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Thread: Is faith a work?

  1. #76
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    Re: Is faith a work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave G View Post
    It's a figure of speech.
    I meant, salvation is of the Lord...every facet, every integral part of our gift of eternal life has been provided by God.
    I don't see anywhere in Scripture that unconverted, unregenerate man is responsible for exercising faith, or even able to do anything by that faith...only in performing things BY it once they are changed..."born again".
    While being born again is a requirement, that is a figure of speech, which I think many misuse. I will get to this further on as you go back to this in your conclusion.


    Where do you see in God's word that faith is a "pre-condition"?
    Is that an assumption, or is it declared in no uncertain terms somewhere?
    Hmmm, well if it is like you say... and we must be born again in order to believe (faith being synonymous with belief in this discussion) then faith is simply a pre-condition. I'm not being overly fancy here.

    Personally, I see it as a necessary evidence, but not a "condition".
    If man were able to meet any of God's "conditions" to warrant salvation, then that would be works, in the truest sense.
    There is no evidence of faith, besides works, actually - James makes that very clear. If you mean that salvation is the ultimate evidence of faith, well that is true, but again. Salvation is not yet.

    The kingdom of God is here with us, spiritually, not in it's entirety, which involves the entire man.

    Salvation then, is more than "being saved from sin" (justification), it is bigger than that, it involves justification by the heavenly court, and then the salvation from death itself.

    Is faith a work?
    No.
    It's a bad way of putting it, I think the question is whether man has any involvement in the generation of his own faith, and I am compelled to answer - yes. God cannot be the only agent that creates faith, otherwises, God is playing a game of favorites among men where none merit any favour at all. On what basis does God grant faith?


    Is it something that man is born with, or is it something that man is provided with?
    That is the question that must be answered...from the only trustworthy source we, as believers, have.
    As so far explained, God would necessarily be choosing who gets faith on a purely arbitrary basis, since no one merits favour from God and there are no pre-conditions that give way to faith.

    What do you propose is God's basis for granting the new birth that allows for faith exist?



    I disagree.
    Scripture clearly states that believers have eternal life in this life. *See my reference to John 17:3...eternal life is to know God and His Son.
    I believe that JOhn's language and tense do not technically equate "salvation" and "eternal life" in the straightforward sense. Eternal life in Christ is figuratively described in elemental terms which portray life as a matter of spiritual fruit. John's Gospel and his epistles consistently describe the behaviour of man in a metaphorical sense. To put it anyother way. "eternal life" can be experienced in the here and now when we understand and behave as children of light - acting in accordance with our forward looking eternal life WITH Christ bodily.




    " He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." ( John 3:36 )
    " Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." ( John 5:24 )
    " Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." ( John 6:47 )

    All of these use the word, "hath" ( "has" ), meaning it is in the present tense.
    Eternal life as Jesus expresses it is with in the exact same sense as Jesus himself is with us by the spirit of truth, even though Jesus Christ is not in fact, bodily with us.
    How would you answer the question of Jesus being WITH us today? He is both with us, and away from us. In that same sense, our salvation is both near, and far. We are saved now by having eternal spiritual life, but saved in our entirety later.

    Romans chapters 1-3.

    Man will not, which becomes a cannot...so God must change us or He can never have a relationship with any of us.
    I would say that it is an relationship, but rather it is not a productive relationship, we are all enemies of God prior to


    That leaves us no room to participate in its conception ( birth ), because if it did, then that would give us room to boast in anything other than the Lord and His mercy ( Titus 3:5 ).
    Birth,

    We, as believers, participate in faith as the objects of its intention...we do good works and persevere through trials and tribulations by it, but we do not procure salvation by it.
    We are saved through faith ( Ephesians 2:8 )...not by it.



    Parables are spiritual truths that Jesus told to two groups...His disciples, and the rest of the Jews that were following.
    He specifically told His disciples, when they asked:

    " And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
    11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."
    ( Matthew 13:10-11 )

    Right here there is God showing that some "have ears to hear", and some do not.
    Why? Because it is given by God to someone to "hear", while to others it is not.

    Parables are spiritual truths that Jesus told people in order to hide those truths from them...
    Then, when asked, He expounded those spiritual truths to His disciples after the others were gone away.
    Are you applying this in principle? Such that God hides truth from men so that they may be blocked from understanding? You are saying that the "ears to hear" were put there in us by God for some, and not for others. In this view God plants faith in men, and then feeds truth to them alone, and those without "ears/faith" are as if allergic to the truth, incapable of ever believing because God has prohibited them from believing by withholding the key ingredient, being stingy.

    That is the issue. If "God so loved the world" so that all could be saved, and he does, and all "can".... then, your view must be false, for we know that God is not prohibiting us from believing by withholding any ingredient from us.

    God never waits on us...we wait on Him.
    God does wait for us, he is knocking and he leaves it to us to open the door. (you know the verses). That doesn't make our part tantamount to saving ourselves. It is more like God reaching down into a pit of death, and offering to pull us out, and we could refuse, or we could accept. It's that simple - apologetically.


    He does something because He wants to.

    He never fails to accomplish that which He has determined to do:

    " Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" ( Isaiah 46:10 )
    What is the context of that passage, what was the arena of God's work in that case?

    " And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation:
    35 and all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?"
    ( Daniel 4:35-36 )

    The God of the Bible does not sit on His throne, patiently waiting for people to decide to "accept Him" or "reject Him".
    First of all, we have already rejected Him in our hearts and minds.
    Man is not a free moral agent...his will is already biased against God ( Romans 1:18-32, Romans 3:10-18, John 3:19-20 ).
    hmmm, we'll you're making a strawman out of God here. I am very sure God IS patient, actually.

    Because of this heard-heartedness, God has to perform a miracle of spiritual intervention if He is to have a relationship with His creation.
    The miracle was his love to die for us.... he paved the way, we can choose to follow him, or... not, yes?

    How does a human make a choice to follow God, or not, in your view then?

    It's called the new birth, or being born again.
    I think you misunderstand what the new birth is. This was a Jewish contextual replacement for the perceived right of inheritance of the kingdom of God for being Jewish by blood. God pointed to a totally DIFFERENT birthing, it was not a spiritual "re-birthing" actually.
    As the "thief" in the night, Christ is going to suddenly appear on the throne of Israel - not the antichrist.

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    Re: Is faith a work?

    To be honest,
    I think I understand the new birth quite well...but I did not always.



    According to His word, I don't see people choosing to follow Him, unless He does the choosing and converting.

    " Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple." ( Psalms 65:4 )


    His blessings be upon you.
    "There shall be in the church a fleshly seed of Abraham and a spiritual; a Cain and an Abel; an Ishmael and an Isaac; an Esau and a Jacob;
    as I have said, a worker and a believer; a great multitude of them that be called, and a small flock of them that be elect and chosen."
    - William Tyndale

    " Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, [even] of thy holy temple. " (Psalms 65:4)


  3. #78
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    Re: Is faith a work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave G View Post
    I agree.
    God punishes those that hate Him.

    Since all men naturally hate God ( Romans 1:18-32, Romans 3:10-18, John 3:19-20 ), then all are liable for punishment.
    It is unnatural for men to hate God. That's the point.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dave G View Post
    Post the Scriptures that clearly state the concepts, and we will have something to talk about.
    Cop-out. You know the concepts are truth and where they are found. Dealing with them expose false doctrine.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dave G View Post
    Now you have a problem, in my opinion...
    God's word actually states why some believe, and why they do not.
    Yes, their faith is counted for righteousness, but their belief comes from somewhere, as well.

    John 6 is one of the places we, as believers, can actually find that answer.
    Synergistic
    It is stated very plainly that all are taught but not all learn. True in any classroom. Some just refuse instruction. Not all refuse. Those that learn are drawn. Salvation is synergistic. Deal with it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dave G View Post
    The ones that refuse to come are not drawn
    That is why they refuse to come.
    That's not what it says. It says they do not come because they are not drawn and they are not drawn because they did not learn. All were taught.

  4. #79
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    Re: Is faith a work?

    Noeb,
    Let's take this over to "Controversial Issues".

    This is not the place to discuss this.
    "There shall be in the church a fleshly seed of Abraham and a spiritual; a Cain and an Abel; an Ishmael and an Isaac; an Esau and a Jacob;
    as I have said, a worker and a believer; a great multitude of them that be called, and a small flock of them that be elect and chosen."
    - William Tyndale

    " Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, [even] of thy holy temple. " (Psalms 65:4)


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    Re: Is faith a work?

    I believe Faith is the vehicle through which Salvation takes place. It is a choice we make to take hold of the only works that matter in our life to God. These are the works of Christ, which are given to us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are able to live like Christ because we choose to receive the Spirit of Christ.

    Since the word of God has gone out throughout the world, all men have heard the voice of God to their conscience. But not all men choose to receive God's word. Some harden their heart, and thus have their understanding darkened. They do not believe because they have shut off the light of God.

    So all men can believe, because the word of God has gone out to all. But faith that saves is the faith that responds to God's word. True faith takes hold of the testimony of Christ, which offers us a renewed spiritual life so that we can live like Christ with the hope that our sin will be completely cured.

    Thus, faith is an exercise of choice in the right direction, leading to salvation. This is why our faith justifies us, because it is the vehicle through which we choose to embrace God's word, and thus His life and works.

    I would not say that faith is a work that justifies us if we operate apart from God and direct our faith somewhere other than in Christ. But faith is a proper work when we rely upon the grace and mercy of Christ, who forgives us and grants us the spiritual power to live like His Son.

    I suppose it can be confusing to call "faith" a work. Maybe I shouldn't? But it definitely requires, to be valid, an operation in the right direction, in the direction of Christ. Otherwise, it isn't saving faith, and it doesn't justify us. Abraham's faith was directed towards God's word, and not in anything else. That's why his faith justified him.

    The reason I initially called faith a "work" is because genuine faith must operate as an act of obedience to embrace the spiritual life of Christ. In doing so, we produce works just like Christ, and apply the spiritual power we've been given to produce good works.

    But perhaps I shouldn't call faith a work, because it sounds too much like what Paul warned against. Paul argued that Abraham's faith was a unique kind of choice, an act of obedience that yielded up his son Isaac in response to God's word. It was obedience, which did not obtain Isaac's life back by merit, but rather, by dependence on God's mercy.

    The true work of faith obtains salvation not by earning it, nor by doing works that deserve it as pay. Rather, it is the choice to work together with God, to operate a virtue that comes to us free of charge, by God's kindness.

    We are presented with the opportunity to put into action godly virtues that we could never produce unless we choose to accept it from Him, and then apply it. We "work" by choosing to accept His virtue as a gift. That's how, I think, our faith saves us, by embracing Christ as the source of our virtue and work.

    Paul was talking about the attempt to earn the right to have God's gifts, life, and immortality. True faith does not employ this kind of work. True faith takes hold of Christ as the exclusive source of our works, when we choose to live by his spiritual life. The Apostle John describes it as the "love of Christ." We embrace this as a free gift, and cannot earn it. We can only accept it, and choose to put it into action.

    Pagan works try to earn their way to heaven, because they reject Christ as the necessary source of our virtue. But those who recognize the need for Christ's virtue, and employ it as a substitute for a pagan life, obtain salvation. It is the embrace of not just spirituality, but more, the works of Christ. As such, faith is an act of obedience to live like Christ.

    But it is not a pagan work, which tries to earn the right to live like Christ and to obtain his salvation. The only way we can do anything for God is by submitting to his spirituality, as it was revealed in Christ. We must walk in his love, which is a heavenly love. Unless our loves is inspired from above, it isn't real.

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    Re: Is faith a work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave G View Post
    Noeb,
    Let's take this over to "Controversial Issues".

    This is not the place to discuss this.
    Bible Chat is filled with Synergism vs Monergism discussions.

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    Re: Is faith a work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Noeb View Post
    Bible Chat is filled with Synergism vs Monergism discussions.
    Then start a thread about it if you wish to discuss the difference between eternal life being a gift, and being a reward based on personal performance.
    I'll be glad to participate.
    "There shall be in the church a fleshly seed of Abraham and a spiritual; a Cain and an Abel; an Ishmael and an Isaac; an Esau and a Jacob;
    as I have said, a worker and a believer; a great multitude of them that be called, and a small flock of them that be elect and chosen."
    - William Tyndale

    " Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, [even] of thy holy temple. " (Psalms 65:4)


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    Re: Is faith a work?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    But it is not a pagan work, which tries to earn the right to live like Christ and to obtain his salvation. The only way we can do anything for God is by submitting to his spirituality, as it was revealed in Christ. We must walk in his love, which is a heavenly love. Unless our loves is inspired from above, it isn't real.
    I agree, Randy, with the vast majority of your post above.
    But something sticks out in it that I think bears a closer look, and it is the main reason I've underlined it.
    Everything else I agree with, but it's the finer points that I think need to be brought to light;

    It's that "obtaining salvation" that people who read the Bible seem to have confusion about, in my estimation.


    To me, there is no shortage of teachers out there who say things that the Bible states...
    But it's as if they circle the target, instead of hitting the bull's eye, at least on a fair number of subjects.



    As I see it, there is a vast difference between meeting a set of requirements with Christ at the center, and having those requirements given to us by God as gifts that accompany THE gift...
    Eternal life, which is to know God and His Son, Jesus Christ ( John 17:3 ), spiritually speaking.
    From my perspective, if a person has to "meet a requirement", then the gift really isn't a gift, it's a reward.


    So, in the purest sense, if eternal life ( and thereby God's grace ) can be purchased and "released" to us as men, by simply following the steps that appear to be laid out, then it really IS works...only faith and repentance are being substituted for the works of the Law.
    Yes, it is a fine distinction, but one that I think needs to be fleshed out in the minds of believers from Scripture.



    That distinction boils down to this:

    Where does faith come from, and who has it?
    This is what I keep trying to get Noeb ( and others ) to answer from God's word.
    I think that I have already answered it.


    This is my last reply in this thread...


    May God bless you all in your studies of His word, and may you always look to Him in your times of trouble.
    Stand fast in your faith, and be not moved away from the hope that is in Him, and Him alone.
    "There shall be in the church a fleshly seed of Abraham and a spiritual; a Cain and an Abel; an Ishmael and an Isaac; an Esau and a Jacob;
    as I have said, a worker and a believer; a great multitude of them that be called, and a small flock of them that be elect and chosen."
    - William Tyndale

    " Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, [even] of thy holy temple. " (Psalms 65:4)


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    Re: Is faith a work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave G View Post
    I agree, Randy, with the vast majority of your post above.
    But something sticks out in it that I think bears a closer look, and it is the main reason I've underlined it.
    Everything else I agree with, but it's the finer points that I think need to be brought to light;

    It's that "obtaining salvation" that people who read the Bible seem to have confusion about, in my estimation.


    To me, there is no shortage of teachers out there who say things that the Bible states...
    But it's as if they circle the target, instead of hitting the bull's eye, at least on a fair number of subjects.



    As I see it, there is a vast difference between meeting a set of requirements with Christ at the center, and having those requirements given to us by God as gifts that accompany THE gift...
    Eternal life, which is to know God and His Son, Jesus Christ ( John 17:3 ), spiritually speaking.
    From my perspective, if a person has to "meet a requirement", then the gift really isn't a gift, it's a reward.


    So, in the purest sense, if eternal life ( and thereby God's grace ) can be purchased and "released" to us as men, by simply following the steps that appear to be laid out, then it really IS works...only faith and repentance are being substituted for the works of the Law.
    Yes, it is a fine distinction, but one that I think needs to be fleshed out in the minds of believers from Scripture.



    That distinction boils down to this:

    Where does faith come from, and who has it?
    This is what I keep trying to get Noeb ( and others ) to answer from God's word.
    I think that I have already answered it.


    This is my last reply in this thread...


    May God bless you all in your studies of His word, and may you always look to Him in your times of trouble.
    Stand fast in your faith, and be not moved away from the hope that is in Him, and Him alone.
    I credit us with exercising faith. But I credit God with giving us salvation.

    I think we get confused over the difference between getting credit for making the right choice and getting credit for earning salvation. We *choose* for salvation, and get credit for that. We don't ever get credit for *earning* salvation. Yes, this is a fine distinction!

    Paul said that we can be "reckoned" as righteous by our faith. That is not *earning salvation,* but it is credit for making the right choice.

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    Re: Is faith a work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave G View Post
    Then start a thread about it if you wish to discuss the difference between eternal life being a gift, and being a reward based on personal performance.
    I'll be glad to participate.
    We're in one silly

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    Re: Is faith a work?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    I credit us with exercising faith. But I credit God with giving us salvation.

    I think we get confused over the difference between getting credit for making the right choice and getting credit for earning salvation. We *choose* for salvation, and get credit for that. We don't ever get credit for *earning* salvation. Yes, this is a fine distinction!

    Paul said that we can be "reckoned" as righteous by our faith. That is not *earning salvation,* but it is credit for making the right choice.
    ^This^

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    Re: Is faith a work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave G View Post
    Where does faith come from, and who has it?
    God created man with the ability. If he didn't, he couldn't damn anyone. Why does this need to be repeated? Does God choose or does man?

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    Re: Is faith a work?

    I like to keep things as simple as possible. For me, faith is just simple trust and belief in what God has said. Abram, later Abraham is the first and best example....

    Genesis 15:6 (ISV) Abram believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

    Abram didn't have to work at it and neither do I. Faith seems to me to be a choice, not a work.
    Israel.... the Believer's insurance policy!

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    Re: Is faith a work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
    I like to keep things as simple as possible. For me, faith is just simple trust and belief in what God has said. Abram, later Abraham is the first and best example....

    Genesis 15:6 (ISV) Abram believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

    Abram didn't have to work at it and neither do I. Faith seems to me to be a choice, not a work.
    Couldn't have said it better!

    (NET)Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 11:29 Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 11:30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”

  15. #90

    Re: Is faith a work?

    Galatians 5 tells us that faith is a FRUIT; Hebrews 11 tells us that faith is SUBSTANCE and EVIDENCE. These things are nouns, things, tangible. Faith is not a feeling or a belief. Faith is the tangible substance and evidence that you've put what you believe in into action... Hebrews 11, the Faith Chapter, is full of things like, "By faith, so and so DID this..." (By Faith, Abel offered; By Faith, Abraham moved; By Faith, Noah prepared an ark, etc...) Hebrews 11 is all about the things the patriarchs DID By Faith... not what they believed (other than believing God and acting upon that belief)...

    As mentioned before, James sums it up pretty clearly... Faith, without works, is dead.
    Jesus said, "Out of the hardness of your hearts Moses gave a writ of divorce; but from the beginning it was not so." How many more things do you suppose are, "From the beginning, NOT so?"

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