easy to get excited, especially when we come across some new supporting verses for our particular argument. But we have to be careful of pride or of a triumphalistic attitude. Maybe that’s not the way you meant it, but sometimes, in our zeal, we might say things that can easily be taken in the wrong way.

    Jesse, I appreciate your zeal. Don’t lose that. But be careful how you use it. The passage in Luke 10:17-20 comes to mind, where Jesus tells the seventy, “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in Heaven.” Jesus was telling them to balance their zeal and their new-found power with the proper Christian attitude. We ALL need to do that.

    Thanks for your comments and keep up the good fight!

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    1. Nice try Russell,

      Romans 4:6-8 crushes Calvinism (Faith Alone).

      X

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    2. Hello Russell,

      It might be good for you to know that Romans chapters three through five actually contradicts the principle of Sola Fide. When I explain why these chapters in Paul's epistle violate the theory of "faith alone", other Protestants begin to freak out. In other words, you have no Scriptural support for your belief.

      Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5 are parallel texts that prove infant baptism. So, these texts do you no favor at all when you talk about your myth. In fact, Ephesians 2:10 talks about the importance of good works! What does this do to the doctrine of Sola Fide? It refutes it!

      I bet that you are a Calvinist, right? If so, then you should be aware of the fact that Eternal Security is nothing but a huge and filthy lie (Hebrews 10:26). This is probably the reason why you believe in this heresy.

      You cannot use John 5:24 as an alleged "proof text" because of the mention of the necessity of good deeds in the context of the chapter.

      John 3:16 and John 20:31 mentions nothing about Sola Fide either. In fact, they contradict it! If you are not satisfied with the evidence that I have provided, then I do not know what to do with you.

      X

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  13. Hello X,

    First of all, I’m not a Calvinist.

    Secondly, a believer in Sola Fide is not necessarily a Calvinist.

    Third, anyone who thinks that Romans 3-5 contradicts the concept of “faith alone” is either deluded or is not being honest with the text. You’d have to turn the context on its head to make it say that it does not support “faith alone.” This passage is about justification. To understand justification (in the salvation sense), you would go to the section in the Bible that deals SPECIFICALLY and DIRECTLY with that topic as a doctrine, and that would be Romans chapter 3, 4, and 5. This answers the question, “How is a person made right with God?” If there is any other section that mentions justification, it must be understood in light of those three chapters in Romans, because these chapters make up the most comprehensive, clearest, and longest-running, continuous passage in all of Scripture that specifically deals with how a man is made right with God. They DEFINE the doctrine of justification.

    You asserted that Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5 prove “infant baptism.” But not only do NEITHER of these passages mention water baptism, they demolish the idea of baptismal regeneration because they BOTH clearly say that our salvation is NOT BY WORKS.

    Concerning Ephesians 2:10, it would be silly for Paul to say that salvation is a GIFT (v. 8), and that it is NOT BY WORKS (v. 9), and that NO ONE CAN BOAST of his works (v. 9)… and then turn around and say (v. 10) that it IS by works after all! The apostle Paul does not contradict himself. Ephesians 2:10 simply mentions that God has certain works prepared for us to walk in, but never suggests that they save us. There’s no getting around this.

    You said that I cannot use John 5:24, John 3:16, or John 20:31 as proof of Sola Fide, but I don’t even use these in the article above, nor do I ever remember using these to prove Sola Fide.

    X, with all due respect, the only contradiction I see here is in your argument, which certainly lacks the “evidence” you claim. I’m not trying to be unkind, but this is a very serious topic, and it is people that espouse salvation by faith plus works who are deceiving both the church and the general public.

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    1. Russell:

      James 2:14-26 is a Scripture passage that clearly states that works do indeed save our souls from eternal damnation in hell. Here, allow me to quote the verses so that you cannot twist them:

      14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.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 my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 YOU FOOLISH PERSON, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[a]? 21 Was not our father 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. 23 And 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 considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.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.

      If we are saved by "faith alone" and can therefore be lazy, then the Apostle James must be a liar. Notice verse 24. It is the only time the term "faith alone" is mentioned and it states "not by faith only". James 2:24-26 is as clear as if it said, "A man is justified by works and not by faith alone". Russell, this is a deadly blow to Sola Fide!

      Here is what our Lord Jesus Christ said about the matter:

      "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who DOES the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:21

      Romans chapters 3 through 5 does not mention Sola Fide. Russell clearly does not understand the fundamental difference between "works" and works of the law".

      You are the one who is obviously misinterpreting the Holy Scriptures. Romans 4:6-8 crushes Calvinism (Faith Alone). Period.

      X





      Delete
    2. Russell,

      John 3:16, John 5:24, and John 20:31 contradicts you because the texts mention the word "believes". Practically every Bible verse that you can quote to support Sola Fide requires some sort of action. This is contrary to the "faith only" position, which requires no action at all to be saved! Believing in Christ requires good works such as baptism, church membership, and obedience to the ten commandments. Thus, the salvation by "faith and works" position is assumed.

      Concerning Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5, these Scripture passages give you no help whatsoever. You mentioned the word "gift" in an attempt to support your position. However, you have to earn that gift of salvation by good deeds. The phrase "not of works" is a reference to the Mosaic law being unable to save us.

      Baptismal regeneration is supported by numerous Scripture passages such as Acts 2:37-38 and James 2:14-26.

      I have provided more than sufficient evidence to support a works-based salvation. Of course, you will only see an alleged contradiction in my argument because you are simply denying the proof that is against you. I am very aware of the fact that the subject of justification is extremely serious and therefore needs to be addressed. But the fact still remains that we cannot just call ourselves "Christians" to be saved. It is false teachers like you who are deceiving the public. Russell, please understand that my concern goes out to every one who believes in this Sola Fide heresy and that I do not intend to sound disrespectful.

      X

      Delete
    3. Russell:

      Romans 4:6-8 crushes Calvinism (Faith Alone).

      X


      Delete
  14. X,

    As I have said many times in this blog and elsewhere, the context in James chapter 2 is NOT the same as in Romans 3, 4, and 5. Paul and James are not contradicting each other. James is about proving or demonstrating the veracity of one’s faith, while Romans is about how to become justified (or righteous in the eyes of God). See Part 2 of this series here:

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2010/01/faith-alone-part-2.html

    By the way, believing in Sola Fide (Faith Alone) is NOT being “lazy.” You have misrepresented me before, and you are doing it again. Nowhere have I suggested that Christians are to stay away from doing good works. Once again, God certainly WANTS us to do them. But the issue is that they DO NOT SAVE US. Only by His blood are we saved.

    You also attempted to use Matthew 7:21 (“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven…”) to promote a works-based salvation, but please read the context! It is very similar to the context of James 2… it’s not about how to get saved, but about how to tell a real Christian from a fake. The true Christians will be producing fruit (good works) because good works are a RESULT of his salvation, not the cause.

    Concerning “works” and “works of the Law,” see here:

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2010/08/sola-fide-revisited.html

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2010/01/faith-alone-part-2.html

    You said:

    “You are the one who is obviously misinterpreting the Holy Scriptures. Romans 4:6-8 crushes Calvinism (Faith Alone). Period."

    I’ll say it again, I am NOT a Calvinist, and believing in Faith Alone does not MAKE one a Calvinist. Besides, Romans 4:6-8 certainly does not “crush” the biblical doctrine of Faith Alone, since Paul is saying in this very context that “God reckons righteousness APART FROM WORKS” (v. 6). Remember, he applies this to Abraham, but Abraham was not under the Mosaic Law, so your argument does not hold.

    Concerning baptismal regeneration, see here:

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2015/05/on-baptism-part-1-few-basics.html

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2015/06/on-baptism-part-2-bible-verses.html

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2015/07/on-baptism-part-3-more-verses.html

    One last thing. You said:

    “However, you have to earn that gift of salvation by good deeds.”

    But if it’s a gift, it can’t be earned; and if it is earned, it can’t be a gift. Paul deals with this:

    “But if it [salvation] is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” (Romans 11:6)

    Since grace and works are OPPOSITES, salvation is by one or the other; it cannot be by both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Russell:

      HERETIC!

      Delete
    2. Hi Russell,

      "...Not by faith only..." James 2:24

      Delete
  15. Hi Russell,

    Do you think that Luke 7:47-50 and Luke 8:48 are good proofs for Sola Fide?

    Jonathon

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  16. Anonymous:

    Romans 4:5 – “To the one who DOES NOT WORK, but BELIEVES…”

    Romans 4:6 – “APART from works…”

    You seem to have some real issues with context.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Jesse,

    You asked about using Luke 7:47-50 and 8:48 for Sola Fide, but I don’t think that these particularly stand out as good support for this doctrine. They stress FAITH, but not necessarily faith ALONE, especially in 7:47-50, since Catholics may try to claim that it was by her works that she performed in 7:44-46. So I don’t see that these passages would be real useful here. Remember, the emphasis is on faith alone, or rather, faith apart from the merit of one’s works.

    God Bless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Russell,

      Why are you confusing my name, which is "Jonathan", with the name "Jesse"? Let me guess, you probably have had a rather busy day and you just need some rest.

      How do these verses not offer strong support for the Scriptural teaching of salvation by faith alone? In both passages, Jesus emphatically states, "your FAITH has SAVED you". I do believe that this gives absolutely no implication of "works" being capable of saving us. Perhaps I am not understanding you correctly. If so, then could you please expound on your reason for disagreeing. Although I am a Roman Catholic, I do indeed hold to the Protestant doctrine of Sola Fide.

      What are the most important places in Scripture that discuss justification by faith apart from works (besides Romans chapters 3-5)?

      Jonathon

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  18. Russell,

    "...Not by faith only...(James 2:24)...Not by works of righteousness which we have done...(Titus 3:5)..." Hence, Atheism.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hello Jonathon,

    I’m very sorry for confusing your name with Jesse’s. Please forgive me.

    Concerning my response to your question, I’m still sticking to exactly what I had said above. Although these verses are clearly promoting faith in salvation, I don’t see any real emphasis in these verses on faith ALONE.

    I’m really surprised that you believe in Sola Fide as a Catholic. I know that many of your Catholic peers would utterly condemn you for believing that, or at the very least, would call you a bad Catholic.

    But if that’s really what you believe, then I commend you for that. This topic is essential in understanding the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, kudos to you!

    To support Sola Fide, besides Romans 3-5, I often use Ephesians 2:8-10; Acts 16:30-31; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:1-3; Romans 11:6; Titus 3:5; Habakkuk 2:4; Luke 18:9-14; and Luke 23:39-43, just off the top of my head.

    Jonathon, I have to ask you, what do your Catholic friends and acquaintances say about your belief in Sola Fide?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Russell,

    1. "But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the traditions of men." He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition." Mark 7:7-9
    2. “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’” Matthew 15:8-9
    3. "Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other." 1 Corinthians 4:6
    4. "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:8-9
    5." Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." James 2:24-26
    6. "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." Proverbs 30:5-6

    If you can refute these verses, then I will leave you alone. FOREVER!

    X





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  21. Hello Russell,

    Thanks for you encouragement.

    You said, "Jonathon, I have to ask you, what do your Catholic friends and acquaintances say about your belief in Sola Fide?"

    Well, I do not typically discuss my theological differences with other Catholics. So, they probably would not have much to say about my belief in the principle of Sola Fide. Have you met any Catholics who believe in salvation by faith alone (besides me)?

    I truly do appreciate the verses that you showed me that demonstrate the concept of justification apart from works. However, I was asking if you knew of any chapters in the Bible that get into a depth discussion of justification by faith alone (besides Romans 3 through 5). Would Hebrews chapters ten and eleven be a good spot that discusses Sola Fide?

    Hey, I am trying to ask you questions so that I can improve my apologetics! Not everyone is born a professional you know!

    Jonathon

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  22. Hey Jonathon,

    You asked if I met any other Catholics who believe in Sola Fide. No, I believe you are the only one I’ve ever seen.

    As far as any in-depth passages that expound on Sola Fide besides Romans chapter 3 through 5, no, I am not aware of any. As I had mentioned in “Faith Alone” (Part 2), this is the only one that I am familiar that goes into that much depth.

    Hebrews chapter 10 speaks of the magnitude of Jesus’ work on the cross (v. 1-18). I don’t specifically see it saying faith alone, but it helps us to realize the value of His precious blood. This passage is reminding us that the penalty for sin is PAID IN FULL, NO MORE OFFERING / SACRIFICE FOR SIN (10:18). It is telling us here what to put our faith in. So, you could say, I guess, that faith alone (in His work on the cross) is somewhat implied here.

    Hebrews chapter 11 is the great faith chapter, but it is mostly emphasizing the heroes’ faith by their works. So, I wouldn’t say that it’s really about faith alone for salvation, like in Romans.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hello X,

    You said that if I can refute these verses, that you would leave me alone.

    Well, I agree with ALL of these verses, in their particular contexts. No one can “refute” these Scriptures, simply because they are SCRIPTURE. I think that you are trying to make them say something, but I’m not quite sure what. One thing you need to understand, though, is that none of them refute the doctrine of “Faith Alone.”

    If that’s not what you were trying to say, then please explain.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Russell,

    Take a look at this section in Hebrews 10:10-18:

    "10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin."

    I believe that this text really does an excellent job proving "faith alone". In fact, it even seems to weaken the concept of the seven sacraments! Would you not agree Russell???

    Perhaps the three strongest passages on the topic is 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (the one Jesse showed me), Luke 18:9-14 and Hebrews 10:10-18. I would appreciate your comments on these verses.

    Thanks again,
    Jonathon

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  25. Hi Jonathon,

    If Jesus did a work in which “there is no more offering for sin,” then I’d say that it ALONE is sufficient!

    And yes, it certainly does weaken the concept of the sacraments.

    I agree that 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 is a good one to use, especially the part about the man being saved, even though his works are burned up (v. 15).

    And Luke 18:9-14 is also an excellent one (one of my favorites).

    Keep up the study of God’s Word, Jonathon. You will not regret it. But I have to warn you… if you are honest with it, it will lead you out of Catholicism!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Russell,

      Thank you for all of the advice!

      Do you think that John 6:51-56 is a supportive text for Sola Fide? Does John 6 get into a discussion about justification by faith apart from works?

      Jonathon

      Delete
  26. Jonathon,

    Concerning John 6, if you can get past the fact that Jesus is not speaking literally here, and that this whole discourse is summed up in 6:35 (coming to Him and BELIEVING in Him), then possibly you could use it to help prove “Faith Alone.”

    I have never used it before (I don’t think) to prove “Sola Fide,” since I think that there are better verses to use, that is, those that we talked about before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Russell,

      What is the "weakness" of the passage of John 6? Jesus guarantees salvation to those who come to Him and believe on Him!

      Jonathon

      Delete
  27. Jonathon,

    Yes, Jesus does indeed guarantee salvation to those who come to Him and believe in Him, just like in many other verses. But John 6 does not specifically say anything like “apart from works,” or “not by works of righteousness,” or “to the one who does not work, but believes,” etc., like the verses we previously talked about. If you really want to use that passage and you feel that you can defend it, then feel free to do so.

    I just feel that those others verses that we discussed are stronger arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Beans Russell,

    In part two of this series of articles, you said, "THE DOCTRINE OF “FAITH ALONE” IS NOT FOUND IN THE BIBLE. IN FACT, THE ONLY TIME THE WORDS “FAITH” AND “ALONE” ARE USED TOGETHER IN THE BIBLE IS IN JAMES 2:24, WHERE IT SPECIFICALLY SAYS THAT A MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY WORKS, AND NOT BY FAITH ALONE."

    In THIS article, you said, "Thankfully, the apostle Paul gave the Philippian jailer a very simple and direct answer… “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (v. 31). No complicated formulas, no list of good works, no sacraments to observe, no prayers or Bible verses to memorize, no Jewish laws to maintain… Just believe on (trust in) the Lord Jesus, i.e., on the work that He accomplished on the cross. This is the biblical answer to that most important question, and it reflects a teaching called “Sola Fide” (faith alone), that many (if not most) Protestants believe in. Of course, Catholics will strongly deny this teaching, and will insist that one is saved by faith PLUS WORKS, and not by “faith alone.”

    You repeatedly argued in favor of salvation by faith alone and claimed that we are also saved by our own good works at the same time. In other words, you kept on contradicting yourself. You kept on doing this throughout your "FAITH ALONE" articles and, of course, many other ones dealing with the Catholic Church on different subjects. I can even provide many, many, many, more examples of how you always contradict yourself. Dude, you gotta be reaallllyyyyyy confused about yir false theology.......

    EXPECT YIR CONVERSION TO CATHOLICISM REALLY REALLY SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous,

    This is hardly worth responding to, since you are purposely misrepresenting what I said.

    "THE DOCTRINE OF “FAITH ALONE” IS NOT FOUND IN THE BIBLE. IN FACT, THE ONLY TIME THE WORDS “FAITH” AND “ALONE” ARE USED TOGETHER IN THE BIBLE IS IN JAMES 2:24, WHERE IT SPECIFICALLY SAYS THAT A MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY WORKS, AND NOT BY FAITH ALONE."

    This statement is clearly marked as a CATHOLIC argument, not mine personally. But you already know that.

    You said that I “claimed that we are also saved by our own good works at the same time.”

    No, I never said that. My point has constantly been that we are saved by grace through faith, apart from the merit of one’s works.

    You either obviously have not read my articles, or you are just trying to get a knee-jerk reaction from me. Either way, I will not post any more of your comments unless you want to act maturely.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Russell,

    Would you use the Bronze Serpent from the Book of Numbers 21:6-9 as an argument for Sola Fide? In so, then what are your thoughts on the passage?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Jessie,

    Yes, you actually could use the brazen serpent incident of Numbers 21 as support for “Faith Alone,” since the people were simply told to look at it, and weren’t told to do any works. They were only to believe!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Bit confused with your article

    If all we need is faith in Jesus (Sola Fide) to obtain eternal life and nothing else is of any consequence, nor plays any decisive role in our salvation, then it logically follows that our salvation will be solely determined in terms of “faith” Vs “no faith” or “belief” Vs disbelief”.
    Hence, to be logically consistent, you would have to say that God should NOT judge us lost or saved, according to anything else, but ONLY upon whether we believe or not (Sola Fide)

    However, nowhere in scripture does it say that in the end, we will be JUDGED by what Jesus did, nor solely on their faith, which Sola Fide implies. Much appreciated if you could point the chapter and verse which does so.

    If all we need is faith in Jesus, then why did Peter, when asked “......what must I do to be saved” (Acts 2:38-39), NOT say so? Did he forget??

    Likewise why does Jesus, when asked what listeners must they do to inherit eternal life (Matthew 19;16-23; Luke 6: 46-49; Luke 10:27-29) NOT say that all they need is faith.
    If Sola Fide is true, you would have to say that Jesus lied to/deceived the enquires, and hence he committed a sin.

    If salvation requires nothing else other than faith, then why does scripture tell us that love is greater than faith (1 Corinthians 13:13)?
    By Sola Fide logic, faith should be greater than love, should it not, as salvation is solely determined by faith and NOT by love.

    In fact, since love has nothing to do with our salvation, only faith in Jesus, we can be saved whether or not we love God or our fellow man, can we not? And, since we do NOT have to love God in order to be saved, then we really do not have an ultimate necessary motivation for avoiding sin, do we? After all, it doesn’t affect our salvation if we sin, does it?”

    No doubt you believe that Jesus died for all men. The sins of all men, past, present and future, were paid for by his death. He redeemed all by his death, did he not, as scripture tells us that ALL are justified (Romans 3:24)
    If Jesus paid the legal debt, then no one should go to hell, because God cannot exact double payment for the same sin, can he? Or do you say he can??

    And if all your sins have been forgiven once and for all, and as ALL are justified (Romans 3:24) then you would no doubt agree with Martin Luther who believed in Sola Fide and advised his listeners to:

    "Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides... No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day." (see it in the American Edition of Luther's Works, vol. 48, p. 282)

    Anonymous George

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hello Anonymous George,

    Thank you for your comments.

    (Part 1)

    You said:

    “…nowhere in scripture does it say that in the end, we will be JUDGED by what Jesus did, nor solely on their faith…”

    We will indeed be judged by what Jesus did! His work at the cross is the absolute apex of human history, the single most important event of all time. And again, yes, we will be judged on the basis of our faith… as to whether it was true faith or not. True faith produces good works (James 2), this is how men know that we really have faith. But salvation / justification depends on our faith, our trusting in HIS work (instead of our own work). Romans 3 and following make this abundantly clear:

    “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of WORKS? NO, but by a law of FAITH.” (3:27)

    “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith APART FROM WORKS of the Law.” (3:28)

    “Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But TO THE ONE WHO DOES NOT WORK, BUT BELIEVES in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. (4:4-5)

    “Just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness APART FROM WORKS” (4:6)

    And many other verses, as well. The “judgment scene” passages that emphasize one’s works (for example, Matthew 25 and others) are simply pointing to the PROOF of what the person believed (demonstrated by his works). But those works had to be based on a real faith.

    You asked about Peter, when someone asked what to do to be saved in Acts 2:38-39. And we all know that Peter mentioned baptism in that passage. But when someone in those days got publicly baptized, they were putting their well-being, and maybe their lives, on the line, because of the great persecution of Christianity by the Jews. To be baptized showed that you were serious about serving Jesus Christ. See this series of articles on baptism:

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2015/05/on-baptism-part-1-few-basics.html

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2015/06/on-baptism-part-2-bible-verses.html

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2015/07/on-baptism-part-3-more-verses.html

    ReplyDelete
  34. (Part 2)

    Also, compare what was said in Acts 16:30-31 at the very beginning of this article. Paul never mentions baptism to the Philippian jailer when he asks how to be saved.

    You also said:

    “If salvation requires nothing else other than faith, then why does scripture tell us that love is greater than faith (1 Corinthians 13:13)?”

    George, it almost looks as though you didn’t really read the article. We clearly said at the beginning of this article that “faith is not the only thing present at the moment of conversion. Along with faith, there will certainly be joy, thankfulness, sorrow for one’s sins, a love for God and a willingness to serve Him, etc.” The term, “faith alone” is simply stressing the fact that WORKS are not done at the point of justification / salvation.

    Your remarks about “double payment for sin” don’t really have anything to do with this article, but I will address it anyway. Notice in the parable about forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells us that the same man who was FORGIVEN a great debt ended up actually PAYING for that debt because of his rejection of the king’s kindness! His debt was re-instated. It’s really very simple.

    1) God shows us the standard (the Law of Moses).
    2) We ALL break the Law and we are thus condemned.
    3) God provides a way out with a new and “easier to follow” Law (remember Jesus said My yoke is easy and My burden is light [Matthew 11:28-30])? This Law is still CONDITIONAL, but in this Law, all that is required is to have true faith and trust in His work on the cross (something that ANYONE – including the poor, the uneducated, and the lowly – can do).
    4) And we either accept this condition or we don’t.
    5) If we accept His offer (His full payment for our sin) and let Him change our heart, we are saved and we spend eternity with Him.
    6) If we reject His offer (His full payment for our sin), we must then pay for that eternal debt ourselves. It is a transfer of outstanding debt. But since we can’t possibly pay off this eternal penalty, we must spend eternity in the lake of fire “paying” for this debt.

    See this article:

    http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/files/Complaints/Charge_Double.html

    George, you also claimed (twice in your comments) that “all are justified.” The Bible never says that ALL are justified. Justified (in Romans 3:24) means saved, and certainly not all people are saved.

    Lastly, you brought up Martin Luther. But Martin Luther is not Jesus Christ. He was a mere man with many faults and shortcomings. He did some good things and he did some bad things. I don’t put my trust in him as I do with Jesus, and neither should anyone else. Just because he believed in Sola Fide doesn’t mean that everything he said was true.

    Anyway, George, I hope this helps to answer some of your questions.


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