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Thread: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works?

  1. #1
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    Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works?

    Ok,so I am trying to understand the concept of faith and works.Here is my humble understanding: Faith with works is when,after accepting Christ you become a new person,and want to help others-example,someone needs a ride to work,a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to,or even needing prayer.Helping others makes you feel wonderful inside.My opinion of faith without works is when someone says they are a cHristian,but only help for show,or out of duty,or maybe even don't help at all.Am I right in my thoughts?I am really wanting to grow,and this is one of those scriptures I have a hard time understanding.One part of the bible says we are saved by faith and not works,then another says faith without works is dead?Help.GOD bless
    Praising GOD for his mercy and grace!!

  2. #2

    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    I think you have a good idea. Basically it comes down to this. We are saved by grace through faith. PERIOD.

    Now having said that, once the Holy Spirit comes into your life, there will be a change. Those changes that He does inside of us, will start reflecting on the outside. Those are the works that James is talking about. As you said, a person can say they are a Christian, but is there enough evidence to show that it's authentic?

    Hope that helps.

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    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    Quote Originally Posted by -SEEKING- View Post
    I think you have a good idea. Basically it comes down to this. We are saved by grace through faith. PERIOD.

    Now having said that, once the Holy Spirit comes into your life, there will be a change. Those changes that He does inside of us, will start reflecting on the outside. Those are the works that James is talking about. As you said, a person can say they are a Christian, but is there enough evidence to show that it's authentic?

    Hope that helps.
    Thanks,I appreciate it!
    Praising GOD for his mercy and grace!!

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    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady e View Post
    Thanks,I appreciate it!
    We must have faith and the faith must be active. That means it must show somehow. But the works that validate our faith are definetively not the works of the law (by that I mean, the works that validate your faith have nothing to do with demonstrating that you are good enough). For example, by faith Abraham went to kill his son, by faith Rahab the prostitute became a traitor to her own people and lied to them and in doing sso, saved everyone in her house, by faith the Gebeonites got saved by lying to Joshua (see Joshua chapter 9). Those are not examples of people that kept the law when they demonstrated their faith. For by the works of the law no one will be justified. Gal 2:16, Gal 2:21 Gal 5:4.

    The self righteous are the ones that think that the works of the law are the ones that validate our faith, for they measure everyone relative to how good they are and God can't stand being around that kind of People. See John 9:47. Luke 18:9-14 and Isa 65:5.

    Shalom

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    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    Works of law = condemnation

    Works of faith = justification
    "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

    -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

  6. #6

    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    Works do not save us, our faith in Christ Jesus does (Jesus as Christ – who laid down his life so we may be forgiven of our sins through his death and by the shedding of his blood, which justifies us and paid the price for our sins).

    Once we are saved, our faith should produce good works. Good works being things that we do as a result of our faith, which can include works of charity, kindness and service. We will be rewarded for these works (but our salvation does not depend on them.)


    If we say we have faith, but do no good works, then we might want to ask why that is?

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    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady e View Post
    .One part of the bible says we are saved by faith and not works,then another says faith without works is dead?Help.GOD bless
    I often think of Paul ( justified by faith without works) as referring to our merit before God...there is none, it is by the merit of Christ alone. James is referring not to our merit but to the fruit (his word for good works) of our faith. These 'works' or this 'fruit' is not done for merit but is the outcome of true faith as Seeking pointed out in post #2. There is that living element of God working in us so that we may work out and manifest true fruit of His seen by others.
    ♪ Each day may Christ become clearer, His Cross dearer, Our Hope nearer. ♫

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    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    Lady e -

    When you love someone, truly love them - what do you do? Do you sit around and smile all day and say, "Gee, I sure do love you!" or do you get up and DO things you think will make THEM smile because you want to SEE them smile. You want to demonstrate your love and gratitude, not because you MUST but because you could not live without doing something. You would explode if you were made to be silent and still.

    Does that make any sense at all?
    V

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    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    Thanks everyone.It seems like most of you feel the same as I do-That faith with works is doing things to help others.I am glad to be able to talk about this as it has been mis-used by some as a means to make people feel guilty.GOD bless you all.
    Praising GOD for his mercy and grace!!

  10. #10

    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady e View Post
    Ok,so I am trying to understand the concept of faith and works.Here is my humble understanding: Faith with works is when,after accepting Christ you become a new person,and want to help others-example,someone needs a ride to work,a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to,or even needing prayer.Helping others makes you feel wonderful inside.My opinion of faith without works is when someone says they are a cHristian,but only help for show,or out of duty,or maybe even don't help at all.Am I right in my thoughts?I am really wanting to grow,and this is one of those scriptures I have a hard time understanding.One part of the bible says we are saved by faith and not works,then another says faith without works is dead?Help.GOD bless
    Hi Lady e
    What I am offering is my understanding of this. Don't take it as Gospel truth, but think through it by yourself, search the Scriptures and see if it makes sense to you.

    First, Paul says we are justified by faith. Justified means God acquits us of our sins, and does not cause us to bear the penalty of our sins. We cannot be acquitted from our sins and made righteous by performing works, and works are simply obedience to God's commandments.

    To understand this, imagine a private citizen in a country. He obeys the laws of the land perfectly all his life, but he only breaks one law once. He murders someone. His one breaking of the law immediately makes him a criminal, and the wages of his criminal act, is death. No matter how much he obeys the laws of the land even if he lived till 100 years, he will not make up for his crime.

    It is the same way for us spiritually. When we break one of God's laws, we immediately become a sinner and the wages of sin is death. No matter how much we obey God's commandments, it will not make up for our sins.

    Therefore, only faith in Jesus Christ will justify us and acquit us of our sins. He paid for our sins by his perfect life, and God forgives us on his account, if we believe in Him.

    Why then does James say that we are justified not only by faith but by works? I will present my understanding, and you see if it makes sense for you as you read your Bible. I submit that when we read the word "works" we immediately think of good works, of obedience to commands. However I think this is not the kind of works James is talking about here.

    James is talking about works which demonstrate and show that we truly believed in God, and in what God had said. James uses the examples of Abraham and Rahab. God had promised Abraham that he will make a great nation out of Isaac his son. Yet later God told Abraham to offer up Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham had waited 25 years for this child. If he did not really believe God's promises, he would not have obeyed. Yet he obeyed, because Hebrews told us that Abraham believed that even if he had killed Isaac, God would raise him up again. So he was justified by God because of this act - which demonstrated that he really believed, that his faith was genuine.

    Rahab was the same. Her act had nothing to do with obedience to commandments. She did not know God's law, and she had no relationship or familiarity with the Jewish religion. What she did - she saved the spies in order to strike a bargain with them for her life - showed that she really believed that YHWH was the true God, and that all that God had said will come to pass. She really believed, and her works showed she believed, because she risked her own life to save them in order to make a bargain with them for her life, and her family's life.

    So both Paul and James are saying the same thing. Paul says we are justified by faith. James says not any kind of faith will do, but faith that really shows itself in our actions (works). When our faith is tested, what we do (our works) will show if we really believe God. And what we do in faith will justify us in God's sight. At the end of the day, it is still faith that prompts the actions, and it is still faith which justifies us, but true faith shows itself in action and decision, and only this kind of faith will save us. (the kind where you just say you believe, but when that faith is tested and your actions show you don't really believe, that will not save us).

    The Bible gives us a long list of such works done by faith, and they are listed in Hebrews 11:7 onwards. These people acted, was prompted to action, because in their hearts they really believed everything that God had said. They had genuine faith, the kind that saves.

    How does obedience factor into all this? Frankly I'm not sure. I'm still trying to work out that part.
    Tit 3:2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

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    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    Quote Originally Posted by ThyWordIsTruth View Post
    Hi Lady e
    What I am offering is my understanding of this. Don't take it as Gospel truth, but think through it by yourself, search the Scriptures and see if it makes sense to you.

    First, Paul says we are justified by faith. Justified means God acquits us of our sins, and does not cause us to bear the penalty of our sins. We cannot be acquitted from our sins and made righteous by performing works, and works are simply obedience to God's commandments.

    To understand this, imagine a private citizen in a country. He obeys the laws of the land perfectly all his life, but he only breaks one law once. He murders someone. His one breaking of the law immediately makes him a criminal, and the wages of his criminal act, is death. No matter how much he obeys the laws of the land even if he lived till 100 years, he will not make up for his crime.

    It is the same way for us spiritually. When we break one of God's laws, we immediately become a sinner and the wages of sin is death. No matter how much we obey God's commandments, it will not make up for our sins.

    Therefore, only faith in Jesus Christ will justify us and acquit us of our sins. He paid for our sins by his perfect life, and God forgives us on his account, if we believe in Him.

    Why then does James say that we are justified not only by faith but by works? I will present my understanding, and you see if it makes sense for you as you read your Bible. I submit that when we read the word "works" we immediately think of good works, of obedience to commands. However I think this is not the kind of works James is talking about here.

    James is talking about works which demonstrate and show that we truly believed in God, and in what God had said. James uses the examples of Abraham and Rahab. God had promised Abraham that he will make a great nation out of Isaac his son. Yet later God told Abraham to offer up Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham had waited 25 years for this child. If he did not really believe God's promises, he would not have obeyed. Yet he obeyed, because Hebrews told us that Abraham believed that even if he had killed Isaac, God would raise him up again. So he was justified by God because of this act - which demonstrated that he really believed, that his faith was genuine.

    Rahab was the same. Her act had nothing to do with obedience to commandments. She did not know God's law, and she had no relationship or familiarity with the Jewish religion. What she did - she saved the spies in order to strike a bargain with them for her life - showed that she really believed that YHWH was the true God, and that all that God had said will come to pass. She really believed, and her works showed she believed, because she risked her own life to save them in order to make a bargain with them for her life, and her family's life.

    So both Paul and James are saying the same thing. Paul says we are justified by faith. James says not any kind of faith will do, but faith that really shows itself in our actions (works). When our faith is tested, what we do (our works) will show if we really believe God. And what we do in faith will justify us in God's sight. At the end of the day, it is still faith that prompts the actions, and it is still faith which justifies us, but true faith shows itself in action and decision, and only this kind of faith will save us. (the kind where you just say you believe, but when that faith is tested and your actions show you don't really believe, that will not save us).

    The Bible gives us a long list of such works done by faith, and they are listed in Hebrews 11:7 onwards. These people acted, was prompted to action, because in their hearts they really believed everything that God had said. They had genuine faith, the kind that saves.

    How does obedience factor into all this? Frankly I'm not sure. I'm still trying to work out that part.
    Wow! That makes so much sense! I had never thought of their works like that!.I am going to think about that and pray for understanding-I really think you may be onto something-thank you for sharing! GOD bless
    Praising GOD for his mercy and grace!!

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    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    What we believe usually dictates what we do. Faith is in its essence belief. The faith by which we receive Gods grace comes through the hearing of Gods word. We believe what we hear from God and God saves us. The life we live after we are saved is through Gods abiding presence in our heart. The Holy Spirit works from within us and in the word of God to have us minister in the name of our Saviour Christ.

    Faith is believeing, trusting, or placing an irrevokable confidence in the word of God and in Christ. Believeing, trusting, and having confidence that God will save and keep those who receive Christ as Saviour.

    For the cause of Christ
    Roger

  13. #13

    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    One school of thought is that because we are saved we do good works and if we don't do good works then it is because we were never saved in the first place.
    Another school of thought is that we are saved by faith for the purpose of doing good works and if we fail to produce fruit of good works then our faith dies and we fall from grace.

    This is all very theoretical, but for practical reasons all Christians do good works. One group do good works to prove to themselves and others that they have a living faith, the other group do good works to remain in the grace and favour of God. It all becomes a giant straw splitting exercise. Point being that they all work. In the end the statement "Salvation by faith alone" just becomes a kind of slogan that protesters put on billboards to wave angrily at other Christians. Nobody actually lives by that mantra, all they do is use it as a divisive tool to keep brothers separated. That's not good enough.

    People will say "We are saved by Grace through Faith PERIOD" but in fact there is no PERIOD really because their very next words are "Having said that . . .we have to do good works like James says."

    Does anybody really believe that they can believe through faith and be saved by Grace while they do NOTHING, make no changes to their lives, no effort to learn the scriptures, no effort to pray, no effort to do good deeds, no effort to seek God, never go to church, never get baptised, never serve anybody; just sit back like a sluggard and watch TV and wait for the salvation to come? Come on, nobody really believes that. I have heard so many sermons with the mantra "Salvation by faith alone" but they always loudly make the proviso that "this does not mean that we sit back and do nothing". They have to say that because if everybody did no work then the church would not function, nobody would get their cup of tea after the service for a start; and if that's not bad enough, who would preach the gospel, and who would play the hymns, who would sing in the choir, who would publish christian outreach tracts, who would give to the poor? etc. etc.

    The parable of the talents should prove that works are required for salvation. The man who did no work and did not exercise his talents and who failed to produce an increase was thrown into outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Point being, that if anybody tells you that you can be saved without good works then they are JUST PLAIN WRONG.

  14. #14

    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    Quote Originally Posted by excubitor View Post
    People will say "We are saved by Grace through Faith PERIOD"
    Absolutely. I say it all the time. It's what Paul says. The works are just an outward expression if what's going on inside. And that's what James says. It can be any more simple.

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    Re: Can someone help me understand the concept of faith w/works and Faith w/out works

    Quote Originally Posted by excubitor View Post
    One school of thought is that because we are saved we do good works and if we don't do good works then it is because we were never saved in the first place.
    Another school of thought is that we are saved by faith for the purpose of doing good works and if we fail to produce fruit of good works then our faith dies and we fall from grace.

    This is all very theoretical, but for practical reasons all Christians do good works. One group do good works to prove to themselves and others that they have a living faith, the other group do good works to remain in the grace and favour of God. It all becomes a giant straw splitting exercise. Point being that they all work. In the end the statement "Salvation by faith alone" just becomes a kind of slogan that protesters put on billboards to wave angrily at other Christians. Nobody actually lives by that mantra, all they do is use it as a divisive tool to keep brothers separated. That's not good enough.

    People will say "We are saved by Grace through Faith PERIOD" but in fact there is no PERIOD really because their very next words are "Having said that . . .we have to do good works like James says."

    Does anybody really believe that they can believe through faith and be saved by Grace while they do NOTHING, make no changes to their lives, no effort to learn the scriptures, no effort to pray, no effort to do good deeds, no effort to seek God, never go to church, never get baptised, never serve anybody; just sit back like a sluggard and watch TV and wait for the salvation to come? Come on, nobody really believes that. I have heard so many sermons with the mantra "Salvation by faith alone" but they always loudly make the proviso that "this does not mean that we sit back and do nothing". They have to say that because if everybody did no work then the church would not function, nobody would get their cup of tea after the service for a start; and if that's not bad enough, who would preach the gospel, and who would play the hymns, who would sing in the choir, who would publish christian outreach tracts, who would give to the poor? etc. etc.

    The parable of the talents should prove that works are required for salvation. The man who did no work and did not exercise his talents and who failed to produce an increase was thrown into outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Point being, that if anybody tells you that you can be saved without good works then they are JUST PLAIN WRONG.
    This is 100% true in my view. So many today want to separate salvation from works at such a level that I believe it clouds the truth. They try so hard to separate salvation from works, and in the process they totally miss what the scriptures say in that regard. Truth is, it is works of law that cannot save. It is works of law that cannot justify. If you are performing works of law what this implies is that you are doing so simply because you are required to; not because you truly have a desire in your heart to do so. This is what God meant when He said of the Israelites, "They serve me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me." Works of the law take the heart right out of the equation. It's all about performing and putting on a facade of holiness or right-standing with God. It's about having a proud heart that says my good deeds can earn God's love. It's saying that God will look upon me with favor because I am so great.

    The truth is, faith and works go hand-in-hand. They are inseparable. This is why James clearly says that Abraham was justified by his works. So, how can Paul say in Romans 4 that Abraham was NOT justified by works and then James follows that up with the statement that Abraham WAS justified by works?

    The true and scriptural harmony here is this:

    Works of law = condemnation
    Works of faith = justification
    "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

    -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

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