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protestants and works


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I've been reading and thinking alot about the protestants view of slavation by grace alone, faith alone.

 

I can't say for sure people in the protestant cirlce have it all figured out. I'm wrestling with the whole "works have nothing to do with salvation" issue cause I've got Jehovas witness firends at work. In talking with them they don't seem that far off to me. Because of this I've dont alot of reading and I can't say I totally agree with my own upbringing that it's by grace alone faith alone. I tend to see a circular logic thats either addressed or contradicting.

 

I guess my struggle is primarily not that we are saved by grace (which I agree) but that I get the feeling that people think believing this position is what saves a man. That is what I am not buying at this point. I would think if this was all important that Jesus would have made it clear that one must first embrace this position in order to come to God. Instead he instructs people how to conduct themselves and to check thier hearts.

 

Anyone ever wonder or been via a study on this.

 

Auggy

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RGR That Auggy. Its hard. One thing about grace and works and faith. It doesnt matter what you believe about them. Because Grace means "unmerited favor". Which means there is nothing we have done to desearve the "favor" (God smiliing basically) God gave us. Nothing we could do, nothing we have done, nothing we will do. God's gift is irrevocable.

 

 

Romans 11

 

 

29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.

 

 

 

Ive gotta go to work now, ill post later.

 

 

jane

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do you really think there's ANYTHING you could do to EARN your way into the eternal utopia that is Heaven?

 

Hmm, I'd have to say yes. Given we don't know the criteria being judged exactly, I'd say people like Mother Theresa, other Nun-types and Monks/Priests etc would certainly qualify. Princess Dianna devoting her life to ridding war torn countries of the thousands of landmines that riddle the counrtyside. Why not?

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watch is coming from the angle of righteoussness. the question Do you think there is anything you can do. Love is the answer. The problem lies in the fact that God is love and w/o there is no love. This takes me to the reformed position or the classic answer.

 

It seems a bit circular to say theres nothing we can do yet we must live a certain life style in order to not be forfeited from the prize. For example.

 

We can do nothing to be saved but neither murderers, adulteres, thiefs or the sexually imooral will inherit the kingdom of heaven.

So then does this mean if you do not follow the protestant view of salvation by grace then you fall into one of the above? I don't think so.

 

My biggest problem is with James 2. Martin luther called James the epistle of straw and wanted it (along with a few others) removed from the canon. Why? I have a great respect for this cat now; cause he knew James was saying you are justified by your works via faith. Which is what I am believing.

 

If a man loves God and loves others as much as he loves himself then he will be saved. By his deeds? One book (romans 4) says no. Another book (james 2) says yes.

 

Martin Luther certainly knew the classis answer to James which is "if you truly love God then your works will manifest". But unlike the church of today (protestant) he was willing to fess up to what James did say "we are justified by what we do via faith".

 

Thus is it violation to say we are justified by what we do via faith if the bible says it? I don't think so. I tend to think we as people get WAY too cocky and think God placed us in the theology police dept of the world and declare whos damned and whos not. What I mean is we as people love to say "HERETIC". But I tend to think love absent from any theology is bankrupt!

 

Auggy

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you have a problem with being just saved by grace. Its not that. Its that we are saved by grace, through faith(ephesians 2:8). And how do we show faith? By works. Its not that works can save us, but they are the fruits of our faith.

 

 

Romans 10:13 WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED

 

2 Timothy 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity

 

 

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit

 

 

Romans 4:3-5 For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.

 

jane

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jane,

I realize all of the above. The problem (circular) is that I hear people condemn others who put works as a intricate part of salvation. I read James and thats what James does. This is exactly why Martin Luther called it the epistle of straw and wanted this book (and others) removed.

 

When I hear peopel render James I don't feel they are doing justice to natural reading. If James v24 says "we are justified by what we do through faith" then we have a conflict with our "you cannot justify yourself via works" doctrine.

 

I'm not saying grace is not the first step but I am not hearing the conservative viewpoint I was brought up with, from the scriptures. For example I was taught "there will be alot of nice people in hell". I'm wondering if the scriptures are saying "all the nice people will be in heaven".

 

I guess what I'm saying is: will it be people who intellectually grasp the doctrine of salvation and never change who will be saved?

 

People who dont grasp it but live it? How will they be judged?

 

Ghandi is a great example. Anyone got any insight on this cat?

 

Aug

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works are a part of salvation. if you dont do what your faith dictates, your faith is dead(reworded James). But "all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags" from Isaiah. If someone lives a godly life, but doesnt live God's life, they wont go to heaven. If someone lives an ungodly life, but believes(in thier mind) in God , they wont go to heaven. Works alone wont get you to heaven. Ghandi. Hrm. Well, did he believe(as most of the world does) that Jesus was a "good" man, but no more? Well, then by the bible, he wont be in heaven. If he did, even in the last breath he breathed, he will be.

 

 

jane :wub:

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Jane but thats the intellect.

 

Ghandi may indeed only thought of him as a good man but if he thought of his teaching as life saving and followed the same morals and principals then does he really believe in Jesus or does he not.

 

I tend to think he does. Especially when the church who was giving him the so called gospel was killing people for not converting. I would reject that christianity also. So could it be said he saw via the lies of the so called church and he was actually the one practicing Gods will but the ones who thought they were saved cause they had all the right thinking of theology, were not saved at all.

 

I tend to think Ghandi will be greater in heaven then those who claim the grace of God but think they don't have to do anything and thus do nothing.

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Not to get off subject, but is that all it takes is the time of one breath? Is it the ritual of saying aloud you accept Jesus Christ as your savior or is there more to "believing"? Rhetorical question. Giving too much weight to what one thinks in their mind. If you believe, odds are you are going to keep believing. Is all it takes is for me once to think to myself, "Jesus wasn't resurrected."? That's what you guys make it sound like sometimes. Just like thinking you believe doesn't necessarily make is so. Also what i think Auggy may be indirectly referring to is the apparent importance of the rituals involving this acceptance instead of your works. Kinda like practicing what you preach, but not preaching. I think those supporting the contrary were thrown in to try to make sure we believe..

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if you believe in your heart, and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved.

 

 

Whosoever will call on the name of the lord will be saved.

 

 

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that who ever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

 

 

there is a parable in Matthew that speaks about waiting til the eleventh hour. It happens(being saved on your deathbed, heck it happened to my Grandpa! :wub: ) but not very often. My advice is not to try waiting that long. But if you know when you time is up, you fully believe, not jsut hope God is real, but truly ackwoledge your sins and his grace, you will be saved. No doubts.

 

Thats still an issue with me Auggy. I here your arguement. I understand. I too have thought about this idea many times. Let me get back to you.

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Belief is a heart matter. Yes, all it takes is one breath of time. As Jane showed, the Bible says "If you believe with your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, you shall be saved." But it does not always have to be a verbal confession.

 

Think of the women who came and annointed Jesus with perfume and wash his feet with her tears. He knew the other people in the house were looking down on the woman and talking bad about her because she was a harlot and talking bad about Jesus for letting her touch Him but without her saying a word, He saw her heart and knew her. He said that her sins were forgiven and her faith had saved her yet no account was made of her ever saying a word.

 

(Luke 7:37-50 NASB)

 

Next you have the account of the second thief crucified with Christ. While the first was angry and shouting at Jesus to save Himself and him with Him, the second recognized His righteousness and asks Jesus to remember him when He gets to His kingdom. He makes no profession as to who Jesus is, just that He doesn't deserve the crucifixion because He has done nothing wrong. Jesus tells him that "today [he] will be with [Him] in Paradise".

 

(Luke 23:39-43)

 

God knows the heart and sees what is in a man. To do good deeds is a worthy accomplishment, but that is not what is required of a person for entrance into heaven. Acceptance of Christ's free gift of sacrifice is.

 

This is why Paul and James seemed to contradict each other. Paul said, "We are saved by grace, through faith", while James said, "Faith without works is dead". On the surface, these seem to contradict each other but they really don't. Paul states what is needed to be "saved" while James merely states the results of "being saved". A true conversion and acceptance of Jesus Christ will result in a person naturally performing "good works". In our desire to be closer to God and to know Him better, we should begin to become more like Him and to share His heart for the world which should result in us having more compassion for the world and a desire to see His heart poured out through us, not for recognition or praise for ourselves but so that the glory of God can be expanded and multiplied.

 

I remember the words to a song I learned as a child that can help simplify all this. "They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love."

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Watch, don't forget in James 2 though:

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.

 

what James is saying isn't that DOING the works saves a man...he's saying that a saved man WILL do the works.

it's not the action of doing works that saves him, it's being saved that makes him do the actions.

so he's saying, if a man tells you he's saved but doesn't live it...then he's probably not saved.

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I heard someone on the radio today talking about the French journallist being held captive by some Iraqis. THey asked him about Jesus. They wanted to know if the man thought he was the messiah. If he said yes, they probably would have killed him. What would you have done and why?

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I know what I'd like to do. Firstly, I wouldn't think my life would be in very good hands anyway, so I wouldn't exactly bank on getting out alive either way. But, even if I was given the chance of pardon, I would like to think I would say Yes. Why? Because I believe it's true. If you ask me if the theory of gravity is true, I'd say yes. that's how it appears to me. Gravity has never been proven...Granted, there's a more scientific base to it (that's why faith is the big word with belief in God) but the theory is accepted on an educated guess, which is nothing more than part observation and part faith that we've got the model down and it will never change. To me, it's fact. If they want to kill me for it...well, being killed for one's beliefs isn't the ideal end of life, but it's not unprecedented. There are volumes of accounts of Christian martyrs and many who are persecuted but still survive. Some martyrdoms are particularly gruesome. God never promises a worry-free life without prosecution, in fact, we are promised the opposite: We still have to live as people on Earth. It's just the end result that's changed.

 

Well, that's a little long-winded. I won't know unless I'm actually in that situation, but I would like to think I would say Yes.

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what James is saying isn't that DOING the works saves a man...he's saying that a saved man WILL do the works.

it's not the action of doing works that saves him, it's being saved that makes him do the actions.

so he's saying, if a man tells you he's saved but doesn't live it...then he's probably not saved.

Playaa,

I agree with martin luther that James goes too far if indeed we are correct. James does not just say true faith produces good works he says "we see a man is justified by what he does through faith" if you read the whole context he contradicts pauline writings. He says was Abraham not justified by what he did when he put his son on the altar as a sacrifice to God. There is no other way to read James but conclude James is placing works in the salvation scheme.

 

The problem I have is Paul says its by grace via faith APART from works. James seems to thread them all together. One might argue that paul is or would agree with James but Romans (3 or 4 i think)

he clearly argues that Abraham was not justified by any work or deed.

 

So Martin Luther does the unthinkable and concluded....toss the book out OR contradict.

 

I've heard your explanation for so many years and now that I'm studying this topic I find that the classic answer is not sufficient to the text.

 

I'll give it a read in the greek and see if there are any alternatives to the James passage. Perhaps it only sounds the way it does in english but in greek it may have a different flavor.

 

Auggy

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What I was getting to with the Iraqi thing was, say that journalist did say Jesus was noone special. They spared him. At no point did he really feel in heart that Jesus wasn't the messiah, he just mouthed the words. He believed before, during and after. The radio host made it sound like there was only 1 right answer. I understand the thinking there, but I would have to say it's what's in the heart. Unless there is evidence otherwise.

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ahhh watch is bringing up the heart of this issue

 

what does it mean to believe in Jesus? Is it an intellectual thought. Or a lifestyle? Perhaps its both? Perhaps for some its one and not the other?

 

This is the question of Ghandi. He taught mercy, compassion and forgivness. But he rejected Jesus when they said they would cut off his head if he didnt bow to the church. He did not bow. Whos the christian in this scenario?

 

Auggy

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honestly, I have no idea about the Ghandi thing...(well I clearly know that God wasn't telling those folks to chop off Ghandi's head, but I mean I have no idea what God's opinion of Ghandi was)

 

as for the Abraham thing, I'll look into it when I get a chance at work...got any more specific verses?

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auggy, when looking in Romans 3 (at your request) I see this:

21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,[9] through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-- 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29Is 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. 31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

(taken from the NIV)

 

where in there does it say that Faith is apart from works? in fact at the end there he says that we don't nullify the law by our faith, we uphold the law...and I'd say obeying the "law" (think "God's law" not "law of the land") that we are in fact using "works" to show God our faith.

again I go back to it being faith leads to works and lack of faith is shown by no works. God says to obey his law...if you have faith in God you will obey him and by obeying him you will obey his law and therefore have "works".

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in fact at the end there he says that we don't nullify the law by our faith, we uphold the law...and I'd say obeying the "law" (think "God's law" not "law of the land")

 

But does this contradict the notion of obeying the "law of the land" when dealing with issues like capital punishment? "Thou shall not kill" was a commandment, "follow thy government" is not. Don't want to get off topic but this is what came to mind..

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augg, I see you were talking about chapter 4 now...the heading in the NIV was "Abraham justified by faith" and I gotta say man...look at context before you call contradiction.

Chapter 4 is all about whether Gentiles (non-Jews) could be Christians. The argument isn't about whether faith is more important than works...and you can't put that in there. Yes Paul does say that Abraham was justified by faith...but I see nowhere that he says works don't matter at all.

actually if you look at verse 2 (and on) it says that Abrahams works weren't justified before God but his faith was...basically, God looks at faith...that faith produces works, which shows men you are who you say you are.

 

Watch, look at the origional Hebrew...the idea is more than just "kill"...but it's also not quite the same as "murder"....the English language is horribly failing when it comes to things like this. Hewbrew had 13 words for "love"....English has "love"...and that's what I mean when English doesn't hold well.

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Riiight, so why don't we pay more attention to the older texts that were translated into much closer interpretations(quaran, hebrew texts etc).

There is such a need to further dilute the translations and make them more "acceptable" in the english language. Take the KJV version. The only version whose namesake was a homosexual? Sorry, I had to throw that in, read that in helping Trouble do some of her homework tonight..

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