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Author Topic: Faith Without Works is Dead  (Read 9979 times)

Diane Moody

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2010, 09:12:57 PM »
So then, how can anyone continue to put forth the teaching that it is by faith "alone?"  As many of you are wont to say, that is a contradiction.  So when you say I must deal with scripture, so must you.

 We do. It means that if you are not in Christ, you have dead faith. Faith without the living part. Death in the Bible is often used to illustrate "separation" from God, and that is what faith without the work of Christ is. 

Faith is to works, what the Spirit is to the body. Thus without the faith of Christ, there is no work of life from us.

Nikki

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2010, 02:04:42 AM »
If we are saved by Grace alone, what does it mean that faith without works is dead?

 "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?" James 20-21

Doesn't this say Abraham was justified by works?



Yeah. But not his works, but the work of Christ in him. We know that we cannot be justified by our own works, because that would contradict the word of God.

Real Christianity isn't about the merit of our works, but of Christ's. Faith without works means you aren't living your faith. If you are truly saved, you should be living your faith and thus Christ's works will show in you.

ray

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2012, 09:24:46 PM »
(23) …”Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” [Genesis 15:6] … (24) You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

 So then, how can anyone continue to put forth the teaching that it is by faith "alone?"  As many of you are wont to say, that is a contradiction.  So when you say I must deal with scripture, so must you.

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.


Dan , there is no contradiction , justification is by faith alone , the faith of Christ. Or again , as Paul states in Romans 3:30;

                       Seeing it is one God , which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision
                       through faith.

What Paul is saying is that regardless of which covenant the elect were under , all are justified by faith. Justification was what Christ finished for the elect on the cross, it is not progressive , ie , by our works, but it is completed by the work of Christ. I believe that where a lot of confusion regarding the passage  from James 2 comes from is that it is addressing sanctification , and not justification. James is saying that having been justified , works will follow. If James is arguing that justification is by faith and works , then this is contradictory to the arguments that Paul has made in Romans. The faith of Christ that justifies us is also the same faith that will produce works, and therefore , where there are no works , there is no faith .

JohnDunningUK

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2012, 02:30:33 AM »
Why can't reformed people just accept the plain literal rendering of the text when it doesn't say what they want. Clearly the text says in verse 24,

James 2:24
"You see that a man's righteousness is judged by his works and not by his faith only."
-BIBE

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. So this denial of works is not biblical, it is a reformed destroying of the words written there.

I think the question really is; if you have genuinely read through what has actually been written on this thread, and taken the Scriptures to heart, how on earth can you make such a ridiculous statement? The time and effort Tony has given highlights precisely how these Scriptures are reconciled with one another. Are you really so ignorant as to believe that God would say one thing through His Word in one place, then completely contradict Himself in another?

No-one has denied works are necessary to be justified, nor has anyone suggested that blind faith justifies us. What has been said seemingly over and over again, is that it is the works of another that justify us, namely Christ. It is His completed work alone that justifies those who believe, and those who believe do so because it is His Spirit working through the Christian, that the believer actually possesses the faith OF Christ, and THAT faith alone saves eternally, for it is the gift of God that none may boast.
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Clifford Grodin

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2012, 08:33:52 AM »
But, the text does say that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. That seems to me to require work, and not just faith. Isn't that what it clearly says?


ray

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2012, 07:24:22 AM »
But, the text does say that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. That seems to me to require work, and not just faith. Isn't that what it clearly says?



Clifford, I'm assuming that the text in question is from James 2;24

                    Ye see then how by works a man is justified , and not by faith only.


If the Apostle Paul writes about justification by faith alone , and the Apostle James writes about justification by faith and works , then what we have is a major dilemna, for both cannot be right . Christ is not the author of two divergent gospels , and neither does the bible teach that there are two gospels, but one gospel , the gospel of justification by faith.
This is amply demonstrated in many passages , but this from Romans 5:18-19 forthrightly contends that justification and the declaration of righteousness is through Christ alone.

                        Therefore as by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so
                        by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
                        For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners , so by the obedience of one shall
                        many be made righteous.

As we can see , our righteous standing before God is through Christ , and not by any of our works. So if Paul is saying that salvation is by faith alone , then what is James saying?I believe that 2:18 holds the key to understanding this passage , and indeed , the whole passage needs to be considered in context.

 James 2:18
                          Yea , a man may say , thou hast faith , and I have works, show me thy faith without thy works , and
                          I will show thee my faith by my works.

I believe that what James is saying here is that the faith which saves , will also produce works, the two cannot be separated, works are an imperative that follow justification . Some might ask what kind of works, and the text cannot be clearer, obedience.

                 James 2:21-22
                                   Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac , his son upon
                                   the altar.
                                   Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect.

So a faith without works is not a saving faith , but a faith that produces works is evidence of saving faith , the faith of Christ.

Clifford Grodin

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2012, 04:49:01 PM »
I'm getting two different answers here. Some say we are saved by works, but it is the work of Christ. But you say I am saved by my own works, but works that are produced by the faith of Christ. Which is correct?

JohnDunningUK

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2012, 09:41:53 PM »
But, the text does say that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. That seems to me to require work, and not just faith. Isn't that what it clearly says?

Hi Clifford,

It seems to me that an important thing to remember is that the Word of God does not contradict itself. Therefore the passage that you quoted from James does not simply overthrow passages such as:

19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 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.
Romans 3:19-20 (KJV)


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.
Gal 2:16 (KJV)


If we are not justified by the works of the Law, what work can we offer that does justify us before God? If we're not justified by the Law given to Israel under Moses, what works of God can we offer that will justify us in His sight? When Jesus was asked this question, He replied:

28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
John 6:28-29 (KJV)


You may well say that even that belief, if it is from us, then surely that is a work that we have provided. Therefore we are saved because of our own works, right? And in a way I would agree with you, but what I would point out is that, although that faith arose from within us, it most certainly did not come from our flesh. Rather both faith and repentance are given as gracious gifts by God to the elect, according to His own will. For unless He initiated the process by giving those gifts, none should be saved. This is why regeneration must precede faith and repentance, for it relies solely on the will of God.

31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 5:31 (KJV)


24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
2 Tim 2:24-25 (KJV)


8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:7-9 (KJV)


44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
John 6:43-45 (KJV)


The bottom line is that we are justified by the completed works of Christ on our behalf, and nothing of our own. Even that which could be said to have come from us, namely faith and repentance, is actually given to us as a gift of God's grace, in order that we may come to Christ in the first place.

As Ray pointed out previously, it's out of this place of justification that flow our works in Christ, which truly are evidence that points to an inward change. However it is not those works that justify us before God, but rather they are the very works that He has prepared for us to walk in.

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


It's all about Him Clifford, and not about us.

God bless,

John

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Clifford Grodin

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2012, 12:35:33 AM »
But the question remains. Is it our works through faith as some have said, or the the work of Christ through us? I just want a straight answer. It's one or the other, as they are not the same.

Tony Warren

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2012, 04:13:14 AM »
>>>
But the question remains. Is it our works through faith as some have said, or the the work of Christ through us? I just want a straight answer. It's one or the other, as they are not the same.
<<<

A simple question deserves a simple answer...

     ...and then expounded upon. ;)

The answer is, it is the work of Christ through us. It is not our work in any sense of the word, it is Christ in us that wills, works, does, moves, everything. We can take credit for nothing. Hear what God declares through the Apostle Paul on the exact same subject:

1st Corinthians 15:9-10
  • "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
  • But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."

Clearly the Apostle Paul understood that all of his labors or work which he did, which in his own words was considerable, was not his work, but Christ working within Him. So you have your answer. The answer is, it is not our works through faith, it is the work of Christ through us. We are earthen vessels used of God unto good works.

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."

In other words, without Christ giving you the will, and then the power, and then moving you to work, there would be no good works from anyone. At least good works wherein is of faith.

Philippians 2:13
  • "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

The word Do is the same word work. IE, it is God within you that gives you the will and the work. What part of any of these verses would lead us to believe the good works are our own?

It is not "our works" through faith, it is "His works" of faith in  us. If not, the Apostle Paul wouldn't deny it was Him, and declare unambiguously, it was Christ that worked in him to will and do/work.


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Peace,
Tony Warren
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John

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2012, 09:19:24 PM »

There is a bit of confusion, I think, in the reformed house surrounding the idea of justification by faith. You can read much in reformed writing about how faith is from God as a gift. Then in the next sentence read that a man's faith is not from God because God doesn't believe for us. We have to grasp Christ by or through our faith.

When the reformed churches speak of justification by faith alone it appears to me that they muddy the waters, trying to have it both ways - God and man. There is implied on the one hand that we are justified by our faith but then is added: the meaning of faith alone is "by Christ alone".

The reformed position is that "when a man by faith lays hold of Jesus Christ and His merits" then "God imputes that person's guilt ... upon Christ ... and Christ's righteousness to that sinner." Laying hold of Christ is a work we do, they say, apart from which we cannot be saved. 

That is, a person must have "saving faith" first, and that is obtained by gaining knowledge. How much knowledge is required to arrive at "saving faith" is usually subjective and murky, especially if we turn to babies saved in the womb (like John the Baptist).

The timeline according to reformed teaching is:
1. Obtain knowledge of Christ
2. Trust/Belief in the teachings (i.e., receiving, looking to, or coming to Christ)
3. Demonstrating saving faith (securing eternal life)
4. Repentance
5. Imputation of Righteousness
6. Justified by means of or through faith

There is always the undercurrent in reformed writings that salvation, justification, repentance, regeneration are given by God by His grace and mercy, and yet -- faith is in the domain of the person's being apart from God.

Summing up the reformed position:
No one is saved because of their faith.
No one is justified because of their faith.
God gives faith as a gift.
It is by God's grace in regeneration that a person believes.
Once given faith the person believes and embraces Christ.
It is man's faith and of the person alone, not of God.
Because he believed God declares an objective verdict of justified.
A person's faith is the means to be justified.

Do you agree?

john
Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

Clifford Grodin

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2012, 06:24:51 AM »

Do you agree?

john

 I agree, but it is more than the Reformed who think that way. Isn't that just another form of Grace plus Works? I mean when you get right down to it, aren't they really adding their own works to grace? Even though they would deny it?

John

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2012, 09:31:04 PM »
Quote
I mean when you get right down to it, aren't they really adding their own works to grace? Even though they would deny it?

It is a razor's edge. They have God giving/doing everything to include working faith in the individual that believes - except they envision that faith to be wholly from the individual and not from God, and yet still partly from God. Confusion.

If there is any point in salvation that depends upon man's prerogative to believe or act, then it is not grace but works - which they rightly reject. But still require individual faith for God to declare an individual just.

The question then is justification by our faith or by the faithfulness of Christ worked out in us?

john
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Reggie Matthews

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2012, 07:30:05 AM »

The question then is justification by our faith or by the faithfulness of Christ worked out in us?

john

Would You then say that people who don't fully understand that it is Christ in us are ignorant because of being ordained to be without the spirit, or because it hasn't been given them yet, or this knowledge is not really necessary?
"Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?" -Ecclesiastes 8:4

John

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Re: Faith Without Works is Dead
« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2012, 03:43:48 PM »
Quote
Would You then say that people who don't fully understand that it is Christ in us are ignorant because of being ordained to be without the spirit

There are those who don't understand because they believe their Bible teacher/pastor and don't bother to check things out. And there are people who don't care and are biased to have their faith be the center-piece of their own salvation.

Our faith is not the cause of our justification before God. What can a sinner do to be declared righteous before a thrice holy God? Obviously nothing.

So it must be that our faith is not important in this aspect but rather the faithfulness of Christ, i.e., the faith of Christ (Gal 2:16). 

We have faith IN Christ because of the Spirit of Christ dwells in the believer - that is, without Christ in us we would be faithless.

The confusion, I believe, is when the personal faith of believers, such as Abraham, are given weight as the CAUSE of their justification. Abraham's life of faith (leaving his homeland and obeying God) is not grounds for his justification before God. It is grounds for declaring HIM as a righteous man who loved God.

To clarify: There is justification/righteousness accounted before God, before men, and before yourself. Abraham's life of believing God was counted to him, and if we are like Abraham by faith, then we are the same: the children of Abraham. Our life of faith is not the cause of our imputed (placed to our account) righteousness. The judicial act of declaring us justified is between the Godhead and is not subjective upon us. Because we are justified before God (on the basis of Christ's faithfulness in redeeming His elect) we then receive the imparted (bestowed) righteousness of Christ as a free gift in the new creation.

Because we have received the imparted righteousness of Christ in salvation we are empowered to walk by faith. Faith is part of the new creation and is therefore an "effect" not a "cause.

Quote
...or because it hasn't been given them yet, or this knowledge is not really necessary?

Knowledge is not necessary for the Godhead to judicially impute Christ's righteousness to the elect. But when imparted, the regenerate person possesses the "spirit of faith" (2Cor 4:13) that gifted power enables belief in the truth of Scripture. If anyone doesn't have Christ's Spirit then they are none of His and if these people assign faith anywhere it will be to themselves (secular-mindset) and their own faith.

john
Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

 


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