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Doxology
Sep 4th 2005, 08:09 PM
I just can't believe in faith without works anymore. We are justified by works and not faith alone (James 2:24). That's why Abraham was justified by works (James 2:21). Please explain your position on this issue. I know we are on a protestant board, so I don't expect anybody on my side, so be gentle. :hug:

Your brother in Christ,
Matt

PS Please don't type out a huge sermon, keep it simple. :lol:

literaryjoe
Sep 4th 2005, 08:16 PM
I just can't believe in faith without works anymore. We are justified by works and not faith alone (James 2:24). That's why Abraham was justified by works (James 2:21). Please explain your position on this issue. I know we are on a protestant board, so I don't expect anybody on my side, so be gentle. :hug:

Your brother in Christ,
MattWell, I'm probably going to land pretty close to what you're thinking. Basically, I think, "we are saved by grace through faith" focuses on the mechanics that make salvation possible, whereas, "faith without works is dead," focuses on the issue that works is an inextricable part of faith. In other words, faith which doesn't produce or result in works, or is not exemplifed by works, is not faith at all.

It is interesting to note that even God's grace, by which we are saved, also resulted in a work--the death of Jesus on the cross. So both sides of the equation involve works that cannot be separated from the grace which produced them.

Doxology
Sep 4th 2005, 08:23 PM
Well, I'm probably going to land pretty close to what you're thinking. Basically, I think, "we are saved by grace through faith" focuses on the mechanics that make salvation possible, whereas, "faith without works is dead," focuses on the issue that works is an inextricable part of faith. In other words, faith which doesn't produce or result in works, or is not exemplifed by works, is not faith at all.

It is interesting to note that even God's grace, by which we are saved, also resulted in a work--the death of Jesus on the cross. So both sides of the equation involve works that cannot be separated from the grace which produced them.

But do you believe that works is a part of salvation, and that we have to work out our salvation (Phil 2:12).

I also believe that when you have true faith, works are the outcome. But I believe that those works are a part of how we are justified, along with faith.

roadrunner570
Sep 4th 2005, 08:37 PM
I believe good works are the fruit of our salvation through faith.


Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

Eph 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Eph 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


We are saved by God's grace, THROUGH faith. And because of this, we will do good works. But our salvation is through God's grace alone.

literaryjoe
Sep 4th 2005, 08:50 PM
But do you believe that works is a part of salvation, and that we have to work out our salvation (Phil 2:12).

I also believe that when you have true faith, works are the outcome. But I believe that those works are a part of how we are justified, along with faith.No, I don't think so. I do believe we need to "work out" our salvation, but I believe that refers to something after the salvific moment (if there is such a thing). I do believe that on some occasions or in some folk's lives the saving "event" is an act or activity. But it is not the action (or work) that saves them, it is the attitude/motivation or thought that informs the action which intellectually "accepts" the gift offered by God.

Some people are action-oriented and never even consider the mental side of what they do. Others life is more in their head than it is on the ground--for them, intellectuall assent is probably much more significant.

The Bible is clear that works cannot justify you. I don't think we ought to read James as contradicting the many passages that declare that outright. Even James indicates that he is not speaking of works alone, but of the indivisible connection between faith and works (c.f., v 17, 20 & 22)

TEITZY
Sep 4th 2005, 10:37 PM
But do you believe that works is a part of salvation, and that we have to work out our salvation (Phil 2:12).

I also believe that when you have true faith, works are the outcome. But I believe that those works are a part of how we are justified, along with faith.

But the next verse says:

Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

So what's it to be? Is it you or God who's doing the work? LJ has made some good points about James 2 and also as he said this verse in Philippians is talking about our sanctification (the ongoing process of MAKING a person righteous once they have been saved or born again) as opposed to Justification (the specific "salvific moment" when a person, by faith alone in the person & finished work of Christ, is DECLARED righteous in the sight of God by the imputed righteousness of Christ which is credited to their account).

The NT speaks of 3 parts to our salvation:
Justification - saved from the penalty of sin (Rom 8:1) - The work of Christ
Sanctification - saved from the power of sin (Rom 8:13) - The work of the Spirit
Glorification - saved from the presence of sin (Rom 8:23) - The work of God

I would suggest doing a study for yourself on these three aspects of salvation. It's well worth the time and effort.:)

Cheers
Leigh

literaryjoe
Sep 5th 2005, 07:29 AM
Doxology,

I've been mulling over your post all evening, and I wanted to post something for you to meditate on. I think you're traveling a good thought road--however, you seem to be at a fork--I pray you'll take the right bend in the road.
“This covenant, as we have seen, implies mutual obligations: the people undertake to listen to the voice of the Lord, that is, to obey His commandments, and to keep His covenant—an expression synonymous with the preceding phrase, which connotes to fulfill the terms of the covenant, these being none other than His commandments; and, in return, the Lord agrees to treat them as a people who are His special possession among the peoples of the earth, and to make them a kingdom of priests, who perform His service in the midst of mankind, and a holy nation, sanctified by their special relationship to God and by the observance of a particular discipline.” – U. Cassuto, Commentary on the Book of Exodus, “The Decalogue”, p 238 U. Cassuto is the late Professor of Bible at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

God’s first intention was to have a nation of priests. What does priest mean—one who draws near. What is the significance of a priest—one who performs a service at the behest of One, on behalf of others. The people ended up saying, “Moses, you go near, we will stay here.”, and God ended up with a tribe of priests instead of a people. However, in Messiah, we are the firstfruits of God's eventual completion of His eternal intent—we are a royal priesthood, as Peter says.

Here's my point in a sentence: I think works are more closely tied to sanctification than to justification. Hopefully the quote provides some good rumination material...

Catholic4aReason
Sep 7th 2005, 07:27 PM
Well, I'm probably going to land pretty close to what you're thinking. Basically, I think, "we are saved by grace through faith" focuses on the mechanics that make salvation possible, whereas, "faith without works is dead," focuses on the issue that works is an inextricable part of faith. In other words, faith which doesn't produce or result in works, or is not exemplifed by works, is not faith at all.

.

My kids each have a Protestant daily devotional. James 2:24, which really says "faith without works is dead" was rendered "faith without works is no faith at all". That seems to be a bit of tampering with the word of God to me. Made for interesting discussion with my kids though.

In Christ,
Nancy :)

Catholic4aReason
Sep 7th 2005, 07:32 PM
The Bible is clear that works cannot justify you. I don't think we ought to read James as contradicting the many passages that declare that outright. Even James indicates that he is not speaking of works alone, but of the indivisible connection between faith and works (c.f., v 17, 20 & 22)

Amen! Works, in and of themselves, standing alone, do not justify. Works without faith are like filthy rags, and faith without works is dead. The two ARE indivisibley connected. Even the ability and desire to work is a grace of God.

In Christ,
Nancy :)

literaryjoe
Sep 7th 2005, 07:52 PM
Amen! Works, in and of themselves, standing alone, do not justify. Works without faith are like filthy rags, and faith without works is dead. The two ARE indivisibley connected. Even the ability and desire to work is a grace of God.

In Christ,
Nancy :)Seems true to me. Although, if true that would mean, "faith without works is no faith at all" is a pretty decent paraphrase...

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 07:55 PM
I just can't believe in faith without works anymore. We are justified by works and not faith alone (James 2:24). That's why Abraham was justified by works (James 2:21). Please explain your position on this issue. I know we are on a protestant board, so I don't expect anybody on my side, so be gentle. :hug:

Your brother in Christ,
Matt

PS Please don't type out a huge sermon, keep it simple. :lol:
I agree with you 100 percent. :)

Without works, faith is not active. It's dead.

Without faith, works are useless.

James says of Abraham:

Jam 2:22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;

Faith was "perfected," or completed, by his works.

-

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 07:57 PM
My kids each have a Protestant daily devotional. James 2:24, which really says "faith without works is dead" was rendered "faith without works is no faith at all". That seems to be a bit of tampering with the word of God to me. Made for interesting discussion with my kids though.

In Christ,
Nancy :)
Sounds like one of those fruity paraphrases, like The Message or something.

Catholic4aReason
Sep 7th 2005, 07:59 PM
Seems true to me. Although, if true that would mean, "faith without works is no faith at all" is a pretty decent paraphrase...

Gotta disagree with you there. "Dead" does not = "none at all". If one had no faith at all then there'd be no faith to be dead.

In Christ,
Nancy :)

Catholic4aReason
Sep 7th 2005, 08:03 PM
Sounds like one of those fruity paraphrases, like The Message or something.

I don't know, but my daughter's mouth dropped open when I opened the bible and showed her what was really written there.



In Christ,
Nancy :)

literaryjoe
Sep 7th 2005, 08:04 PM
Gotta disagree with you there. "Dead" does not = "none at all". If one had no faith at all then there'd be no faith to be dead.

In Christ,
Nancy :)you may have a point there. I must confess that even though I read the phrase you quoted several times--my thoughts on the issue, caused me to perceive it as ""faith without works is not faith at all" (instead of "no" faith at all, which is what was actually written)

I suppose one could even argue a semantic case for "no faith at all", but that is not what I had in mind in my post.

literaryjoe
Sep 7th 2005, 08:09 PM
:lol:

heh, heh, heh...now that made me laugh. (referring to what is now post #17)

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 08:11 PM
My kids each have a Protestant daily devotional. James 2:24, which really says "faith without works is dead" was rendered "faith without works is no faith at all". That seems to be a bit of tampering with the word of God to me. Made for interesting discussion with my kids though.

In Christ,
Nancy :)
I reckon you prefer this translation:

2:26 sicut enim corpus sine spiritu emortuum est ita et fides sine operibus mortua est

:P

-

Whispering Grace
Sep 7th 2005, 08:14 PM
I agree with you 100 percent. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/smile.gif

Without works, faith is not active. It's dead.

Without faith, works are useless.

James says of Abraham:

Jam 2:22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;

Faith was "perfected," or completed, by his works.

-

Paul says of Abraham:

Romans 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God

4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

4:9 (Abraham Justified Before Circumcision ] Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.

4:12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.

4:13 [ The Promise Granted Through Faith ] For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham who is the father of us all.


So how do we reconcile these opposing passages? Paul clearly says Abraham was justified by faith and not works.

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 08:14 PM
:lol:

heh, heh, heh...now that made me laugh. (referring to what is now post #17)
Sorry I got 'em mixed up. I coped James 1:26 instead and 2:26, and the last thing we "Bible only" folks need to do is mix up our scriptures. :rofl:

Catholic4aReason
Sep 7th 2005, 08:15 PM
I reckon you prefer this translation:

2:26 sicut enim corpus sine spiritu emortuum est ita et fides sine operibus mortua est

:P

-

something something body something spirit dead something something faith something something.

That's the best I can do. Not even sure the non-somethings are all correct. :D

In Christ,
Nancy

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 08:19 PM
In Romans, Paul is constrasting attemped righteousness by the Law of Moses, and true righteouness by faith.

The way this "problem" is reconciled is that Paul is constrasting works of the Law vs. faith. There are works that are restricted (ie works of the Laws, attempts to "save ourselves" by our own plans and devides), and there are works that are required (obedience to God's plan of salvation).

Paul was specifically telling the church at Rome that they could not be justified by being obedient to the Law.

James, however, is talking about works that we are required to do by the law of Christ. :)

That's how that pans out.

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 08:22 PM
something something body something spirit dead something something faith something something.

That's the best I can do. Not every sure the non-somethings are all correct. :D

In Christ,
Nancy
You mean every catholic doesn't have to learn Latin? What am I wasting my time learning it for, then? :lol:

Sorta like the Irish and potatoes, right? (So much for stereotypes.) :)

Like all non-catholics believe works have no part in salvation, huh Doxology? :D

Whispering Grace
Sep 7th 2005, 08:28 PM
In Romans, Paul is constrasting attemped righteousness by the Law of Moses, and true righteouness by faith.

The way this "problem" is reconciled is that Paul is constrasting works of the Law vs. faith. There are works that are restricted (ie works of the Laws, attempts to "save ourselves" by our own plans and devides), and there are works that are required (obedience to God's plan of salvation).

Paul was specifically telling the church at Rome that they could not be justified by being obedient to the Law.

James, however, is talking about works that we are required to do by the law of Christ. :)

That's how that pans out.

So....if we have deep faith, then how do we know how many "works" are required to get us to heaven?

Whispering Grace
Sep 7th 2005, 08:29 PM
Like all non-catholics believe works have no part in salvation, huh Doxology? :D

Just 99.999999999999999999999999999999999% of them don't. :rofl:

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 08:32 PM
Just 99.999999999999999999999999999999999% of them don't. :rofl:
I knew I was a rare breed. :D

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 08:33 PM
So....if we have deep faith, then how do we know how many "works" are required to get us to heaven?
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

It's all about heart, and not about quotas.

(Look! I used another Latin word!)

Whispering Grace
Sep 7th 2005, 08:48 PM
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

It's all about heart, and not about quotas.

(Look! I used another Latin word!)

Agricola est poeta.

I took Latin in high school. :D

So, faith in Jesus Christ isn't enough. We will still be judged by what is in our hearts? And how does that correspond to works?

literaryjoe
Sep 7th 2005, 08:49 PM
In Romans, Paul is constrasting attemped righteousness by the Law of Moses, and true righteouness by faith.

The way this "problem" is reconciled is that Paul is constrasting works of the Law vs. faith. There are works that are restricted (ie works of the Laws, attempts to "save ourselves" by our own plans and devides), and there are works that are required (obedience to God's plan of salvation).

Paul was specifically telling the church at Rome that they could not be justified by being obedient to the Law.

James, however, is talking about works that we are required to do by the law of Christ. :)

That's how that pans out.Absit, Mattheum! :B if I had more time at the moment, I'd be all over this...as it is, I'm going to have to just sit here and boil because I'm trying to fit this in between other things! Hrmph! (that's how the camel got his hump, by the way, although only Rudyard Kipling fans will know what this refers to)

Whispering Grace
Sep 7th 2005, 08:58 PM
Absit, Mattheum! :B if I had more time at the moment, I'd be all over this...as it is, I'm going to have to just sit here and boil because I'm trying to fit this in between other things! Hrmph! (that's how the camel got his hump, by the way, although only Rudyard Kipling fans will know what this refers to)

Oh man! Come on! You can toss everything aside for about 20 minutes to give us a nice rousing rebuttal! :D

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 09:01 PM
Agricola est poeta.

I took Latin in high school. :D

So, faith in Jesus Christ isn't enough. We will still be judged by what is in our hearts? And how does that correspond to works?
Because, as James says, your works show whether your faith is alive or dead.

Love is about action. We wouldn't accept our spouses telling us that they love us, but not backing it up with action, would we?

God doesn't accept it of us, either.

si diligitis me mandata mea servate

Oops, I mean

Joh 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Whispering Grace
Sep 7th 2005, 09:07 PM
Because, as James says, your works show whether your faith is alive or dead.

I can agree with this.....but it still comes back to faith.


Love is about action. We wouldn't accept our spouses telling us that they love us, but not backing it up with action, would we?

You are correct.


God doesn't accept it of us, either.

But again....how do we ever know how much is enough? What if I think I'm doing all I can, and it's not enough in God's eyes?


si diligitis me mandata mea servate


I knew what that said. Really, I did. (Okay, in all honesty, it was ALL about the toga parties to me and not about the language in high school....)


Joh 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

So....it's about keeping the Commandments then?

ETA.....man, I wish I could take that course in New Testament Greek at my church. I was foaming at the mouth with excitement when the teacher was talking about it at church last night. :lol: (Really, I do have a life. Seriously.)

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 09:08 PM
Absit, Mattheum! :B

No, God doesn't forbid, rather He ordained it so.

Each of us will be justified (or not) according to what "law" we are under. Salvation has indeed always been through faith, but that does not preclude man from obligation to the covenant under which he lives.

Abraham, for instance, was indeed justified without circumcision. However, circumcision was not in effect until later. Rather, Abraham was justified because he believed God. His belief caused him to act. He left his home because he believed, though he knew not where he was going. This showed his faith. When circumcision was instituted, Abraham obeyed.

Paul's point was that we are justified by believing God. This entails trust in what God tells us to do, If we were under the Law, then we would have to obey it. We are under faith, though, so we have to obey the law of Christ.


if I had more time at the moment, I'd be all over this...as it is, I'm going to have to just sit here and boil because I'm trying to fit this in between other things! Hrmph! (that's how the camel got his hump, by the way, although only Rudyard Kipling fans will know what this refers to)

:lol:

I'd love to discuss it with you sometime, when we both have time. :)

-

Cit
Sep 7th 2005, 09:17 PM
Good works are the natural product of salvation. If you love Jesus, you naturally want to spread that love . . . be it by preaching, feeding the hungry or many other ways. While I believe all of this to be true I can't believe that our salvation is wholly or partly based on works. There are those who have not done good works because they are not capable of it or because they lacked time - those who die immediatly or shortly after becoming Christians, some who are severly disabled etc.

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 09:18 PM
I can agree with this.....but it still comes back to faith.

I agree, but without the works, it ain't happening, because God can't be fooled, like men can.


But again....how do we ever know how much is enough? What if I think I'm doing all I can, and it's not enough in God's eyes?

Because, as we agreed earlier, it's all about heart! God knows your heart, and if what you are doing is done from sincere faith, or whether you're just a lazy Christian.

God is a perfect judge. Who knows the point at which your faith is no longer alive? Only you and God. Only me and God. But I hear your heart talking, and I doubt very seriously that you are astray.

But you know what? If we knew where the line was, how many of us do you think would get as close as possible to that line, just to enjoy a little sin, or laziness?

Therefore, I don't think God has given us a specific point. But we know it when we get there, and I'm sure He does.


I knew what that said. Really, I did. (Okay, in all honesty, it was ALL about the toga parties to me and not about the language in high school....)

Ya'll had toga parties in high school? :lol: Being born and raised in Arkansas, I always thought a "toga" was some kind of imported car. :D


So....it's about keeping the Commandments then?

It's about love. And keeping his commandments is an outgrowth of love.


ETA.....man, I wish I could take that course in New Testament Greek at my church. I was foaming at the mouth with excitement when the teacher was talking about it at church last night. :lol: (Really, I do have a life. Seriously.)

You should. Greek is a wonderful language. After I get half-way proficient at Latin, I'm going to study Hebrew for a while. It's much harder than Greek, IMO.

If you studied Latin in HS, you might find Greek easier to grasp than a total newcomer. Try it sometime!

Whispering Grace
Sep 7th 2005, 09:21 PM
Good works are the natural product of salvation. If you love Jesus, you naturally want to spread that love . . . be it by preaching, feeding the hungry or many other ways. While I believe all of this to be true I can't believe that our salvation is wholly or partly based on works. There are those who have not done good works because they are not capable of it or because they lacked time - those who die immediatly or shortly after becoming Christians, some who are severly disabled etc.

I agree that works are a natural product of salvation.

The problem I have with "works" being thrown in as a part of justification is that it starts us down this slippery slope of uncertainty concerning our salvation and what is required for salvation. And it is clear to me throughout the NT that it is our Lord Jesus who saves us. We don't save ourselves.

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 09:22 PM
Good works are the natural product of salvation. If you love Jesus, you naturally want to spread that love . . . be it by preaching, feeding the hungry or many other ways. While I believe all of this to be true I can't believe that our salvation is wholly or partly based on works. There are those who have not done good works because they are not capable of it or because they lacked time - those who die immediatly or shortly after becoming Christians, some who are severly disabled etc.
And God will judge them righteously, no doubt. Whatever the case, we must remember that Christ did not say these words for no reason:

Mat 25:31 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
Mat 25:32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
Mat 25:33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Mat 25:35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
Mat 25:36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
Mat 25:37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
Mat 25:38 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
Mat 25:39 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
Mat 25:40 "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
Mat 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
Mat 25:42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'
Mat 25:44 "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'
Mat 25:45 "Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
Mat 25:46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

This is a direct and serious indication of how important good works are in the life of a Christian. I believe from Jesus' words we see they are eternally important.

-

Whispering Grace
Sep 7th 2005, 09:34 PM
I agree, but without the works, it ain't happening, because God can't be fooled, like men can.

We could go around and around on this, but I will stop it here just for our sanity. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/biggrin.gif


But you know what? If we knew where the line was, how many of us do you think would get as close as possible to that line, just to enjoy a little sin, or laziness?

Now this I agree with. But also, if justification was by faith and works, how many people would just go about doing works to "earn" their way into heaven, instead of doing them out of love?

True and honest faith brings about good works. Insincere faith brings about no works or works that come out of obligation.


Ya'll had toga parties in high school? http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/lol.gif Being born and raised in Arkansas, I always thought a "toga" was some kind of imported car. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/iconpound3vw.gif

Yes, we had toga parties in Latin Club. We were the coolest dorks in the whole school. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/lol.gif



It's about love. And keeping his commandments is an outgrowth of love.

I can agree with that. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/smile.gif


You should. Greek is a wonderful language. After I get half-way proficient at Latin, I'm going to study Hebrew for a while. It's much harder than Greek, IMO.

I want to, but it conflicts with my work schedule. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/cry.gif It is a seminary level course, and they said if a person is diligent and does the required work that he/she should be able to read a good portion of the NT in Greek when the class is over (it's a 7 month long course). Hopefully, next year I will get to take it. Instead I'm taking Church History which is still pretty interesting.


If you studied Latin in HS, you might find Greek easier to grasp than a total newcomer. Try it sometime!

I studied boys in togas in Latin. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/iconpound3vw.gif But I still remember Agricola est Poeta. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

Whispering Grace
Sep 7th 2005, 09:44 PM
Mat 25:35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
Mat 25:36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

Mat 25:40 "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'


Matt, these verses affected me more than just about any in the Bible. I felt like I had the breath knocked out of me the first time I read them.

I realized that if I treated every person as I would treat Jesus, I would have no more hate, no more ambivalence, no more anger, no more bitterness, etc and that I could only approach people with respect and love and kindness in my heart.

It's one thing to love our neighbors as ourselves. It's another altogether to love others and treat them as I would Jesus. My heart aches with love for Him, and I can only imagine what the world would be like if all Christians treated others the way they would treat Jesus if He were here on this earth.

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 09:48 PM
We could go around and around on this, but I will stop it here just for our sanity. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

You mean, so we can keep our sanity? Or maintain our insanity?


Now this I agree with. But also, if justification was by faith and works, how many people would just go about doing works to "earn" their way into heaven, instead of doing them out of love?

Then that wouldn't be doing them by faith. You see?


True and honest faith brings about good works. Insincere faith brings about no works or works that come out of obligation.

True.


I want to, but it conflicts with my work schedule. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/cry.gif It is a seminary level course, and they said if a person is diligent and does the required work that he/she should be able to read a good portion of the NT in Greek when the class is over (it's a 7 month long course). Hopefully, next year I will get to take it. Instead I'm taking Church History which is still pretty interesting.

In seminary, it took about one semester to really start reading hald-way decently in the Greek NT. The next semester it got easier, but the grammar got much harder. So many exceptions to the rules, too... Sorta like english! :lol:


I studied boys in togas in Latin. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/iconpound3vw.gif But I still remember Agricola est Poeta. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

At least you retained that much. Your magistra would be proud!

-

Matt14
Sep 7th 2005, 09:49 PM
Matt, these verses affected me more than just about any in the Bible. I felt like I had the breath knocked out of me the first time I read them.

I realized that if I treated every person as I would treat Jesus, I would have no more hate, no more ambivalence, no more anger, no more bitterness, etc and that I could only approach people with respect and love and kindness in my heart.

It's one thing to love our neighbors as ourselves. It's another altogether to love others and treat them as I would Jesus. My heart aches with love for Him, and I can only imagine what the world would be like if all Christians treated others the way they would treat Jesus if He were here on this earth.

[/color]
A world like that would be, well...heaven!

Job2
Sep 7th 2005, 10:42 PM
First, throughout the entire Bible and especially in the book of Romans, God tells us that salvation is by believing faith. Anything beyond that is heresy.

It is important to look at Romans before we dig into James:

Romans 4:3-8
3For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."


4Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due.


5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,

6just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works

7"BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,
AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

8"BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT."

Justification therefore is a legal, forensic declaration on the part of God concerning the believer. Furthermore, the word ("dikaisune”) is used in Genesis and Romans frequently. It is a legal, forensic term and it is used here in Romans 4.

Paul states it clearly, Abraham simply believed by faith and he was justified. Notice that it says, to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly.

Paul wrote about Inner saving faith from God's perspective. He wrote about the priority of faith.

On the other hand, James wrote on Inner saving faith from man's perspective. He wrote about the proof of faith.

The main theme behind the book of James is that workless faith is worthless faith and is therefore false faith.
James argument is that true faith is evidenced by works.

James 2:14
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

Notice in this passage that it says the man says he has faith. James doesn't indicate that the man has true saving faith.

Kistemaker states,

" James is specific. He says, if a man claims to have faith. He does not write if a man has faith. James intimates that the faith of this particular person is not a genuine trust in Jesus Christ. In fact, that man's claim to faith is hollow. If he only nods his head in a assent to the words of a doctrinal statement, his faith is intellectual, barren, and worthless." [ Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary Pg.88]

Additionally, Dallas seminary, states, " the emphasis is not on the true nature of faith but on the false claim of faith.(Dallas seminary: pg.825)

James is talking about a condemnation of a spurious boast of faith with no works.

The word says is definitely one of the keys to verse 14 in James. James doesn't deny that the man claims to have faith. However, you will see in the later passages that James believes that the man has false faith. The man has no faith at all. He has mere intellectual agreement with biblical facts and does not have saving trust in God.

This man says he has faith, however, he has no works. Therefore he never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ in the first place and he was never justified.

I will post more on James as my body allows it. Also I will PM BadDog and others and them tell them about the James debate.

Whispering Grace
Sep 7th 2005, 11:33 PM
First, throughout the entire Bible and especially in the book of Romans, God tells us that salvation is by believing faith. Anything beyond that is heresy.

It is important to look at Romans before we dig into James:

Romans 4:3-8
3For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."


4Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due.


5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,

6just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works

7"BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,
AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

8"BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT."

Justification therefore is a legal, forensic declaration on the part of God concerning the believer. Furthermore, the word ("dikaisune”) is used in Genesis and Romans frequently. It is a legal, forensic term and it is used here in Romans 4.

Paul states it clearly, Abraham simply believed by faith and he was justified. Notice that it says, to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly.

Paul wrote about Inner saving faith from God's perspective. He wrote about the priority of faith.

On the other hand, James wrote on Inner saving faith from man's perspective. He wrote about the proof of faith.

The main theme behind the book of James is that workless faith is worthless faith and is therefore false faith.
James argument is that true faith is evidenced by works.

James 2:14
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

Notice in this passage that it says the man says he has faith. James doesn't indicate that the man has true saving faith.

Kistemaker states,
[ Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary Pg.88]

Additionally, Dallas seminary, states, " the emphasis is not on the true nature of faith but on the false claim of faith.(Dallas seminary: pg.825)

James is talking about a condemnation of a spurious boast of faith with no works.

The word says is definitely one of the keys to verse 14 in James. James doesn't deny that the man claims to have faith. However, you will see in the later passages that James believes that the man has false faith. The man has no faith at all. He has mere intellectual agreement with biblical facts and does not have saving trust in God.

This man says he has faith, however, he has no works. Therefore he never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ in the first place and he was never justified.

I will post more on James as my body allows it. Also I will PM BadDog and others and them tell them about the James debate.

Nice post, Job2. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/smile.gif

I hope you're feeling okay. Take it easy, my friend. http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/kiss.gif

Wise-Owl
Sep 8th 2005, 12:20 AM
I understand this way, "We are saved by grace through faith unto good works." Our works good/bad will become evident at the judgement seat of Christ where they will be tested by fire. We will be rewarded or have a bag full of ashes. The difference as I understand is works for mans notice or works to glorify the Lord. I could be wrong, Nick.

LauraMegan
Sep 8th 2005, 12:28 AM
Since you don't want a long sermon, I'll keep my own take on this simple:

Grace leads to faith. Faith leads to works. Because God loves us and grants us His grace, we are drawn to be faithful to Him. When we are faithful to Him, the works we do are natural responses to the gratefulness we feel for His grace.

literaryjoe
Sep 8th 2005, 05:41 AM
Hey, Doxology:

What are you thinking after all this?

Matt14
Sep 8th 2005, 02:40 PM
First, throughout the entire Bible and especially in the book of Romans, God tells us that salvation is by believing faith. Anything beyond that is heresy.

Job2, my friend, I hope that if we are going to discuss this, we won't spend the whole time calling one another heretics. :)

I don't have the time or inclination for another long, drawn-out debate on James/Paul and justification. So I will respond to your post, and we'll see what happens from there.


It is important to look at Romans before we dig into James:

Romans 4:3-8
3For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."

4Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due.

5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,

6just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works

7"BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,
AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

8"BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT."

Justification therefore is a legal, forensic declaration on the part of God concerning the believer. Furthermore, the word ("dikaisune”) is used in Genesis and Romans frequently. It is a legal, forensic term and it is used here in Romans 4.

Paul states it clearly, Abraham simply believed by faith and he was justified. Notice that it says, to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly.

Let's look into the context of Romans 4 a little further. If we do, we read this:

Rom 3:27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.
Rom 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

So what kind of works is Paul talking about? Clearly, he's talking about works of the Law of Moses. Instead, he says we are from a standpoint of the law of faith. Further, Paul clarifies this when he says, "we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law." And this "Law" is the law of Moses.

Yes, Abraham was justified by faith long before he was circumcised. Two points to remember, though, in regard to this:

1. Before being credited with righteousness by God, Abraham was obedient for quite some time. He obeyed what God required of him before being credited as righteous.

2. At the time Abraham was credited with righteousness because he believed God, circumcision was not an ordinance. But when the ordinance was given, Abraham obeyed. Would he have been considered justified before God had he not obeyed? Ie, if he had not mixed works with his faith to make his faith complete?

It is my understanding that saving faith works. Non-working faith does not save.

Jam 2:20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?


Paul wrote about Inner saving faith from God's perspective. He wrote about the priority of faith.

On the other hand, James wrote on Inner saving faith from man's perspective. He wrote about the proof of faith.

Are these themes plainly laid out before us, or is that how you interpret their themes?


The main theme behind the book of James is that workless faith is worthless faith and is therefore false faith.
James argument is that true faith is evidenced by works.

This cannot be true for one good reason in particular.

Jam 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

James says here that faith without works is dead because the faith is by itself. This means that the faith is indeed there, but it's unable to save because it is without works. This refutes clearly the idea that James is talking about some hypothetical, non-existent faith.

Something to think about, anyway, FWIW.

-

BadDog
Sep 8th 2005, 04:36 PM
I just can't believe in faith without works anymore. We are justified by works and not faith alone (James 2:24). That's why Abraham was justified by works (James 2:21). Please explain your position on this issue. I know we are on a protestant board, so I don't expect anybody on my side, so be gentle. :hug:

Your brother in Christ,
Matt

PS Please don't type out a huge sermon, keep it simple. :lol:Doxology,

Uh, sorry, but I guess I never learned how to KISS. :p So please give me a little slack. :rolleyes:

The relationship between faith and works has long been an issue for those who study God's Word. Though attempts to give stability of all the relevant biblical texts have left some questions, evangelical believers have historically maintained that justification is by faith alone and that works are best understood as the fruit or result of faith.

Unfortunately that has been changing in the past 25 years or so. So that while there is no doubt that some now still affirm the first part of this (justification is by faith alone), it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to accept the 2nd part of that equation which is at the heart of the protestant reformation. This was the central issue of the reformation. I do not wish to "label" people, but I feel that I must make this clear: If you do not see works as the fruit of faith, then you do not align with Luther or Calvin or the reformation in general.

Some refer to a faith that is not a genuine faith. They refer to professers versus possessors. They refer to faith that has not been consummated - whatever such an expression means in practicality. They refer to "saving faith" vs. "transitory faith." They refer to "genuine faith" vs. "spurious faith." And while there may be an element of truth behind some of these expressions, IMO they are simply a means of redefining faith.

Because from the instant that works is no longer understood as simply the fruit of faith we have departed from the heart of the reformation. We know to what depths of theological confusion and frustration regarding living the Christian life genuine believers were thrust into during those 1000 years of the reign of legalism. So we should be very careful and alert to Satan's attempt to rear his serpent's head again.

Because by so doing - by declaring that works do not simply follow genuine faith but are inextricably inertwined - its adherants have redefined faith so that they do not mean by "faith alone" what traditionally has been intended. Ironically and tragically those who hold to this theology essentially are holding to the very anathema that the Reformers originally rejected vehemently.

Sorry about the extravagent language, but I want to express clearly just why I am so concerned about this trend. I could name some of those modern theologians who hold to this soteriology, and they are well-known and popular, but I don't think that will accomplish much, but could upset some. (Doxology, they are not catholic theologians, but protestant.) So I'll just leave it at that. Let's just say that some of those who so strongly believe they are at the forefront of defending reformation values have abandonded the very essense of that God-driven movement.


Dr. Charles Ryrie wrote regarding about the healings and miracles that Jesus performed:

The main purpose of the miracles was to teach, to reveal… [but] the miracles also remind us of the consequences of sin — sickness, blindness, death — and of the power of the Lord to do something about those consequences. That is why many of His physical cures illustrate so well the spiritual salvation He secured when He died and rose from the dead.

OK, so how does that relate to our discussion? How many times, when Jesus healed someone, did He say, "only believe" or (as in the case of Jairus as he struggled with his faith), "Do not be afraid. Only believe" (Mark 5:36). That’s right, "only believe."

Just as people were healed of physical maladies, so we are healed of our sin problem by faith alone... "only believe."

I have absolutely no doubt that a young child can understand the gospel. He can not only understand it, he can believe it. Some say that we shouldn't waste our time preaching the gospel to young children, but that was not our Lord's approach. Those who hold to a sophisticated version of faith which requires works bound up within their understanding of faith itself, are faced with a dilemma: saving faith such as they have defined it is something that little children are not able to assimilate, yet Jesus told His disciples that our faith needed to be like that of little children. For that reason He said not to prohibit the children from coming to Him.


Recently this thread has been discussing how to handle James 2 and how that impacts the meaning of saving faith. Regarding whether or not James and Paul contradict one another, I imagine that all of us would oppose such an argument. I started a thread to discuss just that issue last year, and expressed my position in some detail. (Surprised?) :P

http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=13526&highlight=James

IMO many hold a position in James 2 that is not consistent, and might even be considered to be deceptive and essentially double-talk.

Because I am not at a position in which I have access to most of my Bible study aids and notes, I will only give a brief overview of my understanding.

But I'd best make that another post... wouldn't want to get too huge!

BD

Catholic4aReason
Sep 8th 2005, 04:52 PM
So....if we have deep faith, then how do we know how many "works" are required to get us to heaven?

As Paul said, "what matters is faith working through love (Gal 5:6)". There are not a certain number of works we need to do in order to go to heaven, or a checklist of works that need to be done before we leave this world. Rather, "works" is an outward expression of love, for God and our neighbor. Scripturally speaking, love is not something we feel but rather something we DO. "Works", scripturally speaking, is not WHAT we do, but the LOVE with which we do it. We can fail to show love, not only in what we do TO others, but in what we fail to do FOR others(Matt 25:31-46).

Paul said that love is even GREATER than faith (1 Cor 13:13). If faith alone were required for salvation then faith would certainly be the greatest thing there is.

Paul also said that "if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:2)". Here faith alone renders one "nothing", not saved.

Paul makes clear that, while faith and love are certainly connected, they are two separate things. It's possible to have faith without having love. The question then becomes, is love of God and neighbor necessary for salvation?

In Christ,
Nancy http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/smile.gif

BadDog
Sep 8th 2005, 05:00 PM
Paul says in Romans 4:5 - But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares righteous (justifies) the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness. and
Galatians 2:16 - yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified. and finally, the most clear is...
Romans 3:28 - For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

Now, compare the above with what James says...
James says in James 2:24 - You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

At first perusal James and Paul appear to be saying two different things. Obviously, that can't be happening. But it may be clear why Luther came close to denying the canonicity of James. Usually this is handled by those who hold to salvation by faith alone by saying that James is referring to two types of faith, and that a faith without works is not a "saving faith." They base this on a comment in James 2:18, 19 which refers to demons believing and shuddering/trembling. Obviously, the argument goes, that kind of faith doesn't save them. So similarly, it is reasoned that James is talking about some sort of saving faith. Something which is different from the genuine Spirit-instilled variety.

When many read James 2:14ff they see two kinds of faith described there. The text refers to a "dead" faith. But many interpret that as contrasting a "merely intellectual or mental faith." They sometimes refer to "mental assent." That, they say, is just not the kind of faith that saves. But the text does not mention the mind, nor does it mention any "kind" of faith at all. A dead faith is simply a useless faith. I agree with Matt there.

But first-of-all let me say that it really bugs me when James 2:19 regarding the demons is also used in application to humans. It does not apply. Salvation was never offered to demons. Jesus Christ did not die for demons. And such an approach is missing the point that James was making.

Now how about that apparent contradiction of James 2:24 with Paul's writings (Rom. 3:28 & Gal. 2:16) concerning the use of "justification?" (DIKAIOO/DIKAIOS - the verb "to justify" and the noun "justification")

Paul maintains that Abraham was justified by faith when he believed God’s promise that he would have a son, regardless how hopeless that appeared. (Rom. 4:20, 21 - "yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.") Now Abraham believed God and was called a believer before he did any works. Paul also uses Genesis 15:6 to prove that salvation has always been by faith, apart from works. The object of that faith has changed, but it's by faith, and faith alone. Paul says that righteousness not earned has been credited to our account/ledger based on our faith alone - our depending/trusting in Christ's death in our behalf to pay the penalty for our sin - period.

Here, James writes that Abraham was justified by his works when he was prepared to offer his son Isaac on an altar.

Hebrews 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; he who had received the promises (already) was offering up his only son, about whom it had been said, In Isaac your seed will be called. He considered God to be able even to raise someone from the dead, from which he also got him back as an illustration.

So are James and Paul contradicting one other? Nope. The justification that James speaks of here is not the “justification” of salvation by faith, but rather the justification or validation of his profession of faith before men. Men do not know the hearts of other men, as God does, and so the only evidence – the only justification – of true faith is a manifestation of the fruit of that professed faith. Such a testimony can be powerful. However, God does indeed know what is in our hearts. But earlier James spoke of how powerful that testimony could be if a believer passing by another believer and seeing him in urgent need, put his faith to work by supplying those needs. Both were already believers - saved. But someone walking by and seeing one believer helping another in need would be impressed by just what was different about these people who called themselves Christians - that isn't normal. The world says to take care of #1 - yourself.

Now we need to look a little at the use of the Greek article with "faith" (Gk - hA PISTIS - "the faith"). It is not the demonstrative pronoun, "this" & certainly not "such," as it is sometimes translated. It is used to refer to faith abstractly. The KJV handles this properly here, since it doesn't try to read any theology into it. It just says, "Can faith save him?"

The article in Greek is used a bit differently than in English. The article with abstracts is just that. It is not "definite," but an indicator of abstractness. For example, in Greek as in other languages, such as Spanish, an article is sometimes used with nouns and just not translated - this happens all the time in Greek. You could say that "hA AGAPE OUDEPOTE PIPTEI." ("[The] Love never fails." 1 Corin. 13:8a). This does not mean a certain love, or "the love" or "such love." It is an abstract. The same is true here. To translate it as, "The love never fails" would be confusing. So it best reads simply, "Love never fails."

And that's what's happening in James 2 here. The article is used only to represent faith as a concept, as an abstract. There is no reason to say that it refers to a "certain faith" or to a "different faith" than was previously mentioned. It is "faith" in all that faith means... faith as an abstract.

But unfortunately "Can that faith save him?" is what we often read here. Based on simple grammatical considerations, we've seen that it should simply be instead, "Can faith save him?"

So I have a concern about the switch to "Can such (or "that kind of a") faith save him?" James asks, "Can [the] faith save him?" What faith are you referring to? Oh, the faith we just mentioned. When we read it in context, all of vs. 14 and the following vss:

James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can [the] faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you don't give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn't have works, is dead by itself.

If James is talking about a "kind" of faith, he is talking about a faith that is by itself - that doesn't get followed by works, and hence is not effective or fruitful. And by "save" he is not referring to gaining entrance into the kingdom, but to discipleship truth.

Another issue we encounter here is that we tend to take the Greek term translated "justification" and assume a soteriological usage (dealing with how to gain eternal life), while IMO it is talking about how to grow in Christlikeness.

A final point is that James and Paul may well, and IMO do use theological terms differently. For example, "justification" was used differently by James than Paul. James was writing to Jewish believers when the church was almost exclusively Jewish in nature about the persecutions they were encountering. Paul wrote Romans to mainly Gentile believers much later regarding the nature of our salvation.

FWIW,

BD

Catholic4aReason
Sep 8th 2005, 05:11 PM
Now this I agree with. But also, if justification was by faith and works, how many people would just go about doing works to "earn" their way into heaven, instead of doing them out of love?


The person who would do works to earn his way to heaven instead of doing them out of love would have no faith.

That's why it's faith AND works. Faith alone is dead, useless and incomplete (James 2: 17,20,22) and works alone are like filthy rags (Is. 64:6).

You seem to want to quanitfy works, requesting a number or checklist or required works. It's not like that. Works, as James uses the term, is love. How much love is enough? You can't put a number on it.

In Christ,
Nancy :)

Catholic4aReason
Sep 8th 2005, 05:17 PM
First, throughout the entire Bible and especially in the book of Romans, God tells us that salvation is by believing faith. Anything beyond that is heresy.

It is important to look at Romans before we dig into James:

Romans 4:3-8
3For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."


4Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due.


5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,

6just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works

7"BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,
AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

8"BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT."

Justification therefore is a legal, forensic declaration on the part of God concerning the believer. Furthermore, the word ("dikaisune”) is used in Genesis and Romans frequently. It is a legal, forensic term and it is used here in Romans 4.

Paul states it clearly, Abraham simply believed by faith and he was justified. Notice that it says, to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly.

Paul wrote about Inner saving faith from God's perspective. He wrote about the priority of faith.

On the other hand, James wrote on Inner saving faith from man's perspective. He wrote about the proof of faith.

The main theme behind the book of James is that workless faith is worthless faith and is therefore false faith.
James argument is that true faith is evidenced by works.

James 2:14
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

Notice in this passage that it says the man says he has faith. James doesn't indicate that the man has true saving faith.

Kistemaker states,
[ Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary Pg.88]

Additionally, Dallas seminary, states, " the emphasis is not on the true nature of faith but on the false claim of faith.(Dallas seminary: pg.825)

James is talking about a condemnation of a spurious boast of faith with no works.

The word says is definitely one of the keys to verse 14 in James. James doesn't deny that the man claims to have faith. However, you will see in the later passages that James believes that the man has false faith. The man has no faith at all. He has mere intellectual agreement with biblical facts and does not have saving trust in God.

This man says he has faith, however, he has no works. Therefore he never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ in the first place and he was never justified.

I will post more on James as my body allows it. Also I will PM BadDog and others and them tell them about the James debate.

It's important to understand that Paul and James are using the same word "works" to mean two different things.

James is using it to mean that which we do out of love. In Romans Paul is speaking specifically of works of the Mosaic law.

In Christ,
Nancy :)

Whispering Grace
Sep 8th 2005, 05:19 PM
The person who would do works to earn his way to heaven instead of doing them out of love would have no faith.

That's why it's faith AND works. Faith alone is dead, useless and incomplete (James 2: 17,20,22) and works alone are like filthy rags (Is. 64:6).

You seem to want to quanitfy works, requesting a number or checklist or required works. It's not like that. Works, as James uses the term, is love. How much love is enough? You can't put a number on it.

In Christ,
Nancy :)

When I want to quantify works, I'm doing it to try to prove a point. ;)

Job2
Sep 8th 2005, 05:23 PM
Job2, my friend, I hope that if we are going to discuss this, we won't spend the whole time calling one another heretics. :)
Matt, I didn't call you a heretic. Please go back and read my post.



Let's look into the context of Romans 4 a little further. If we do, we read this:

Rom 3:27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.
Rom 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

So what kind of works is Paul talking about? Clearly, he's talking about works of the Law of Moses. Instead, he says we are from a standpoint of the law of faith. Further, Paul clarifies this when he says, "we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law." And this "Law" is the law of Moses.

Yes, Abraham was justified by faith long before he was circumcised. Two points to remember, though, in regard to this:

1. Before being credited with righteousness by God, Abraham was obedient for quite some time. He obeyed what God required of him before being credited as righteous.

2. At the time Abraham was credited with righteousness because he believed God, circumcision was not an ordinance. But when the ordinance was given, Abraham obeyed. Would he have been considered justified before God had he not obeyed? Ie, if he had not mixed works with his faith to make his faith complete?

It is my understanding that saving faith works. Non-working faith does not save.

Matt I have listened to many Protestant/Catholic debates. I have seen the Protestant Apologist try to go to Galatians and point out the issues in the Church there to prove their point of justification by faith alone. However, the Catholic Apologist always responds that was a SPECIAL problem with the Mosaic law and circumcism. Therefore, the Catholic dismisses the whole book of Galatians in the debate.

The Protestant disagrees of course, however; he runs to Romans 4:1-8 as his "Ace in the Hole." The Protestant points out that there is no mention of the LAW in these passages.

Romans 4:4-8
4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.
5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,
6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7"BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,
AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.
8"BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT."

I have heard many Catholic Apologists fumble their way through this passages. None of them have suggested that Romans 3 is part of the context as you are suggesting.



Are these themes plainly laid out before us, or is that how you interpret their themes?
This is the Biblical Protestant faith. I can back this up with many, many commentaries.



This cannot be true for one good reason in particular.

Jam 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

James says here that faith without works is dead because the faith is by itself. This means that the faith is indeed there, but it's unable to save because it is without works. This refutes clearly the idea that James is talking about some hypothetical, non-existent faith.

Something to think about, anyway, FWIW.

James 2:17
Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

Kistemaker states that, “unless word and deed go together, unless preaching of the gospel is accompanied by a program of social action, unless faith is demonstrated in loving care and concern, faith is dead.” (Kistemaker: pg.89)

Context is extremely important here. Remember that James is referring to a man who claims to have faith, but has no faith at all. Consider the following quote in light of my statement.

Dallas seminary states, “workless faith is worthless faith; it is unproductive, sterile, barren, dead! Great claims may be made about a corpse that is supposed to have come to life, but if it does not move, if there are no vital signs, no heartbeat, no perceptible pulse, it is still dead. The false claims are silenced by the evidence.”
(Dallas seminary: pg.825)

Matt, this goes right along with my expositon in James 2:14 and my overall statement of the book of James.

Jesus clearly illustrates the difference between true faith and temporary, false faith in his teaching on the parable of the sower, in Matthew.

Matthew 13:3-8

3And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow;

4and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.

5"Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.

6"But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

7"Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.

8"And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

Matthew 13:18-23
The Sower Explained

18"Hear then the parable of the sower.

19"When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.

20"The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;

21yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.

22"And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

23"And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty."

The last man in the parable was the only man who had true saving faith. Some of the other men in the parable made claims to faith. However, their claims were not justified because they never really trusted in the Lord.

This parable can be applied to the man in James chapter 2. He claimed to have faith, but he never really trusted in the LORD. This fact is demonstrated by his fruit/works.

BadDog
Sep 8th 2005, 05:40 PM
So....if we have deep faith, then how do we know how many "works" are required to get us to heaven?


As Paul said, "what matters is faith working through love (Gal 5:6)". There are not a certain number of works we need to do in order to go to heaven, or a checklist of works that need to be done before we leave this world. Rather, "works" is an outward expression of love, for God and our neighbor. Scripturally speaking, love is not something we feel but rather something we DO. "Works", scripturally speaking, is not WHAT we do, but the LOVE with which we do it. We can fail to show love, not only in what we do TO others, but in what we fail to do FOR others(Matt 25:31-46).

Paul said that love is even GREATER than faith (1 Cor 13:13). If faith alone were required for salvation then faith would certainly be the greatest thing there is.

Paul also said that "if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:2)". Here faith alone renders one "nothing", not saved.

Paul makes clear that, while faith and love are certainly connected, they are two separate things. It's possible to have faith without having love. The question then becomes, is love of God and neighbor necessary for salvation?

In Christ,
Nancy http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/smile.gif
Let me say first-of-all that it is good to see a discussion between protestants and catholics in this forum. We should be able to discuss our differences without bad-mouthing one another.

OK, where does the Bible say that we are saved by love? (And by "saved" I am referring to gaining eternal life.)

In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul is clearly speaking of believers (Christians) using their Spirit-given gifts to build up the body of Christ. There it should be quite clear that works have much more value than simple faith. That's similar to what James was saying in James 2:14ff. In growing in Christ and serving Him, what good is faith alone? Works are certainly required for the Christian - how else can he serve Christ? Paul makes the relationship clear in Ephesians 2:

Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift -- not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His making, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

We are saved by grace through faith. It is a gift from God, so there can be no works involved in it. Otherwise, we would be prone to boast about what we've accomplished. And if works is involved in our salvation in any way, then we could brag about our accomplishments. But if we gain a righteous standing in God's presence based solely on our receiving it as a gift, then we have nothing to be proud of. What have we done? We have simply said, "Lord, I cannot do it myself. I am trusting in you alone to do it for me."

The next verse says that there is a place for works in living the Christian life. In fact, God prepared beforehand certain works that we should be involved in. We should "walkm in them" - meaning they should be a natural part of our lives. But we do not gain a righteous standing by works.

Edited-added: You are correct that in terms of exercising the gifts of the Spirit that unless it is done in love, it's a waste of time. And in terms of doing things to build up the body of Christ, love is indeed greater than faith or hope. But 1 Corinthians 13 is placed between chapters 12 and 14. Chapter 12 speaks about how God designed the body of Christ to build itself up by use of the gifts He has given to the individual members of that body. Chapter 14 speaks of the danger of emphasizing speaking in tongues. Chapter 13 reminds us that the purpose of the gifts of the Spirit was not to build ourselves up, but to build up others in the body. Hence, they need to flow out of love.

But where does it say that we gain eternal life through love?

BD

Catholic4aReason
Sep 8th 2005, 06:01 PM
Because from the instant that works is no longer understood as simply the fruit of faith we have departed from the heart of the reformation. We know to what depths of theological confusion and frustration regarding living the Christian life genuine believers were thrust into during those 1000 years of the reign of legalism. So we should be very careful and alert to Satan's attempt to rear his serpent's head again.


This is exactly where the reformers went astray. They misunderstood the role of works in justification. They looked at works as a checklist or a certain number of things to be accomplished; legalistically, rather than what it is; love.

This misunderstanding is why Luther didn't want James included in the bible and referred to it as an epistle of straw. Luther misinterpreted scripture. He didn't understand that Paul and James were using the same word to mean two different things.

There were never 1000 years of legalism insofar as the teaching of faith and works, but rather 1000 years of teaching that "if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:2)".

In Christ,
Nancy http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/smile.gif

Catholic4aReason
Sep 8th 2005, 06:03 PM
When I want to quantify works, I'm doing it to try to prove a point. ;)

Ohhhhhhhhhh...ok.

In Christ,
Nancy :)

Catholic4aReason
Sep 8th 2005, 06:13 PM
OK, where does the Bible say that we are saved by love? (And by "saved" I am referring to gaining eternal life.)


Luke 10:25-37 25 Just then an expert in the law stood up to test Him, saying, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 "What is written in the law?" He asked him. "How do you read it?" 27 He answered: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. 28 "You've answered correctly," He told him. "Do this and you will live."

In Christ,
Nancy http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/smile.gif

literaryjoe
Sep 8th 2005, 06:29 PM
This is exactly where the reformers went astray. They misunderstood the role of works in justification. They looked at works as a checklist or a certain number of things to be accomplished; legalistically, rather than what it is; love.

This misunderstanding is why Luther didn't want James included in the bible and referred to it as an epistle of straw. Luther misinterpreted scripture. He didn't understand that Paul and James were using the same word to mean two different things.

There were never 1000 years of legalism insofar as the teaching of faith and works, but rather 1000 years of teaching that "if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:2)".

In Christ,
Nancy http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/smile.gifOh. Ok. That would explain having to pay to say confession, the buying & selling of indulgences for the living and the dead, the death penalty for laity in possession of a copy of the Scriptures, trips up the Vatican stairs on one's knees--it was all faith + love. That makes sense.

You know, I think I've heard of this kind of thing before...reconstructionist history, yes, that was it. Come on now! Give us more credit than that, Nancy, for goodness sake!

BadDog
Sep 8th 2005, 06:30 PM
This is exactly where the reformers went astray. They misunderstood the role of works in justification. They looked at works as a checklist or a certain number of things to be accomplished; legalistically, rather than what it is; love.

This misunderstanding is why Luther didn't want James included in the bible and referred to it as an epistle of straw. [Iu]Luther misinterpreted scripture. He didn't understand that Paul and James were using the same word to mean two different things.[/u]

There were never 1000 years of legalism insofar as the teaching of faith and works, but rather 1000 years of teaching that "if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:2)".

In Christ,
Nancy http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/smile.gif
Nancy,

You know, I agree with much of what you've said above, though not with your conclusion. :P

The place I disagree is that we are justified by faith, and not by works at all. Works has absolutely nothing to do with our being declared as righteous by God.

The underlineded stuff I agree with. Paul and James did use DIKAIOS - justification differently. Luther did refer to James as an "EPISTLE OF STRAW." But to be fair to him, we must understand that by that he meant that it had less value than the teachings of Paul. I agree with him in that respect. Jesus Christ appeared to Paul and personally gave him his theology.

Now, are you referring to the "dark ages" as "1000 years of teaching that 'if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing'?" Seriously? That was the lowest point of human history. And it was at least partly a result of the emphasis of indulgances. Are you really proud of what the RCC did in those years?

Luther read Romans 1:17 IN THE Greek for the first time and recognized that we are "justified" ("declared to be righteous") by faith alone.

Gotta go.

BD

Whispering Grace
Sep 8th 2005, 06:40 PM
The underlineded stuff I agree with. Paul and James did use DIKAIOS - justification differently. Luther did refer to James as an "EPISTLE OF STRAW." But to be fair to him, we must understand that by that he meant that it had less value than the teachings of Paul. I agree with him in that respect. Jesus Christ appeared to Paul and personally gave him his theology.

If we believe the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant Word of God, can we really take the stance that one Apostle's teachings are more valuable than anothers? Isn't it ALL the Word of God?

literaryjoe
Sep 8th 2005, 06:43 PM
So are James and Paul contradicting one other? Nope. The justification that James speaks of here is not the “justification” of salvation by faith, but rather the justification or validation of his profession of faith before men. Men do not know the hearts of other men, as God does, and so the only evidence – the only justification – of true faith is a manifestation of the fruit of that professed faith. Such a testimony can be powerful. However, God does indeed know what is in our hearts. But earlier James spoke of how powerful that testimony could be if a believer passing by another believer and seeing him in urgent need, put his faith to work by supplying those needs. Both were already believers - saved. But someone walking by and seeing one believer helping another in need would be impressed by just what was different about these people who called themselves Christians - that isn't normal. The world says to take care of #1 - yourself.Where in the Bible is there any evidence that Paul and James were speaking of different types of justification? At first glance this seems to me to be just reasoning, trying to explain what is difficult to make gel. Perhaps I missed something else in your post that pointed to this? If so, I would appreciate if you would re-point it out for me.

Catholic4aReason
Sep 8th 2005, 06:57 PM
Oh. Ok. That would explain having to pay to say confession, the buying & selling of indulgences for the living and the dead, the death penalty for laity in possession of a copy of the Scriptures, trips up the Vatican stairs on one's knees--it was all faith + love. That makes sense.

How are these things germaine to our discussion?



You know, I think I've heard of this kind of thing before...reconstructionist history, yes, that was it. Come on now! Give us more credit than that, Nancy, for goodness sake!

I think we're talking about two completely different things when we're speaking of "works". Apparently I haven't made my point as clearly as I thought I did. Sorry 'bout that. :)

In Christ,
Nancy :)

Catholic4aReason
Sep 8th 2005, 07:09 PM
[QUOTE]The place I disagree is that we are justified by faith, and not by works at all. Works has absolutely nothing to do with our being declared as righteous by God.

That completely contradicts James 2:24 though:

You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. You: we are not justified by works at all
Paul: a man is justified by works

You: we are justified by faith alone
Paul: we are NOT justified by faith alone

Is it possible that Paul simply said exactly what he meant here and that the reformers were wrong?



The underlineded stuff I agree with. Paul and James did use DIKAIOS - justification differently. Luther did refer to James as an "EPISTLE OF STRAW." But to be fair to him, we must understand that by that he meant that it had less value than the teachings of Paul. I agree with him in that respect. Jesus Christ appeared to Paul and personally gave him his theology.

Scripture says that we are to live by EVERY word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (De 8:3). It says nothing about giving more value to those words coming through one man's pen than another. Does scripture tells us that the words of a man that Jesus spoke to directly have greater value? If not, where did you get that idea from?


Now, are you referring to the "dark ages" as "1000 years of teaching that 'if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing'?" Seriously? That was the lowest point of human history. And it was at least partly a result of the emphasis of indulgances. Are you really proud of what the RCC did in those years?

I'm not speaking of the bad behavior of individual sinners during the dark ages but rather of the constant teaching about faith and love as spelled out in scripture. I hope I'm not wrong in assuming that you don't really think I might be proud of what some individuals within the Church did during that time.


Luther read Romans 1:17 IN THE Greek for the first time and recognized that we are "justified" ("declared to be righteous") by faith alone.

Luther ADDED the word "alone" and then later removed it. The only place in all of scripture where we find the words "faith alone" is when James says that we are NOT justfied by faith alone.

In Christ,
Nancy :)

Steve M
Sep 8th 2005, 07:36 PM
Nancy; your previous post seems to have become a little garbled in transmission. I think you meant to say JAMES when you said Paul.

Whispering Grace
Sep 8th 2005, 07:46 PM
[QUOTE=BadDog]



That completely contradicts James 2:24 though:

You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. You: we are not justified by works at all
Paul: a man is justified by works

You: we are justified by faith alone
Paul: we are NOT justified by faith alone

Is it possible that Paul simply said exactly what he meant here and that the reformers were wrong?


And can you really take one verse that seemingly contradicts so much Scripture and go by that?

And how do you reconcile Paul's passage that explicitly says we are justifed by faith and not works?

roadrunner570
Sep 8th 2005, 07:49 PM
Amy,

You should change your name to "Whispering Works" :lol:

Whispering Grace
Sep 8th 2005, 07:51 PM
Amy,

You should change your name to "Whispering Works" :lol:


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

RR, you are killing me today!

Catholic4aReason
Sep 9th 2005, 05:57 PM
Nancy; your previous post seems to have become a little garbled in transmission. I think you meant to say JAMES when you said Paul.

You're right Steve! Thanks for knowing what I meant!

In Christ,
Nancy :)

BadDog
Sep 9th 2005, 05:59 PM
The underlineded stuff I agree with. Paul and James did use DIKAIOS - justification differently. Luther did refer to James as an "EPISTLE OF STRAW." But to be fair to him, we must understand that by that he meant that it had less value than the teachings of Paul. I agree with him in that respect. Jesus Christ appeared to Paul and personally gave him his theology.


If we believe the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant Word of God, can we really take the stance that one Apostle's teachings are more valuable than anothers? Isn't it ALL the Word of God?
Figured someone would comment. :P I suppose I should have been a bit less absolute in how I worded it, though I do believe what I said. So let me be much more detailed, and I imagine you will not agree with at least some of how I take this... but at least you'll know where I stand. :rofl:

Obviously all of God's Word is inspired and profitable/useful for the Spirit to use in our lives. But I don't think we can say that all scripture is on the same plain just as some sins are greater than others, though all are punishable by death - for example. Perhaps we could limit that to specific areas - in which each writing was designed by the Author. But does Jude - one short chapter in length - have as much to say to us as the 16 chapters of Romans? Do the 13 verses of James 2 (James 2:14-26) have as much to say regarding justification as the several chapters in Romans and Galatians that Paul wrote on it? Paul's heart doctrine was the free justification of the believer. James was not that. His had to do with the powerful testimony that a Spirit-led, obedient Christian can have in the world when he trusts God through tribulations.

Paul's writings are at the top of the heap regarding doctrine as compared to the OT scriptures as well. That does not mean that the OT does not have value for Christian growth or are not as much inspired. But to pretend that they are all equal in value for doctrine is unrealistic and ignores the Spirit's purpose in writing each portion of scripture. Of course God could not deal with doctrine in the OT as he could in the NT, after Christ had been revealed and successfully paid the penalty for sin. The truth of God has been progressively revealed.

James has its place, and is effective in certain areas of Christian growth where God planned to use it. I'm sure that James is more valuable than certain of Paul's letters in particular areas. But IMO in terms of the gospel and understanding the scope of salvation, James can't begin to compare to Paul's letters.

That does not mean either that they can conflict, in which case we go with Paul's writings. But it does mean that we start with the apostle to the Gentile's writings when determining sound doctrine. Any other letter should line up with Paul or else we're not interpreting it as God intended.

Similarly, since John's gospel is the only scripture that specifically states that it was written to evangelize (John 20:30, 31), we should start there to clarify the gospel, and point seekers there first. That does not mean that John's gospel is "better" or more valuable than the synoptic gospels. But when speaking of the gospel, then "yes," interpret the synoptics in light of John's gospel. Each one had a specific purpose, and we need to determine that purpose IOT properly interpret passages in them.

Such an approach is simply allowing God's Word to tell us how to use it.

Hope that clears things up. I'm likely not doing a very good job of this. To summarize, I do believe that:

1 - all scripture is inspired by God and profitable.
2 - no scripture conflicts with any other scripture - New or Old Testament.
3 - God has a purpose for every scripture written.
4 - it is important to understand God's purpose for a particular letter IOT properly interpret it.
5 - those letters written for a particular purpose take precedence over those which touch on that topic but which were written for another purpose.
6 - in #5 above, it isn't that one will be wrong and the other even a little off, but that we believers tend to misinterpret scripture.
7 - scripture has been progressively revealed - according to God's timetable and sovereign plan.
8 - Certain scriptures have more value for doctrine. For example, all of Paul's letters (didactic in nature) take precedence over all narrative literature (most of OT, gospels, Acts) and prophetic literature (some of OT, Revelation) when dealing with doctrine. For another example: no parable was written to reveal doctrine, but to touch hearts - those prepared by the Spirit to respond. Those not prepared will simply not understand them. When people try to develop doctrines based on parables or other allegorical teachings, they're making a serious hermaneutical error!
9 - Paul was specifically selected by Jesus as a special agent to the Gentiles and to expand the church in the 1st century. He was taught directly from Christ while in Arabia and God specifically chose Paul to develop NT doctrine. Hence, it was God who placed Paul.'s writings above all other didactic scriptures, according to His plan. Jesus called Paul His chosen instrument.

#7 thru 9 expand on my point. And I will not take a letter by James and use it to twist Paul's clear writings to say something other than what Paul was clearly teaching. IMO it's quite clear. Start with Paul's writings... not with any of the gospels... not with James' letter... not with Peter's writings... not with John's writings... not with Jude's letter... not with Barnabas' letter (assuming he was the author of Hebrews, which is possible). Start with Paul when trying to understand justification. Take his clear teaching. Then James and Peter and anyone else must align with it.

These other writings have a beautiful and magnificant purpose; I am not at all classifying them as 2nd-class scripture. Perhaps during the tribulation period or during the 1000-year kingdom period of the reign of Christ here on earth they will take precedence over Paul's writings - who knows? (I imagine that Christ Himself will be our Teacher then.) But today - regarding doctrine, most hermaneutic courses will teach something similar to what I've said above. To ignore God's intended purpose for various scriptures is dangerous and has led to many strange doctrinal understandings.

Now, if you wish to further pursue this, I suggest that you start a new thread on it, and alert Tom of it - he knows much more about this than I do. Besides, I don't have much Inet access for about another week.

Thx,

BD

Catholic4aReason
Sep 9th 2005, 06:04 PM
And can you really take one verse that seemingly contradicts so much Scripture and go by that?


It doesn't contradict ANY scripture.



And how do you reconcile Paul's passage that explicitly says we are justifed by faith and not works?


Paul and James are speaking of two different types of works. Paul is referring specifically to works of the Mosaic law. He was responding the those who believed that one needed to become Jewish and observe the works of the Mosaic law to be saved. James was not concerned with the precepts of the Mosaic law. He was referring to Christ-like behavior. They used the same word to means two, completely different things.

That's the same misunderstanding that Luther had and why he didn't believe that James was inspired scripture.

In Christ,
Nancy http://bibleforums.org/images/smilies/smile.gif

BadDog
Sep 9th 2005, 06:33 PM
So are James and Paul contradicting one other? Nope. The justification that James speaks of here is not the “justification” of salvation by faith, but rather the justification or validation of his profession of faith before men. Men do not know the hearts of other men, as God does, and so the only evidence – the only justification – of true faith is a manifestation of the fruit of that professed faith. Such a testimony can be powerful. However, God does indeed know what is in our hearts. But earlier James spoke of how powerful that testimony could be if a believer passing by another believer and seeing him in urgent need, put his faith to work by supplying those needs. Both were already believers - saved. But someone walking by and seeing one believer helping another in need would be impressed by just what was different about these people who called themselves Christians - that isn't normal. The world says to take care of #1 - yourself.


Where in the Bible is there any evidence that Paul and James were speaking of different types of justification? At first glance this seems to me to be just reasoning, trying to explain what is difficult to make gel. Perhaps I missed something else in your post that pointed to this? If so, I would appreciate if you would re-point it out for me.
Joe,

Let me turn it on you and ask you essentially the same question: Why should we assume that they are using justification in the same manner when that word has a wide lexical meaning range? Paul himself used that word differently - similar to James' usage. Look at Romans 2...

Romans 4:2, 3 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."

Paul spoke of a justification "not before God" - assumed to be before men. The point is that Paul spoke only of a justification by faith alone before God, but he also mentioned a justification before men - which is by works. (Since people cannot see our faith - but only our actions.)

If you look within James itself it is clear that he is not talking about gaining eternal life but speaking about dealing with persecution in a manner that is attractive to the world. We have to start with the purpose of James' letter. It was not to tell Christians the basis for their right standing before God. Where does James even hint at that? But Paul states such a purpose throughout Romans.

Look at the following James scriptures:

James 1:1 James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ:

To the 12 tribes in the Dispersion. Greetings.
(James wrote to the dispersed Jews - it was one of the very first letters of the NT - some say the first. Hence, others will have more clear revelation as God reveals His truth to His church.)

James 1:2-4 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:9, 10 The brother of humble circumstances should boast in his exaltation; but the one who is rich [should boast] in his humiliation, because he will pass away like a flower of the field.

James 1:12, 13 Blessed is a man who endures trials, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him. No one undergoing a trial should say, "I am being tempted by God." For God is not tempted by evil,F3 and He Himself doesn't tempt anyone.

James 1:16 Don't be deceived, my dearly loved brothers.

James 1:18 By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures.
(The purpose of our new birth - to glorify Him.)


James 1:19-21 My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man's anger does not work God's righteousness. Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.
(The "saving" here is not the gospel saving - it is referring to saving us from an ineffective life for Christ.)

James 1:22-25 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts -- this person will be blessed in what he does.
(James is all about actions - which speak louder than words. Butthe "blessing" above is speaking of being used more by God. It assumes that the "doer" is already born-again.)

James 1:26, 27 If anyone thinks he is religious, without controlling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

I gotta run to pick up my kids. But let me add one more from chapter 2... But I could list tons more from this letter to show that James is speaking of justification before men - works thsat glorify His name before men.

James 2:1-4 My brothers, hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ without showing favoritism. For suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring, dressed in fine clothes, and a poor man dressed in dirty clothes also comes in. If you look with favor on the man wearing the fine clothes so that you say, "Sit here in a good place," and yet you say to the poor man, "Stand over there," or, "Sit here on the floor by my footstool," haven't you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
(Clearly the above has to do with behavior in the church of God and not gaining eternal life. Similarly, James 2:14-16, in context, is not talking about gaining eternal life, and hence James' use of "justification" cannot be as Paul used it.)

BD

literaryjoe
Sep 9th 2005, 08:52 PM
Paul's writings are at the top of the heap regarding doctrine as compared to the OT scriptures as well. That does not mean that the OT does not have value for Christian growth or are not as much inspired. But to pretend that they are all equal in value for doctrine is unrealistic and ignores the Spirit's purpose in writing each portion of scripture.I don't know if I've ever heard this tragic statement made so explicitly (certainly not since Bible School, which was 12 years ago) , but I'm glad to have confirmation that it's not just my imagination--many Christians do believe such a thing.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I'll just quote an author who has all ready said it much better than I probably could:
Our priority of Scripture has the Epistles first and the Torah last. We have arrived at this backward because we have been led to believe that Paul (the writer of the Epistles) taught against Torah, and Yeshua (in the Gospels) did away with Torah. Therefore we regard the Torah and Old Testament as less relevant and authoritiative than our New Testament books. But this is backward and upside down. It is like building the second floor of the house before laying a foundation or building the first floor. It is the wrong priority of Scripture.

The correct priority of Scripture is sequential. We should start at the beginning. Paul tells us that a later covenant cannot contradict an earlier one. If there were such a contradiction, it would mean that one of the scriptures was wrong (in which case it isn't Holy scripture) or that God had changed His mind (in which case He is inconsistent and fallible). The correct priority of Scripture starts with the Torah.

Yeshua quoted and cited the Torah to make His arguments and prove His identity. Paul also quoted and cited the Torah to make his arguments and prove Yeshua's identity. It would be illogical, then, to suppose that Yeshua and Paul, in the next breath, denied the Torah's authority. According to God's own criteria, any prophet who might contradict His Torah is a false prophet (Deut. 13). Therefore, if we find a passage in the Apostolic Scriptures that appears to contradict an earlier revelation of Scripture, then we are misunderstanding the passage. This is not to say that one scripture is more important than another. It does not mean that Torah is more important than the Gospels or the Epistles. But it does mean that Torah must be regarded first, because it was given first. The latter writings presuppose our familiarity with it and must be interpreted in light of it. If we read the Torah through the lenses of the New Testament, we are proceeding in the opposite direction. To fully understand God's Word, we must read the Gospels and Epistles through the lens of Torah.

The Prophets, Writings, Gospels and Epistles all base their authority on the Torah of Moses. If we pull the Torah out from under them, they all collapse, and we are left with a hopeless jumble of confusing scriptures that seem to contradict one another.

- from Chapter 5 of Restoration by D. Thomas Lancaster

used with permission - Copyright (c) 2005 by D. Thomas Lancaster. All rights reserved. Publication rights First Fruits of Zion, Inc.
Publisher freely grants permission to reproduce short quotations in reviews, magazines, newspapers, website or other publications. To reproduce, transmit or photocopy more than 400 words, please secure permission in writing from the publisher, which will be granted upon request.

literaryjoe
Sep 9th 2005, 09:28 PM
Joe,

Let me turn it on you and ask you essentially the same question: Why should we assume that they are using justification in the same manner when that word has a wide lexical meaning range? Paul himself used that word differently - similar to James' usage. Look at Romans 2...

Romans 4:2, 3 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."

Paul spoke of a justification "not before God" - assumed to be before men. The point is that Paul spoke only of a justification by faith alone before God, but he also mentioned a justification before men - which is by works. (Since people cannot see our faith - but only our actions.)

If you look within James itself it is clear that he is not talking about gaining eternal life but speaking about dealing with persecution in a manner that is attractive to the world. We have to start with the purpose of James' letter. It was not to tell Christians the basis for their right standing before God. Where does James even hint at that? But Paul states such a purpose throughout Romans.

Look at the following James scriptures:
...

BD"He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures." This sentence belies all the other supposition in regard to the passages quoted. It establishes incontrovertibly that the "message of truth" is for the purpose "of gaining eternal life".
(James wrote to the dispersed Jews - it was one of the very first letters of the NT - some say the first. Hence, others will have more clear revelation as God reveals His truth to His church.)First of all, some date this letter as being written before 50 C.E., but many date it later. If we agree that James the brother of Jesus is its author than it must have been written before 70 C.E., and most likely prior to 62 C.E. This however, dates it certainly after Paul's letter to the Romans in 56-58 C.E. It is likely succeeded only by the epistles of John (and Revelations), 1 & 2 Peter, Hebrews, and by the letters to Timothy and Titus. It seems unlikely that it was literally addressed to physical Jews since the 12 tribes ceased to exist after the invasion of the Northern Kingdom in 721 B.C.E.

Here's why I think it must be considered late. It seems to be addressing a situation which started to appear early, but likely received significant attention from James, only after the Jerusalem Council and seems to correspond with Paul's awareness of a growing Gentile arrogance toward Jews and things considered Jewish, like the Law itself--which Paul is all ready having to warn against in Romans 11, for example. So it seems that James must be considered at least as late as Romans and possibly later. James, Peter & particularly John must have indeed been greatly grieved to see the growing antagonism toward Jews and the Jewishness of Christianity on the part of Gentile believers in the late 1st Century.

Owen
Sep 10th 2005, 09:28 AM
Joe,

Let me turn it on you and ask you essentially the same question: Why should we assume that they are using justification in the same manner when that word has a wide lexical meaning range? Paul himself used that word differently - similar to James' usage. Look at Romans 2...

Romans 4:2, 3 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."

Paul spoke of a justification "not before God" - assumed to be before men. The point is that Paul spoke only of a justification by faith alone before God, but he also mentioned a justification before men - which is by works. (Since people cannot see our faith - but only our actions.)

If you look within James itself it is clear that he is not talking about gaining eternal life but speaking about dealing with persecution in a manner that is attractive to the world. We have to start with the purpose of James' letter. It was not to tell Christians the basis for their right standing before God. Where does James even hint at that? But Paul states such a purpose throughout Romans.

Look at the following James scriptures:

James 1:1 James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ:

To the 12 tribes in the Dispersion. Greetings.
(James wrote to the dispersed Jews - it was one of the very first letters of the NT - some say the first. Hence, others will have more clear revelation as God reveals His truth to His church.)

James 1:2-4 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:9, 10 The brother of humble circumstances should boast in his exaltation; but the one who is rich [should boast] in his humiliation, because he will pass away like a flower of the field.

James 1:12, 13 Blessed is a man who endures trials, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him. No one undergoing a trial should say, "I am being tempted by God." For God is not tempted by evil,F3 and He Himself doesn't tempt anyone.

James 1:16 Don't be deceived, my dearly loved brothers.

James 1:18 By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures.
(The purpose of our new birth - to glorify Him.)


James 1:19-21 My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man's anger does not work God's righteousness. Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.
(The "saving" here is not the gospel saving - it is referring to saving us from an ineffective life for Christ.)

James 1:22-25 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts -- this person will be blessed in what he does.
(James is all about actions - which speak louder than words. Butthe "blessing" above is speaking of being used more by God. It assumes that the "doer" is already born-again.)

James 1:26, 27 If anyone thinks he is religious, without controlling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

I gotta run to pick up my kids. But let me add one more from chapter 2... But I could list tons more from this letter to show that James is speaking of justification before men - works thsat glorify His name before men.

James 2:1-4 My brothers, hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ without showing favoritism. For suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring, dressed in fine clothes, and a poor man dressed in dirty clothes also comes in. If you look with favor on the man wearing the fine clothes so that you say, "Sit here in a good place," and yet you say to the poor man, "Stand over there," or, "Sit here on the floor by my footstool," haven't you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
(Clearly the above has to do with behavior in the church of God and not gaining eternal life. Similarly, James 2:14-16, in context, is not talking about gaining eternal life, and hence James' use of "justification" cannot be as Paul used it.)

BD


BD:

First off, the context there doesn't really explain what James is talking about. I could well as argue that in James 2:13 where it speaks of a merciless judgement, that context clearly shows that James is referring to eternal life salvation. Of course James 2:13 has more influence upon the text of 2:14-26 than the rest of James due to proximity. With that said, I don't think it has any influence upon the meaning because I think verse 14 is a drastic shift in thought, as opposed to a gradual shift in the topic.

Secondly, James quotes the exact same verse that Paul does.

James 2:22-23:

You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called the friend of God.

He quotes it in context of having a completed (perfected) faith. Then he goes on to write the following:
James 2:24:

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

He says this after having quoted the OT verse for justification in conjunction of faith with works being complete.

The justification before men concept makes James out to be very shifty in his thoughts and not very methodical in his presentation. Verse 22 refers to justification before men, 23 refers to justification before God, and then 24 goes back to justification before men. But this isn't the only problem with that interpretation. The justification of men interpretation is extremely awkward when you consider the introductory statement of this line of though of James.

James 2:14:

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

James asks the question about faith alone and asks what its use is. Then he asks the question of can that faith save him? What does being saved (of anything) have to do with justification before men?

Also add to the fact that why would James even have to address the idea of faith alone justifies us before men? What would faith have to do with justification before men at all?

The justification before God view sees the "faith alone" controversy, the idea of salvaion in 2:14, the use of the term justification in 21 and 24, and the OT quotation of justification as all part of the same argument. All these concepts are used in context of each other to explain the passage as a whole. In the end, there is no variance in the topic of 2:14-26 in the justification before God view.

The justification before men view see "faith alone" controvery as some part of a problem where the recepients of this letters though they were justified by men by their faith alone. Also is says that salvation in 2:14 doesn't refer to eternal salvation. What type of salvation does it refer to? To go even further, it must see the term justification as being something seperate from the OT quotation of justification before God (when they are used within the same flow of though in 22-24).

So these questions I ask you, BD, or someone else who holds this view.



A) Why would faith alone ever be sought as justification before men?
B) What type of salvation does James refer to in verse 14?
C) What does it have to do with justification before men?
D) Why would James quote the OT verse of justification before God after saying that faith was complete if by endeavoring to show faith being complete with works he was trying to show the justification before men?
E) Why after quoting the OT justification verse, did James say "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone."
F) Why should not "faith alone", salvation, justification, and the OT justification verse all be understood together to show justification before God? Those verses in context with each other would definatley seem to explain the meaning of James.

I am asking these questions in an exegetical form of mind.

I don't particularly care what Paul writes in explaining what James means (with the exception of the OT quotation of justification). First off, that bad exegesis. Secondly, I see no contradiction in what Paul wrote in Romans 4 and what James wrote yet I see both referring to justification before God. Paul is talking about justification by the working according to works of the Law (NOT works in general) where James talks about faith without works.

I could go deeper into all of that (I have been considering starting up a topic on Romans 4) but I'll finishing it all up to say what I have found the verse "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS" to mean. Reckoning is not some imputation or crediting of something that isn't there, but rather crediting Abraham's faith to a righteousness or righteous character (we are partakers of the divine nature; 2 Peter 1:4) given by regeneration though Christ's death and subsequent ressurection. The "righteousness of faith" (Romans 4:13) or as it could possibly be seen "righteous nature of faith." And to my knowledge, the Hebrew word (chashab) translated as elogisthe (reckoned) in Greek is never shown to be imputing something that isn't theirs (though I havn't looked up every single usage of the word in the OT).

BTW that is what is called as imparted righteousness NOT infused righteousness. A differentiation between theological thoughts should be made, though I don't see why we should be different types of righteousness in the Bible when I have never seen any adjective given in the NT (or OT for that matter) that qualified righteousness in one place as something that is imputed and in another place as something that is part of their nature. Adding a lot of thoughts to the Scripture that aren't spoken off explicitly (leaving a lot of room for our own thoughts to be added and thus misinterpret the Bible).

The meaning of that OT quotation from Genesis 15:6 is also important to the exegesis of James 2 and the understanding of faith and works. So it definately deserves some discussion.

Owen
Sep 10th 2005, 10:34 AM
To give what I believe to be the correct understanding of faith and works that isn't in a reply to someone, here is what I think.

We must become born again of the Holy Spirit (John 3:7) to be saved. When we are born again we are made part of a divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). This divine nature from being born of the Holy Spirit (God) causes us to practice righteousness, as opposed to sin (1 John 3:4-10). However, faith also results from being born again, as it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). So thus, those who practice righteousness (the truth) will come to Christ with faith (as opposed to a knowledge) and those who practice sin (evil) will not (John 3:20-21).

Faith ultimately justifies us (shows us righteous). All sort of men, Christians and nonchristians alike, may have works that they have done. However, works can be done apart from a righteous nature (can't a serial killer give money to a beggar on the street?) however real faith in Christ can only come from those who are born again and thus have a righteous nature. However, as I mentioned if a person has true faith they will also likewise have works, both rooting from the righteous nature given by God. A person who is born again will with certainty have both faith and works.

And the righteous nature, as I mentioned, is given to us by God by being born again. It isn't something that we can make ourselves but only God can do it. We can't obtain a righteous nature by doing so many works and just vowing to not do something next time your are tempted. God makes it freely available for all through repentance from sin (the change in your mind or heart towards sin) in conjunction with the knowledge (not faith) of Him. Then that repentance He in turn grants us by making us born again (regeneration). God made this regeneration capable for us by having Christ both die and rise again.

BadDog
Sep 13th 2005, 06:54 AM
Sorry... have been without Inet access for a few days. Just read this...


I don't know if I've ever heard this tragic statement made so explicitly (certainly not since Bible School, which was 12 years ago) , but I'm glad to have confirmation that it's not just my imagination--many Christians do believe such a thing.

BD - Welcome. So then, do you believe that God had precisely the same exact purpose for every scripture and that each portion of scripture has equal value for doctrine, for instruction, for answering questions regarding how to live the Christian life in every single area... ??? That's not realistic, is it? Isn't that telling God how to do His job? Personally, I'm going to let God inspire His holy Word as He so pleases. Joe, that's all I'm really saying: that God had a plan. He didn't reveal all the truth at one time.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I'll just quote an author who has all ready said it much better than I probably could: [/center]

BD - I'll make a few brief comments below in the text quoted. You seem to be misunderstanding some of what what I said, because most of this quote does not apply nor does it contradict what I said, FWIW:


Our priority of Scripture has the Epistles first and the Torah last. We have arrived at this backward because we have been led to believe that Paul (the writer of the Epistles) taught against Torah, and Yeshua (in the Gospels) did away with Torah. Therefore we regard the Torah and Old Testament as less relevant and authoritiative than our New Testament books. But this is backward and upside down. It is like building the second floor of the house before laying a foundation or building the first floor. It is the wrong priority of Scripture.

BD - Never said that the NT was more accurate or important than the NT. Though I did say that God has progressively revealed doctrine, I did not say that there is then progressive value in scripture. I was very careful to make that clear, so it bugs me when my words are twisted around. But... :cool:

We do have to look carefully at his use of "priority." He does not mean priority meaning importance, as he clarifies later. He means simply that we have to understand the OT scripture if we want to accurately understand the NT as well.

True, I do see the OT as having less relevance for living the Christian life, than the NT scriptures, as our Lord implied when He said that His disciples had not understood Him before, but after He went he would send His Holy Spirit who would explain all things to them that He had said. IOW, Jesus had spoken about what the rest of the NT speaks - but the Holy Spirit has explained it so that it is more clear. Read John 14 - 16 and Matthew 28:18-20. No one in OT times was indwelt with the Holy Spirit - He came upon them. That started at Pentecost. (Jesus said that He "...was with them and would be in them.")

Also, I did not even imply that the OT scriptures were less authoritative than the NT scriptures. To say this would be to assume that a portion of scripture will contradict another portion. I carefully explained that the issue was not with the scriptures, but with the people interpreting them! We should start with the scripture that the Holy Spirit chose to teach on a topic in order to avoid error in interpreting scripture. For example, if someone wants to study on the gifts of the Spirit, he would be a fool to start in the OT instead of say 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and John 13-16 would he not? Since gifts of the Spirit started with Pentecost, why try to study it from the OT? Confusion and mistakes will result.

The correct priority of Scripture is sequential. We should start at the beginning. Paul tells us that a later covenant cannot contradict an earlier one. If there were such a contradiction, it would mean that one of the scriptures was wrong (in which case it isn't Holy scripture) or that God had changed His mind (in which case He is inconsistent and fallible). The correct priority of Scripture starts with the Torah.

BD - Well, Paul certainly used such an approach when showing in Romans the validity of the promise to Abraham, which could not be annuled by a later promise to Moses. God keeps His promises. But of course, God can certainly choose to change how he related to people, right? He has made a valid point, but taken it too far. God can choose to require sacrifices in the OT and supply the One Sacrifice that removes the need for any others later, right? Am I to still avoid eating pork? He has gone too far here. Would you not say that God relates to people now differently than in OT times? This author has done what I did not do and imposed a superficial, blanket priority of all OT scriptures over NT scriptures. But IMO by doing so he has essentially assumed that some OT scriptures can contradict NT scriptures, hasn't he? (Though he adamantly denied that possibility, of course. But IMO it logically follows his argument.)

Yeshua quoted and cited the Torah to make His arguments and prove His identity. Paul also quoted and cited the Torah to make his arguments and prove Yeshua's identity. It would be illogical, then, to suppose that Yeshua and Paul, in the next breath, denied the Torah's authority. According to God's own criteria, any prophet who might contradict His Torah is a false prophet (Deut. 13). Therefore, if we find a passage in the Apostolic Scriptures that appears to contradict an earlier revelation of Scripture, then we are misunderstanding the passage. This is not to say that one scripture is more important than another. It does not mean that Torah is more important than the Gospels or the Epistles. But it does mean that Torah must be regarded first, because it was given first. The latter writings presuppose our familiarity with it and must be interpreted in light of it. If we read the Torah through the lenses of the New Testament, we are proceeding in the opposite direction. To fully understand God's Word, we must read the Gospels and Epistles through the lens of Torah.

BD - OK, OK, now it's clear. Anyone who insists on using "Yeshua" instead of the common English transliteration of Jesus has a Jewish background and it is clear why he sees OT scripture as foundational... and I agree - it is. But hie point about Christ quoting the Torah should be obvious: the NT scripture was not in place yet. Also, Jesus dealt ONLY with His people: the Jews. So naturally He would use their Torah for arguments.

Also, I never said that Paul denied the Torah's authority. I did say that God had a plan and that He progressively revealed Himself. The newer is more clear than the older. Does anyone doubt this? Jesus told His disciples that after He left them that He would send the Holy Spirit, who would make it plain what He had said to them. He didn't tell them that the Holy Spirit would make the OT scriptures clear, but HIS words. Passages in which the Holy Spirit has done so I am going to deal with first.

Now I will add this: it is very valuable and important to have a strong grasp on the OT scriptures IOT better understand the NT. But revelation is progressive, meaning that we understand a lot more now with the nT revelation. It's kinda like Edison (I believe) who spoke of standing on the shoulders of giants. So I certainly agree that it is very important to have a firm grasp of the OT before trying to understand the NT. But the clarity of doctrine comes from the NT for that very reason: It was built on the OT record.

I actually like much of what he said here and do not disagree. But he seems to place a greater value on the scripture of His Jewish roots over the NT writings.

The Prophets, Writings, Gospels and Epistles all base their authority on the Torah of Moses. If we pull the Torah out from under them, they all collapse, and we are left with a hopeless jumble of confusing scriptures that seem to contradict one another.

- from Chapter 5 of Restoration by D. Thomas Lancaster
used with permission - Copyright (c) 2005 by D. Thomas Lancaster. All rights reserved. Publication rights First Fruits of Zion, Inc.
Publisher freely grants permission to reproduce short quotations in reviews, magazines, newspapers, website or other publications. To reproduce, transmit or photocopy more than 400 words, please secure permission in writing from the publisher, which will be granted upon request.

BD - We are not speaking that much differently, actually. I think you may be partially misunderstanding my main point. Here's a few quotes from J Hampton Keathley (DTS):

We need to recognize the progressive nature of God’s revelation. (no emphasis added.) God did not reveal Himself or His plan all at once. The promise of salvation is revealed in seed form in Genesis 3:15, but it is expanded and developed throughout the Old Testament until we come to its fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ and its full explanation in the New Testament. Once more let me quote Dr. Ryrie:

To be able to interpret plainly and consistently, it is imperative to recognize that revelation was given progressively. This means that in the process of revealing His message to man, God may add or even change in one era what He had given in another. Obviously the New Testament adds much that was not revealed in the Old. What God revealed as obligatory at one time may be rescinded at another (as the prohibition of eating pork, once binding on God’s people, now rescinded, 1 Tim. 4:3).

To fail to recognize this progressiveness in revelation will raise unresolvable contradictions between passages if taken literally. Notice the following pairs of passages which will contradict if understood plainly unless one recognizes changes due to the progress of revelation: Matthew 10:5-7 and 28:18-20, Luke 9:3 and 22:36, Genesis 17:10 and Galatians 5:2; Exodus 20:8 and Acts 20:7. Notice too the crucial changes indicated in John 1:17; 16:24; 2 Corinthians 3:7-11. Those who will not consistently apply this principle of progressive revelation in interpretation are forced to resort to figurative interpretation or sometimes simply to ignore the evidence.90

Since the whole area of biblical interpretation is such an important subject and so determinative on properly understanding the Word of God, a short bibliography is attached to encourage further study in this area.91
90 Ryrie, electronic media.

91 Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, Victor Books, 1991, Wheaton; Robert A. Traina, Methodical Bible Study, Bookroom, The Biblical Seminary, New York (this is a great classic), 1952; Howard G. Hendricks, William D. Hendricks, Living By The Book, Moody Press, Chicago, 1991; Irving L. Jensen, Independent Bible Study, Moody, Chicago, 1963; Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation, erd ed., Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1963; Oletta Wald, The Joy of Discovery in Bible Study, rev. ed., Augsburg, Minneapolis, 1975.

How about Drue Freeman:

There are certain theological perspectives that our method of Bible study must include in order for us to approach the text and interpret Scripture properly.

The first principle involves the Clarity of Scripture, which is clearly taught in 2 Pet 1:20-21 and 1Cor 14:33. The passage in 2 Peter says, "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." Scripture is clear because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit. We must remember that although Scripture is "clear" there still may be parts that are difficult to understand.

One of our basic guiding principles though is that "God said what He meant and meant what He said." We must seek to know His Word as He intended. We also know that, "God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Cor 14:33)," so where there is confusion it is on our part and not God's. Therefore, "problem passages" come from our lack of knowledge, our perspective or desire to "do His will (John 7:17). The use of the original languages under the ministry of the Holy Spirit will clarify many of these problems.

The second principle is that Revelation is Accommodated, which means that it was originally communicated in language to be understood by the initial recipients. (BD - Hence, the NT will naturally be more clear to us.) The Scripture often uses analogies to inescapable realities that fit the time frame in which it was written. The application of this principle requires some knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of the people to which the portion of the Word was addressed.

The third theological principle is that Revelation is Progressive. This refers to the fact that various precepts are initially presented in a summary form and then enlarged. A wonderful example is found in the "promised seed of the woman" found in Genesis 3:15. More information about the Messiah is found throughout the Old Testament, especially in the types and symbols that are used to give a vivid picture of the Messiah who was to come. The New Testament is documentation of the reality that Messiah has come. While this is the clearest example of Progressive Revelation, there are many concepts that are initially presented and then developed.
(BD - This was God's intentional approach, and to insist that the original scriptures in the OT are just as clear and revealing of truth as the later NT scriptures is a contradiction of the fact that God had a plan. The OT will certainly help us to understand the NT, but the NT is more clear, in general.)

The fourth principle is that Scripture interprets Scripture meaning that the obscure passage should give way to the clear. This principle realizes that essential truths are not hidden. We should look for detailed passages on a given subject and let them be the guide in the interpretation of the passages with less detail. An illustration of this principle is found in the comparison of Matthew 24:40 with Matthew 13:49.
(If certain NT passages were inspired by the Holy SPirit to clearly deal with a particular doctrine, it is proper to start there and let the clear explain the obscure.)
BD - Emphasis added for clarity.

Regarding the point above about the obscure giving way to the clear, in this instance Paul spent much time talking about justification by faith - being declared righteous before God. When people try to force Paul's teachings to fit into their misunderstanding of what James is teaching, all kinds of mistakes on interpretation are made. Start with the place where the HS made it clear - in this instance, Paul's writings in Romans and Galatians. Read James 2 in light of it. The issue with James 2 is that it is taken out of context, as I explained earlier. Context, context, context.

I like the ole Navigators' quote:

"The New is in the Old concealed
The Old is in the New Revealed"

BD

BadDog
Sep 13th 2005, 07:21 AM
"He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures." This sentence belies all the other supposition in regard to the passages quoted. It establishes incontrovertibly that the "message of truth" is for the purpose "of gaining eternal life".

BD - Well I certainly agree that the purpose of the gospel is for eternal life. James speaks about it here. But his overarching approach is that of the Christian life. He is not evangelizing here. You're taking it out of its clear context. I listed a host of James texts showing his focus on dealing with adversity and temptation, and you point out a single text about gaining eternal life. James 2:14-26 must be taken in the context of 2:1-7 where he deals with believers showing favoritism in the body, and vss. 8-13 where he continues on that theme and focuses on showing love to one another. His example in 2:14-26 is about a believer who was not showing love to another believer. The context of faith has nothing to do with eternal life salvation there.

James continues in chapter 3 to deal with the use of our tongue - which does not relate to gaining eternal life, and in chapter 4 deals with some of the disputes that were occuring in the body of Christ. James can be outlined around James 1:19, 20...

James 1:19, 20 My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man's anger does not accomplish God's righteousness.
1 - quick to hear (James 2)
2 - slow to speak (James 3)
3 - slow to anger (James 4)

James was not apeaking about gaining a righteousness before God based on faith plus works. He was speaking of accomplishing God's righteousness in the world in which we live.


First of all, some date this letter as being written before 50 C.E., but many date it later. If we agree that James the brother of Jesus is its author than it must have been written before 70 C.E., and most likely prior to 62 C.E. This however, dates it certainly after Paul's letter to the Romans in 56-58 C.E. It is likely succeeded only by the epistles of John (and Revelations), 1 & 2 Peter, Hebrews, and by the letters to Timothy and Titus. It seems unlikely that it was literally addressed to physical Jews since the 12 tribes ceased to exist after the invasion of the Northern Kingdom in 721 B.C.E.

Here's why I think it must be considered late. It seems to be addressing a situation which started to appear early, but likely received significant attention from James, only after the Jerusalem Council and seems to correspond with Paul's awareness of a growing Gentile arrogance toward Jews and things considered Jewish, like the Law itself--which Paul is all ready having to warn against in Romans 11, for example. So it seems that James must be considered at least as late as Romans and possibly later. James, Peter & particularly John must have indeed been greatly grieved to see the growing antagonism toward Jews and the Jewishness of Christianity on the part of Gentile believers in the late 1st Century.

Joe,

Well, don't want to go down that path now. I will say that a very strong majority of commentaries see James as one of the first NT scriptures... most the very first. The dispersion he was talking about is likely that described starting in Acts 8:1 - about 40AD or so. Here's the Bible Knowledge Commentary on it:

Flavius Josephus, first-century historian, records that James was martyred in a.d. 62, so the epistle must have been written prior to that date. Since no mention is made of the Jerusalem Council (a.d. 49) in which James took so active a role, it is likely that the letter was written between a.d. 45 and 48.
(BD - You can see that my 48AD date was conservative.)

James is probably the earliest of the writings of the New Testament and therefore can hardly be seen as a polemic against Paul’s letter to the Romans, which was written later. Romans, however, is not a refutation of James. It is apparent from Paul’s relationship with James (Acts 15:13; 21:18) and his recognition of James (Gal. 1:19; 2:9, 12) that Paul held James in high respect. Together Paul and James give the full dimension of faith. Paul wrote about inner saving faith from God’s perspective. James wrote about outward serving faith from man’s perspective.
Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.
BD - BTW, I like what they said in the part I emboldened above, and I agree with them. I just wanted to point out that my take on James 2 is actually a quite common view. (I didn't pull it out of a hat.)

BD

pnewton
Sep 13th 2005, 07:49 AM
Hi gang. This has got to be one of the best threads around. We even have Matt quoting in Latin. (which I do not speak, BTW) and we have an interesting dichotomy between faith and works.

I, like many of you here had similar problems thinking in terms of faith absent works being salvific. However it in not primarily James that gave me trouble, as much as it was the teaching of Jesus. Matt wuoted earlier the passage where Jesus drew the line between heaven and hell based on how we treat the least of our brethren. We could also go into His teaching on the beatitudes, good samaritan, etc., stories we all know. It seems clear that loving our neighbor in a tangible way is part and parcel of the kingdom of heaven.

With this in mind, let us consider how people are converted. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved", we read. In many tracts we even can find a convenient compilation of how to pray and express this belief. In my younger years we were taught to be so intent on getting to the point of this prayer so that one might be saved, I feel we left out something major. Thud we had people remembering the day they accepted Christ as savior, and then later on there would be another day they would accept him as Lord.

Somewhere along the way I snapped that I did not really like this approach. Jesus asked new disciples to take up a cross and follow Him. To draw a distinction between Savior and Lord is to water down the gospel and the call to the kingdom that is extended to all. If we are not willing to commit to the job when we put our hand to the plow, we are not worthy of the kingdom.

So what does this have works? James gave us a clue to what he meant by faith when he said that the devil believed in God. Saving faith is belief not just in the facts of God, Jesus and Calvary; but it is turning our life over to God by way of the cross and taking up that cross. We must let God's priorities be ours and our life, His. When we do this, we will show our faith by our works.

This can not happen except by the grace of God. There is no sense in which we can earn our salvation by being good enough, but for one with the mind of Christ, charity must be as much a part of our life as eating and drinking. And when it comes to drinking, Catholics know what they are talking about.

Anyway, this has just been my opinion and how I have reconciled the issue.

PS - In reference to Romans 4, I have always refered to the context, not just of chapter 3, but of 1-3 and beyond. It's a letter. Read it like a letter.

BadDog
Sep 13th 2005, 08:19 AM
BD:

[snipped]

So these questions I ask you, BD, or someone else who holds this view.

BD - Owen,

You and I have had our disagreements in the past, and I do not think it may be best for us to get into this very heavy. But this was a v. good post, and the questions you asked below deserve some response, so I'll do that, briefly. But then I'll just leave it at that.

A) Why would faith alone ever be sought as justification before men?

BD - Good question, but that was what James described in his illustration. If I were to modernize it (for effect), I would have:

A believer walks by another believer part of his local body who is clearly homeless and in need of warm clothing and something to eat. The conversation goes something like this:

Faith-bro: "Say, how ya doing?'

Homeless-bro: "Not so hot..."

Faith-Bro: "Hey, I'll pray for you. I've confident that God will work in your life! Gotta go."

Homeless-bro: "Uh, say, I appreciate that... I guess. I'm just so discouraged."

Faith-Bro: "Say, let me pray for you right now." (He holds hands with the homeless-bro and prays, "Father, you see the plight of our brother in Christ here. We ask you to provide for his needs. We bind Satan and claim the power of God here! In Jesus' most precious, matchless, exalted name, and may he be praised forever! Amen. ... Whew! Gotta say, that I feel really good about this, bro. Can't wait to see what God's gonna do here! Well, gotta-"

Homeless-bro: "Thanks, John." cough, cough. "I need all the prayer I can get."

Faith-Bro: "say that cough sounds bad... better get something for it, and soon. God bless."

I know, sounds ridiculous. But I do see James teaching on just this concern. Some of these Jewish believers were saying that since they had come to trust in Christ, that they were no longer under the law and could do whatever they wanted. Some were also caving in under the pressue of the dispersion. James wanted these dispersed Jews to continue to have a strong walk with God and testimony wherever they were located.

To refer to faith alone being sought as a J. before men means that these Christians were striving to avoid persecution and to avoid serving other believers.

B) What type of salvation does James refer to in verse 14?

BD - James 2:8, 9 - If you really carry out the royal law prescribed in Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. 9 But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. It was certainly not referring to eternal life salvation.

C) What does it have to do with justification before men?

BD - Sorry, gotta go. Still having lots of Inet issues. Vss. 15ff is what I gave the modernized version of above. He was not refrerringto being saved from eternal judgment. 2 brothers are in issue here. The one with needing of being "delivered" (SWZW) here is not the one having the faith.

I'll try to get to the rest of these later today...
[snipped]

BTW that is what is called as imparted righteousness NOT infused righteousness. A differentiation between theological thoughts should be made, though I don't see why we should be different types of righteousness in the Bible when I have never seen any adjective given in the NT (or OT for that matter) that qualified righteousness in one place as something that is imputed and in another place as something that is part of their nature. Adding a lot of thoughts to the Scripture that aren't spoken off explicitly (leaving a lot of room for our own thoughts to be added and thus misinterpret the Bible).

The meaning of that OT quotation from Genesis 15:6 is also important to the exegesis of James 2 and the understanding of faith and works. So it definately deserves some discussion.
Did I use the term "infused righteousness?" ' don't think so - probably referring to some otehgr posts here that I haven't read. Sorry - been off-line with my move for a few days.

"Infused righteousness" is RCC terminology. In general it is a distinction between saying that we are justified (which they define a bit differently as well) by faith alone to say that our initial justification is by faith alone. But we must continue to walk in good works IOT ultimately be justified before God. IOWE, His death in our place got us started, and we could not have been saved without it. So it's essential... but not sufficient. In general, most protestants say that faith is sufficient, though when you begin to talk about the topic of this threadf, it becomes cvlear that we have to talk in generalities.

I'm probably not doing a very good job of describing the differences between Protestant and Catholic justification.

BD

Owen
Sep 13th 2005, 03:00 PM
Did I use the term "infused righteousness?" ' don't think so - probably referring to some otehgr posts here that I haven't read. Sorry - been off-line with my move for a few days.

No BD. But in the past you have intimated to me that I teach justification by works (and then say you know I don't teach it) and if I mentioned anything other than imputation I thought the issue of infused righteousness would come up. Taking on the issue before it comes up.

But it wasn't just for you that I wrote that, but also for those who believe the Catholic form of justification.


"Infused righteousness" is RCC terminology. In general it is a distinction between saying that we are justified (which they define a bit differently as well) by faith alone to say that our initial justification is by faith alone. But we must continue to walk in good works IOT ultimately be justified before God.

Thats not exactly correct. Catholic infused righteousness is that righteousness is placed into the man (similar to imparted) but that is must be given to the man through sacraments, such as baptism.

Whereas what I say is that we have an imparted righteousness at our birth, which makes capable our faith. Thus our FAITH is credited as righteous (Romans 4:5). The imparted righteousness is of God's grace, the gift of righteousness.


IOWE, His death in our place got us started, and we could not have been saved without it. So it's essential... but not sufficient.

Well. His death wasn't enough for us to be saved before faith. Right then and there it shows His death isn't sufficient for salvation (as you mean it), unless one comes to a reformed view.

You just simply say Christ's death is sufficient AFTER man's response by faith. You restrict the timeline there though. However, if one looks at it before, during, and after conversion you could not say that Christ's death is sufficient.

But in reply to the way you are using sufficient, I'll say Christ's death isn't sufficient.

Christ's death is what merits us our forgiveness and our rebirth. It is by His death and resurrection that we recieve grace and mercy.

However, there is the neccesity of man's response to save them. Not the response of works to save themselves, but a response of seeking God's grace and mercy, before and also after salvation (Hebrews 4:16). The power of God's work causes our hearts to be purified and thus the inhibition's against doing good are gone. Our hearts are changed where works result. But sin hardens and if we do not seek God's grace to "soften" us we can fall.

If sufficient to you means that there is nothing required of man after his initial response by faith, then I would say Christ's death isn't sufficient. Christ's death is sufficient in that it is through His work alone that we merit any grace and mercy to save us.

Man's response to God for grace and mercy in repentance (or whatever you wish to call it) isn't merit. We have come to misunderstand the meaning of merit. Merit is where it must be given becasue it was earned. But to say that I must repent to God and then God helps save me isn't merit, because I didn't earn salvation but God gave it out of grace (or favor). Just because we recieve something as a result of something doesn't mean it is meritted. If a gather gives his son a car, but he would not have given it if the son had left, doesn't mean the son merited or earning the car, but it was given because of his dad's favor.


In general, most protestants say that faith is sufficient, though when you begin to talk about the topic of this threadf, it becomes cvlear that we have to talk in generalities.

I'm probably not doing a very good job of describing the differences between Protestant and Catholic justification.

BD

You never were talking about it. I posted about it to nip the topic in the bud before it came up because I figured inevitably the topic would come up.

BadDog
Sep 13th 2005, 08:21 PM
No BD. But in the past you have intimated to me that I teach justification by works (and then say you know I don't teach it) and if I mentioned anything other than imputation I thought the issue of infused righteousness would come up. Taking on the issue before it comes up.


Owen,

Well, you know my brand of "faith-alone." IMO some protestants who say that they believe in faith-alone have redefined faith to include works. Some reformed have even done that, though I know they would be appaled at the claim. I know you do not hold to infused righteousness. RCC's refer also to an initial justification, which is by faith alone. (Assuming that certain sacraments have been followed, like baptism, as you said). Essentially what that does is make Christ's death essential but not sufficient for ultimate justification.


"Infused righteousness" is RCC terminology. In general it is a distinction between saying that we are justified (which they define a bit differently as well) by faith alone to say that our initial justification is by faith alone. But we must continue to walk in good works IOT ultimately be justified before God. IOWE, His death in our place got us started, and we could not have been saved without it. So it's essential... but not sufficient. In general, most protestants say that faith is sufficient, though when you begin to talk about the topic of this threadf, it becomes clear that we have to talk in generalities.

Actually, what I said/meant was not regarding Christ's death being sufficient, but regarding our faith in His death being sufficient.

Thx,

BD

Owen
Sep 13th 2005, 09:43 PM
Owen,

Well, you know my brand of "faith-alone." IMO some protestants who say that they believe in faith-alone have redefined faith to include works.

Well. Didn't Paul say he was to bring about the obedience of faith in Romans? Did he go through an exposition in Hebrews 11 about those who had faith acted faithfully? And James himself says faith is complete when it is accompanied with works.

Plus just because a person beleives the Christian will unquestionably have works doesn't mean they believe they are justified on the grounds of works.

Plus you said it yourself, James is a very practical minded epistle. Wouldn't it be practical to say (if true) that works justifies because it is never seperate from true, perfected faith, thus he says men are justified by works?


Some reformed have even done that, though I know they would be appaled at the claim.

Unless you are speaking in the infused manner and not of an imparted righteousness, reformed people have historically said that a saved man will have works. It is only in recent time where works became optional in salvation.


I know you do not hold to infused righteousness. RCC's refer also to an initial justification, which is by faith alone. (Assuming that certain sacraments have been followed, like baptism, as you said).




Essentially what that does is make Christ's death essential but not sufficient for ultimate justification.


Actually, what I said/meant was not regarding Christ's death being sufficient, but regarding our faith in His death being sufficient.

But again, unless you mean the faith aspect of it as you said in the second quote, you again can not say you make Christ's death sufficient for justification because you believe for a man to be justified they must bring themselves to faith. Again though, that depends if you meant the faith aspect or not. If that is waht you meant, please ignore this.


But anyways what if faith in Christ does not exist in a person who does not also have works? That is what many claim. Its not that they are saved by works. Many men can have works but do not have faith or be saved (like my serial killer example) so works can not bring a man into a state of salvation. But what if the faithful person is also guaranteed to be the one who follows with obedience and works. How is that contradictory to what Paul wrote about justification and salvation?

BTW I posted a thread about continuous justification in the Bible Chat section yesterday. If you have time, I would be interested in your thoughts.

Catholic4aReason
Sep 14th 2005, 12:26 AM
RCC's refer also to an initial justification, which is by faith alone. (Assuming that certain sacraments have been followed, like baptism, as you said).

Can you explain this further? I'm not sure what you mean. Thanks!

In Christ,
Nancy :)

BadDog
Sep 16th 2005, 12:08 PM
Well. Didn't Paul say he was to bring about the obedience of faith in Romans? Did he go through an exposition in Hebrews 11 about those who had faith acted faithfully? And James himself says faith is complete when it is accompanied with works.

Plus just because a person beleives the Christian will unquestionably have works doesn't mean they believe they are justified on the grounds of works.

Plus you said it yourself, James is a very practical minded epistle. Wouldn't it be practical to say (if true) that works justifies because it is never seperate from true, perfected faith, thus he says men are justified by works?
Hebrews 11:1-9 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For by it our ancestors were approved. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.

4-9 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By this he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through this. By faith, Enoch was taken away so that he did not experience death, and he was not to be found because God took him away. For prior to his transformation he was approved, having pleased God. Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. By faith Noah, after being warned about what was not yet seen, in reverence built an ark to deliver his family. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs of the same promise.

Throughout Hebrews 11 we read of these men and women of God who accomplished things, or suffered, by faith. The focus is not on what they did, but on their trusting God. Were these faithful people? Yes. But that does not mean that they were delivered because they were faithful but because they had faith. That's the point. We too as Christians should be faithful. But our promise of eternal life is not based on our faithfulness, but on our faith as well.

The issue I have is with saying that works justifies "because it is never separate from true, perfected faith, thus he says men are justified by works?"

Last night at our family devotions, I read Ephesians 2:8-10 and asked our 3 teens what those verses said about works. I left it very open-ended. They commented, of course, that we are saved not by works but through faith.

Then I asked them what they thought about the comment often made that genuine faith always results in good works. I tried not to lead them in the way I asked it. My two sons agreed and said that was what those verses were saying. One adding that God had a plan in saving us of our doing good works. I was proud of how they handled that text. Then my daughter added that if we say that true faith always results in good works that we were essentially saying that works are required for salvation - that faith is not enough.

Boy was I pleased. And that is my issue I have with the statement you made. It essentially says that if you have real faith you will do good works. My daughter also said that you could say that the desire/intention to do good works will always be there, but we can't say that the works will always be there. She should be here posting.

The reason I like what she said is because I sincerely believe 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that if anyone has been born again (by faith) that they are a new creature - they are changed. So there will always be some change in the person's heart - a desire as a result of the new birth. But if we insist on it always resulting in good works, then we are redefining faith to include good works. That's why thought it seems innocuous enough, and would in general bring harmony between myself and many others with whom I differ slightly here, I won't say that.


Unless you are speaking in the infused manner and not of an imparted righteousness, reformed people have historically said that a saved man will have works. It is only in recent time where works became optional in salvation.
I'm not reformed. We are new creatures as a result of the work of the Spirit through our faith. But to be justified means to be "declared righteous." It does not mean to be "made righteous." God, in the court of heaven, declares us not guilty since His Son paid the penalty for our sin. Well, He doesn't really declare us "not guilty" - I use that phrase because it's our closest modern equivalent. He states that the penalty has been paid - nailed to the cross. Hence, we are declared to be righteous by God.


Actually, what I said/meant was not regarding Christ's death being sufficient, but regarding our faith in His death being sufficient.


But again, unless you mean the faith aspect of it as you said in the second quote, you again can not say you make Christ's death sufficient for justification because you believe for a man to be justified they must bring themselves to faith. Again though, that depends if you meant the faith aspect or not. If that is waht you meant, please ignore this.
My point is simply that I said nothing about whether or not Christ's death was viewed by the RCC as sufficient, but whether or not our faith in His death was viewed as sufficient to justify - and it is not viewed that way by the RCC.


But anyways what if faith in Christ does not exist in a person who does not also have works? That is what many claim. Its not that they are saved by works. Many men can have works but do not have faith or be saved (like my serial killer example) so works can not bring a man into a state of salvation. But what if the faithful person is also guaranteed to be the one who follows with obedience and works. How is that contradictory to what Paul wrote about justification and salvation?

BTW I posted a thread about continuous justification in the Bible Chat section yesterday. If you have time, I would be interested in your thoughts.
Owen,

I realize that is what many say about "real faith." But I will stick with what my daughter said above. Yes, real faith always results in a changed life. No, it cannot be quantified in terms of works in any way. God knows our heart. We, as people, only see people's actions. From such actions we may deduce that the person has been changed. But that does not mean that their being changed is based on their works, but on the grace of God through their faith.

I need to add that IMO after studying James carefully I have concluded that he is not talking about eternal life salvation, but deliverance in our daily lives as Christians. The example used in James 2:15, 16 is of 2 saved believers. One needs to be saved from exposure and hunger. It is the faith of the other believer that could "save" him.

You mentioned earlier regarding James 2:12, 13 and the context that this indicated one of eternal salvation:

James 2:12, 13 Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom. For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn't shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

John 5:24 says that those who have trusted in Christ will not ever come into judgment but have already passed over from death into eternal life. The judgment here is the BEMA seat of Christ. The purpose is not to determine who will burn, but who will be rewarded for their good works. It refers to the "law of freedom." James 1 clarifies that:

James 1:22-25 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts--this person will be blessed in what he does.

We as believers by looking into God's Word and following it, we will be blessed by our doing it - applying it to our lives. Notice that 1:26 refers to "pure religion." Do we gain eternal life by being religious? I don't think so. That is not the context here in James. We are freed from the law of works - from the requirement of needing todo good works. So I refuse to bring works in the back door.

Hope that clarifies.

Don't think that I'll have time to day (or internet access) to look at that thread.

Thx,

BD

BadDog
Sep 16th 2005, 12:11 PM
RCC's refer also to an initial justification, which is by faith alone. (Assuming that certain sacraments have been followed, like baptism, as you said).


Can you explain this further? I'm not sure what you mean. Thanks!

In Christ,
Nancy :)
Nancy,

Simply that catholicism does teach that our initial sonship is based on faith alone. (I believe that baptism is required as part of that expression of faith. I mentioned this merely because most protestants, though they see baptism as commanded, do not see it as a requirement for salvation.)

BD

Loriallison
Oct 3rd 2005, 04:05 AM
I think it is our intentions that go along with our works is what matters. We are not saved by works, we are saved by grace. If we are doing works to secure our salvation then we are saying that what Jesus did on the Cross was not enouph, but if we do works because we love Jesus, and we want to show him how much we love him, then that is something entirely different. I think if you truly love Jesus with all of your heart it will show by your actions, but if you say you love Jesus, but your life does not show it, than I think you need to ask yourself why you are living a certain way, and if it is glorifying God. I have not read all the posts, so I don't know if I'm being totally redundant here.
Lori

literaryjoe
Oct 3rd 2005, 06:09 AM
BadDog,

I'm not sure how, but I totally missed your responses to my posts until tonight. You and I probably have a lot more to talk about, but the thread has moved on, and our discussion isn't central to it's progress, so I'm going to just let it be for now.

I look forward to discussing priority of interpretation and interpretive method with you more at some future juncture.

With respect,

BadDog
Oct 3rd 2005, 11:25 AM
BadDog,

I'm not sure how, but I totally missed your responses to my posts until tonight. You and I probably have a lot more to talk about, but the thread has moved on, and our discussion isn't central to it's progress, so I'm going to just let it be for now.

I look forward to discussing priority of interpretation and interpretive method with you more at some future juncture.

With respect,No problem. We can't do it all.

Take care,

BD

Catholic4aReason
Oct 4th 2005, 02:11 AM
I think it is our intentions that go along with our works is what matters. We are not saved by works, we are saved by grace. If we are doing works to secure our salvation then we are saying that what Jesus did on the Cross was not enouph, but if we do works because we love Jesus, and we want to show him how much we love him, then that is something entirely different. I think if you truly love Jesus with all of your heart it will show by your actions, but if you say you love Jesus, but your life does not show it, than I think you need to ask yourself why you are living a certain way, and if it is glorifying God. I have not read all the posts, so I don't know if I'm being totally redundant here.
Lori

I agree with you 100% Sister! We must do what we do out of love for God. God says in His word:


Gal. 5:6 what matters is faith working through love.


1 Cor. 13:2 if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.


1 Cor. 13:13 Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.




Simply put, it's not what we do but the love with which we do it.

In Christ,
Nancy :)

BadDog
Jan 11th 2009, 03:32 AM
I just can't believe in faith without works anymore. We are justified by works and not faith alone (James 2:24). That's why Abraham was justified by works (James 2:21). Please explain your position on this issue. I know we are on a protestant board, so I don't expect anybody on my side, so be gentle. :hug:

Your brother in Christ,
Matt

PS Please don't type out a huge sermon, keep it simple. :lol:
Well, James 2:24 is properly translated something like "We are justified by works and not justified only by faith." The Greek word translated "alone" or "only" is MONON - an adverb - and it cannot be modifying a noun, such as PISTIS ("faith"). IOW, James is not talking about being saved by some summation of works and faith. He's talking about two kinds of justification: being declared to be righteous before God by faith and being declared to be righteous before men based on works.

Paul makes it clear that we are justified before God by faith, and not based on works. James does not contradict Paul, because they are not talking about the same thing.

And if our salvation is based on faith PLUS works, then it is not a gift.

BD

quiet dove
Jan 11th 2009, 03:54 AM
This is an old thread so locking it up, a new one can be started if anyone wants to.
:)