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  • Final Justification According to Works?

    What do you guys make of this passage?

    “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil… but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good... For there is no partiality with God... For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified… in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.” (Romans 2:5-16)

    Based on a face value reading, it seems like Paul is in some way espousing a characteristically Jewish understanding of salvation, that on the final day when we all appear at the judgment we will be evaluated - and justified or condemned - according to how we lived out our lives, whether our deeds were good or evil. In other words, it seems like Paul is presenting a doctrine of justification according to works.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts...

    - Hitman


    "Test all things; hold fast what is good." - Advice from the Apostle Paul


  • #2
    You have to continue through to the conclusion in Romans 3:21-24, 28
    Letting scripture speak for itself.

    21. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifestd, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

    22. even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

    23. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    24. being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
    28. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

    New American Standard Version revised 95
    I have a Blog. Please visit!

    My Blog http://bibleforums.org/forum/blog.php?b=537

    Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life!

    Comment


    • #3
      For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified
      if there was any person who suceeded in doing the law, that person would be justified by the law. Who falls into that category? Nobody. All have sinned and come short. There is only one person who was ever without sin and was completely a doer of the law - Jesus Christ. Everybody else has fallen short. That is why we needed Him to die for us and rise from the dead.



      Comment


      • #4
        My hearts Desire,

        You have to continue through to the conclusion in Romans 3:21-24, 28
        Letting scripture speak for itself.

        21. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifestd, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

        22. even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

        23. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

        24. being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
        28. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

        New American Standard Version revised 95
        So are you saying that what Paul says in 2:1-16 is a hypothetical argument made only to establish the necessity of the cross, an argument that he then tears down after he has reached his 'conclusion' in 3:21-26?

        cwb,

        if there was any person who suceeded in doing the law, that person would be justified by the law. Who falls into that category? Nobody. All have sinned and come short. There is only one person who was ever without sin and was completely a doer of the law - Jesus Christ. Everybody else has fallen short. That is why we needed Him to die for us and rise from the dead.
        So Paul didn't mean what he said? For some reason I have a hard time believing that....

        - Hitman


        "Test all things; hold fast what is good." - Advice from the Apostle Paul

        Comment


        • #5
          This subject of faith/works is so often at the forefront of Christian debate. Some approach through a stance of unacceptable legalism while the other extreme seem so paranoid of being branded as lagalistic they trumpet 'grace grace' and shun works altogether.
          What I would like to share, I hope is a balanced scriptural view. Some of the following may come as a surprise to some.


          Let us first establish one fact that we are all agreed upon. Works will not save anyone. One of the most quoted verses in scripture: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:9.

          Consider also the following:

          Everyone will be judged, including Christians.

          Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
          11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
          12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

          1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

          Jesus is the Judge, and the Lawgiver, and Lord God Almighty.

          John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

          Isa. 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

          Revel 16:7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

          At His first advent Jesus came to save.

          47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
          48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

          An integral part of the gospel message is that Jesus is coming to judge not only the dead, but also the living at His second coming.

          Acts 10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

          2 Tim 4:1 ¶ I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

          1 Peter 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

          The judgement at the second coming is an execution of sentence.Thus the pronouncment of guilt or innocence has been made pryor to the second coming.

          Jude 14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
          15 ¶ To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

          Revel 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

          Mathew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

          We are judged by our works.

          Eccl. 12:13 ¶ Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
          14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

          2 Corin. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

          1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

          Revel. 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

          Revel. 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.


          Every person who has ever lived on this planet must stand in the court before the Judge of the whole earth, Jesus Christ, God Almighty. Whether they be Christian, Moslem, Athiest, or idolater, all must give an account of their lives to God. At His first advent Jesus came to save, to call people to repentance, to die in our place. He lived the perfect life by faith in His Father. He is our example, to prove that it is possible to overcome by faith. Overcome the flesh, the world, and overcome sin. At His second advent He brings His reward with Him for those who have accepted His call to repentance and trusted in Him for their salvation, and also for those who remain in their sin. That reward is eternal life for those He justified, death for those He condemns. Thus there is of necessity a trial prior to the second coming, that Jesus could execute His sentence justly. Works are an integral part of the judgement. Our proclamation of faith, our profession of belief in God holds no water in court. It is insufficient to produce a decision. There is an old saying: 'If you were charged and arraigned for being a Christian, would there be sufficient evidence to convict you?'
          Our works are the evidence of our faith. It is works that reveal whether we have accepted God's gift of salvation by faith. True faith cannot exist without works. Works reveal whether faith is real. Works do not save anyone in the judgement, but the judgement reveals through the works who has truly received Christ and His righteousness. We are judged by our works, not saved by them.

          Brakelite
          Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and
          rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Matthehitmanhart View Post
            Based on a face value reading, it seems like Paul is in some way espousing a characteristically Jewish understanding of salvation, that on the final day when we all appear at the judgment we will be evaluated - and justified or condemned - according to how we lived out our lives, whether our deeds were good or evil. In other words, it seems like Paul is presenting a doctrine of justification according to works.

            I'd love to hear your thoughts...
            I think that Paul means what he says here - all human beings will indeed be subject to a works-based judgement at the end, with eternal life indeed being at stake.

            Does this mean that I am embracing the idea that we "earn" our salvation? No it does not. I believe that the overall scriptural picture is one where pure faith brings the Spirit to us and it is the Spirit that acts through us and ensures that our lives indeed manifest the works that are necessary to justify us in the end.

            I believe that many people indeed "screen out" the text you quote from Romans 2. I know of no solid argument that undermines what Paul says here in Romans 2.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by My heart's Desire View Post
              You have to continue through to the conclusion in Romans 3:21-24, 28
              Letting scripture speak for itself.

              21. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifestd, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

              22. even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

              23. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

              24. being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
              28. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

              New American Standard Version revised 95
              I believe this text is usually misunderstood and that it does not really give us a reason not to take the Romans 2 material from the OP at face value.

              I assert that when Paul refers to "Law" here, he is rather clearly referring to the Torah, and more specifically to those aspects of the Torah that mark the Jew as distinct from the Gentile. He is not talking about "good works" in the general sense. So what he says here harmonizes perfectly with Romans 2 and does not force to say that Paul meant something other than what he wrote in Romans 2 and that we have rework the Romans 2 stuff in light of the above material from Romans 3.

              Paul means what he says in both Romans 2 and Romans 3. In Romans 2, he tells us all humans will be judged by their works with eternal life indeed hanging in the balance. In the above material from Romans 3, Paul tells us that no one will be justified by doing the works of Torah, but rather that pure faith is the basis of our justification.

              This may seem inconsistent with the Romans 2 material, but it is not. Elsewhere (e.g. in Romans 8) Paul teaches that faith brings the Spirit and it is the Spirit that is responsible for works that will justify us at the last day.

              Comment


              • #8
                So Paul didn't mean what he said? For some reason I have a hard time believing that....
                I definitely would never say Paul did not mean what he said. He saiid the doers of the law would be justified. He meant what is said. Anybody who is a doer of the law will be justified. He also makes it clear that nobody falls into that category.


                Romans 3:20
                Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.
                I belive he meant what he said here. Are you saying he did not mean what he said when he said NO flesh would be justified by the deeds of the law? For some reason I find that hard to believe.




                Romans 3:23
                For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
                Again I think Paul meant what he said. I also believe James meant what he said.



                Romans 4:4 -5
                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
                .

                I think Paul meant what he said here.


                Romans 5:1
                Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
                I think Paul meant what he said here.


                Romans 8:8-9
                But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
                Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
                Again I believe what Paul said here. It is by His blood that we are justified.


                Gal 2:16
                Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
                Again I believe Paul meant what he said here.


                GaL 3:1
                O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
                This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
                Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
                Unfortunatley, there are alot of people out there trying to promote a works based salvation. This is certainly not what the apostle Paul taught.



                Gal 3:10-11

                For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
                But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
                Again no man is able to keep the law and therefore no man is justified by his works. I believe the apostle Paul meant what he said.


                Gal 5:4
                Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
                I believe the apostle Paul meant what he said here. Don't you?



                Gal 3:21
                [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
                But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
                Again I believe Paul meant what he said.


                Gal 2:21
                I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
                I believe the Paul meant what he said. I do not believe Christ died in vain. Righteousness does not come by the old testament law nor any other law.

                You may want to use a verse taken out of context in Romans 2 to say the justification comes by works but there are just too many verses that say otherwise. First of all, Romans 1:18 through 3:23 is a parenthesis showing man that man is worthy of the wrath of God and need to be justified by faith. To take Romans 2 out of that context is not rightly dividing the word of truth. In Romans 2 Paul is talking to somebody who is judemental of others and is making his boast in the law. He telling him that just by hearing the law you can't be justified but by doing the law. After telling him that Paul makes it very clear that no man is a doer of the law. To take Romans 2 out of its context to promote salvation by works is not rightly dividing the word of truth. To do so one would have to trash all the clear verses where Paul clearly says no man is justified by works.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,


                  Perhaps 1 Corinthians 3:5-17 can shed some light on the debate of works/rewards and faith.

                  5 - Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?
                  6 - I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
                  7 - So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
                  8 - Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
                  9 - For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
                  10 - According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
                  11 - For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
                  12 - Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
                  13 - each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
                  14 - If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
                  15 - If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
                  16 - Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
                  17 - If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.


                  In Christ's love, stoo

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by drew View Post
                    I believe this text is usually misunderstood and that it does not really give us a reason not to take the Romans 2 material from the OP at face value.

                    I assert that when Paul refers to "Law" here, he is rather clearly referring to the Torah, and more specifically to those aspects of the Torah that mark the Jew as distinct from the Gentile. He is not talking about "good works" in the general sense. So what he says here harmonizes perfectly with Romans 2 and does not force to say that Paul meant something other than what he wrote in Romans 2 and that we have rework the Romans 2 stuff in light of the above material from Romans 3.

                    Paul means what he says in both Romans 2 and Romans 3. In Romans 2, he tells us all humans will be judged by their works with eternal life indeed hanging in the balance. In the above material from Romans 3, Paul tells us that no one will be justified by doing the works of Torah, but rather that pure faith is the basis of our justification.

                    This may seem inconsistent with the Romans 2 material, but it is not. Elsewhere (e.g. in Romans 8) Paul teaches that faith brings the Spirit and it is the Spirit that is responsible for works that will justify us at the last day.
                    I'm sorry that I don't quite understand what you are saying, considering that you agree with faith being the basis of our justification and if that is so, then not works, law or anything else added to faith will affect our eternal security. It is clear from some of Paul's other writings that Christians will be rewarded or have no reward for what they used to build upon the foundation of Christ.
                    I have a Blog. Please visit!

                    My Blog http://bibleforums.org/forum/blog.php?b=537

                    Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Matthehitmanhart View Post
                      My hearts Desire,



                      So are you saying that what Paul says in 2:1-16 is a hypothetical argument made only to establish the necessity of the cross, an argument that he then tears down after he has reached his 'conclusion' in 3:21-26?
                      I think Paul is building an argument of some sort, but the verses I've given don't just pertain to what Paul just said. The verses in and of themselves give almost the whole of Salvation. Salvation is to believe the Lord Jesus is Who He says He is and that He died, was buried and that He rose again for justification, redemption, sanctification of all those who put their trust in Him, given by His unmerited favor (grace). All this apart from anything else.
                      I have a Blog. Please visit!

                      My Blog http://bibleforums.org/forum/blog.php?b=537

                      Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by My heart's Desire View Post
                        I think Paul is building an argument of some sort, but the verses I've given don't just pertain to what Paul just said. The verses in and of themselves give almost the whole of Salvation. Salvation is to believe the Lord Jesus is Who He says He is and that He died, was buried and that He rose again for justification, redemption, sanctification of all those who put their trust in Him, given by His unmerited favor (grace). All this apart from anything else.
                        But then as Paul said... that is of first importance. Without that belief then you aren't even in the race. But it is still a race that must be ran with endurance and one isn't running a race without "doing". Notice that Paul never gives an analogy of Jesus running that race for you or having already ran that race for you so all you have to do is toe the starting line and BOOM... you are at the finish line.


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

                        GO.... SERVE YOUR KING!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ProjectPeter View Post
                          But then as Paul said... that is of first importance. Without that belief then you aren't even in the race. But it is still a race that must be ran with endurance and one isn't running a race without "doing". Notice that Paul never gives an analogy of Jesus running that race for you or having already ran that race for you so all you have to do is toe the starting line and BOOM... you are at the finish line.
                          This is true, but doesn't mean that you may or may not be saved at the end. At the Cross, one is either saved or they are not. Would you tell a man that was just pulled from the water that he is saved but that he is still drowning and he should keep trying to swim?
                          I believe in Faith that results in works, but I don't think you can rely on your works as having anything to do with determining your final destination after you've already relied on the Lord Jesus for your Salvation.
                          I have a Blog. Please visit!

                          My Blog http://bibleforums.org/forum/blog.php?b=537

                          Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cwb View Post
                            I definitely would never say Paul did not mean what he said. He saiid the doers of the law would be justified. He meant what is said. Anybody who is a doer of the law will be justified. He also makes it clear that nobody falls into that category.
                            I think this argument does not work for at least 2 reasons:

                            1. It forces us to see Paul as a very incompetent and misleading writer in Romans 2. As we all know, in that chapter Paul describes a coming judgement for all mankind where eternal life is granted to a set of persons on the basis of the good works that are manifest in their lives. We are being asked to believe that zero persons are in that set. That is an awfully stange way to write - to give a rather lengthy narrative describing how eternal life will be given to those who do good and then later (in chapter 3 ) tell us that zero persons will meet that standard. As will be argued in my second point, Romans 3 does not support such a view anyway. Remember, the Romans 2 narrative describes how those who practice evil will be punished. Presumably, we are to believe that Paul means what he says in respect to this group. But we are being asked to accept that he does not really mean what he says in respect to the other half - those described as being justified by the works they exhibit. This is a very schizophrenic way to write and is not Paul's style, in my view. I think he needs to be taken at face value in Romans 2 regarding both groups.

                            2. Romans 3 is often used to make the argument that no one will be justified by works as Paul seems to be saying in Romans 2. Such texts as this one from Romans 3:10 are used to make the argument that Paul should not be taken literally in Romans 2 when he clearly describes works-based justification:

                            As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;

                            The problem is that people fail to see that Romans 3 has a timeline to it - it is part of a "covenant" history if you will. And what is said up to 3:20 describes the state of affairs before the covenant has been renewed. Note the "now" in 3:21, which I understand can be translated "in the present time":

                            But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

                            And "law" here is Torah, not good works. The world has fundamentally changed with the resurrection of Jesus and Romans 3:10 is "in the past" - descriptive of a world that is now gone. A strong case can be made (but I won't in this post) that with the covenant renewal effected by Jesus, we are given the Spirit which enables us to do what was not possible for us before - to demonstrate good works sufficient for our justification.

                            Summary: I think that Paul needs to be taken at face value in Romans 2 - people's works will indeed be the basis for the granting of eternal life. These works, however, are not the works of "moral self-effort" - they are the works of the Spirit that is given to us on the basis of faith alone. The material in Romans 3 that is so often used to support the argument that we need to see the Romans 2 stuff about works justification as describing a path to justfication that no one will actually take, has been incorrectly understood. The first bit of Romans 3 describes the state of affairs before covenant renewal. It all works together and we do not need to see Paul as engaging in a misleading style of exposition in Romans 2.

                            And the argument that Paul says many times in his writings that we are not justified by works has been largely misunderstood - it is clear that he is talking about Torah, not good works in general. I am happy to argue this point if need be.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by My heart's Desire View Post
                              This is true, but doesn't mean that you may or may not be saved at the end. At the Cross, one is either saved or they are not. Would you tell a man that was just pulled from the water that he is saved but that he is still drowning and he should keep trying to swim?
                              I believe in Faith that results in works, but I don't think you can rely on your works as having anything to do with determining your final destination after you've already relied on the Lord Jesus for your Salvation.
                              This is true, but we must keep both perspectives of mid-race, as well as finish-line results. I've seen so many Christians, including family, that will throw out the blessings and rewards that are gained from running the race with everything we have to just barely drag across the finish line by the skin of their teeth. The danger in doing so is using the grace of our Lord as a license to live of this world.


                              Matthew 6:24 - No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.


                              Romans 6:15-24

                              15 - What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
                              16 - Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
                              17 - But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
                              19 - I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
                              20 - For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
                              21 - What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
                              22 - But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
                              23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


                              In Christ's love, stoo

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