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thethinker
Apr 4th 2008, 03:54 PM
"The interpreter of the Holy Scriptures must never forget that the Bible in its entirety, as now possessed by the Church, was no sudden gift from heaven, but the slow and gradual accretion of many centuries...

The different writings of the New Testament all appeared within a period of about a half a century but they also furnish the means of tracing the development of the LIFE AND THOUGHT in the early apostolic Church...

Our present canonical Scriptures, therefore, are to be recognized as the records of a PROGRESSIVE DIVINE REVELATION" (Biblical Hermeneutics: A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments by Milton S. Terry, Academic Books, p. 566)

Now any man who has studied at a Bible college or Seminary was taught this "progressive revelation" principle. But unfortunately they reveal from their preaching that they have forgotten this principle. But Terry said that they should never forget.

I remember when I first heard of this "progressive revelation" hermeneutic. I was a student at the Moody Bible Institute. I remember brain storming saying, "Aha! This explains quite a lot!" After I graduated from Moody I took courses that were in logic or related to logic and found that logicians say a similar thing.

Logicians say,

"Two contrary propositions cannot be true in the same time", and

"Time resolves some discrepancies".

Let's take the book of James as an example. I am Reformed as most of you have figured out by now. I am committed to the Reformed principle that salvation is by "faith alone". But James seems to contradict this. He said,

"You see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith only" (NKJV).

My Reformed brethren have taken two different approaches to James' epistle,

1) James was not talking about faith + works but rather a faith 'that' works, or
2) The epistle of James is non-canonical (Some Reformed today deny the canonicity of James). :(

But how about the "progressive revelation" option? The epistle of James was pre-Paul. By the term "pre-Paul" I do NOT mean to say that they were not contemporaries. I mean that James wrote while the old covenant order was still in effect. This is very clear for he admonished his audience to "fulfill the royal law" (2:8).

But Paul came later and said that Christ fulfilled the law in our behalf. Paul claimed that he was receiving [progressively] new covenant truth and principles,

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is [B]revealed (Romans 3:21).

Therefore, Paul did not contradict James for James taught what was true at the time but not for all time.

So both James' proposals and Paul's were true, but not at the same time. Both history and logic confirm this.

The timeless truth now is FAITH ALONE! This my friends is God's new covenant salvation. Faith Alone IS the Gospel!

valleybldr
Apr 4th 2008, 03:58 PM
If it does not fit your theology...by all means, kick it out!:o todd

FaithfulSheep
Apr 4th 2008, 04:11 PM
Let's look at James 2:14-18 so we aren't taking one verse out of context too.

14What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."




When I read this passage, I see that James does not mean that we must do good works to become saved, but instead that IF we are saved, we should not FORGO doing good works. The key verse to look at is verse 17. If faith has no works, it is dead. If you are a Christian and you do not do good things for the Lord, you need to examine yourself. James is saying that faith without works is worthless. Not that the works save us, but that if we are saved, we must do good things and not sit idling speaking good words but doing nothing.

ProjectPeter
Apr 4th 2008, 05:06 PM
Progressive Revelation huh? That's exactly why Islam is a dangerous religion.

Here is the problem with trying to pit James and Paul's writing against each other. It don't work because neither of them taught any different. Paul's message was repent and turn to God and do deeds worthy of repentance. James example of dead faith and live faith taught that very same thing. There is no "progressive" revelation in the Scripture... that progressive revelation thought is exactly why we have a whole lot of weirdness out there today. If the Bible was for then and less for now... toss it in the trash because why are we bothering. But Scripture... it is living... active... just as true today as it was yesterday. Follow the Scripture... follow God.

thethinker
Apr 5th 2008, 02:31 PM
Let's look at James 2:14-18 so we aren't taking one verse out of context too.

When I read this passage, I see that James does not mean that we must do good works to become saved, but instead that IF we are saved, we should not FORGO doing good works. The key verse to look at is verse 17. If faith has no works, it is dead. If you are a Christian and you do not do good things for the Lord, you need to examine yourself. James is saying that faith without works is worthless. Not that works saves us but that if we are saved, we must do good things and not sit idling speaking good words but doing nothing.

There is a big problem with your statement highlighted in red. James did indeed say that works saves.

"You see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone". But Paul said,

"By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified".

So here are your options:
1) The theology of James and Paul were true at the SAME TIME and contradicted each other or,
2) The theology of James and Paul were true in a DIFFERENT TIME and no contradiction can be charged to God.


valleybldr said: If it does not fit your theology...by all means, kick it out!

I do not kick out the book of James any more than I kick out any other old covenant book.

2 Peter 2:20
Apr 5th 2008, 04:30 PM
I do not kick out the book of James any more than I kick out any other old covenant book.

Was James written before Christ was crucified?? No, then it is not old covenant. Most place the book around 46-49 AD. and that is after Christ.

Frances
Apr 5th 2008, 05:09 PM
Paul's message was repent and turn to God and do deeds worthy of repentance. James example of dead faith and live faith taught that very same thing. There is no "progressive" revelation in the Scripture...

There is definately no 'progressive revelation' in Scripture.


I do not kick out the book of James any more than I kick out any other old covenant book.

Good. Both are relevant, as no book in the Bible cancels out any other.

(it's no wonder Jesus wondered if He would find faith on earth when He returns!![Luke 18:8])

Teke
Apr 5th 2008, 05:20 PM
The RC holds to progressive revelation hermeneutic, and history shows us where and what that leads to. Stick with the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, there is no other revelation than Jesus Christ. The Church preaches Christ plus nothing.

ProjectPeter
Apr 5th 2008, 07:14 PM
So do the Berean folk out there today with their Pauline only stand. They even have to make Paul's writings progressive revelation because their teaching is just an outright mess and so they explain it away when something they teach is contradicted by even Paul... as progressive revelation. I suspect that this is much of what we are seeing here.

seamus414
Apr 5th 2008, 08:20 PM
The RC holds to progressive revelation hermeneutic, and history shows us where and what that leads to. Stick with the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, there is no other revelation than Jesus Christ. The Church preaches Christ plus nothing.


I do not think that the RCC holds to "progressive revelation" at all actually.

RevLogos
Apr 5th 2008, 08:49 PM
I do not see any conflict between James and Paul. They are speaking of two different things.

Jas 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works.

Paul speaks of justification in the sight of God. But James is talking about our faith being justified by works before men. Two very different things. When we are truly saved, we behave differently than before. We do "works" as a result of being saved, not in order to be saved. As James says, faith without works is indicative of a dead faith - before men. But men cannot know what is in one's heart.

Though we are justified by faith, God does command that we be obedient. Being obedient means doing what God commands, such as getting baptized, praying, repenting, treating others with love, etc. etc. If we are justified, we will also be obedient. The only way we as mortals can tell if a person is saved is by their works.

So I see no conflict here, just different perspectives.

I do have a concern with the concept of "progressive revelation". It is true not all scripture was written at once. BUT no scripture will conflict with earlier scripture. Later scripture only adds to earlier scripture.

This, as someone else mentioned, is one of the things that gets Islam in trouble. Earlier parts of the Qur'an do contradict later parts, The earlier scripture is said to be abrogated by the newer. The Qur'an actually says it's OK to ignore some of the earlier verses. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, the later verses are more violent than the earlier, as they were written when Muhammad had more power.

Brother Mark
Apr 5th 2008, 09:10 PM
Wow! I think you have a problem on your hands with this one. Paul referred back to Abraham when speaking about only faith that saves. In other words, Abraham wasn't saved by works either. James referred back to Abraham to show that Abraham was justified by his works. But when you read the OT passage that both refer to, I think it is safe to say that Abraham was justified when he believed God and his works revealed his faith. ;)

ProjectPeter
Apr 6th 2008, 12:02 AM
Okay guys... this thread isn't going to be about the Catholic Church so let's stop this direction now.

tgallison
Apr 6th 2008, 12:42 AM
Perhaps it is why Paul spoke these words.

Romans 3:29-30 "Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith."

Who was James writing to?

James 1:1 "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting."

Israel was given a work, a responsibility.

Romans 3:1-2 "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."

In Jesus Christ, terrell

Buck shot
Apr 6th 2008, 01:24 AM
Howdy thethinker,

I was taught the same thing in seminary but sometimes those places should be called cemeteries. I am not saying you did not learn a lot but one thing it taught me was to not trust man's "wisdom".

I have to agree with Terrel, the reason the teaching appears to be different is because Paul and James taught different groups. They do not contradict each other at all.

thethinker
Apr 6th 2008, 10:17 AM
Was James written before Christ was crucified?? No, then it is not old covenant. Most place the book around 46-49 AD. and that is after Christ.

2 Peter 2:20,
You're correct that James was written after Christ's crucifixion. But God did not begin to reveal new covenant truth until Paul who wrote after James. Paul was the chief expositor of new covenant truth. He was the man!

Until Paul came with the new word from God the first Christians had to live by the revelation they had which was the Old Testament Scriptures. So James calls on his audience to live by faith + works. James clearly said that justification was by works:

"You see then, that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (2:24).

But Paul received a new word from God:

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.... For in it the righteousness of God is BEING revealed" (Rom. 1:16-17)

"But NOW the righteousness of God APART from the law is being revealed. Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified APART from the deeds of the law" (3:21-28).

Note that Paul said that the salvation of God "now is revealed" and it is "apart from the works of the law". Furthermore, he said that we are "concluding" that a man is not justified by works. Why was Paul now "concluding this fact? Because it was [B]now being revealed.

The saying in logic is true. Two contradictory propositions cannot be true at the same time. But they can be true in a different time.

James said that a man is justified by works. But Paul came ten years later with a new revelation and "concluded" from that revelation that a man cannot be justified by works.

James therefore was old covenant. Sure, Christ had already died for them. BUT THEY HAD TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE WORD THEY HAD IN THEIR TIME. The only word they had was the old testament.

It was not until Paul started writing that the first generation of Christians understood what the death of Christ meant. Until they received that new word they had to live by the old covenant. This is why they still observed old covenant feasts in the book of Acts. Paul himself observed the Days of Purification inwhich an animal sacrifice was to be offered for sin.(Acts 21:26).

Does anyone here think that Paul would have offered an animal for sin by the time he wrote Galatians? No way! He said that this would make him a "transgressor" (Gal. 2:18). At the beginning Paul himself didn't know the full meaning of the cross. He offered an animal for sin. This proves it!

But then he says, "NOW God is revealing it all to me. He is telling me everything the cross means".

So James said that a man is justified by works. Ten years later Paul came and said that it was being revealed to him that a man cannot be justified by works. So both James and Paul were true but not at the same time.

James is therefore old covenant and is to be revered as much as any other old covenant book in the Bible. Truth was revealed progressively. And the full revelation is FAITH ALONE!

Brother Mark
Apr 6th 2008, 01:00 PM
Righteousness never came by the law. It always came by faith as Paul illustrated with Abraham.

No need to try and say "this isn't valid for our time". All scripture is profitable.

Teke
Apr 6th 2008, 01:03 PM
So do the Berean folk out there today with their Pauline only stand. They even have to make Paul's writings progressive revelation because their teaching is just an outright mess and so they explain it away when something they teach is contradicted by even Paul... as progressive revelation. I suspect that this is much of what we are seeing here.

Progressive revelation comes up in different groups who use forms of dispensationalism to develop doctrines from. Hence my comment that it began with the RC. It developed more in Protestant religions to support their doctrines, albeit in a different form than the RC. It is still what it has always been, which is manners of explaining God's grace to explain doctrinal statements by the differing groups.

It was a dividing factor in the early church and it is still a dividing factor in the different factions of the church.

Problem is that there is no such division in scripture. And you can't divide up God by grace.

ProjectPeter
Apr 6th 2008, 03:18 PM
2 Peter 2:20,
You're correct that James was written after Christ's crucifixion. But God did not begin to reveal new covenant truth until Paul who wrote after James. Paul was the chief expositor of new covenant truth. He was the man!

Until Paul came with the new word from God the first Christians had to live by the revelation they had which was the Old Testament Scriptures. So James calls on his audience to live by faith + works. James clearly said that justification was by works:

"You see then, that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (2:24).

But Paul received a new word from God:

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.... For in it the righteousness of God is BEING revealed" (Rom. 1:16-17)

"But NOW the righteousness of God APART from the law is being revealed. Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified APART from the deeds of the law" (3:21-28).

Note that Paul said that the salvation of God "now is revealed" and it is "apart from the works of the law". Furthermore, he said that we are "concluding" that a man is not justified by works. Why was Paul now "concluding this fact? Because it was [B]now being revealed.

The saying in logic is true. Two contradictory propositions cannot be true at the same time. But they can be true in a different time.

James said that a man is justified by works. But Paul came ten years later with a new revelation and "concluded" from that revelation that a man cannot be justified by works.

James therefore was old covenant. Sure, Christ had already died for them. BUT THEY HAD TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE WORD THEY HAD IN THEIR TIME. The only word they had was the old testament.

It was not until Paul started writing that the first generation of Christians understood what the death of Christ meant. Until they received that new word they had to live by the old covenant. This is why they still observed old covenant feasts in the book of Acts. Paul himself observed the Days of Purification inwhich an animal sacrifice was to be offered for sin.(Acts 21:26).

Does anyone here think that Paul would have offered an animal for sin by the time he wrote Galatians? No way! He said that this would make him a "transgressor" (Gal. 2:18). At the beginning Paul himself didn't know the full meaning of the cross. He offered an animal for sin. This proves it!

But then he says, "NOW God is revealing it all to me. He is telling me everything the cross means".

So James said that a man is justified by works. Ten years later Paul came and said that it was being revealed to him that a man cannot be justified by works. So both James and Paul were true but not at the same time.

James is therefore old covenant and is to be revered as much as any other old covenant book in the Bible. Truth was revealed progressively. And the full revelation is FAITH ALONE!Um... Paul was speaking of being justified by works of the Law. Not works such as good deeds which is exactly what James was speaking of.

James 2:14 ¶What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
18 But someone may well say, "You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;
23 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.
24 You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.
25 And in the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

One could call those "deeds worthy of repentance" and news flash... that is the same gospel that Paul preached. And as a Berean or one that follows that teaching... this will come as a shock to you... but Paul preached this same message to both Jew and Gentile. ;)

Acts 26:19 "Consequently, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision,
20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

ProjectPeter
Apr 6th 2008, 03:20 PM
Progressive revelation comes up in different groups who use forms of dispensationalism to develop doctrines from. Hence my comment that it began with the RC. It developed more in Protestant religions to support their doctrines, albeit in a different form than the RC. It is still what it has always been, which is manners of explaining God's grace to explain doctrinal statements by the differing groups.

It was a dividing factor in the early church and it is still a dividing factor in the different factions of the church.

Problem is that there is no such division in scripture. And you can't divide up God by grace.
Sure... which is exactly why I tell the hyper-dispensational folk often... there is no such thing as a dispensation of grace. To even believe such as that would require one to believe that God didn't show grace in the past but only during this dispensational age... and that is anti-Bible as one can be. God has been a God of mercy and lovingkindness throughout ALL ages as is evident in Scripture.

Mograce2U
Apr 6th 2008, 05:31 PM
When James speaks to the 12 tribes scattered abroad, his context for works is not those of law but of heart. When Paul speaks to the Gentile Galatians infiltrated by the Judaizers that works of law cannot justify them, he is in agreement with James. They are coming at it from different points of reference but are speaking on the same topic. That faith responds with works giving evidence of repentance and shows one has been justified; in turn negates that works of law have any bearing on our justification by faith. This is not progressive revelation, since nothing changed in how a man was to be justified - which example is Abraham.

The works of the law were merely added to keep one "in the faith" and hoping for the time that Messiah would come to make their sanctification a reality. So faith alone has always been the means for justification.

What is different in the gospel era is how that justification was to be seen. It would not be thru obedience to law-keeping but in demonstration of a heart changed. Something which both Jews and Gentiles needed to understand.

Teke
Apr 6th 2008, 07:07 PM
Sure... which is exactly why I tell the hyper-dispensational folk often... there is no such thing as a dispensation of grace. To even believe such as that would require one to believe that God didn't show grace in the past but only during this dispensational age... and that is anti-Bible as one can be. God has been a God of mercy and lovingkindness throughout ALL ages as is evident in Scripture.

Yes, so all those who disagree need to show with scripture that God "dispenses" grace differently, which basically equates to a difference in God Himself, to prove their doctrinal statements. Not just do gymnastics with scripture to prove their doctrine. As dogma is derived from God and not men's doctrines. And that is the way scripture works for us as well, with God, not man.

Note, for further study on the matter in church history.
In the historical flow of Christianity in the world (meaning amidst the wars and what developed), one can read about this developing from the period related to Charlemagne, who forced (by war) the Saxons to convert to Christianity, thus bringing them under his rule as he developed (internal reforms) the Holy Roman Empire as well as France and Germany.

thethinker
Apr 7th 2008, 03:43 PM
Um... Paul was speaking of being justified by works of the Law. Not works such as good deeds which is exactly what James was speaking of.

At what point in time did Paul say that justification is by the works of the law? Was it before he received new revelation or after?


James 2:14 ¶What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but

One could call those "deeds worthy of repentance" and news flash... that is the same gospel that Paul preached. And as a Berean or one that follows that teaching... this will come as a shock to you... but Paul preached this same message to both Jew and Gentile.

At what point in time did Paul say that justification produces deeds worthy of repentance? Was it before he received new revelation or after?


Acts 26:19 "Consequently, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision,
20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

At what point in time did Paul say this? Was it chronologically before or after he received the new revelation?

Please give a clear and unambiguous answer.

ProjectPeter
Apr 7th 2008, 05:56 PM
At what point in time did Paul say that justification is by the works of the law? Was it before he received new revelation or after?



At what point in time did Paul say that justification produces deeds worthy of repentance? Was it before he received new revelation or after?



At what point in time did Paul say this? Was it chronologically before or after he received the new revelation?

Please give a clear and unambiguous answer.
It was pretty late in his life there hoss. Paul didn't live much more than three or four years after that point in time. So hey.... you do the figuring.

And by the way... you say there is "progressive revelation." But because you say it... don't make it so.

John146
Apr 7th 2008, 07:48 PM
There is a big problem with your statement highlighted in red. James did indeed say that works saves.

"You see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone". But Paul said,

"By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified".

So here are your options:
1) The theology of James and Paul were true at the SAME TIME and contradicted each other or,
2) The theology of James and Paul were true in a DIFFERENT TIME and no contradiction can be charged to God.

I do not kick out the book of James any more than I kick out any other old covenant book.

Paul was talking about the works of the law while James was talking about good works of righteousness. The works of the law would include performing sacrifices, offerings and circumcision and that kind of thing. Good works are things like helping widows and orphans or visiting the sick and those who are in prison.

James and Paul did not contradict each other. Paul correctly taught that we are not justified by the works of the law and James correctly taught that we are justified by faith and works of righteousness. Abraham was not justified by keeping the law. He was justified by his faith which was reflected in his good works such as being willing to sacrifice his own son out of obedience to God's command.

thethinker
Apr 7th 2008, 08:01 PM
It was pretty late in his life there hoss. Paul didn't live much more than three or four years after that point in time. So hey.... you do the figuring.

And by the way... you say there is "progressive revelation." But because you say it... don't make it so.

Then you must accept that the Bible cntradicts itself. But there are no contradictions in the Bible. If Paul's view of salvation in Acts was the same as his view of salvation in Romans then the Bible critic has you right where he wants you.

Paul said:

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed". Paul once offered an animal sacrifice for sin (Acts 26:21). But later he would not have done this. So he obviously grew in his thinking.

"The different writings of the New Testament all appeared within a period of about half a century but they also furnish the means of tracing the development of life and THOUGHT in the early apostolic church" (Biblical Hermeneutics, Milton S. terry, Academic Books, page 566).

The views of salvation "developed" with Paul's revelations being the full revelation. That full revelation is FAITH ALONE!

The Reformers have it right!

INCOMING:)
Apr 7th 2008, 08:02 PM
No contradiction:
Paul was speaking about the root of true faith...Justifaction by faith in the finished work of Christ.
James was speaking about the fruit of faith...good works that, as Paul said to Titus, are profitable to men.

2 Peter 2:20
Apr 7th 2008, 08:11 PM
Paul once offered an animal sacrifice for sin (Acts 26:21). But later he would not have done this. So he obviously grew in his thinking.


Acts 26
20First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.

Where does it say that he offered a sacrifice for sin here?

drew
Apr 7th 2008, 08:24 PM
Um... Paul was speaking of being justified by works of the Law. Not works such as good deeds which is exactly what James was speaking of.
I will chime in agreement with this. Paul frequently speaks of how we are not justified by the works of Torah. Paul never denies that "good works" in the general sense justify us. In fact, he makes it clear in Romans 2 that good works do indeed justify.

And, strangely enough, I will claim that this assertion of mine works perfectly well with the idea that we "are saved by faith". How? Faith and faith alone results in the giving of the Spirit that then ensures that our lives manifest the works that we need in order to be justified as per Romans 2.

Friend of I AM
Apr 7th 2008, 08:27 PM
"The interpreter of the Holy Scriptures must never forget that the Bible in its entirety, as now possessed by the Church, was no sudden gift from heaven, but the slow and gradual accretion of many centuries...

The different writings of the New Testament all appeared within a period of about a half a century but they also furnish the means of tracing the development of the LIFE AND THOUGHT in the early apostolic Church...

Our present canonical Scriptures, therefore, are to be recognized as the records of a PROGRESSIVE DIVINE REVELATION" (Biblical Hermeneutics: A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments by Milton S. Terry, Academic Books, p. 566)

Now any man who has studied at a Bible college or Seminary was taught this "progressive revelation" principle. But unfortunately they reveal from their preaching that they have forgotten this principle. But Terry said that they should never forget.

I remember when I first heard of this "progressive revelation" hermeneutic. I was a student at the Moody Bible Institute. I remember brain storming saying, "Aha! This explains quite a lot!" After I graduated from Moody I took courses that were in logic or related to logic and found that logicians say a similar thing.

Logicians say,

"Two contrary propositions cannot be true in the same time", and

"Time resolves some discrepancies".

Let's take the book of James as an example. I am Reformed as most of you have figured out by now. I am committed to the Reformed principle that salvation is by "faith alone". But James seems to contradict this. He said,

"You see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith only" (NKJV).

My Reformed brethren have taken two different approaches to James' epistle,

1) James was not talking about faith + works but rather a faith 'that' works, or
2) The epistle of James is non-canonical (Some Reformed today deny the canonicity of James). :(

But how about the "progressive revelation" option? The epistle of James was pre-Paul. By the term "pre-Paul" I do NOT mean to say that they were not contemporaries. I mean that James wrote while the old covenant order was still in effect. This is very clear for he admonished his audience to "fulfill the royal law" (2:8).

But Paul came later and said that Christ fulfilled the law in our behalf. Paul claimed that he was receiving [progressively] new covenant truth and principles,

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is [B]revealed (Romans 3:21).

Therefore, Paul did not contradict James for James taught what was true at the time but not for all time.

So both James' proposals and Paul's were true, but not at the same time. Both history and logic confirm this.

The timeless truth now is FAITH ALONE! This my friends is God's new covenant salvation. Faith Alone IS the Gospel!

James Epistles don't contradict Paul's in the slightest. Paul just had a different way of expressing the means as to how the works were performed. James knew that the works were being performed by God, not himself. James just goes on to state that the faith that comes along with serving God, produces some sort of works. Specifically, works of the spirit which involve gentleness, kindness, self control, etc - as mentioned by Paul.

Let's not forget though that Jesus as all of his disciples were hard workers as well. Godly faith also produces a good work ethic in the believer. Though sometimes it may not be apparent right away, all of the work we do whether at home, school, etc - during our walk is also included within this work of God called "faith" within our lives.

In Christ,

Stephen

drew
Apr 7th 2008, 08:34 PM
Paul said:

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed". Paul once offered an animal sacrifice for sin (Acts 26:21). But later he would not have done this. So he obviously grew in his thinking.
In Romans 3:21, something indeed has been revealed. But we need to be pay attention to the following category distinction:

1. The works of Torah;
2. Good works generally

These do not denote the same things. It has been revealed to Paul that we do not attain righteousness through Torah (category 1), but in Romans 2, he affirms that we are indeed justified by the works our lives manifest (category 2). Yet Paul also affirms that we are justified by faith.

People have trouble with this, I humbly suggest, because they cannot or will not discern a more subtle time structure to Paul's model of justification which I think goes something like this:

1. In the future, we will be granted eternal life (justified - declared to be in God's family) based on the works our lives manifest.

2. In the present, we can anticipate with assurance who will pass that future judgement - those who have faith.

We need to let Paul speak to us, not the other way around. He means what he says in Romans 2 about future justification based on good works. We need to adapt of model of justification to what Paul actually writes, and not relativize Romans 2.

thethinker
Apr 7th 2008, 08:36 PM
James Epistles don't contradict Paul's in the slightest. Paul just had a different way of expressing the means as to how the works were performed. James knew that the works were being performed by God, not himself. James just goes on to state that the faith that comes along with serving God, produces some sort of works. Specifically, works of the spirit which involve gentleness, kindness, self control, etc - as mentioned by Paul.

I firmly believe that faith works through love. But James an Paul are talking about two ways of justification. Therefore, James' way of justification and Paul's way of justification cannot be true at the same time. James said:

"You see then, a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (2:24)

But Paul said:

"Now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed" (Rom. 3:21).

Therefore, James was written when the old covenant was still in effect when justification was by the works of the law.

John146
Apr 7th 2008, 08:50 PM
I firmly believe that faith works through love. But James an Paul are talking about two ways of justification. Therefore, James' way of justification and Paul's way of justification cannot be true at the same time. James said:

"You see then, a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (2:24)

But Paul said:

"Now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed" (Rom. 3:21).

Therefore, James was written when the old covenant was still in effect when justification was by the works of the law.

The old covenant was made obsolete by the new covenant of the blood of Christ shed on the cross. Read Hebrews 8:7-13. James was not written when the old covenant was still in effect. It had been replaced by the new covenant well before the time James wrote his letter. Also, justification was NEVER by the works of the law.

8Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; - Hebrews 10:8-12

No one could ever be justified by the works of the law. God doesn't even take any pleasure in the works of the law. He never did.

Why can't you see that Paul spoke of the works of the law and James spoke of works of righteousness? Two different things. James gave the example of Abraham performing a good work. Clearly, sacrificing his son was not part of the law. It was a command that God gave specifically to him. James also gave an example of a good work that Rahab did which had nothing to do with the law. Abraham's faith was reflected in his obedience to God's command. Rahab's faith was also reflected in what she did. Performing sacrifices, offerings, circumcision or other works of the law doesn't justify anyone, as Paul made clear. James would not disagree with that.

And Paul would agree with James that one is justified by faith and works of righteousness. These works are not works done of our own righteousness. They are done through the righteousness of the Spirit working through us. Our own righteousness is as filthy rags. Again, I'm sure James would agree. Our works reflect the fact that we have faith and that the Spirit of God dwells in us and gives us the ability to do these good works that God has for us to do.

drew
Apr 7th 2008, 08:55 PM
I firmly believe that faith works through love. But James an Paul are talking about two ways of justification. Therefore, James' way of justification and Paul's way of justification cannot be true at the same time. James said:

"You see then, a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (2:24)

But Paul said:

"Now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed" (Rom. 3:21).

Therefore, James was written when the old covenant was still in effect when justification was by the works of the law.
I think the relevant texts do not support your argument. Paul denies that the works of Torah justify. I will merely assert this, but am prepared to argue for it.

On the other hand, I suggest that James is not talking about the works of Torah here, but rather good works generally. Note how the context suggests that James' use of "works" is intended to denote good works generally, and not Torah.

14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,"[e (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%202&version=31#fen-NIV-30301e)] and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead

I admit this version (the NIV) is a little unfair to my position since it renders "works" as "by what he does". But even if we go with "works" in verse 24, the examples James gives seems to suggest that he has jumped out of the ethnic specificity of Torah and is talking about good works in general.

Paul, on the other hand, denies justification by doing the works of Torah.

If this argument works, it undermines this claim of yours:


James' way of justification and Paul's way of justification cannot be true at the same time
The contradiction you see disappears if Paul is talking about Torah (I am very confident he is) and James is talking about good works generally (I think this is likely although I am not as convinced as I am that Paul uses "works" to refer to Torah).

If you can make a case that James is indeed talking about Torah here, then your case is strengthened since then there would appear to be a real contradiction between James and Paul.

VerticalReality
Apr 7th 2008, 09:02 PM
Why can't you see that Paul spoke of the works of the law and James spoke of works of righteousness?

Those who do not want to see will not see.

drew
Apr 7th 2008, 09:02 PM
Also, justification was NEVER by the works of the law.
Agree. Consider this from Romans 4:

It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15because law brings wrath.

No one was ever justfied by the works of Torah - this is a central theme of Paul's in Romans.


And Paul would agree with James that one is justified by faith and works of righteousness. These works are not works done of our own righteousness. They are done through the righteousness of the Spirit working through us.
I agree entirely and am somewhat mystified how people do not see how such an interpretation allows us to take everything Paul says seriously - and not have to sweep Romans 2 under the rug.

John146
Apr 7th 2008, 09:16 PM
Those who do not want to see will not see.

That's often true, but I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt that maybe he just hasn't looked at it closely enough and he just sees the word "works" and assumes they are talking about the same thing.

thethinker
Apr 7th 2008, 09:17 PM
I will chime in agreement with this. Paul frequently speaks of how we are not justified by the works of Torah. Paul never denies that "good works" in the general sense justify us. In fact, he makes it clear in Romans 2 that good works do indeed justify.

You contradict yourself. You say that Paul frequently said that we are not justified by the works of the Torah. Then you flip-flop and say that Paul "makes it clear that good works do indeed justify". :confused

This confusion is the result of failing to recognize the progressive nature of revelation.

drew
Apr 7th 2008, 09:43 PM
You contradict yourself. You say that Paul frequently said that we are not justified by the works of the Torah. Then you flip-flop and say that Paul "makes it clear that good works do indeed justify". :confused

This confusion is the result of failing to recognize the progressive nature of revelation.
I should perhaps amplify. When I say that Paul speaks out against justification by the works of Torah, he is speaking out against a view that
those elements of the Torah that mark out the Jew from his pagan neighbour - ceremonial aspects, food laws, the Sabbath, etc - it is these works that do not justify.

Paul is trying to undermine the position that "being an ethnic Jew" is sufficient for justification. The context in which all (or almost all) Paul's references to "works" shows that he is focusing on the Jew-Gentile divide. He is intending his reader to read "works" as "those specific elements of Torah that mark the Jew from the Gentile".

He is not talking about "doing good deeds" - feeding the poor, helping little old ladies across the street, etc when he denies justification by "works". He is arguing against a "Jewish birthright" to covenant menbership. If you dive into the contexts where Paul denies justification by "works", you will see that this is so.

What that qualification, the apparent contradiction in my position should be eliminated. Paul never denies that "good deeds" justify. In fact he affirms this very thing at least 3 times in Romans 2.

It is indeed true that there is progressive revelation. But my position is consistent with it.

ProjectPeter
Apr 8th 2008, 12:52 AM
Then you must accept that the Bible cntradicts itself. But there are no contradictions in the Bible. If Paul's view of salvation in Acts was the same as his view of salvation in Romans then the Bible critic has you right where he wants you.

Paul said:

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed". Paul once offered an animal sacrifice for sin (Acts 26:21). But later he would not have done this. So he obviously grew in his thinking.

"The different writings of the New Testament all appeared within a period of about half a century but they also furnish the means of tracing the development of life and THOUGHT in the early apostolic church" (Biblical Hermeneutics, Milton S. terry, Academic Books, page 566).

The views of salvation "developed" with Paul's revelations being the fulll revelation. That full revelation is FAITH ALONE!

The Reformers have it right!Paul did preach "repent and turn to God doing deeds worthy of Repentance. So just because you think "works" means any and all things opposed to the actual context which is clearly speaking of "works of the Law of Moses"... that is something that you are ultimately going to have to deal with I figure. ;)

RevLogos
Apr 8th 2008, 03:52 AM
The Reformers have it right!

Can you clarify exactly what the "Reformers" believe? I understand faith only but do they believe that once saved they can go on living a sinful life as before? Or does behavior change as a result of faith?

Owen
Apr 8th 2008, 06:56 AM
Progressive revelation comes up in different groups who use forms of dispensationalism to develop doctrines from. Hence my comment that it began with the RC. It developed more in Protestant religions to support their doctrines, albeit in a different form than the RC. It is still what it has always been, which is manners of explaining God's grace to explain doctrinal statements by the differing groups.

It was a dividing factor in the early church and it is still a dividing factor in the different factions of the church.

Problem is that there is no such division in scripture. And you can't divide up God by grace.

In progressive revelation's defense, not all who hold to it are dispensational or divide up God's grace. For instance, I believe in progressive revelation but I am by no means a dispensationalist and I do think God's grace was for all at all times.

That said, the notion of progressive revelation often times is used in such a way that it makes God change, instead of just letting more to be revealed than was previously. What is in fact often times talked about as progressive revelation though is in fact more of "contradictory revelation" (Islam's version really) or that God is changing.

Owen
Apr 8th 2008, 07:01 AM
You contradict yourself. You say that Paul frequently said that we are not justified by the works of the Torah. Then you flip-flop and say that Paul "makes it clear that good works do indeed justify". :confused

No contradiction. Works of the Law are those things contained in the first five books of the Bible. This is not an exclusion of works in general because the Law does not equal all works.

joztok
Apr 8th 2008, 11:03 AM
Was James written before Christ was crucified?? No, then it is not old covenant. Most place the book around 46-49 AD. and that is after Christ.

Did James know that Paul received revelation in what Christ did through the cross, resurrection and ascension? No. He still had an Old covenant mindset mixed with a bit of new. I've heard the book was written earlier then 46-49AD.
And that was before the infamous Jerusalem Church Apostolic Meeting.

Friend of I AM
Apr 8th 2008, 12:42 PM
I firmly believe that faith works through love. But James an Paul are talking about two ways of justification. Therefore, James' way of justification and Paul's way of justification cannot be true at the same time. James said:

"You see then, a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (2:24)

But Paul said:

"Now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed" (Rom. 3:21).

Therefore, James was written when the old covenant was still in effect when justification was by the works of the law.

That's an interesting way of looking at it. I don't think the Word contradicts itself though, but man's understanding of it does - Paul puts it best in his epistle to the Romans:

Romans 3:4
God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.


I think the best way to unify/clarify the two concepts that both Paul and James presented, is to take this simple phrase that Christ himself stated in John.

John 6:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

You can't have Godly faith without Work, since faith in itself is a Work of God. Thus faith without works is dead as James puts it, or specifically it isn't true Godly faith at all, since true faith unto itself is a work of God - not a work of man.

In Christ,

Stephen

ProjectPeter
Apr 8th 2008, 12:59 PM
In progressive revelation's defense, not all who hold to it are dispensational or divide up God's grace. For instance, I believe in progressive revelation but I am by no means a dispensationalist and I do think God's grace was for all at all times.

That said, the notion of progressive revelation often times is used in such a way that it makes God change, instead of just letting more to be revealed than was previously. What is in fact often times talked about as progressive revelation though is in fact more of "contradictory revelation" (Islam's version really) or that God is changing.
But that's the thing about the Pauline Only mindset... they actually do have God changing in that they believe this era in time is the only time that God has bestowed such grace on men... specifically Gentiles.

I've no problem with progressive revelation in pure definition. Bible tells us that this would happen in Daniel... remember where God wouldn't reveal to Daniel what the vision meant but told him that it would be for another time. That by purist definition is progressive revelation.

ProjectPeter
Apr 8th 2008, 01:10 PM
Did James know that Paul received revelation in what Christ did through the cross, resurrection and ascension? No. He still had an Old covenant mindset mixed with a bit of new. I've heard the book was written earlier then 46-49AD.
And that was before the infamous Jerusalem Church Apostolic Meeting.
That is not the widely held view (by a long shot) of when James was written. The folks that put it earlier are the folks that teach the multi gospel theology or even those that advocate taking James out of the canon of Scripture... and yes folks... there are many that totally reject James as Holy writ even this day. Many others who would never utter those words publicly... but you will never hear them preach or teach from that book. Many treat Peter's epistles and Hebrews the same way.

ProjectPeter
Apr 8th 2008, 01:13 PM
That's an interesting way of looking at it. I don't think the Word contradicts itself though, but man's understanding of it does - Paul puts it best in his epistle to the Romans:

Romans 3:4
God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.


I think the best way to unify/clarify the two concepts that both Paul and James presented, is to take this simple phrase that Christ himself stated in John.

John 6:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

You can't have Godly faith without Work, since faith in itself is a Work of God. Thus faith without works is dead as James puts it, or specifically it isn't true Godly faith at all, since true faith unto itself is a work of God - not a work of man.

In Christ,

Stephen
To come to that conclusion... you would have to totally ignore the context of James which was clearly speaking of good deeds towards others and or deeds towards God such as with Abraham and Isaac.

What one needs understand is that Paul wasn't speaking of these type deeds at all. He was speaking about "WORKS" of the Law of Moses.

Friend of I AM
Apr 8th 2008, 02:33 PM
To come to that conclusion... you would have to totally ignore the context of James which was clearly speaking of good deeds towards others and or deeds towards God such as with Abraham and Isaac.

What one needs understand is that Paul wasn't speaking of these type deeds at all. He was speaking about "WORKS" of the Law of Moses.

I think the point James was trying to make when referring to good deeds - was that the faith from God brings one to fulfill the royal law of "Love Your neighbor as yourself."(James 2:8) In James 2:9-10, he even goes on to state that if you've broken the law once, then you've essentially broken the entire law. We know through Adam, all men were already condemned to having being lawbreakers/sinners. So James is essentially speaking in accordance with what Paul preached, that being that the works of the law themselves can't justify a man in God's sight. Only God's mercy/faithfulness can.(James 2:12)

So James wasn't crediting the works of the law themselves as making one righteous, but what James essentially demonstrates in his epistles, is simply "believing" that God exists isn't demonstrative of true Godly faith being present in one's life.

Being loving to friends, family members, and even enemies is demonstrative of true Godly faith in one's life. Thus there is no contradiction between either James or Paul's epistles. Only different ways of describing the same thing. Humility, peace, righteousnous, love, these fruits of the spirit, will always be demonstrative when Godly faith is present within one's life.

The one thing we all have to have faith in is that the Word of God is flawless, when approaching any of the epistles, despite the flaws/limited understanding of man. God allowed human men, flawed as they are - to present his message to any of those who have faith in his son Christ Jesus. Though at times we won't understand everything about how his Word comes together, we can have faith with what Christ stated about our understanding in regards to his abilities - or specifically "What is impossible for man, is possible for God."

In Christ,

Stephen

drew
Apr 8th 2008, 02:46 PM
What one needs understand is that Paul wasn't speaking of these type deeds at all. He was speaking about "WORKS" of the Law of Moses.
As you know, I agree on this point. The argument for this position is exceedingly strong, yet it seems that many, if not the majority, miss it and erroneously conclude that Paul denies justification by "good works" when in fact he is denying justification by the works of Torah.

No matter what side each of us is presently on in respect to this issue, I think we will probably all agree that this is an exceedingly important question to get right.

ProjectPeter
Apr 8th 2008, 02:55 PM
As you know, I agree on this point. The argument for this position is exceedingly strong, yet it seems that many, if not the majority, miss it and erroneously conclude that Paul denies justification by "good works" when in fact he is denying justification by the works of Torah.

No matter what side each of us is presently on in respect to this issue, I think we will probably all agree that this is an exceedingly important question to get right.
It is most important to get right. That folks don't... is why words like "deeds" is considered a dirty word by many that claim Christianity.

ProjectPeter
Apr 8th 2008, 02:55 PM
I think the point James was trying to make when referring to good deeds - was that the faith from God brings one to fulfill the royal law of "Love Your neighbor as yourself."(James 2:8) In James 2:9-10, he even goes on to state that if you've broken the law once, then you've essentially broken the entire law. We know through Adam, all men were already condemned to having being lawbreakers/sinners. So James is essentially speaking in accordance with what Paul preached, that being that the works of the law themselves can't justify a man in God's sight. Only God's mercy/faithfulness can.(James 2:12)

So James wasn't crediting the works of the law themselves as making one righteous, but what James essentially demonstrates in his epistles, is simply "believing" that God exists isn't demonstrative of true Godly faith being present in one's life.

Being loving to friends, family members, and even enemies is demonstrative of true Godly faith in one's life. Thus there is no contradiction between either James or Paul's epistles. Only different ways of describing the same thing. Humility, peace, righteousnous, love, these fruits of the spirit, will always be demonstrative when Godly faith is present within one's life.

The one thing we all have to have faith in is that the Word of God is flawless, when approaching any of the epistles, despite the flaws/limited understanding of man. God allowed human men, flawed as they are - to present his message to any of those who have faith in his son Christ Jesus. Though at times we won't understand everything about how his Word comes together, we can have faith with what Christ stated about our understanding in regards to his abilities - or specifically "What is impossible for man, is possible for God."

In Christ,

Stephen
But straight fact... one has to totally read their own doctrinal bias in that text to come to that conclusion. And just as an added note... Paul was a big teacher of doing good deeds and made it as much a command.

Friend of I AM
Apr 8th 2008, 03:24 PM
But straight fact... one has to totally read their own doctrinal bias in that text to come to that conclusion. And just as an added note... Paul was a big teacher of doing good deeds and made it as much a command.

All of the apostles were teachers of doing good to one another and being loving to one another. They still knew that the deeds themselves couldn't offer them salvation. It got to the point where Peter even exclaimed "Who will be saved" as he didn't see how anyone could be. Christ answered Peter with "what is impossible for man, is possible for God."

Regarding Paul, he did work hard - but he knew his only salvation was in Christ Jesus not in his own merit or abilities. He exclaimed "I wish Christ Jesus were here to save me" while preaching to the church, and also stated that he himself was a Pharisee to various churches, stating before many of his congregation members - that even being a Pharisee - he still didn't have what it takes to make it into the kingdom without Christ Jesus.

drew
Apr 8th 2008, 04:00 PM
They still knew that the deeds themselves couldn't offer them salvation.
I guess my response to this depends on preciely what you mean by the "deeds themselves". In Romans 2, Paul makes it clear that we need to exhibit "good deeds" to get eternal life:

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life......

There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile....

For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous....

I politely suggest that to deny that deeds are necessary for salvation is to disagree with Paul. If, on the other hand, you are saying that "deeds that are result of moral self-effort and not the action of the Spirit" do not justify, then you are agreeing with Paul. You are true to Paul in this statement:


Regarding Paul, he did work hard - but he knew his only salvation was in Christ Jesus not in his own merit or abilities.
But the truth of your statement does not undermine the necessity of deeds that originate in the action of the Spirit are necessary for salvation.

Friend of I AM
Apr 8th 2008, 04:34 PM
I guess my response to this depends on preciely what you mean by the "deeds themselves". In Romans 2, Paul makes it clear that we need to exhibit "good deeds" to get eternal life:


2 Corinthians 11:22
What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

If we boast let us boast of our weakness, and of the Lord's strength and his sacrafice on the cross. The only work that will get anyone into Heaven, is that Work of God that was done on the cross by Christ Jesus. It's called faith. Anyone who states that their own abilities or works can get them into heaven, as oppossed to the Work of God on the cross - is preaching another gospel.


In Christ,

Stephen

ProjectPeter
Apr 8th 2008, 04:40 PM
All of the apostles were teachers of doing good to one another and being loving to one another. They still knew that the deeds themselves couldn't offer them salvation. It got to the point where Peter even exclaimed "Who will be saved" as he didn't see how anyone could be. Christ answered Peter with "what is impossible for man, is possible for God."

Regarding Paul, he did work hard - but he knew his only salvation was in Christ Jesus not in his own merit or abilities. He exclaimed "I wish Christ Jesus were here to save me" while preaching to the church, and also stated that he himself was a Pharisee to various churches, stating before many of his congregation members - that even being a Pharisee - he still didn't have what it takes to make it into the kingdom without Christ Jesus.Well in all honesty... they all knew that they were saved by faith but all of them as well knew that they were saved in actuality until they had endured to the end. If history is correct and they all died martyrs deaths (save John and that was close enough)... then that they certainly did.

Friend of I AM
Apr 8th 2008, 04:53 PM
Well in all honesty... they all knew that they were saved by faith but all of them as well knew that they were saved in actuality until they had endured to the end. If history is correct and they all died martyrs deaths (save John and that was close enough)... then that they certainly did.

Yeah but the problem that we have is that we think that the endurance is coming from us. It's not about us, it truly is about the Lord and him working through us. Here's another verse:

Isaiah 50:10-11
Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

The only light that will guide us to salvation, is that light that comes form the Lord. Christ endured, even though he knew that ultimately he'd be assigned a place of darkness among those who were wicked.

So again it's not about what we ourselves are doing when we have faith in him, and how much light we think we have through our own deeds of righteousnous, it is truly about what Christ/God did on the cross, and what Works he performs through us with his spirit.

In Christ,

Stephen

drew
Apr 8th 2008, 05:01 PM
If we boast let us boast of our weakness, and of the Lord's strength and his sacrafice on the cross. The only work that will get anyone into Heaven, is that Work of God that was done on the cross by Christ Jesus. It's called faith. Anyone who states that their own abilities or works can get them into heaven, as oppossed to the Work of God on the cross - is preaching another gospel
Paul is crystal clear in Romans 2 - we do not get eternal life unless our lives exhibit works. If you can draw another conclusion without sweeping Romans 2 under the rug, I am all ears.

When you say "The only work that will get anyone into Heaven, is that Work of God that was done on the cross by Christ Jesus", you are right, but in a qualified sense. We need to take Paul at his word in Romans 2 - good deeds manifested in our lives are necessary to be granted eternal life.

I am not, and have not, stated that our "own" works - works that arise from moral self-effort apart from the action of the Spirit - get us into heaven. But works made manifest in our lives by the Spirit clearly do.

If you believe that one can gain eternal life without exhibiting works, what do think Paul intends us to understand in the following from Romans 2:

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life......

There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile....

For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous....

Please be specific - how you integrate these texts into your view, which seems to deny that salvation is contingent upon the works our lives manifest.

Redeemed by Grace
Apr 8th 2008, 05:03 PM
Progressive Revelation huh? That's exactly why Islam is a dangerous religion.

Here is the problem with trying to pit James and Paul's writing against each other. It don't work because neither of them taught any different. Paul's message was repent and turn to God and do deeds worthy of repentance. James example of dead faith and live faith taught that very same thing. There is no "progressive" revelation in the Scripture... that progressive revelation thought is exactly why we have a whole lot of weirdness out there today. If the Bible was for then and less for now... toss it in the trash because why are we bothering. But Scripture... it is living... active... just as true today as it was yesterday. Follow the Scripture... follow God.


Another AMEN!....

RevLogos
Apr 8th 2008, 05:15 PM
I firmly believe that faith works through love. But James an Paul are talking about two ways of justification. Therefore, James' way of justification and Paul's way of justification cannot be true at the same time. James said:

"You see then, a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (2:24)

But Paul said:

"Now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed" (Rom. 3:21).

Therefore, James was written when the old covenant was still in effect when justification was by the works of the law.

When I read that section in James, from 2:14 to 2:26, I understand James is talking about how man can judge what is in one's heart, evidence of faith, not how God judges. Several verses point to man's perspective:
Jas 2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works?

Jas 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works.

Jas 2:19 You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that — and tremble with fear.
We know Satan believes in Jesus. How do we know Satan is not going to heaven? By his works.

James is talking about works as evidence of faith - evidence to Man. When James says [Jas 2:24] "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone", I believe he is saying justified before Man.

James was probably written first, but only a couple of years before some of Paul's writings. Had the church really transitioned from a pure works based belief to a faith based belief, I would expect more evidence of this transition in Paul's letters. He would have had to say things like "Sorry, forget what we taught you last year, here's the new improved salvation..."

What James says is critically important in the church today. Churches that ignore this may be preaching a cheap grace view where one simply confesses belief then goes off and lives their lives as before, dominated by sin and by the needs of the flesh. James is quite right, faith without works is dead.

Friend of I AM
Apr 8th 2008, 05:17 PM
Paul is crystal clear in Romans 2 - we do not get eternal life unless our lives exhibit works. If you can draw another conclusion without sweeping Romans 2 under the rug, I am all ears.

When you say "The only work that will get anyone into Heaven, is that Work of God that was done on the cross by Christ Jesus", you are right, but in a qualified sense. We need to take Paul at his word in Romans 2 - good deeds manifested in our lives are necessary to be granted eternal life.

I am not, and have not, stated that our "own" works - works that arise from moral self-effort apart from the action of the Spirit - get us into heaven. But works made manifest in our lives by the Spirit clearly do.

If you believe that one can gain eternal life without exhibiting works, what do think Paul intends us to understand in the following from Romans 2:

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life......

There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile....

For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous....

Please be specific - how you integrate these texts into your view, which seems to deny that salvation is contingent upon the works our lives manifest.

Romans 3:21-27
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

In Christ,

Stephen

Brother Mark
Apr 8th 2008, 05:26 PM
The works of God are interesting. Faith and works are joined at the hip and are often difficult to separate.

One of the examples I enjoy thinking about in scripture is about the 10 lepers. Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priest. They were lepers and according to OT law, a leper would show himself to the priest after he had been healed. The priest would then declare the leper clean. So while these men still had leperosy, they headed to the priest. This illustrated the faith they had. Jesus spoke to them, and they obeyed which revealed their faith. However, it was only AS they were walking to the priest, that they got healed. They didn't get healed the moment they believed, they got healed as they walked out their faith.

I am not saying that is a picture of salvation as one gets saved the minute they have place their trust in Christ and surrender to him. However, it would be false to say that the lepers healed themselves through works because Jesus always said "your faith has made you whole". But it would be just as false to not see the role obedience played in their healing. Was going to show themselves to the priest a work? It was a work of faith and not a dead work. Faith manifested itself in the walk to show themselves to the priest. After the manifestation, God worked in them.

This pattern is seen throughout scripture. One who is saved, will obey. Often the miraculous cleansing of salvation is not seen fully until after obedience occurs. Yet, obedience does not occur without faith. For it is impossible to please God without faith. The entire cleansing of the lepers was of God. They could not boast of walking to show themselves to the priest for they only did what God told them to do. In doing so, God cleaned them up.

Just something to think about.

drew
Apr 8th 2008, 05:30 PM
Romans 3:21-27
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
When Paul refers to works here, he is referring to the Torah, the Law of Moses - he is not talking about "good works" in the more general sense. I can argue this point if you wish. So this text in no way justifies us as not taking Romans 2 at its word.

In Romans 2, Paul clearly states that without exhibiting "good works" we do not get eternal life. He is not talking about Torah in Romans 2 (although I should add a qualifier which I won't in this post), we do not get eternal life.

In the text you post from Romans 3, Paul denies justification by doing the works of Torah, he does not deny justification by doing "good works".

How could he? - he clearly affirms justification by good works in Romans 2.

But you do not agree with me about this. So what, exactly, do you think Paul is saying in Romans 2? Your posting of the Romans 3 material above suggests that Paul was saying something other than what he really believes in Romans 2. Does this seem sensible?

Please explain how you reconcile the Romans 2 material with your belief that works are not needed for justification. The plain reading of Romans 2 is that they are. This does not shut the door on your position. But you need to explain why Paul would write things that you think he really does not intend us to take at face value.

John146
Apr 8th 2008, 08:27 PM
When I read that section in James, from 2:14 to 2:26, I understand James is talking about how man can judge what is in one's heart, evidence of faith, not how God judges. Several verses point to man's perspective:
Jas 2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works?

Jas 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works.

Jas 2:19 You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that — and tremble with fear.
We know Satan believes in Jesus. How do we know Satan is not going to heaven? By his works.

James is talking about works as evidence of faith - evidence to Man. When James says [Jas 2:24] "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone", I believe he is saying justified before Man.

Is what what you believe James was saying about Abraham and Rahab? That they were justified before Man?

21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

I think it's clear that they were justified before God. So, why would James 2:24 be any different?

thethinker
Apr 8th 2008, 09:30 PM
I should perhaps amplify. When I say that Paul speaks out against justification by the works of Torah, he is speaking out against a view that
those elements of the Torah that mark out the Jew from his pagan neighbour - ceremonial aspects, food laws, the Sabbath, etc - it is these works that do not justify.

Paul is trying to undermine the position that "being an ethnic Jew" is sufficient for justification. The context in which all (or almost all) Paul's references to "works" shows that he is focusing on the Jew-Gentile divide. He is intending his reader to read "works" as "those specific elements of Torah that mark the Jew from the Gentile"..... Paul never denies that "goods deeds justify.

Drew,

I disagree. Paul said that we have been set free from the moral code from Sinai as a means of justification and salvation, Romans 7. We know that it is the Sinatic code for in verse 7 he said that he would not have known coveteousness except the law had said "you shall not covet".

Then in Galatians 3 he said that the law was a "tutor" to bring us to Christ. Paul was writing to Gentiles too. They did not have the Torah in "those specific elements that mark the Jew from the Gentile". But both Gentiles and Jews had the moral code either from Moses (Jews) or the revelation in nature (Gentiles). Then he said this:

"For these are the two covenants: the one from Sinai which generates bondage...." (4:24)

It is the works of the moral code, that is, the law at Sinai that cannot justify now. We are under the new covenant. The Sinai code produces "bondage".

The only solution is that James was written while the old covenant was still in effect. But Paul came about ten years later with new revelation that justification was no longer by the deeds of the law at Sinai.

James told his audience to live as those who would be judged by the law (Sinai). But Paul said that "there is therefore no judgment to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).

Therefore, at some point between James and Paul God brought His people to a better understanding of new covenant salvation. James is like the old testament writings which can "make thee wise unto salvation". It is profitable for "instruction in righteousness" like the old testament books.

But as far as justification is concerned Paul's word is the final word.

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed" (Rom. 3:21) Note that Paul said "now" it is being revealed. This was at least ten years AFTER James.

Paul's final word is FAITH ALONE!

drew
Apr 8th 2008, 10:07 PM
I disagree. Paul said that we have been set free from the moral code from Sinai as a means of justification and salvation, Romans 7. We know that it is the Sinatic code for in verse 7 he said that he would not have known coveteousness except the law had said "you shall not covet".
If you are right in the above assertion, and I will argue in a later post that you are not, this makes Paul into a very incompetent and confusing writer. And I think he clearly is not.

If you are right, then Paul, in Romans 2 describes a works-based path to justification that precisely zero persons will take. What kind of writer would describe a future works-based judgment, with repeated statements as to how people will be given eternal life based on their good works, and yet intend us to believe that zero persons will take that path? In other words, what kind of writer would spend time describing an unattainable pathway to justification, without ever telling us it is unattainable.

The standard "reformation" explanation is to say that in Romans 3, Paul repudiates justification by "good works". This is, I suggest, an erroneous reading of chapter 3. In chapter 3, Paul repudiates justification by the works of Torah - not good works - so he is entirely consistent throughout and we don't have to basically "skip" Romans 2 as so many do.

I will now explain why we know that Paul is talking about Torah in Romans 3. Here is the relevant text from the NASB:

Where then is (AR (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203;&version=49;#cen-NASB-28019AR))boasting? It is excluded By (AS (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203;&version=49;#cen-NASB-28019AS))what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28For (AT (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203;&version=49;#cen-NASB-28020AT))we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29Or (AU (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203;&version=49;#cen-NASB-28021AU))is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since indeed (AV (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203;&version=49;#cen-NASB-28022AV))God (AW (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203;&version=49;#cen-NASB-28022AW))who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith (AX (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203;&version=49;#cen-NASB-28022AX))is one.

Which explains the above text better (the bolded stuff in particular)?

A. Paul is denying justification by "good works" generally
B. Paul is denying justification by the works of the Torah

I believe the better explanation is B, I understand you as believing that A is the better explanation. Correct me if I am wrong in my representation of your position. Either way, many people think that A is correct.

If A is correct, why does Paul immediately qualifies the rejection of justification by "works" with statements that clearly show that he is concerned with the issue of redressing an argument that the Jew is in a better position than the Gentile? What is it that distinguishes the Jew from the Gentile? Is it the capability to do "good works" in the general sense?

No it is not. It is the ethnic specifcity of the Torah. It is the Torah that the Jew would point to and claim gives exclusive access to salvation. Paul is clearly trying to assert that we are not justified by something that is available to Jews only. And that is certainly not the capability to do good works. The Gentile and the Jew are equally fallen, equally stained by Adam as Paul clearly argues earlier in Romans 3.

He must be referring to the works of Torah in verse 28 for verses 29 and 30 to make sense. If, in verse 28, Paul is denying that good works in general do not justify, why does he then immediately cap that point with a statement about the Jew and and Gentile having equal access to justification?

Unless we have a Paul that is decidedly confused and incompetent as a writer, he must be denying justification by Torah, not good works, in this text.

And, as I hope to show, and have argued before, there is no inconsistency with taking Paul at his word in Romans 2 about works-based justification and believing that we are justified by faith alone.

It only seems contradictory to those who do not accept Paul's "time-structured" approach to the concepts of justification and salvation.

drew
Apr 8th 2008, 10:14 PM
Paul said that we have been set free from the moral code from Sinai as a means of justification and salvation, Romans 7. We know that it is the Sinatic code for in verse 7 he said that he would not have known coveteousness except the law had said "you shall not covet".
I do not see your point here. I do not see your grounds for concluding that "we have been set free from the moral code from Sinai as a means of justification and salvation". I agree that the Law lets us know what sin is, but how does that show that good works do not justify? Where is there anything in Romans 7 that is evidence that Spirit-induced works are not necessary for justification?

Brother Mark
Apr 8th 2008, 11:19 PM
I disagree. Paul said that we have been set free from the moral code from Sinai as a means of justification and salvation, Romans 7. We know that it is the Sinatic code for in verse 7 he said that he would not have known coveteousness except the law had said "you shall not covet".

When and where was a man every justified by the moral code of Sanai?

tgallison
Apr 8th 2008, 11:36 PM
Why did James address his letter, "to the twelve tribes scattered abroad"?

This letter was addressed to the Church. Was the church divided? Was the Jew and Gentile separated?

terrell

RevLogos
Apr 9th 2008, 02:17 AM
The idea that new behavior is expected from faith is in scripture outside of James, so it is not unique to James. Works are the fruit of the spirit. The parable of the talents comes to mind [Mat 25:14-30]. Jesus is telling us He expects us to do good things with the gift of salvation. The one who didn't is weeping and grinding his teeth. I'm sure there are many others.

valleybldr
Apr 9th 2008, 08:04 AM
Why did James address his letter, "to the twelve tribes scattered abroad"?

This letter was addressed to the Church. Was the church divided? Was the Jew and Gentile separated?

terrell I don't see a problem with addressing something to a given segment of the Body. Some people read way too much into this as if the principles and teaching do not apply to them. Most of these folk see Paul as a biblical trump card. todd

joztok
Apr 9th 2008, 11:31 AM
When and where was a man every justified by the moral code of Sanai?

Is that meant to be rhetorical?
Answer: For Jesus Christ and now us.

ProjectPeter
Apr 9th 2008, 12:18 PM
Drew,

I disagree. Paul said that we have been set free from the moral code from Sinai as a means of justification and salvation, Romans 7. We know that it is the Sinatic code for in verse 7 he said that he would not have known coveteousness except the law had said "you shall not covet".

Then in Galatians 3 he said that the law was a "tutor" to bring us to Christ. Paul was writing to Gentiles too. They did not have the Torah in "those specific elements that mark the Jew from the Gentile". But both Gentiles and Jews had the moral code either from Moses (Jews) or the revelation in nature (Gentiles). Then he said this:

"For these are the two covenants: the one from Sinai which generates bondage...." (4:24)

It is the works of the moral code, that is, the law at Sinai that cannot justify now. We are under the new covenant. The Sinai code produces "bondage".

The only solution is that James was written while the old covenant was still in effect. But Paul came about ten years later with new revelation that justification was no longer by the deeds of the law at Sinai.

James told his audience to live as those who would be judged by the law (Sinai). But Paul said that "there is therefore no judgment to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).

Therefore, at some point between James and Paul God brought His people to a better understanding of new covenant salvation. James is like the old testament writings which can "make thee wise unto salvation". It is profitable for "instruction in righteousness" like the old testament books.

But as far as justification is concerned Paul's word is the final word.

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed" (Rom. 3:21) Note that Paul said "now" it is being revealed. This was at least ten years AFTER James.

Paul's final word is FAITH ALONE!Uh... Paul actually said live and act like on judged by the law of liberty. So not sure what you are reading that leads you to believe that James was speaking of the Law of Moses.

As to what Paul was saying in the Romans letter... The "now" wasn't the idea that only Paul was revealing this. It was simply saying now as opposed to before... righteousness of God apart from the Law is being manifested and the witness of this is the Law and Prophets themselves.

ProjectPeter
Apr 9th 2008, 12:22 PM
Is that meant to be rhetorical?
Answer: For Jesus Christ and now us.
Actually... even from Abraham we know that it was always faith. If men were justified for following the Law of Moses and that was it... then when the children of Israel followed the Law of Moses in offering the proper sacrifices... God would have had to forgive them. Instead God rejected their sacrifice as a stench to His nostrils. The Law has never justified anyone as righteous. That is the very mistake of the nation of Israel in the first place and it always amazes me that folks can't see that very simple point.

Friend of I AM
Apr 9th 2008, 12:43 PM
Please explain how you reconcile the Romans 2 material with your belief that works are not needed for justification.

Romans 3:10-20

As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

God bless in Christ,

Stephen

ProjectPeter
Apr 9th 2008, 12:51 PM
Romans 3:10-20

As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

God bless in Christ,

Stephen
That is Works of THE LAW.

Now... good deeds such as James examples... clothing the naked or feeding the hungry... those are nothing less than deeds worthy of repentance is it not? If you turn your back to that... as John says... how can the love of God be in you?

Rest assured... that is the deeds all of us will be judged for.

Friend of I AM
Apr 9th 2008, 01:31 PM
That is Works of THE LAW.

Now... good deeds such as James examples... clothing the naked or feeding the hungry... those are nothing less than deeds worthy of repentance is it not? If you turn your back to that... as John says... how can the love of God be in you?

Rest assured... that is the deeds all of us will be judged for.

Isaiah 64:6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Romans 4:1-6
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Romans 7:18
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

My works/deeds of this dead flesh are nothing but filthy rags before God. Anything I do, he can do infinitely better. So no amount of deeds I do will pay the debt I owe to God because of sin, nor will any deed ever bring me to salvation. Only faith in Christ can do that. Any works present during this walk of faith can be attributed to God and not myself, or at is written, it is no longer I who live - but Christ who lives in me.

In Christ,

Stephen

ProjectPeter
Apr 9th 2008, 02:00 PM
Isaiah 64:6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Romans 4:1-6
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Romans 7:18
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

My works/deeds of this dead flesh are nothing but filthy rags before God. Anything I do, he can do infinitely better. So no amount of deeds I do will pay the debt I owe to God because of sin, nor will any deed ever bring me to salvation. Only faith in Christ can do that. Any works present during this walk of faith can be attributed to God and not myself, or at is written, it is no longer I who live - but Christ who lives in me.

In Christ,

Stephen
Anything we do, compared to God, would come out with that measure. But again... that is just a religious speak way of getting around the point. The point is... we will all be judged by our deeds. Even folks that believe in Jesus Christ. If you aren't doing good deeds (Not works of the Law) then folks will be dealt with accordingly. Some as sheep... some as goats.

drew
Apr 9th 2008, 03:05 PM
Romans 3:10-20

As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
This was posted in response to my request that the poster reconcile Romans 2 with the assertion that good works are not required for justification.

First, Romans 2, no less than 3 times mind you, clearly states that eternal life is granted contingent upon the demonstration of good works. So if you believe he meant something other than what he wrote, you still need to explain that material - posting other Scriptures may have value but it does not address the Romans 2 text. Please tell us what you think Paul when he writes things like this in Romans 2:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life...

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

As to the Romans 3 text you post:

The verse at the beginning indeed declares that "there is no one who does good". However, Paul is describing the state of affairs before the covenant is renewed. Most people miss that Romans 1-4 is telling the covenant history and the statements in it need to set in their proper times.

Notice the following from the very beginning of chapter 3:

What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God. 3What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness?

Paul is not making a general "timeless" statement about human faithlessness. He is saying something much more particular - that the Jews failed in their covenantal role to be the means by which the world is saved. That is why God "entrusted His words" to them. They have proved faithless. My point here is that Paul is telling a history in chapters 1 through 4.

In chapter 1 Paul starts to tell the whole covenant story with an allusion to the sin of Adam and the fall of mankind:

For since the creation of the world....,etc etc.

The material that you post fits into that history and it describes the state of the world before God (in Christ) faithfully does what the Jews did not do - defeat the power of sin. Note the "time shift" in 3:21:

20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify

To summarize: Romans 3:10 describes the state of the world before Jesus defeats sin on the cross and before the Spirit is given. As made clear elsewhere in Romans (e.g. chapters 8 and 10) the giving of the Spirit enables the Christian to manifest works that were not possible before.

God is acting in history. One cannot dive down into Romans 3:10, without setting it in its proper place in the redemptive timeline, and suggest that it undermines what Paul clearly says in Romans 2.

But let's suppose that I am wrong about all this - that 3:10 is indeed "timeless". You still have a huge problem to make your position work - what in the world did Paul mean in Romans 2 when, no less than 3 times, he affirms justification on the basis of good works?

And, as has been repeatedly argued, Paul's statement that none will be made righteous by "observing the Law" does not in any way undermine what he says in Romans 2.

In Romans 3, references to "Law" are demonstrably references to the Torah - the Law of Moses.

In Romans 2, Paul is talking about good works.

drew
Apr 9th 2008, 03:24 PM
Romans 4:1-6
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture?
As is almost always the case with Paul, the "works" here are the works of Torah and specifically those works which mark the Jew out from the Gentile. The context shows this rather clearly. Just a few breaths before, in Romans 3, Paul writes this:

Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith

Would Paul be saying this if he were making an argument against justification by "good works"? Of course not. He is making an argument against the position that the Jews, by virtue of following Torah, have an inside track on the Gentile in respect to justification. So he is in the middle of an argument against the position that the Torah justifies - the very thing his Jewish readers would be inclined to believe.

As we know from Romans 3 Paul believes that Jew and Gentile are equally in Adam - equally fallen:

What shall we conclude then? Are we any better[b (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=52&chapter=3&version=31#fen-NIV-27986b)]? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.

I appeal to the reader to give Paul the credit for being a clear careful thinker. He was a well-educated person.

It would make absolutely no sense for Paul to continually bring up the Jew-Gentile distinction in the vicinity of his repudiation of justification by "works" if he doesn't mean "works of Torah". Why? Because it is precisely the ethnic specificity of Torah that would the basis for the Jew to believe that he is better off than the Gentile in respect to justification. It is this idea that Paul is trying to undermine.

Friend of I AM
Apr 9th 2008, 03:25 PM
Anything we do, compared to God, would come out with that measure. But again... that is just a religious speak way of getting around the point. The point is... we will all be judged by our deeds. Even folks that believe in Jesus Christ. If you aren't doing good deeds (Not works of the Law) then folks will be dealt with accordingly. Some as sheep... some as goats.

1 Corinthians 13
Love

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Despite any deeds that men do, only God and his Love exemplified through Christ Jesus on the cross will remain in the end and will be remembered, because all of mankind has already been shown to be condemned to death by their dead works of the law - but extended mercy through the atonement sacrafice and the faith offered by Christ Jesus - or as James himself puts it in his epistles.

Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13


In Christ,

Stephen

drew
Apr 9th 2008, 03:29 PM
Romans 7:18
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
I will merely assert my position here and hopefully fill it out later. The above statement is not a timeless statement. It is specifically a characterization of the Jew under Torah before the covenant is renewed by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

If my assertion can be asserted, and I am confident that it can, the above statement from Romans 7 does not undermine the claim that we are justfied at the coming judgement by the good works that the Spirit manifests in our lives.

And again, for those who see the Romans 7 statement above as undermining what Paul says in Romans 2, the rather obvious question is this: "What did Paul intend his reader to understand when he seems to clearly state, in Romans 2, that men will be justified by "persistence in doing good" and "obeying the law", etc?

thethinker
Apr 9th 2008, 03:48 PM
I do not see your point here. I do not see your grounds for concluding that "we have been set free from the moral code from Sinai as a means of justification and salvation". I agree that the Law lets us know what sin is, but how does that show that good works do not justify? Where is there anything in Romans 7 that is evidence that Spirit-induced works are not necessary for justification?

Drew,
First, the BIG problem with your view is that God requires perfect obedience. James said that to break the law in one point is to break the whole law. You and I have never at any time kept the law in a perfect manner. So who then can be saved? We're both damned!

Second, you create an artificial division in the law of God which in reality does not exist. The law at Sinai said, "You shall worship the Lord God and Him only you shall serve". But in the Mosaic codes afterwards God was saying, "This is how you are to worship Me".

So the Mosaic codes which you say distinguished Jews from Gentiles were God's own requirements for worship. So if God said at Sinai "Worship Me" and then imposes regulations on the how of it, then disobedience to the how is the same as disobedience to the law at Sinai.

So the only real difference between Jews and Gentiles was the how of it. The Jews had the revelation of Moses while the Gentiles had the revelation in nature.

For the Jews the Mosaic codes AFTER Sinai were the particulars. And to fail to obey any particular was to be guilty of breaking the code at Sinai.

So there can be no division between Sinai and the regulations which followed. The whole law of Moses is ONE!

Paul said, "Now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed" (Rom. 3:21). The term "apart" from the law includes the whole Mosaic code from Sinai to every particular. To the Jews it was the particulars of Moses. To the Gentiles it was the revelation in nature.

No matter what. Justification ia apart from the law. Justification is by faith alone for the man who knows himself to be an undeserving sinner.

drew
Apr 9th 2008, 04:59 PM
Drew,
First, the BIG problem with your view is that God requires perfect obedience. James said that to break the law in one point is to break the whole law. You and I have never at any time kept the law in a perfect manner. So who then can be saved? We're both damned!
Once more, I believe that you are getting the Torah confused with the performance of "good works" in general. Beside, I suggest that you are really disagreeing with Paul who clearly says in Romans 2 that the works that our lives exhibit will count to our ultimate justification.

In any event, the material you refer to in James is about doing all of Torah. He is not asserting the impossiblity of works-based justification, he is effectively asserting the impossibility to keep Torah perfectly. And if he was denying justification by "good deed", he would be contradicting what Paul says in Romans 2. But please note, the James text by itself shows that in verse 10, James is talking about Torah. I need not even appeal to Romans 2. Your position, on the other hand, turns Romans 2 into a complete mystery.

I suspect you will object to my assertion that in verse 10, James is talking about Torah, whereas in verse 24 I claim that he is talking about "good works" generally and not Torah. I think the text justifies such a position, but we can discuss that if you like.

So James is not talking about perfect performance of good works, he is talking about perfect obedience to Torah (in verse 10). So what he says does not undermine Paul's clear teaching in Romans 2:

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

What do you think Paul intended his reader's to understand when he wrote this?

tgallison
Apr 9th 2008, 07:06 PM
I don't see a problem with addressing something to a given segment of the Body. Some people read way too much into this as if the principles and teaching do not apply to them. Most of these folk see Paul as a biblical trump card. todd

valleybldr greetings

I am not as much interested about what was in the letter, as much as why there appears to be a segregation. This letter wasn't directed to one location, it was directed to all locations. By its heading it excludes Gentiles, while at the same time being directed to the church. What was the difference? Why the exclusion.

Does anyone have a logical conclusion? A reason why James would do this.

This takes place 16 years after the great commandment.

terrell

RogerW
Apr 9th 2008, 07:22 PM
There is a big problem with your statement highlighted in red. James did indeed say that works saves.

"You see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone". But Paul said,

"By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified".

So here are your options:
1) The theology of James and Paul were true at the SAME TIME and contradicted each other or,
2) The theology of James and Paul were true in a DIFFERENT TIME and no contradiction can be charged to God.

I do not kick out the book of James any more than I kick out any other old covenant book.

I haven't read every reply here so this may have already been asked. When James says "a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" what or whose work is he speaking of?

Paul is right when he tells us "by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" and James is right when he tells us that "a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." How can both be right at the same time, and not contradictory?

Both James and Paul understand that the works that save us are not our works but the works of Christ. Salvation is of the Lord alone; His works and none of ours. After we are imputed with His righteousness unto faith, then we too work out our salvation with fear and trembling, because it is Christ working in us to both will and do of His good pleasure.

Christ works to save His people, and His people work as evidence they have been saved, thereby showing the work of the faith they have received when they were born again.

Joh 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

Joh 5:17 ¶ But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

Joh 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

Joh 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Ro 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Apr 9th 2008, 08:02 PM
Paul is right when he tells us "by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" and James is right when he tells us that "a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." How can both be right at the same time, and not contradictory?
I submit that the proper resolution is this:

1. Paul denies justification by doing the works of Torah;

2. James embraces justification by doing good works generally;

3. Paul affirms James in Romans 2 where he assert justification by "good works"

Many here support the "our good deeds are proof of a salvation already secured and are not salvific in and of themselves". I do not see how that can be made to work with Romans 2.

To "thethinker": I think I understand your objection about me "splitting the Torah". I have the sense of a response in my head, but I need to work out the details. So I will have to get back to you.

RogerW
Apr 9th 2008, 08:50 PM
I submit that the proper resolution is this:

1. Paul denies justification by doing the works of Torah;

2. James embraces justification by doing good works generally;

3. Paul affirms James in Romans 2 where he assert justification by "good works"

Many here support the "our good deeds are proof of a salvation already secured and are not salvific in and of themselves". I do not see how that can be made to work with Romans 2.

To "thethinker": I think I understand your objection about me "splitting the Torah". I have the sense of a response in my head, but I need to work out the details. So I will have to get back to you.

What do you mean when you say "James embraces justification by doing good works generally"? Are you saying that James believed that keeping the law (Torah) would justify one before God prior to Christ?

Many Blessings,
RW

thethinker
Apr 9th 2008, 09:06 PM
Once more, I believe that you are getting the Torah confused with the performance of "good works" in general. Beside, I suggest that you are really disagreeing with Paul who clearly says in Romans 2 that the works that our lives exhibit will count to our ultimate justification.

In any event, the material you refer to in James is about doing all of Torah. He is not asserting the impossiblity of works-based justification, he is effectively asserting the impossibility to keep Torah perfectly. And if he was denying justification by "good deed", he would be contradicting what Paul says in Romans 2. But please note, the James text by itself shows that in verse 10, James is talking about Torah. I need not even appeal to Romans 2. Your position, on the other hand, turns Romans 2 into a complete mystery.

Drew,
You are totally taking Romans 2 out of its context. Paul was talking about old covenant justification. Then in chapter 3 he uses an important little word. That word is "BUT".

"BUT now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed". So don't interpret chapter 2 without that little word "BUT" in chapter 3:21. Paul goes on in chapter 3 to explain new covenant justification.

I agree with what you say about James. But God did not reveal new covenant justification to James. It was revealed to Paul. Until that new revelation came they had to live by old covenant standard. That's why James said, "Live as those who will be judged by the law" (2:12).

But later Paul said that "there is therefore NO judgment to those who are in Christ Jesus".

drew
Apr 9th 2008, 09:08 PM
I hope that this post clarifies what I admit are some subtleties in the position that I ascribe to - subtleties that can make it hard for others to understand what I am asserting and / or make my position seem self-contradictory. More specifically, I hope that this post will at least touch on "thethinker"'s objection about me "splitting Torah"

Consider this from Romans 10:

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.

Here is something that NT Wright wrote about this text:

Supposing, I thought, Paul meant ‘seeking to establish their own righteousness’, not in the sense of a moral status based on the performance of Torah and the consequent accumulation of a treasury of merit, but an ethnic status based on the possession of Torah as the sign of automatic covenant membership?

Following the ideas of Wright, when Paul denies "justification by works", he is denying "possession of Torah as the sign of automatic covenant membership". And to be justified, for Paul, means to be considered part of God's covenant people.

I hope this gives a flavour of where I am coming from. And more specifically, I hope it redresses the following objection that might understandably have arisen in relation to my posts:

"Drew says Paul denies justification by works of Torah, but at the same time embraces justification by "good works". But since part of Torah is about "good works" - its not all about 'ceremonial stuff' - Drew is contradicting himself, since to deny justification by Torah would deny justification by the "do good works" dictates of Torah"

So at the risk of repetition, I am claiming that when Paul denies "justification by works", he is specifically denying that mere possession of Torah - being born a Jew - is sufficient to be declared justified, a member of God's covenant family. And to finish the thought, if you are a member of God's covenant family, you are "justified". And if you are justified, you get eternal life.

If this is indeed what Paul means - and obviously we will disagree on this - then there is no contradiction with agreeing with what Paul says in Romans 2: Whether you are Jew or Gentile, you will be given eternal life based on the works your life manifests.

ProjectPeter
Apr 9th 2008, 10:26 PM
1 Corinthians 13
Love

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Despite any deeds that men do, only God and his Love exemplified through Christ Jesus on the cross will remain in the end and will be remembered, because all of mankind has already been shown to be condemned to death by their dead works of the law - but extended mercy through the atonement sacrafice and the faith offered by Christ Jesus - or as James himself puts it in his epistles.

Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13


In Christ,

StephenThat passage isn't speaking of the "love of God" but the love that we are to walk in when doing what we're supposed to do. ;) Certainly mercy triumphs over judgment but not really sure what any of this has to do with what we're talking about.

Friend of I AM
Apr 10th 2008, 12:37 PM
That passage isn't speaking of the "love of God" but the love that we are to walk in when doing what we're supposed to do. ;) Certainly mercy triumphs over judgment but not really sure what any of this has to do with what we're talking about.

Sure it does. As it is written. We love him, because he first Loved us.

Without God and his law(Word), I wouldn't have known what Love was. Now I fully know, what it is and what it is not. Thank the Lord for sharing his love with all of his creations. Let us follow his example towards us on the cross, and return the same type of unconditionnal love back to him in our walks. Walking in the fruits of the spirit of Love, described in both James and Paul's epistles.

In Christ,

Stephen

ProjectPeter
Apr 10th 2008, 12:43 PM
Sure it does. As it is written. We love him, because he first Loved us.

Without God and his law(Word), I wouldn't have known what Love was. Now I fully know, what it is and what it is not. Thank the Lord for sharing his love with all of his creations. Let us follow his example towards us on the cross, and return the same type of unconditionnal love back to him in our walks. Walking in the fruits of the spirit of Love, described in both James and Paul's epistles.

In Christ,

Stephen
Alrighty then I suppose. Still no clue what it has to do with this discussion but hey... preach on. :lol:

Friend of I AM
Apr 10th 2008, 12:59 PM
Alrighty then I suppose. Still no clue what it has to do with this discussion but hey... preach on. :lol:

No problem. James Epistle is true for all time. It spreads the same message of hope, faith, and love that the rest of the bible preaches, particularly Paul's epistles. Thus as James has stated within his epistle..faith without works is dead..or specifically..faith not coming from God is not true faith at all - as faith coming from God unto itself exemplifies all the things mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, and this type of faith is a true work of God.

In Christ,

Stephen

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 02:31 PM
What do you mean when you say "James embraces justification by doing good works generally"? Are you saying that James believed that keeping the law (Torah) would justify one before God prior to Christ?
Thanks for the question. I claim that James 2 shows that James believes that doing good works generally (e.g. loving people, helping ladies across the street, giving to the poor, etc) are necessary for "justification" - to be in God's covenant family and receive eternal life.

I do not know the book of James well enough to have an opinion as to whether he believed "that keeping the law (Torah) would justify one before God prior to Christ?". I would be mortified if he did believe this, since I am confident that Paul clearly teaches that no one was ever justified by keeping Torah before Christ (or anytime).

I would hate to have to conclude that Paul and James disagreed. But I see no disagreement. Both Paul, in Romans 2, and James, in James 2, assert that justification is contingent upon exhibiting good works (not to be confused with "doing the works of Torah").

I believe that the categories "works of Torah" and "good works" are not the same. And I believe that many err when they read "works" in Paul and think he is talking about the category of "good works". I claim that Paul repudiates justification by "the ethnic specificity of the works of Torah".

Things get a little tricky here since there are clearly "good works" type things in Torah to go along with the stuff that would clearly mark the Jew from the Gentile - Sabbath, purity laws, etc.

But, in essence, I think that when Paul denies "justification by works", he is denying that "being born a Jew" - being born into the world of Torah - is sufficient for justification.

He is not denying justification by doing good acts. How could he be? In Romans 2, he asserts that people are indeed justified by the works their lives manifest.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 02:57 PM
Drew,
You are totally taking Romans 2 out of its context. Paul was talking about old covenant justification.".
All right, let's explore this a little further.

In Romans 2, Paul is clearly describing a future judgement - a judgement that has not happened as of April 2008.

Who, exactly, are you saying will appear at that judgement and be judged by their works with eternal life at stake as the text so clealy states?

Do you believe that only those who lived before Christ appear at the judgement? If so, some of those will get eternal life based on works, since that is what the text says. Heaven would then contain people justified in 2 different ways - those before Christ justified by their works and those after Christ, justified by their faith.

I suspect you would deny such a position. It would be hard to reconcile with the text anyway.

I suspect that you may believe the following:

1. All persons, who lived in all times, and who do not have "faith", will appear at that judgement and be condemned by their deeds.

2. No person with faith, no matter when they lived, will appear at that judgement - they will be "excused from it" and justified by their faith.

The problem with this is that it is simply not what the text says. Paul would need to be a highly incompetent writer to describe a future judgement with a "bad works results in condemnation" branch and a "good works results in justification" branch and intend the reader to understand that the condemned category will contain millions and millions of people, while exactly zero persons will be in the "justified by good work" category.

What kind of a writer would describe, in detail, a path to justification that zero persons will take?

So please give more details. You have stated that Romans 2 describes "old covenant justification". But the tricky bit is that Romans 2 describes a judgement that has not happened yet.

Please tell us who will appear that judgement, what will happen to them, and on what basis?

I will provide my answer: All humans who have ever lived will appear at the judgement. Those who exhibit good works will be justified. Those who do not will be condemned.

I am interested in your answer, please.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 03:12 PM
As is almost always the case with Paul, the "works" here are the works of Torah and specifically those works which mark the Jew out from the Gentile. The context shows this rather clearly. Just a few breaths before, in Romans 3, Paul writes this:

Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith

Would Paul be saying this if he were making an argument against justification by "good works"? Of course not. He is making an argument against the position that the Jews, by virtue of following Torah, have an inside track on the Gentile in respect to justification. So he is in the middle of an argument against the position that the Torah justifies - the very thing his Jewish readers would be inclined to believe.

As we know from Romans 3 Paul believes that Jew and Gentile are equally in Adam - equally fallen:

What shall we conclude then? Are we any better[b (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=52&chapter=3&version=31#fen-NIV-27986b)]? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.

I appeal to the reader to give Paul the credit for being a clear careful thinker. He was a well-educated person.

It would make absolutely no sense for Paul to continually bring up the Jew-Gentile distinction in the vicinity of his repudiation of justification by "works" if he doesn't mean "works of Torah". Why? Because it is precisely the ethnic specificity of Torah that would the basis for the Jew to believe that he is better off than the Gentile in respect to justification. It is this idea that Paul is trying to undermine.

Yet, the torah is summed up in one word...

Gal 5:14
14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
NASB

All the good deeds talked about in scripture are concerning the torah. But what makes deeds or works empty? Hebrews tells us. Dead works are simply works we do outside of faith. For without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Faith will have words or deeds. Deeds that we are judged by are indeed, founded in the torah because that is where we learn, "love your neighbor". Now, I don't mean the torah justifies. God taught that if we give a little one water, it will be remembered in the day of judgment.

Matt 25:34-37
35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
NASB

and

1 John 3:17
17 But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
NASB

If, as 1 Cor. 13 teaches, the love of God is in our hearts, it will manifest itself in good deeds.

Those deeds were first defined by the law, that can be summed up as "Love your neighbor as yourself".

I do not hold to the Torah as a messianic. But the Spirit of the Torah still stands. Good deeds are based on the basic principles found in the OT of "love God and love man". No good deed will fall outside of these two commands. At the judgment, we will be judged on our deeds. Our deeds do not justify us as our faith does. But our deeds will reveal the love of God and our faith that is in us. 1 Cor 13 shows that one can have good deeds and not have faith or God or love.

threebigrocks
Apr 10th 2008, 03:32 PM
Grace.

Dead works are those done without grace. Fruitful works are those done with grace. That leaves us with grace and everything not covered through Christ's grace.

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 03:36 PM
All right, let's explore this a little further.

In Romans 2, Paul is clearly describing a future judgement - a judgement that has not happened as of April 2008.

Who, exactly, are you saying will appear at that judgement and be judged by their works with eternal life at stake as the text so clealy states?

Do you believe that only those who lived before Christ appear at the judgement? If so, some of those will get eternal life based on works, since that is what the text says. Heaven would then contain people justified in 2 different ways - those before Christ justified by their works and those after Christ, justified by their faith.

I suspect you would deny such a position. It would be hard to reconcile with the text anyway.

I suspect that you may believe the following:

1. All persons, who lived in all times, and who do not have "faith", will appear at that judgement and be condemned by their deeds.

2. No person with faith, no matter when they lived, will appear at that judgement - they will be "excused from it" and justified by their faith.

The problem with this is that it is simply not what the text says. Paul would need to be a highly incompetent writer to describe a future judgement with a "bad works results in condemnation" branch and a "good works results in justification" branch and intend the reader to understand that the condemned category will contain millions and millions of people, while exactly zero persons will be in the "justified by good work" category.

What kind of a writer would describe, in detail, a path to justification that zero persons will take?

So please give more details. You have stated that Romans 2 describes "old covenant justification". But the tricky bit is that Romans 2 describes a judgement that has not happened yet.

Please tell us who will appear that judgement, what will happen to them, and on what basis?

I will provide my answer: All humans who have ever lived will appear at the judgement. Those who exhibit good works will be justified. Those who do not will be condemned.

I am interested in your answer, please.

Drew,
All humans appear before judgment on the basis of the revelation they possessed IN THEIR LIFETIME. I have been trying to keep this simple.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 03:39 PM
Grace.

Dead works are those done without grace. Fruitful works are those done with grace. That leaves us with grace and everything not covered through Christ's grace.

Exactly. All things are from Him, through Him, unto Him. It's all grace and that comes through faith.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 03:43 PM
Drew,
All humans appear before judgment on the basis of the revelation they possessed
But what does this really mean, in respect to Romans 2. I really do not think you have answered my questions.

Who will appear at the judgement described in Romans 2?

Since this judgement describes people getting eternal life based on works, will anyone, in fact, be given eternal life on this basis?

redeemedbyhim
Apr 10th 2008, 04:12 PM
No contradiction:
Paul was speaking about the root of true faith...Justifaction by faith in the finished work of Christ.
James was speaking about the fruit of faith...good works that, as Paul said to Titus, are profitable to men.

Well said.
My daughter recently gave her heart to the Lord and was baptized and is living a new life as a babe in Christ! Praise God!!

She said something to me about her new life that seems to connect with this premise, she said, "He (Jesus) makes me want to be a better person."
She seems to know by spiritual instinct, perhaps, that having been justified by her faith in the work of Jesus that she now wants to be a better person, revealing the fruit of her faith.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 04:15 PM
But what does this really mean, in respect to Romans 2. I really do not think you have answered my questions.

Who will appear at the judgement described in Romans 2?

Since this judgement describes people getting eternal life based on works, will anyone, in fact, be given eternal life on this basis?

No one gets to heaven based on works. We are judged according to our deeds. No doubt about that. They reveal the work that God has done in us. Apart from faith, all works are dead. Romans is a great book for showing the role faith plays. 1 John spells it out clearly, if the love of God is in someone, he will reveal that love through the deeds he does.

Want to balance Romans 2 with Romans 6 through 9? Or 1 Cor 3? Or 1 John?

Our deeds reveal what's in our heart. God will judge us according to our deeds. The righteous heart will keep on doing righteousness. The wicked will do wicked.

We are not justified by our works. Grace is what saves us and that is through faith. Our works are evidence of this grace.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 04:31 PM
No one gets to heaven based on works.
If so, please tell me exactly what Paul means by these statements:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

I submit that Romans 2 simply does not give you the option of arguing that we are justified by "faith" and that "works" are merely the evidence of a faith that is fully salvific independent of works.

Paul is clearly stating - no less than three times mind you - that there is a cause and effect relationship between "good works" and "eternal life / justification".

I suggest that you are simply refusing to take Paul at his word here.

Why would he write these things if what you say is true about how works do not justify?

Would you, if you were Paul, write a statmenent like this:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

if you believed that the granting of eternal life was not contingent upon doing good?

Paul means what he says in Romans 2.

threebigrocks
Apr 10th 2008, 04:40 PM
Let me ask you this. Who is Paul addressing?

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 04:46 PM
If so, please tell me exactly what Paul means by these statements:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

I submit that Romans 2 simply does not give you the option of arguing that we are justified by "faith" and that "works" are merely the evidence of a faith that is fully salvific independent of works.

Paul is clearly stating - no less than three times mind you - that there is a cause and effect relationship between "good works" and "eternal life / justification".

I suggest that you are simply refusing to take Paul at his word here.

Why would he write these things if what you say is true about how works do not justify?

Would you, if you were Paul, write a statmenent like this:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

if you believed that the granting of eternal life was not contingent upon doing good?

Paul means what he says in Romans 2.

Romans 1 lays the foundation for Romans 2. What's in a man comes out. How many scriptures you want me to quote where Paul says works are not part of salvation? Eph 2 would be a good place to start.

Those who seek eternal life do good deeds. Those who persist in doing good, do seek glory, honor and immortality. The doctrine of perservence of the saints is throughout scripture. For those that persevere, salvation, but for those that don't, damnation. Yet, salvation itself is based on faith. Good works are the result of faith.

Here's a verse that clarifies what Paul was teaching in Romans 2.

1 John 3:17
17 But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
NASB

We can isolate just Romans 2 and not get an overview of the entirety of scripture. When taken as a whole, we have plenty of scripture to suggest that righteousness comes at the moment of belief.

It happened for Abraham. Yet, James shows us that righteousness of Abraham was completed when his obedience was complete. Yet, before he obeyed, God reckoned Abraham righteous.

Let us not confuse judgment of deeds with salvation by works. While one may walk away from Christ because of his works, one cannot come to Christ on the basis of his works. Therein lies the difference.

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 04:46 PM
But what does this really mean, in respect to Romans 2. I really do not think you have answered my questions.

Who will appear at the judgement described in Romans 2?

Since this judgement describes people getting eternal life based on works, will anyone, in fact, be given eternal life on this basis?


Those under the old covenant in Romans 2 will appear and give answer for their response to the revelation they had. Likewise, those under the new covenant will answer for their acceptance of their rejection of Christ.

I am not following your reasoning. Sorry :confused.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 04:47 PM
Those under the old covenant in Romans 2 will appear and give answer for their response to the revelation they had. Likewise, those under the new covenant will answer for their acceptance of their rejection of Christ.

I am not following your reasoning. Sorry :confused.

No one under the old covenant was justified by their works either. What old testament saint was saved because of what he did?

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 04:50 PM
No one under the old covenant was justified by their works either. What old testament saint was saved because of what he did?

James said that Abraham and Rahab were justified by their works. They were old covenant saints you know.

jesuslover1968
Apr 10th 2008, 04:55 PM
What James is saying is that if you have saving faith( salvation ) you will do works( works of grace ) BECAUSE of that faith. We will know them by their fruits. If someone is not walking, talking and living in Jesus' footsteps, there is no saving faith.
Paul did NOT teach a different message than James. They do not contradict each other, they compliment each other. We are saved by Faith alone. Works are a result of that faith. When we are saved, God changes us ( the new man, woman, etc. He changes our heart. We then, because we are changed, and continue to change toward a more christlike life ) that change is what causes the works that we do. It isn't a work that is done by human means. We can do nothing without Christ, and any works that we do as unchanged men and women are like filthy rags to our Holy God.
There is no such thing as progressive revelation. God is unchanging. His Word is unchanging. It means the same thing now as it did before it was written, after it was written and even unto the future that hasn't occured yet, it will STILL mean the same thing. Fallen men cannot accept the things of God so they want to change it to suit themselves, but that isn't ever going to happen. People can say what they want, think and believe what they want, but that doesn't make it true.
God's Word is living. It is the Word that He gave us so that we could live...if you change what it says, then it is just another book. There are no contradictions in scripture. If we think there is, then we are wrong and don't understand it, it's that plain and simple. :)

jesuslover1968
Apr 10th 2008, 04:57 PM
James said that Abraham and Rahab were justified by their works. They were old covenant saints you know.


Their works were a result of their saving faith.

threebigrocks
Apr 10th 2008, 05:02 PM
Romans 4


1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?

2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."
4Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited 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 credited as righteousness,
6just 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." 9Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, "FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."


Belief through faith, same as righteousness is credit to us.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 05:25 PM
James said that Abraham and Rahab were justified by their works. They were old covenant saints you know.

Paul said Abraham was justified by grace. ;) James point? That faith without works is dead. Paul makes the same argument. No OT saint was ever justified apart from faith.

It's the totality of the message. Paul's entire thesis concerning grace in Romans and Galatians is based on OT doctrine.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 05:40 PM
Let me ask you this. Who is Paul addressing?
I conclude that, in Romans 2, Paul is addressing all of humanity:

He obviously is describing a judgement that will be carried out in respect to both Jew and Gentile. Stunningly, some will argue that this not so, denying the explicit statements to the contrary:

9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.

So we know that the judgement does not discriminate between Jew and Gentile.

If you are going to argue that he is addressing people born before Jesus, then one is placed in the rather awkward position of having to argue that some before Jesus' time will be justified by "doing good" since no sane writer would describe a works-based path to justification that zero persons will take.

This is the problem with the view that Paul is describing a works-based path to justification in Romans 2 that zero persons will take.

Many people deal with Romans 2 by basically arguing "Paul is telling us how we would be justified by good works if we could be justified in this way. But, of course, we can't."

No writer with a lick of sense would do such a thing without explicitly telling the reader that this is what he is doing.

Let's say that you believed that employees would be given a pay raise based on the colour of their hair - silly though that might be.

You most certainly would never write the following in chapter 2 of an "epistle to the employees":

"To those employees who persist in working hard, a pay raise will be given"

and then later undermine that statement by arguing that no one can work hard enough to get a pay raise after all, so, in the end, pay raises will be given based on something entirely different from working hard - namely hair colour.

And yet many Christians believe that Paul wrote in this very manner - describing a path to justification in chapter 2 that he does not believe is possible of attaining.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 05:47 PM
Those under the old covenant in Romans 2 will appear and give answer for their response to the revelation they had. Likewise, those under the new covenant will answer for their acceptance of their rejection of Christ.

I am not following your reasoning. Sorry :confused.
Please answer this very specific question.

Will any humans beings at all be given eternal life at the Romans 2 judgement based on "doing good"? The following texts clearly describe a process where this very thing happens:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

I am asking you whether you think zero persons will be given eternal life (I trust you agree with me that if one is "declared righteous" as per verse 13, one gets eternal life) based on the above criteria - all of which, in one way or another, assert eternal life is granted on the basis of "doing good"

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 05:51 PM
Please answer this very specific question.

Will any humans beings at all be given eternal life at the Romans 2 judgement based on "doing good"? The following texts clearly describe a process where this very thing happens:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

I am asking you whether you think zero persons will be given eternal life (I trust you agree with me that if one is "declared righteous" as per verse 13, one gets eternal life) based on the above criteria - all of which, in one way or another, assert eternal life is granted on the basis of "doing good"


Based on the following verse, will anyone be given eternal life based on works?

Eph 2:8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
NASB

Though we walk in good works, they do not save us.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 05:55 PM
Paul said Abraham was justified by grace.
I wish to point out that there is no inconsistency at all in the following statements, both of which are rather clearly asserted in the Scriptures:

1. We are justified by grace;
2. We are justified by the works our lives manifest.

I know that many of you see a contradiction here. I suggest that Paul certainly does not. He asserts both. Instead of basically ignoring one or the other, I suggest that Paul argues the following in his writings:

"By God's grace and His grace alone we are given the Spirit when we place faith in Jesus. The Spirit then ensures that we demonstrate the works that will justify us as described in Romans 2".

Romans 2 means what it says - the works the Spirit produces in our lives will justify us at the end. And Ephesians 2 means what it says - we are saved by grace.

There is no contradiction.

The problem arises when people mistakenly think Paul is denying justification by good works in a number of statements where I suggest it is clear that he is denying salvation by the "works of Torah". These are not the same thing - and they would not be understood as the same thing by a first century Jew.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 05:59 PM
Based on the following verse, will anyone be given eternal life based on works?

Eph 2:8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
NASB

Though we walk in good works, they do not save us.
As per my last post, Paul here is not denying justification by good works, he is justifying justification by the "works of Torah". That he is talking about Torah here is really quite clear from context.

One cannot simply assume that when Paul refers to "works" he intends us to understand this as "good works". Given the context in which Paul lived - a Jew immersed in Torah - he could instead be referring the "works" of Torah. And the context of Ephesians 2 shows that this is indeed the case. One has to read Paul properly. The fact that he makes the kind of "therefore" argument that he does make shows that it is Torah that is in view here. If Paul actually meant "good works", then the "therefore" argument which begins in verse 11 (reproduced below) makes no sense at all:

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit

This material is all about the Jew-Gentile divide - and that is demarcated by Torah, not by the "doing of good works".

This is the big problem with the reformed reading of "works". It requires us to scratch our heads and ask the following question: "Why is it that when Paul refers to "works" (taken as "good works"), it always appear in a context where the Jew-Gentile issue is in view?"

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 06:04 PM
I wish to point out that there is no inconsistency at all in the following statements, both of which are rather clearly asserted in the Scriptures:

1. We are justified by grace;
2. We are justified by the works our lives manifest.

I know that many of you see a contradiction here. I suggest that Paul certainly does not. He asserts both. Instead of basically ignoring one or the other, I suggest that Paul argues the following in his writings:

"By God's grace and His grace alone we are given the Spirit when we place faith in Jesus. The Spirit then ensures that we demonstrate the works that will justify us as described in Romans 2".

Romans 2 means what it says - the works the Spirit produces in our lives will justify us at the end. And Ephesians 2 means what it says - we are saved by grace.

There is no contradiction.

The problem arises when people mistakenly think Paul is denying justification by good works in a number of statements where I suggest it is clear that he is denying salvation by the "works of Torah". These are not the same thing - and they would not be understood as the same thing by a first century Jew.

We have several examples from scripture whom God justified.


Luke 18:13-14
13 "But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' 14 "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted."
NASB

With nary a work, the publican was justified. How can it be his works justified him when he did none. Yet, God clearly states that he was justified. The thief on the cross is another example.

Galatians also makes this point.

Gal 3:1-7

3 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain — if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
NASB

Ephesians shows the point of works.

Eph 2:8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
NASB

Not only does Ephesians state we are saved by grace, but he also states that we are NOT saved (or justified) by works.

Yet, we are. As James wrote, Abraham was justified by works. The problem? God said Abraham was justified before he offered Isaac. Yet, James referred to the offering of Isaac as evidence that Abraham had believed God. The point of James? Faith will have works. As it says in Ephesians, God prepared those works before hand that we should walk in them. Yet, it is bewitching if we think we are either sanctified or justified by them.

Circumcision never justified anyone. Yet, God thought it so important, he was going to kill Moses because his son was not circumcised. Circumcision did not justify Moses soul, but it did cause judgment to fall on him until it was done rightly.

Let us not confuse judgment and justification and righteousness. We are justified by faith and that justification is revealed in good works. James makes this point rather well using Abraham. However, as Paul pointed out, Abraham was counted as righteous before the works James pointed out ever occurred.

No contradiction, just recognition of how God functions.

Friend of I AM
Apr 10th 2008, 06:07 PM
I think many in here look at doing something from a standpoint of seeking glory, as oppossed to doing it for the purpose of just loving others. I don't think that James or Paul were advocates of doing things just for one to simply receive honor.

I think these men were possessed by a loving/kind spirit(Holy Spirit) and did these things because of love of God as love for their fellow man.

Paul even exclaims himself that he wishes he could lose his reward of salvation, if at any point it would bring others to the faith of Christ Jesus.

James prayed that those who stoned him, would not receive mercy before he died.

And lest us not forget our savior Christ, the one who truly deserves all the honor and glory, and what he himself had to go through, not receiving any reward while in this life, but just going about doing the will of his Father because he loved him.

These are the type of deeds, or specifically the type of persistence in doing good that I believe Paul was speaking about in Romans 2.

Even in doing these noble things, Let's not forget that only by the grace of God are men even allowed to have fellowship with him. If it were truly solely based on our works, what would be the need for Christ?

So let us continue to be excellent to one another and to God as we've been commanded to do, in the same way that these men have. Giving all of ourselves to God within this lifetime, despite the good or bad things we receive, so that we can be used for his glory.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 06:08 PM
As per my last post, Paul here is not denying justification by good works, he is justifying justification by the "works of Torah". That he is talking about Torah here is really quite clear from context.

One cannot simply assume that when Paul refers to "works" he intends us to understand this as "good works". Given the context in which Paul lived - a Jew immersed in Torah - he could instead be referring the "works" of Torah. And the context of Ephesians 2 shows that this is indeed the case. One has to read Paul properly. The fact that he makes the kind of "therefore" argument that he does make shows that it is Torah that is in view here. If Paul actually meant "good works", then the "therefore" argument which begins in verse 11 (reproduced below) makes no sense at all:

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit

This material is all about the Jew-Gentile divide - and that is demarcated by Torah, not by the "doing of good works".

This is the big problem with the reformed reading of "works". It requires us to scratch our heads and ask the following question: "Why is it that when Paul refers to "works" (taken as "good works"), it always appear in a context where the Jew-Gentile issue is in view?"

In Ephesians, these works that do not save us are works that God ordained for us to walk in. They are good works. They were ordained for us to walk in, yet they do not save. He makes the same point in Galatians.

Shoot, even in Romans he mentions it is not of works.

Rom 9:10-13
10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." 13 Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
NASB

Let's be clear, Jacob and Esau were BEFORE the Torah. The works mentioned here are NOT works of the Torah.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 06:10 PM
We can isolate just Romans 2 and not get an overview of the entirety of scripture. When taken as a whole, we have plenty of scripture to suggest that righteousness comes at the moment of belief.
But Romans 2 clearly states that, at the coming judgement, eternal life is granted based on the good works our lives manifest. I do not see how you are not simply rejecting Romans 2 and wrapping that rejection up in the guise of a "other Scripture clarifies Romans 2" argument.

I will continue to repeat: What kind of person would write this:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

or this

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous

and yet believe that "righteousness comes at the moment of belief"?

If I were writing an essay for high school that included the above statements (verses 7 and 13) and then later in the essay I wrote that eternal life is granted based on the moment of belief, the teacher would slap my face. And rightly so. That would be horrible writing style.

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 06:11 PM
Their works were a result of their saving faith.

Of course their works were the result of their faith. But those works justified them:

"You see then, that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (2:24).

This was old covenant.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 06:14 PM
In Ephesians, these works that do not save us are works that God ordained for us to walk in. They are good works.
This simply cannot be correct unless Paul is a schizophrenic and incompetent writer who asserts that we are not saved by "good works" and then qualifies such a statement with a therefore and goes on to describe how the barrier between the Jew and the Gentile has been broken down - a barrier which is clearly the Torah.

It is the Torah, not the performance of good works, that distinguished Jew from Gentile.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 06:14 PM
Of course their works were the result of their faith. But those works justified them:

"You see then, that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (2:24).

This was old covenant.

Really? He was speaking of Abraham. Was that part of the Old covenant? Then what do you make of Paul's writings where Abraham was justified by faith and not works?

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 06:21 PM
Let's be clear, Jacob and Esau were BEFORE the Torah. The works mentioned here are NOT works of the Torah.
Yes, but they were post-circumcision. While I do not have the time now, I believe that I can argue that Paul more or less considered circumcision to be effectively "within" the scope of Torah, the technicalities of timing notwithstanding. In short, I think that Romans 4 and stuff from Galatians supports this view that Paul effectively bundled circumcision into Torah, despite the fact that circumcision preceeded the giving of Torah by hundreds of years.

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 06:24 PM
Please answer this very specific question.

Will any humans beings at all be given eternal life at the Romans 2 judgement based on "doing good"? The following texts clearly describe a process where this very thing happens:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

I am asking you whether you think zero persons will be given eternal life (I trust you agree with me that if one is "declared righteous" as per verse 13, one gets eternal life) based on the above criteria - all of which, in one way or another, assert eternal life is granted on the basis of "doing good"

I have answered your question specifically. I think you don't know what to do with my answer. Romans 2 has to do with old covenant justification. Therefore, those who were under the old covenant will receive eternal life on the basis of their having done good.

For the Jew it was his obedience to the law of Moses. For the Gentile it was his obedience to the revelation in nature.

But under the new covenant eternal life is based on faith alone! Therefore, James is old covenant. This is the third time now I have answered your question. I started this thread with the assertion that justification was by works under the old covenant.

I can't be more clear about it!

threebigrocks
Apr 10th 2008, 06:27 PM
Of course their works were the result of their faith. But those works justified them:

"You see then, that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (2:24).

This was old covenant.


And it still holds true. That has not, and will not change. It's just not faith ALONE, but what we show the world as our new man grows up. Do our actions reflect the heart or not?

Regardless, we are saved by grace through faith and not by anything we could possibly do. Works resulting from that grace should be a natural thing and not an effort. Love freely given is love freely recevied.

threebigrocks
Apr 10th 2008, 06:31 PM
But under the new covenant eternal life is based on faith alone! Therefore, James is old covenant. This is the third time now I have answered your question. I started this thread with the assertion that justification was by works under the old covenant.

I can't be more clear about it!

To quote something that everyone has seen around here somewhere:

"To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.”
--W.A. Tozier

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 06:39 PM
And it still holds true. That has not, and will not change. It's just not faith ALONE, but what we show the world as our new man grows up. Do our actions reflect the heart or not?

Regardless, we are saved by grace through faith and not by anything we could possibly do. Works resulting from that grace should be a natural thing and not an effort. Love freely given is love freely recevied.


You are contradicting yourself. First you say that justification is "not by faith alone". Then you say that it is by grace and faith and that "it's not by anything we do". :confused :confused

James was written before God revealed the full, new covenant meaning of the cross to Paul. Therefore, James' method of justification was true until Paul came with his gospel.

James' and Paul's method of justification cannot both be true at the same time. The failure to recognize this simple principle results in the contradictions that you are uttering.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 06:39 PM
Therefore, those who were under the old covenant will receive eternal life on the basis of their having done good.

But under the new covenant eternal life is based on faith alone! Therefore, James is old covenant. This is the third time now I have answered your question. I started this thread with the assertion that justification was by works under the old covenant.

I can't be more clear about it!
Well, earlier posts aside, I agree that the above is clear. I must admit I have never heard anyone advocate such a position before. You describe a "theology" with two distinct paths to justification.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 06:40 PM
This simply cannot be correct unless Paul is a schizophrenic and incompetent writer who asserts that we are not saved by "good works" and then qualifies such a statement with a therefore and goes on to describe how the barrier between the Jew and the Gentile has been broken down - a barrier which is clearly the Torah.

It is the Torah, not the performance of good works, that distinguished Jew from Gentile.

Yet, we have Romans 9 which is referring back to largely pre-torah times and there Paul stated the same exact thing... not of works.

In Romans 5 is all about salvation by grace through faith and not of works. The point of Romans 5 is about how faith saved pre-Torah and how all were condemned in Adam.

Romans 4, Paul clearly wrote that it was not of works again referring back to the OT and pre-Torah times and mentioning works. Therefore, we know the works Paul referred to in Romans was not works of the Torah.

Rom 4:19-25
19 And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore also it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 23 Now not for his sake only was it written, that it was reckoned to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.
NASB

And the real kicker...

Rom 4:16-17
16 For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, 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, 17 (as it is written, "A father of many nations have I made you") in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.
NASB

Jew and Gentile are saved through faith as Paul argues in Romans 4:16-17. It is in accordance with grace, which only comes through faith, not only to the those under the law, but to those outside the law. And what person did he use? Abraham who was pre-Law whose descendants were given the Law at a later time.

Jacob and Esau are a great example as well of how it is not by works but faith. And also they were pre-Law meaning the works considered were not works of the Torah.

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 06:42 PM
Well, earlier posts aside, I agree that the above is clear. I must admit I have never heard anyone advocate such a position before. You describe a "theology" with two distinct paths to justification.

But the two paths of justification I advocate are not true at the same time.

By the way, the Westminster Confession says that they were saved under the old covenant by the sacrifices they offered. That's works, isn't it.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 06:43 PM
Yes, but they were post-circumcision. While I do not have the time now, I believe that I can argue that Paul more or less considered circumcision to be effectively "within" the scope of Torah, the technicalities of timing notwithstanding. In short, I think that Romans 4 and stuff from Galatians supports this view that Paul effectively bundled circumcision into Torah, despite the fact that circumcision preceeded the giving of Torah by hundreds of years.

But he also went on to say that circumcision did not save. And Abraham was NOT post circumcision. Yet he was counted righteous BEFORE he was circumcised.

Gen 15:6
6 Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
NASB

And circumcised later at ...

Gen 17:10-12
10 This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.
NASB

Just as Abraham's works FOLLOWED after he was declared righteous, so do ours.

Abraham was preLaw, preCircumcision and yet, Paul argued his whole case of salvation based on faith through Abraham.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 06:44 PM
You are contradicting yourself. First you say that justification is "not by faith alone". Then you say that it is by grace and faith and that "it's not by anything we do". :confused :confused

James was written before God revealed the full, new covenant meaning of the cross to Paul. Therefore, James' method of justification was true until Paul came with his gospel.

James' and Paul's method of justification cannot both be true at the same time. The failure to recognize this simple principle results in the contradictions that you are uttering.

Thinker, I ask again... was Abraham justified by grace through faith as Paul argued?

RogerW
Apr 10th 2008, 06:48 PM
Thanks for the question. I claim that James 2 shows that James believes that doing good works generally (e.g. loving people, helping ladies across the street, giving to the poor, etc) are necessary for "justification" - to be in God's covenant family and receive eternal life.

Maybe if we look at the context of James 2 we can determine if James is teaching us good works are necessary for justification. James begins the chapter by rebuking those who show respect of persons according to outward circumstances and material advantage. In Christ no one is unimportant, but Christ is all (Col 3:10,11; 1Co 12:12,13). When we profess faith of Christ we ought never cater to some or show contempt for others.

Jas 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

Has not God chosen those who have nothing in this world and looked upon as being nothing? They are somebody, for they are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ in the kingdom of God (1Co 1:26-29). God's choice of individuals is according to His mercy and grace.

Jas 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

On the other hand, if you really fulfill the royal law, you do well. What does this royal law say? "Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself" (Mt. 22:34-40; Gal 5:13,14; 6:2). Every person is our neighbor and is to be loved and shown compassion, especially those of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10).

Jas 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

If we show partiality, and honor to one person above another because of position, power or wealth, we commit sin, and we are rebuked and convicted by the law of our Lord as transgressors. Many who flee some of the outward, more obvious forms of sin may find themselves great sinners in regard to attitude, spirit and absence of genuine love.

Jas 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

We are not at liberty to obey and ndglect what commandments of Christ we please, but should have respect to them all. Men, who like the Pharisee's may think that they have kept the law of God, but this is a sad mistake. To offend in one point is to be treated by the law as a transgressor (Ro 8:28,29).

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

The man who shows no mercy to the poor members of Christ, but have for gain shown respect to the powerful, will receive judgment before God without mercy (Mt. 25:41-45; Mk 11:25,26). Merciful men, who have shown mercy in the name of Christ and for the glory of Christ, are not afraid of judgment, but rather rejoice in view of it, knowing that in Christ there is no judgment. They know what manner of men they are by God's grace.

Jas 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

What use is it to say we have faith in Christ if we have no good works (no labor of love) to show for it? Can this kind of faith save? Certainly not! True faith is not historical faith, nor faith that lies only in words. True faith that saves is an operation of grace that works by love and kindness through the Holy Spirit both to Christ and others (2Co 5:17; 1Jo 2:4).

Jas 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

How do we manifest good works as evidence of possessing saving faith? Can we take credit for the good works we do, then claim it is in doing these good works that we are justified before God? Hardly! It is because we have been justified that we do good works, according to God working through us. For it is only by His grace working in us that we do good.

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The context shows us that James is not saying doing good works generally is necessary for salvation, but rather he is saying that doing good works, without partiality unto all men, even the least of these my brethren will be manifest in the one who possesses saving faith.



I believe that the categories "works of Torah" and "good works" are not the same. And I believe that many err when they read "works" in Paul and think he is talking about the category of "good works". I claim that Paul repudiates justification by "the ethnic specificity of the works of Torah".

Paul, like James repupudiates any works we think we can do to be justified before God.



He is not denying justification by doing good acts. How could he be? In Romans 2, he asserts that people are indeed justified by the works their lives manifest.

Romans 2 in a nutshell. In the Day of Judgment, God will deal justly with every person according to his deeds. Will we stand in Christ through faith and perseverance and receive the glory of God which abides in Christ and immortality in Christ, or resurrection of life (Ph 3:10,11)...God rendering eternal life? Or, will we stand with those who are self-seeking, self-willed, self-righteous and disobedient to the gospel of truth to receive God's just indignation and wrath?

The wrath of God will be poured out upon all men who are guilty of sin (whether Jew or Gentile), and the mercy of God will be upon all men in Christ (whether Jew or Gentile), for there is no respect of persons with God (Ro. 3:22,23; 10:12, 13; Col 3:11).

Many Blessings,
RW

threebigrocks
Apr 10th 2008, 06:53 PM
You are contradicting yourself. First you say that justification is "not by faith alone". Then you say that it is by grace and faith and that "it's not by anything we do". :confused :confused

James was written before God revealed the full, new covenant meaning of the cross to Paul. Therefore, James' method of justification was true until Paul came with his gospel.

James' and Paul's method of justification cannot both be true at the same time. The failure to recognize this simple principle results in the contradictions that you are uttering.

We are saved by grace through faith. Sanctification.

Once we become a new man in that faith, we will want to do that which is pleasing to God. If we say yeah I believe, I'm a Christian - and nothing in our life shows our love and new charater we take on of Christ - what sort of faith is it? Those thoughts, actions and words born of a desire to please God whom we love should be natural and primary. They are those things which are of Him who is in us - not of ourselves. We simply choose to do so because of what has been done for us.

Blessed is he who is found doing the Lord's work when He returns! That is His work, doing His will not of our own of which we can boast about. Works of God through the Spirit, not our own.

Think about it. If someone does something for you, say you borrow a couple eggs from a neighbor - freely given - you want to repay because of what THEY did, correct? Your gratitude for what they gave you without expecting anything in return pushes you to want to do well in return. You send over a half dozen cookies - the fruit of which you were freely given.

RogerW
Apr 10th 2008, 06:55 PM
Please answer this very specific question.

Will any humans beings at all be given eternal life at the Romans 2 judgement based on "doing good"? The following texts clearly describe a process where this very thing happens:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

I am asking you whether you think zero persons will be given eternal life (I trust you agree with me that if one is "declared righteous" as per verse 13, one gets eternal life) based on the above criteria - all of which, in one way or another, assert eternal life is granted on the basis of "doing good"

That's all very well, and good...but please tell us how and why some do good? Are you sure it is doing the good works that justifies them, or is Paul like James arguing that good works will be manifest in those who have been justified?

Many Blessings,
RW

ProjectPeter
Apr 10th 2008, 06:58 PM
James was written before God revealed the full, new covenant meaning of the cross to Paul. Therefore, James' method of justification was true until Paul came with his gospel.

James' and Paul's method of justification cannot both be true at the same time. The failure to recognize this simple principle results in the contradictions that you are uttering.Um... you keep making the assertion that they are different because Paul came up with something different later... but then I have shown you already where Paul preached the same thing that James did pretty near at the end of his life. So while you have concocted this theory that it is different... don't make it different. Scripture contradicts that actually in that we know both preached we are to do good deeds. Not the WORKS OF THE LAW.

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 06:58 PM
But he also went on to say that circumcision did not save. And Abraham was NOT post circumcision. Yet he was counted righteous BEFORE he was circumcised.

Absolutely. But the church did not know this to be true until Paul told the Romans. And Paul did not know this to be true until God told him. Therefore, they had to live under the revelation that they had before it was revealed. Thus James said that Abraham was justified by works.

Righteousness by faith alone was kept secret:

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed" (Rom. 3:21).

"Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revealtion of the mystery kept secretfor long ages past", but is NOW being revealed" (Rom. 16:25-26).

Note that Paul says that the faith alone gospel is his own. He says, "my gospel". He says this because it was revealed to him alone.

Again, the church didn't know that Abraham was justified by faith alone until Paul told them. And Paul didn't know until God told him. It was "kept secret". Thus James said that Abraham was justified by works because that was true under the old covenant.

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 07:11 PM
Um... you keep making the assertion that they are different because Paul came up with something different later... but then I have shown you already where Paul preached the same thing that James did pretty near at the end of his life. So while you have concocted this theory that it is different... don't make it different. Scripture contradicts that actually in that we know both preached we are to do good deeds. Not the WORKS OF THE LAW.

So James preached the same thing at the end of his life. This proves nothing at all. James developed in his thinking too.

The epistle of James was early in his thinking. The historical and biblical facts are that the apostles and the church grew in their understanding of the death of Christ.


The different writings of the New Testament all appeared within a period of about half a century but they also furnish the means of tracing the development of thought in the early apostolic church" Biblical Hermeneutics, Milton S. Terry, Academic Books, p. 566).

Note that there was a "development" of thought. Jesus promised them that the Holy Spirit would "guide" them into all truth. So they were guided. They were not hit over the head with all truth on the day of Pentecost.

Paul came later than James with the full gospel message. New covenant salvation is by FAITH ALONE! We are to preach the gospel of Paul. If we don't, we are "anathema" (Gal. 1:8).

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 07:25 PM
Absolutely. But the church did not know this to be true until Paul told the Romans. And Paul did not know this to be true until God told him. Therefore, they had to live under the revelation that they had before it was revealed. Thus James said that Abraham was justified by works.

Righteousness by faith alone was kept secret:

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed" (Rom. 3:21).

"Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revealtion of the mystery kept secretfor long ages past", but is NOW being revealed" (Rom. 16:25-26).

Note that Paul says that the faith alone gospel is his own. He says, "my gospel". He says this because it was revealed to him alone.

Again, the church didn't know that Abraham was justified by faith alone until Paul told them. And Paul didn't know until God told him. It was "kept secret". Thus James said that Abraham was justified by works because that was true under the old covenant.

It (salvation by faith) was revealed all the way back in Genesis 15 when Abraham believed God and God said "he reckoned it to him as righteousness". One only had to look. According to Paul, Abraham was justified by faith way back then. Sure, the full gospel was being revealed. The importance of faith was always out there though. It was the fullness of the person of Christ that was not fully revealed.

The Law also spoke of being circumcised in heart. We know in Hebrews that Israel did not enter into Canaan because of their unbelief. It always has been about faith.

David wrote often in the Psalms about faith. He knew it was through faith as well.

Ps 51:10-13

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Thy presence,
And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation,
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways,
And sinners will be converted to Thee.
NASB

Ps 51:16-17
16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
NASB

Sacrifice and burnt offerings were works of the Torah. David rightly recognized that it was not those works that would cleanse him from his sin, but rather a repentant heart towards God was what God was looking for. And when God saw that repentant heart of faith, he cleansed David.

Nothing has changed.

RogerW
Apr 10th 2008, 07:28 PM
Absolutely. But the church did not know this to be true until Paul told the Romans. And Paul did not know this to be true until God told him. Therefore, they had to live under the revelation that they had before it was revealed. Thus James said that Abraham was justified by works.

Righteousness by faith alone was kept secret:

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being revealed" (Rom. 3:21).

"Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revealtion of the mystery kept secretfor long ages past", but is NOW being revealed" (Rom. 16:25-26).

Note that Paul says that the faith alone gospel is his own. He says, "my gospel". He says this because it was revealed to him alone.

Again, the church didn't know that Abraham was justified by faith alone until Paul told them. And Paul didn't know until God told him. It was "kept secret". Thus James said that Abraham was justified by works because that was true under the old covenant.

Greetings TT,

Righteousness has always been by faith alone. The mystery that had been kept secret from the foundation of the world was salvation unto the Gentiles. This was not made manifest until after the cross. The OT saints looked forward in faith to the coming of Christ (Heb 11), and now we look back in faith to the finished work of Christ.

Col 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Ac 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
Ac 28:24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
Ac 28:25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
Ac 28:26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
Ac 28:27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Ac 28:28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

The gospel is Paul's gospel in the same way it is my gospel, or your gospel, and every Christian's gospel. No one whether living under the old covenant or new is justified by their own works. Salvation has always been by grace through faith.

Many Blessings,
RW

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 07:30 PM
Greetings TT,

Righteousness has always been by faith alone. The mystery that had been kept secret from the foundation of the world was salvation unto the Gentiles. This was not made manifest until after the cross. The OT saints looked forward in faith to the coming of Christ (Heb 11), and now we look back in faith to the finished work of Christ.

I think the mystery is actually the fullness of Christ. We know the gospel, even in the OT was given to gentiles. It came to Rahab, Ruth, Abraham, Lot, Enoch, Noah, and many others, none of which were Jewish.

RogerW
Apr 10th 2008, 07:53 PM
I think the mystery is actually the fullness of Christ. We know the gospel, even in the OT was given to gentiles. It came to Rahab, Ruth, Abraham, Lot, Enoch, Noah, and many others, none of which were Jewish.

Not really following your argument here Mark. The fullness of Christ is the gospel; i.e. the message of the cross and resurrection, for salvation unto all the world. The OT saints knew of Messiah to come, for it was written in the prophets, but every OT saint, including Gentile saints were saved by grace through faith. Even though there were some Gentiles saved before Christ, it is commonly known that prior to Christ' first advent salvation had been limited to the nation. It was not until after the cross and resurrection that it was revealed that salvation is unto all the peoples of the world.

Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Heb 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
Heb 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
Heb 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Heb 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Ac 2:25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
Ac 2:26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

Ac 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Ac 2:35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

Many Blessings,
RW

ProjectPeter
Apr 10th 2008, 07:57 PM
So James preached the same thing at the end of his life. This proves nothing at all. James developed in his thinking too.[quote]Paul preached it at the end of his life. Repent and turn to God doing DEEDS worth of repentance. Acts 26. I posted it to you earlier... I know you read it. ;)

[quote]The epistle of James was early in his thinking. The historical and biblical facts are that the apostles and the church grew in their understanding of the death of Christ.Um... the Holy Spirit didn't change His way of doing things somewhere along the line. This is the danger of your progressive revelation stuff. You have God changing stuff up all through these man-made dispensations of this and that.


Note that there was a "development" of thought. Jesus promised them that the Holy Spirit would "guide" them into all truth. So they were guided. They were not hit over the head with all truth on the day of Pentecost.Why? Was the Holy Spirit lacking in teaching ability? :rolleyes:


Paul came later than James with the full gospel message. New covenant salvation is by FAITH ALONE! We are to preach the gospel of Paul. If we don't, we are "anathema" (Gal. 1:8).Um... again. Paul preached repent and turn to God doing deeds worthy of repentance. That is the same thing that good old James was talking about in his letter.

ProjectPeter
Apr 10th 2008, 07:59 PM
Moving this into contro. Probably should have done that days ago!

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 08:06 PM
Not really following your argument here Mark. The fullness of Christ is the gospel; i.e. the message of the cross and resurrection, for salvation unto all the world. The OT saints knew of Messiah to come, for it was written in the prophets, but every OT saint, including Gentile saints were saved by grace through faith. Even though there were some Gentiles saved before Christ, it is commonly known that prior to Christ' first advent salvation had been limited to the nation. It was not until after the cross and resurrection that it was revealed that salvation is unto all the peoples of the world.

Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Heb 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
Heb 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
Heb 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Heb 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Ac 2:25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
Ac 2:26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

Ac 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Ac 2:35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

Many Blessings,
RW

The point is that salvation was always available to both Jew and Gentile. Jesus is the full gospel completely revealed. But both Jew and Gentile have had access to the gospel from the beginning. One may have been given more insight than the other, but both were readily accepted in God's kingdom upon faith and repentance. Ruth is a great example of that.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 08:08 PM
I think a good example of this entire discourse is the difference between Barabus and the theif on the cross. Jesus died in Barabus place, yet there is no indication that he was justified. Such if faith without works. One can believe in Christ, and yet not be justified.

The thief, who worked no good deeds, was yet saved and he died as well. The difference? One submitted fully to Christ and fruit was born in his life.

Let's be clear, the unfruitful won't be in heaven. But it is not the fruit that gets us there.

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 08:30 PM
Um... the Holy Spirit didn't change His way of doing things somewhere along the line. This is the danger of your progressive revelation stuff. You have God changing stuff up all through these man-made dispensations of this and that.

I'm not talking about various dispensations. Just two dispensations, the old and the new. My point is that new covenant truth was revealed progressively.


Why? Was the Holy Spirit lacking in teaching ability?

Are you suggesting that prophets under the Spirit's guidance become "super human" or something?

John 2 says that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit "without measure". Yet Luke 2 says that Jesus "increased in wisdom". So Jesus had to study the Torah like any other man. The Holy Spirit guided Him infallibly to the correct interpretation of the Torah. But His possession of the Spirit did not make His intellect "super human". Jesus still had to study.

He "increased" in wisdom. The Spirit did not hit Jesus over the head with all truth at once. The Spirit "guided" the Apostles. He did not give them all truth at once.

I repeat, I am not talking about various dispensations. I have spoken of no other than two, the old and the new. I am saying that new covenant truth was revealed gradually with Paul having the ultimate and final word on the subject of justification.

Therefore, all justification post-Paul is faith alone!


Um... again. Paul preached repent and turn to God doing deeds worthy of repentance.

This was before God revealed the full meaning of the gospel to him.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 08:32 PM
Therefore, all justification post-Paul is faith alone!

This was before God revealed the full meaning of the gospel to him.

As Jesus said "Abraham saw my day and rejoiced". God declared Abraham's righteousness when Abraham believed.

He was righteous by faith as we are.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 08:38 PM
Paul, like James repupudiates any works we think we can do to be justified before God.
Please tell me your opinion of what Paul was thinking and trying to tell us at the exact moment he wrote the following statements:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

Please give an opinion as to what Paul was intending us to understand when he wrote these three statements.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 08:40 PM
Let's be clear, the unfruitful won't be in heaven. But it is not the fruit that gets us there.
I will ask you the same questions I posed to RogerW. If what you write is true, please tell me your opinion of what Paul was thinking and trying to tell us at the exact moment he wrote the following statements:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

Please give an opinion as to what Paul was intending us to understand when he wrote these three statements.

Brother Mark
Apr 10th 2008, 08:40 PM
Please tell me your opinion of what Paul was thinking and trying to tell us at the exact moment he wrote the following statements:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

Please give an opinion as to what Paul was intending us to understand when he wrote these three statements.

Going down that road again? What about the rest of Romans where works is said to not be needed? Do those verses count?

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 08:44 PM
It (salvation by faith) was revealed all the way back in Genesis 15 when Abraham believed God and God said "he reckoned it to him as righteousness". One only had to look. According to Paul, Abraham was justified by faith way back then. Sure, the full gospel was being revealed. The importance of faith was always out there though. It was the fullness of the person of Christ that was not fully revealed.

If one only "had to look" then why does Paul say it was "kept secret"? And 2 Corinthians 3 says that until the Apostles there was a "veil" kept over their eyes so they could not understand.

I agree with you about the importance of faith in the old covenant. But the works of faith justified them.


Nothing has changed.

You say that justification was not by works under the old covenant. So I ask you this: Could an Israelite say to himself, "I have faith and that is all I need. So I am not going to offer a sacrifice for my sin"?

Would a man of faith say, "I don't have to follow Moses' command to offer a sacrifice because I am saved by faith alone? The man of faith knew that without doing that "work" his faith could not save him.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 08:45 PM
Going down that road again? What about the rest of Romans where works is said to not be needed? Do those verses count?
They do count. Please answer the questions. Paul must have been thinking something when he wrote the 3 statements from Romans 2. Please tell us what you think was in his mind.

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 08:46 PM
As Jesus said "Abraham saw my day and rejoiced". God declared Abraham's righteousness when Abraham believed.

He was righteous by faith as we are.

Then explain James' statement that by works Abraham "fulfilled the Scripture".

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 08:48 PM
I will ask you the same questions I posed to RogerW. If what you write is true, please tell me your opinion of what Paul was thinking and trying to tell us at the exact moment he wrote the following statements:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

Please give an opinion as to what Paul was intending us to understand when he wrote these three statements.

I have answered these already. The verses you refer to were true under the old covenant. Would you please move on now.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 08:54 PM
Going down that road again? What about the rest of Romans where works is said to not be needed? Do those verses count?
In most of the other statements about works in Romans, Paul is not even talking about "good works" when he refers to "works" - he is talking about Torah and arguing against the view that being ethnically Jewish is the grounds for ultimate justification.

Consider this from Romans 10:

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

This is the problem that Paul is redressing - the inclination for the Jew to establish a righteousness that is for Jews and Jews only. Paul counters this line of thinking by asserting (above) that righteousness is available to everyone (i.e. Jew and Gentile)

What is the basis for the Jew thinking he can establish a righteousness for Jews only?

Is it that the Jew thinks he is better at "good works" than the Gentile? I doubt it.

It seems much more likely that the Jew would see his distinctiveness from the Gentile as being grounded in the possession of Torah - the ethnic charter of the Jew that set him apart from the Gentile.

threebigrocks
Apr 10th 2008, 08:55 PM
Then explain James' statement that by works Abraham "fulfilled the Scripture".

Only Christ fufilled scripture. Abraham understood the nature and purpose of what was to come. Many others never understood.

There is only 1 gospel, 1 Christ, 1 redemption for sin under the righteousness of 1 on the cross. I pray you can find that unity in the scripture because dividing it against itself is a frightening place to be my friend.

drew
Apr 10th 2008, 08:57 PM
I have answered these already. The verses you refer to were true under the old covenant. Would you please move on now.
I know what you think but this, I am interested in what RogerW and Brother Mark think about these questions. These posts were directed to them. I do not agree with your overall view, but I will credit you with answering these questions - you have made it clear that you believe that those who lived and died before the time of Christ will get eternal life based on their good works. Fair enough. I do not think your overall view is correct, but you are actually taking Paul's statements in Romans 2 as they read. We are on common ground in this respect.

thethinker
Apr 10th 2008, 10:34 PM
Fair enough. I do not think your overall view is correct, but you are actually taking Paul's statements in Romans 2 as they read. We are on common ground in this respect.

Brother Drew,

Thanks Bro! You have earned my sincere respect. Glad you're my brother.

Brother Mark
Apr 11th 2008, 01:11 AM
If one only "had to look" then why does Paul say it was "kept secret"? And 2 Corinthians 3 says that until the Apostles there was a "veil" kept over their eyes so they could not understand.

I agree with you about the importance of faith in the old covenant. But the works of faith justified them.

Romans 9 answers this question.

Rom 9:30-33

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written,

"Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed."
NASB

The Jews, because they did not pursue righteousness by faith, were blinded.



You say that justification was not by works under the old covenant. So I ask you this: Could an Israelite say to himself, "I have faith and that is all I need. So I am not going to offer a sacrifice for my sin"?

Would a man of faith say, "I don't have to follow Moses' command to offer a sacrifice because I am saved by faith alone? The man of faith knew that without doing that "work" his faith could not save him.


Yep. David did say exactly that. After killing Uriah, the husband of Bethsheba and after committing adultery he said the following...

Ps 51:1-4

51 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned,
And done what is evil in Thy sight,
So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak,
And blameless when Thou dost judge.
NASB


He asked God to cleanse him from his sin.

Then he asked God again to purify him.

Ps 51:6-7
6 Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.
7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
NASB

Then he asked God to create a clean heart in him.

Ps 51:10

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me
NASB

Finally, he told God he would not offer a sacrifice for his sin because that was not what God required.

Ps 51:16-17
16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
NASB

It's always been faith.

Brother Mark
Apr 11th 2008, 01:12 AM
In most of the other statements about works in Romans, Paul is not even talking about "good works" when he refers to "works" - he is talking about Torah and arguing against the view that being ethnically Jewish is the grounds for ultimate justification.

Consider this from Romans 10:

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

This is the problem that Paul is redressing - the inclination for the Jew to establish a righteousness that is for Jews and Jews only. Paul counters this line of thinking by asserting (above) that righteousness is available to everyone (i.e. Jew and Gentile)

What is the basis for the Jew thinking he can establish a righteousness for Jews only?

Is it that the Jew thinks he is better at "good works" than the Gentile? I doubt it.

It seems much more likely that the Jew would see his distinctiveness from the Gentile as being grounded in the possession of Torah - the ethnic charter of the Jew that set him apart from the Gentile.

As I posted above, Israel was rejected because they did not pursue righteousness by faith. It's always been by faith.

Brother Mark
Apr 11th 2008, 01:17 AM
I know what you think but this, I am interested in what RogerW and Brother Mark think about these questions. These posts were directed to them. I do not agree with your overall view, but I will credit you with answering these questions - you have made it clear that you believe that those who lived and died before the time of Christ will get eternal life based on their good works. Fair enough. I do not think your overall view is correct, but you are actually taking Paul's statements in Romans 2 as they read. We are on common ground in this respect.

I have already told you but I will do so again. We know in Romans, Galatians and many other passages that Abraham was justified by faith. When James referred to his justification by works, he referred to the offering of Isaac, clearly not a statute in the Torah. So the justification has never been by works of the Torah.

When Paul said we were not justified by works in Ephesians, he specifically mentioned works were not a part of the process. Then went on to say we were to do those works anyway.

Eph 2:8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
NASB

So the works that don't save us, are the works we are called to keep! Those good deeds greatly matter.

We will be judged, as Romans 2 indicates, on the basis of our deeds. Said another way, our works do not save us even if they can cause us to walk away from God.

In other words, as Hebrews 6 teaches, when one walks away from God, he will be judged accordingly. Even though his works did not save him, certainly he will still face judgment as a result of his deeds. His deeds cost him his salvation.

drew
Apr 11th 2008, 02:22 PM
As I posted above, Israel was rejected because they did not pursue righteousness by faith. It's always been by faith.
That was not my point although I do have an opinion on your take on Romans 9:30 and following.

My point about the Romans 10 text is that it makes a strong case that Paul is combatting a Jewish tendency to establish a righteousness of their own - for Jews and Jews only. This point supports the thesis that when Paul speaks against "justification by works", he is speaking against justification by doing the works of Torah - precisely because it is Torah that would be the grounds for a "Jews only" path to heaven. And we can therefore take Romans 2 "as is" since Paul never denies justification by "doing good". He is battling against the idea that Jews are justified by Torah. He is not battling Pelegiansism (or however that is spelled).

I think you conclude too much from Romans 9:30-33. Paul gives this reason for the stumble of the Jew:

Because they pursued it not by faith....

Perhaps we will argue "language" here, but this is entirely consistent with the notion that righteousness is attained on the basis of good works that are the consequence of the action of the Spirit in the life of the one who pursues God by faith.

drew
Apr 11th 2008, 02:49 PM
IWe will be judged, as Romans 2 indicates, on the basis of our deeds. Said another way, our works do not save us even if they can cause us to walk away from God.
So when Paul wrote:

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

....he intended us to understand that "our persistence in doing good does not save us"? When you say that Paul intends us to understand that "our works do not save us", this is what you are saying.

And when Paul wrote:

...but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

...he intended us to understand that it is not the case that obedience is the basis for being declared righteous?

Let the reader judge where 2:7 and 2:13 can be read in a manner that jives with this.

You cannot be true to English usage and claim that, in 2:7, something other than "persisting in doing good" is the basis for eternal life and Paul is here telling us that "persistence in doing good" is a "side-effect" of saving faith. People who know how to write properly would not do that. And Paul is a highly educated, sophisticated and clear communicator.

Let's put the shoe on other foot. Suppose you asked me explain precisely what Paul had in mind when he wrote this:

For by grace you have been saved through faith;

And I responded that Paul, in this very statement intends us to understand with "our faith does not save us even if....."

No one would, or should, see this as a valid interpretation. The English does not give that latitude.

Your answer to my question appears to be that in the following three statements, Paul intends us to understand that "our works - persisting in doing good in verse 7 and "obeying the law" do not save us - result in our receiving ethernal life or being declared righteous."

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

13...but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

I cannot see how the above texts can be read this way. And if you think they can, we have probably reached a point where we cannot make progress on the Romans 2 statements.

drew
Apr 11th 2008, 03:05 PM
Here are the controversial three statements from Romans 2:

7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:

13.....but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

I think that if these statements are actually taken seriously - if we actually believe that Paul intended us to understand something when he wrote these very words - forget Romans 3 and Ephesians for now - we have to accept that good works are the basis for justification at this future judgement.

I think that the unworkability of any other conclusion can be illustrated by transposing these statements to another "neutral context".

Suppose that someone wrote these statements about a future "job review" for employees of some company:

1. To those employees who by persistence in working hard seek the company's interests, the boss will give a pay raise.

2. ...but pay raises for everyone who works hard:

3......but it is those who perform well who will get a pay raise.

Obviousy "eternal life / righteousness" has been replaced by "pay raise".

And "doing good works" has been replaced by "working hard, performing well".

The point is that no one would read these statements and deny that "working hard" is the basis, the grounds if you will, for the pay raise.

The person who wrote these statements was not rambling - he intended the staff to understand something about pay raises and job performance. Whatever, that person may have written elsewhere, we have to accept the plain sense of what he wrote in these statements.

drew
Apr 12th 2008, 02:31 PM
To any and all who believe that "good works" have no role in justification - being declared to be "righteous" and given eternal life at the coming judgement:

Please tell me your opinion of what Paul was thinking and trying to tell us at the exact moment he wrote the following statements:

6 God "will give to each person according to what he has done." 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:

13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

Please give an opinion as to what Paul was intending us to understand when he wrote these three statements.

But more specifically, please rewrite each of Pauls statement in your own words in a manner that you think captures what was in Paul's mind when he wrote these statements. I will take a shot

Paul's version: 6 God "will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life

In my words: At the coming judgement, what you have done will determine whether you get condemnation or eternal life - Those who persist in the performance of good works, and thereby seek glory, honour and immortality, will get eternal life.

Paul's version: 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:

In my words: Everyone who does good works will receive glory, honour and peace on the day of judgement.

Paul's version: 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

In my words: Those who hear the law and do not do it will not be given eternal life (declared righteous). Instead, those who actually do the law (whatever the law actually is) will be given eternal life.

Teke
Apr 13th 2008, 08:59 PM
In progressive revelation's defense, not all who hold to it are dispensational or divide up God's grace. For instance, I believe in progressive revelation but I am by no means a dispensationalist and I do think God's grace was for all at all times.

That said, the notion of progressive revelation often times is used in such a way that it makes God change, instead of just letting more to be revealed than was previously. What is in fact often times talked about as progressive revelation though is in fact more of "contradictory revelation" (Islam's version really) or that God is changing.

Hey Owen,
Just saw this. Been gone for a bit.

Looking over the thread, it's taken the direction I thought it would. A battle of what progressive revelation is in light of the law, which is also always challenged by faith in the NT teaching sense.

IMO these ideas are being used in the sense of a persons understanding of scripture. I assume this is your understanding as well, as you've stated your not a dispensationalist. In which case it's likely you view progressive revelation more in the sense of systematic theology. Meaning one can take things from scripture and in a systematic manner establish a revelatory conclusion. If I'm off base correct me.

My reasoning that there is no progressive revelation is based on what God has already revealed. In which case there is no progressive revelation as there is no progression, it has simply been revealed and we are to understand what has been revealed, in whatever manner we go about that. In this sense, "progressive revelation" is a misnomer.

Point of fact is that humanity continues to discover the grace of God in what He has already revealed. The continuity of humanity is not progressive. It just continues by the grace of God. What God has revealed is 1) the law, 2) Jesus Christ the Son of God, 3) the Church. These three things have been seen and witnessed to throughout history. Revelation is like lightning flashing, seen but for a moment but remembered long after and thought upon.

So while our thinking may be in a progressive manner as to understanding of those three things, they are the only revelations given us by God.
The law, doesn't progress, it is established.
The Son of God, doesn't progress, He is established.
The Church, doesn't progress, it is established.
So where is the "progressive revelation" from? As these three are all dogma.

To those who believe there is some difference with the law and faith in the NT, they need only prove it with the law. As I am confident there is no conflict in those three revelations given to us by God. The conflict is with us, not with the revelations given us by God.

Good works depend on what we believe to be good works in most instances, and not what God terms "righteous". As a "good work" is not necessarily righteous according to God's commands (law, guidelines). Genesis is our first example of this truth. However, it can be proven that every true Christian is righteous according to the law. But it is not enough, which is why God gave further revelation by His Son and the Church to bring us to a greater spirituality in communing with Him (Spirit).

drew
Apr 14th 2008, 01:33 PM
At the risk of seeming provocative, and perhaps ascribing motive, I noticed that people have stopped posting once I have asked them to really focus in on what Paul intended us to understand when he wrote Romans 2. I have asked people to express in their own words what Paul meant by three statements in Romans 2. These questions have not been fully addressed and more or less still out there waiting to be engaged

Here's the provocative part. I think that some, knowing that their answers will expose the error of their position, are simply unwilling to answer.

Let me illustrate. Suppose that I am one of those who believes that "good works" in no way is the basis, or grounds, for the granting of eternal life. If someone asks me to describe in my own words what Paul intended us to understand when he wrote the following words:

God "will give to each person according to what he has done." 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

....I believe I would be more or less forced to write this:

"God will give to those who are condemned according to their evil actions but He will give to those who get eternal life according to what they have believed. To those who persist in belief, God will give eternal life."

I suggest that it is written out like this, it becomes clear that there is simply too much "mangling" that you have to do to make this text work with the position that "good works" are not the grounds for the granting of eternal life.

Brother Mark
Apr 14th 2008, 01:45 PM
Well Drew, we can scripture scrap all day long. We won't agree. So why continue in the discussion? There are many verses, Romans 9 included, that speak of faiths role in justification and not works of any kind. It's not so much a concession of the point as a recognition of the fruitlessness of continuing the discussion. ;)

drew
Apr 14th 2008, 05:33 PM
Well Drew, we can scripture scrap all day long. We won't agree. So why continue in the discussion? There are many verses, Romans 9 included, that speak of faiths role in justification and not works of any kind. It's not so much a concession of the point as a recognition of the fruitlessness of continuing the discussion. ;)
I suggest that, on both sides of this and any other issue, there are going to be people that simply will not question an idea that they have grown up with. No amount of solid scriptural argument will convince such people - they have too much of their own self-worth bundled up in ensuring that they never have to admit they were wrong about something.

Such people are probably lost causes. But I do think that there are people out there who are willing to critically examine their world-view. It is for those people that these discussions are indeed fruitful. I am one of those people - I grew in the reformed tradition, believing that good works have no role at all in justification.

Then someone challenged me on Romans 2. When I re-read the text, thought for a bit, and reflected on the rest of Paul's writing, I became convinced that in Romans 2, Paul is clearly asserting justification by good works. I also see how Paul harmonizes this teaching with his other teaching about justification by "faith". And I now see the strength of the argument that Paul's denial of justification by "works" (e.g. in Romans 3 and 4) is really a denial of justification by the works of Torah.

At the end of the day, though, I think the whole issue divides on whether one really beleives that Paul would write Romans 2:6-13 the way he did if he really believed that "good works" played no role in justification. You think he did - that he did write the following worlds, all the while believing that what we do - our good works - is not the basis for the granting of eternal life. I think otherwise.

All I can ask the reader to do is to seriously engage the following text and decide for him or her self whether or not Paul is here asserting justification based on good works that our lives exhibit.

Let the words speak for themselves and let the objective reader draw their own conclusion:

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God "will give to each person according to what he has done."[a (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%202&version=31#fen-NIV-27954a)] 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism. 12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

If you can square the above narrative with the position that what we do is not the basis for justification, that is your right. I cannot.

Teke
Apr 14th 2008, 08:10 PM
Drew I doubt anyone can deny that good works are important. Jesus taught as much when He said "leave all and follow me". IOW it's one of those differences as with "servants" and/or "sons". "Sons" do good works as good sons, not expecting any reward (salvation) for doing what they are suppose to do.

But "good works" specifically and what that means, is a subject for another thread. It would make for a good observation of "servant" and "son".;)

Brother Mark
Apr 14th 2008, 10:09 PM
If you can square the above narrative with the position that what we do is not the basis for justification, that is your right. I cannot.

OK. So now I can quote Ephesians and say the same thing. Then Romans 9 and say what I have already said again. Then, I can go into Galatians and make the same argument. One cannot explain away those passages either. In the end, a man is judged by his works whether they be good or evil. If a man has faith, his works will demonstrate that and he will be judged righteous. If a man doesn't have faith, his works will demonstrate that and he will be judged unrighteous. Oh, and by faith, I don't mean a mere mental consent.

"Not of works, lest any man should boast". What works were these? The works God ordained for us to walk in, i.e. good works. ;)

Eph 2:8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
NASB

Paul here called the works in Ephesians "good". Yet in the very verse previous to mentioning the good works we walk in, he says that "not of works, that no one should boast".

So our "good works" do not save us nor are they a part of the salvation process. However, we will be judged by our works. Just to be even more clear, the Greek word for "works" in vs 9 is the same exact Greek word for "works" in 10. They mean the same action. Ephesians 2 pretty much eliminates good works from salvation.

drew
Apr 15th 2008, 01:48 PM
OK. So now I can quote Ephesians and say the same thing. Then Romans 9 and say what I have already said again. Then, I can go into Galatians and make the same argument. One cannot explain away those passages either.
I plan to shortly provide arguments that in both the Ephesians texts and the Romans 9 text, Paul is talking works of Torah - the ethnic charter of the Jews that distinguished them from their pagan neighbours. He is not, in those texts, writing about "good works" in the general sense. And so we can take Romans 2 as it is written.

Remember, the way to approach this properly is this:

"Which explanation - that Paul is talking about Torah or "good works" generally - makes better sense of the local context and the context of the entire letter"?

And not this:

"Is there any possible way at all that the text can be made to fit with the view that Paul is talking about "good works"?

By the way, your argument about Ephesians 2 in the last post is not very strong. Just because the same Greek word is used in "works" (in verse 9) as is used in "good works" (in verse 10) - this does not mean that he is using the word "works" in the same sense. The argument has a little force, but the content of what Paul goes on to say in the set of verses that follow make it clear that, in verse 9, Paul denies justification by the ethnic specificity of Torah - but I am getting ahead of myself.

While I cannot think of any examples off the top of my head, I suggest that there are plenty of cases where you will see the same word used in subsequent sentences without the same meaning being intended.

Teke
Apr 15th 2008, 02:26 PM
It's in the understanding of the preposition used. ie. by good works vs. for good works

We are not saved "by good works" but for good works". (Eph. 2:10)

drew
Apr 15th 2008, 02:52 PM
In Ephesians 2:9, is Paul denying justification by "doing good works" or is he instead denying that being under Torah - and therefore doing its "works" - is the basis for justification?

I think that, to be fair, we need to consider both possibilities and see where the evidence leads us. It is not enough to show that it is plausible that he is denying justification by good works. The proper approach is to ask which explanation is the better one.

Before I tackle Ephesians 2 in particular, I wish to make an argument for a theme that I think is always in Paul's mind. Consider this from Romans 10:

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Paul here (and elsewhere) is doing battle with a view that was very common among Jews of his day - that covenant membership is limited to Jews and Jews only. Paul, in the above text, is making a case that this is not so, by underscoring that Christ is the end of the "law" (here, I suggest that even Brother Mark will concede that "law" means Torah). Covenant membership is available for everyone.

Note what Paul writes a few breaths later:

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,...

Note that this is not a "good works" issue - it is a Torah issue. Now this does not (yet) establish my overall point, but I suggest that it shows that when we read Ephesians 2, we have to very seriously consider that the same issue that Paul is tackling in Romans 10, is also being addressed in Ephesians 2. The content of the "therefore" paragraph, that follows the Ephesians 2:8-10 block, will be shown as making this very same point. But that is for a later post.

If Paul is so concerned with battling a "salvation for Jews and Jews only" view in Romans 10, what would be the basis for the Jew holding such a view in the first place? Is it that the Jew would think he is a "better person" than the pagan, better able to do "good works"? Well, I suppose that's possible. But in Romans 10:4, Paul shows that he rather clearly sees the "barrier" as being the Torah - the ethnic charter of the Jews that demarcated them from their pagan neighbours.

And Christ has put an end to that demarcation, and more specifically he has put an end to the notion that Torah is the basis for "getting righteousness" (please re-read verse 4). To be deemed as "righteous is to be justified.

So we already know that Paul, in Romans 10 at least, is denying justification by the ethnic specificity of being under Torah. We shall see what Ephesians 2 says. I suggest that the content of the "therefore" paragraph that follows the 2:8-10 block shows that Paul is again focused on denying that there is no ethnic barrier between Jew and Gentile in respect to entry into covenant membership. More later, but here is at least a tidbit from Ephesians 2 to consider in light of what is doing in Romans 10:

14For he himself <***Jesus obviously> is our peace, who has made the two <***Jew and Gentile, I suggest> one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility

Please remember that the above statement is in a paragraph that begins in verse 11 with a "therefore" - Paul is elaborating on the implications of his denial of justification by "works". Now, and this is key, if Paul says "therefore, a barrier has been brought down", which is more likely?:

1. This is a barrier based on the Jew doing better "good works"
2. This is a barrier based on doing works of Torah.

drew
Apr 17th 2008, 06:10 PM
Let's suppose that Paul really does believe that the granting of eternal life at the end is in no way contingent on "doing good things". As we all know, Paul wrote this:

6God "will give to each person according to what he has done."[a] 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life

So we have to believe these things about what Paul has written here;

1. When he writes that he will give to each person according to what he has done, he really means that he will give, for the redeemed anyway, according to what they have believed. Would you express yourself this way? I wouldn't.

2. When he writes that eternal life will be given to those who persist in doing good - let's be fair, this is precisely how the sentence reads in this translation - he really means us to understand that eternal life to those who believed a certain thing. Does that sound like the way an educated Pharisee would express himself?

Paul also wrote this:

there will be glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:

So we have to believe that by "does good", Paul means "has faith". Would you choose such terminology if you were Paul?

Paul also wrote this:

it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

So we have to believe that "obey the law" means to "have faith". While this is a possibility, I suggest that it makes Paul into a very odd writer.

And if all this were not suspicious enough, consider how Paul introduces the entire narrative:

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.

Paul then launches in to his statements about what will happen at a "judgement". Is it a different judgment than Paul is talking about in the introduction - a judgement that certainly seems to be "works-based"?

If you were Paul, would you introduce an account of justification by something other than what we do with such a prologue that will make the reader think that it is precisely what we do that is really the issue here.

Are we, yet again, to believe that by "do", Paul means "believe" here?

Mograce2U
Apr 18th 2008, 03:49 PM
Even an atheist/unbeliever expects that if God will judge us, it will be based on the evidence of the things we have done. But then he makes the mistake of thinking that this judgment is based on a curve or that our good works must outweigh the bad in order to have God's favor. But what he doesn't know is that unless the bad is taken care of (forgiven) beforehand, all his evil will count against him and he will never pass the test he imagines is the case.

All Paul is doing in these passages is assuring us that good works do indeed count - even for the redeemed (those forgiven). For if one returns to his ungodly ways he will have to answer for them. Ezek 18 comes to mind - the principle has not changed. The assurance of our salvation - while we are still in this life, is that we continue in it. That is what our good works accomplish as faith is strengthened and we continue to trust in the Lord. Faith is the requirement while we are still here and we must walk in and by that faith til we get home.

Hope is the key. And faith is the power that sustains our hope. Goodness is the evidence that we have received both. Without faith there is no hope. It seems simple to me.

IBWatching
Apr 20th 2008, 11:33 PM
...But how about the "progressive revelation" option? The epistle of James was pre-Paul. By the term "pre-Paul" I do NOT mean to say that they were not contemporaries. I mean that James wrote while the old covenant order was still in effect. This is very clear for he admonished his audience to "fulfill the royal law" (2:8)...

Just came on this thread and needed to point out a Truth from James which you have overlooked:


James 1:25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the {law} of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.Also here:


James 2:12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by {the} law of liberty.James was talking to people who would be judged by the law of Liberty, not the Law of Moses. That takes place at the Bema Seat.

2Witnesses
Apr 21st 2008, 03:11 AM
"The interpreter of the Holy Scriptures must never forget that the Bible in its entirety, as now possessed by the Church, was no sudden gift from heaven, but the slow and gradual accretion of many centuries...

The different writings of the New Testament all appeared within a period of about a half a century but they also furnish the means of tracing the development of the LIFE AND THOUGHT in the early apostolic Church...

Our present canonical Scriptures, therefore, are to be recognized as the records of a PROGRESSIVE DIVINE REVELATION" (Biblical Hermeneutics: A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments by Milton S. Terry, Academic Books, p. 566)

Now any man who has studied at a Bible college or Seminary was taught this "progressive revelation" principle. But unfortunately they reveal from their preaching that they have forgotten this principle. But Terry said that they should never forget.

I remember when I first heard of this "progressive revelation" hermeneutic. I was a student at the Moody Bible Institute. I remember brain storming saying, "Aha! This explains quite a lot!" After I graduated from Moody I took courses that were in logic or related to logic and found that logicians say a similar thing.

Logicians say,

"Two contrary propositions cannot be true in the same time", and

"Time resolves some discrepancies".

Let's take the book of James as an example. I am Reformed as most of you have figured out by now. I am committed to the Reformed principle that salvation is by "faith alone". But James seems to contradict this. He said,

"You see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith only" (NKJV).

My Reformed brethren have taken two different approaches to James' epistle,

1) James was not talking about faith + works but rather a faith 'that' works, or
2) The epistle of James is non-canonical (Some Reformed today deny the canonicity of James). :(

But how about the "progressive revelation" option? The epistle of James was pre-Paul. By the term "pre-Paul" I do NOT mean to say that they were not contemporaries. I mean that James wrote while the old covenant order was still in effect. This is very clear for he admonished his audience to "fulfill the royal law" (2:8).

But Paul came later and said that Christ fulfilled the law in our behalf. Paul claimed that he was receiving [progressively] new covenant truth and principles,

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is [B]revealed (Romans 3:21).

Therefore, Paul did not contradict James for James taught what was true at the time but not for all time.

So both James' proposals and Paul's were true, but not at the same time. Both history and logic confirm this.

The timeless truth now is FAITH ALONE! This my friends is God's new covenant salvation. Faith Alone IS the Gospel!

TT,

James wrote before God explained the differences between the OC and the NC through the apostle Paul.

The Church began with the understanding Jesus did not change as much as He confirmed.

But God, through Paul showed that the NC Jeremiah spoke of, was not a 'renewed' OC, but rather 'New"! And if anything was re-newed it was the promise to Abraham.

2Witnesses http://www.habagministry.com