Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word "apologetics" derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense.

Works as evidence of faith

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  • Works as evidence of faith

    Greeting brothers and sisters in Christ

    I would like a clarification of on some protestant claims on faith

    Protestants claim that the justification in James is not before God but before men. However, no matter how many times I read those passages in James, there is no emphasis at all by the author to make us do good works in order to prove to men the veracity of our faith. God is the primary and formal object of our faith not man.

    22But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

    It just seems like the whole time James isn't trying to say that my faith needs to be approved by men but that God is the focus here. God needs to see those works. It is God whom we are trying to prove that our faith in Him isn't in vain.

    14What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?

    I would like my readers to focus on that last question. "Can that kind of faith save anyone"? Save as in salvation, if so, then why would men be the focus of our good works? Who saves? Is James referring to man or God? Who would say, I need to show my good works to men so that men can save me? It is obvious that if salvation is mentioned then God is necessarily implied.

    In verse 21, James mention Abraham and emphasized how he showed his faith to God (not men) that led him to be justified.
    In verse 25 it reads, Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road.
    It says "shown to be right with God". It doesn't say show to be right with men.


    No matter how many times I read over these verses where protestants would say that men are the true witnesses to our faith, I find just the opposite. Men aren't even referenced. No where does James say, we need to do good works because men needs to see them as evidence. The good works must be shown to God.

    in verse 23a, James says, "[A]nd the scripture was fulfilled which says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.'" Who in that Scripture did the reckoning? Was it men or God? It was not men, but God. Thus justification before God.
    in 23b James states: "[A]nd he was called the friend of God." Important question: Who called Abraham God's friend? God himself did: "But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend" (Isa. 41:8). Thus justification before God.

    James Akin: However, in actuality, in the phrase "justification before men" the term "justification" is taken to mean "justification before God." This is why advocates of this interpretation speak of one's good works showing <before others> that one is justified <before God>. The concept of justification before God is stuffed into the concept of justification before men. The concept is actually "justification before God before men." While it would be possible to imagine the single Greek term "justified" representing "justified before men," there is no way that the single Greek term "justified" can represent the enormous, complex phrase "justification before God before men." This is a case of raw lexical word-stuffage, where a single Greek word is being used to represent a long and complex string of words and in which this usage is not paralleled anywhere else in New Testament, classical, koine, or patristic Greek anywhere. In other words, it is a blatant attempt to cobble together a theory to explain the term "justified" over against the obvious sense the term has in the Greek text.


    At the end of the day, who is it that judges the authenticity of our faith? God or men? If God is the direct object of faith then how is man the direct object of the actions of our faith? Are we doing good works for man's sake or for God's glory?

    24So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. "RIGHT WITH GOD". Where in this verse does it say "right with men"? Where is the justification before men. Man isn't even on James' mind in this chapter. He is solely worried about how are we before God, how will our faith fare before God without works. Men doesn't save us, God does. This justification before men just doesn't jive with these passages.

    In chapter 3 James is even more emphatic that he is talking exclusively about justification before God: 13If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.
    It doesn't say if you are wise and understand man's way. Again God is suppose to be the main witness here not man. Man's witness or justification isn't a necessity. God does not need men to tell him whether my faith is dead or alive, fake or true. Man's justification is a moot point, it is useless, it bears zero importance in the order of salvation. God is the ultimate one who judges man's faith not man. This is clear in chapter 4: But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. 12God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?


    Also why would James tell us to show our faith to men through our good works? Didn't Jesus tell us that when we do good works we should NEVER use men as witnesses to them. Men should always be the objects of our good works but never should they be there to as witnesses. In other words, we do not ever do good works in public in order to get the approval and applause from men, that's bragging.

    Matthew 6
    1“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.2When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
    5“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
    16“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.18Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.


    So if anything having men as the primary witnesses to our good works would go contrary to Jesus' words that only our Father in heaven should know of them. Getting man's justification is already getting our reward here on earth as Jesus confirms in vs 2. Man's approval means nothing to God. Hence why Jesus teaches us not to seek it our whenever we do good deeds. Justification before men is never a theme in the Gospel. It is never a goal or a requirement taught by Jesus, the apostles, or Paul. In fact, it is shunned. Who cares what man knows? All we should care about is what God knows. I just don't understand why should this even be a topic. I understand the letter of James to be a thorn on the side of protestants but to completely water down the salvific implications of James message is disappointing. It is clear from Matthew 6 that justification before man is prohibited and not encouraged. The whole letter of James is aimed at trying to justify ourselves before God not man. Justification before man does not win us a thing, therefore, to add it as an implied meaning to the texts is absurd. James isn't worried in the least bit what men think, he is worried at what God thinks and judges.

    Thank you for your time. I appreciate your responses in advance.

  • #2
    Hi TS, I never finished replying to the last thread I was on with you, so I am reluctant to begin a new one here. I will comment quickly on James 2 and hopefully someone else will join in as well (as I would prefer to return to the other thread and finish that one first).

    That said, you mentioned that there was no focus on man in these verses (James 2:14-26), that the focus was on God alone. I'll add the passage in here so we don't have to go looking for it.

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

    You said that "God needs to see those works. It is God whom we are trying to prove that our faith in Him isn't in vain." So you're saying that God doesn't know the true intentions of our hearts? Is that really what the RCC teaches these days? ;)

    As for God being the focus of St. James' attention, I will have to respectfully disagree. Men are clearly the ones who are in view in every verse of this part of his Epistle (i.e. "show me your faith without the works and I will show you my faith by my works" v18). The implication being, of course, that it is not possible to show/demonstrate/justify our "claim" of being saved apart from how we live our lives and/or apart from what we do/say/think.

    Moving on, if v24 is interpreted to mean that our works are the reason, or even part of the reason that God graciously chooses to save us, then you create on one hand, the perfect support for your non-Biblical presupposition, but on the other, you cause the Bible to directly contradict itself (the "proposed" meaning here that our "salvation" is by our "works", directly contradicting the teachings of St. Paul, St. Peter, and the Lord Himself, who all tell us plainly, and at some length, that we are saved by grace through faith, by believing, apart from works). This teaching that "works save" also contradicts St. James' own teaching in this very passage, but I'll take that up in just a moment

    Quite frankly, the Cross itself stands in stark contrast to the teaching that our works can save us, even in part.

    Oddly enough, after saying all that, I also have to say that none of it really matters, not with regard to the topic at hand anyway ;) Here's why! This passage isn't teaching that justification is by works or by works + faith, because ONLY justification by "faith", which is just another way of saying, "justification by faith alone", is in view here!

    Take a look at the passage, and then take a look at the phrase you asked us all to focus on, "Can that faith save him?

    This passage contrasts and compares a "DEAD" faith, which is a faith that does not result in good works, with a "lively" or "SAVING" faith, which is a faith that does result in good works. In either case, the subject matter is "FAITH". The works it produces (or the lack thereof) is the evidence for the KIND of faith it is. IOW, works or the lack thereof is the evidence for the KIND of faith one has, saving or dead.

    So on the one hand, "Saving Faith" is the kind of faith that produces/results in good works. Can that KIND of faith save someone? Of course :) In fact, it is specifically that kind of faith that does save (as St. James teaches us).

    "Dead Faith", on the other hand, is the kind of faith that does NOT produce/result in good works. "Can THAT faith save him?", asks St. James. The implied and obvious answer is no, that KIND of faith, a faith that does not result in good works, cannot save, because a true saving faith always results in holy living/good works.

    So no matter how you cut it, this entire passage is a discussion about different KINDS of FAITH, not about works, because "good works" are the PRODUCT/FRUIT of our salvation, NOT the cause!!

    Only those who ALREADY know God and possess saving faith in Him choose to live a holy life that is pleasing in His sight. IOW, only those who ARE Christians ACT like Christians (Non-C's/"natural" men/women cannot) .. 1 Corinthians 2:12-16.

    Yours in Christ,
    David
    p.s. - if you'd like to discuss WHY a "saving faith" results in good works and a "dead faith" does not, I'd be happy to. Just let me know!





    "He saved us, NOT ON THE BASIS OF DEEDS
    which we have done in righteousness,
    but according to His mercy"

    Titus 3:5
    Last edited by David Lee; 12-09-2016, 11:12 PM.
    Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

    "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

    "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

    "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

    "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
      Also why would James tell us to show our faith to men through our good works? Didn't Jesus tell us that when we do good works we should NEVER use men as witnesses to them. Men should always be the objects of our good works but never should they be there to as witnesses. In other words, we do not ever do good works in public in order to get the approval and applause from men, that's bragging.

      Matthew 6
      1“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.
      You underlined "Don't do your good deeds publicly" but then seemed to reject its context which followed - Ambition makes alms vain. Take what you said, and contrast it with 1 Corthians 10:1 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. And we are to be ready to witness towards man of our God 1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect...

      We are not boasting of our works, but we are glorifying God in our salvation. Can you honestly say the same of the Semi-Pelagian position of Catholicism? It appears to me that the Protestant position attempts to glorify God alone, but the Catholic position wants to bring glory to man. Why is that?


      God bless,
      William
      Comment>

      • #4
        Hi TS, I never finished replying to the last thread I was on with you, so I am reluctant to begin a new one here. I will comment quickly on James 2 and hopefully someone else will join in as well (as I would prefer to return to the other thread and finish that one first).

        I thank you for your time and patience. My responses are in bold.

        That said, you mentioned that there was no focus on man in these verses (James 2:14-26), that the focus was on God alone. I'll add the passage in here so we don't have to go looking for it.


        You said that "God needs to see those works. It is God whom we are trying to prove that our faith in Him isn't in vain." I didn't know that God isn't capable of knowing the true intentions of our hearts? Is that really what the RCC teaches these days? ;)

        We do good works for the glory of God, we do them because it is His will. We do not do them because we are trying to prove a point to men. God's knows man's heart and intentions.

        As for God being the focus of St. James' attention, I will have to respectfully disagree. Men are clearly the ones who are in view in every verse of this part of his Epistle (i.e. "show me your faith without the works and I will show you my faith by my works" v18). The implication being, of course, that it is not possible to show/demonstrate/justify our "claim" of being saved apart from how we live our lives and/or apart from what we do/say/think.

        But this verse has nothing to do with justification before man. James doesn't say show me your works and so "I" can justify you. Justify is not in this verse. That's very naive of you to equate "show" with "justify". Where in greek does show and justify mean the same thing? Guess where justify actually shows up? In vs 23 when God "counted him (Abraham) as righteousness because of his faith". Showing faith isn't the same as being actually justified through that faith. You can show your faith through your actions to man all you want but what does that actually get you? NOTHING! Man doesn't add or subtract to that faith. When is faith actually justified? When are actions justified? When God becomes the focus of faith and actions, not man. James is not trying to seek the approval of men nor is he telling us to. He's worried about God's reaction to a faith that is workless. Verse 23 shreds any doubt that God is He who justifies and that it is the justification before God that we seek not men. You don't even address verse 25 where it explicitly says that Rahab ...was shown to be right with God by her actions. Where is man mentioned here? Where is justification before man you claim to be here? How can you take vs 18 and completely disregard what comes after? The goal is God's justification not man's. I just don't understand how can you not see this. James mention Abraham and Rahab made righteous in front of God. No where does James say, as long as you're justified before man you are ok.

        Moving on, if v24 is interpreted to mean that our works are the reason, or even part of the reason that God graciously chooses to save us, then you create on one hand, the perfect support for your non-Biblical presupposition, but on the other, you cause the Bible to directly contradict itself (the RC proposed meaning here that our "salvation" is by our "works", which contradicts the teaching of both St. Paul, St. Peter, and the Lord Himself, who tell us plainly and at some length that we are saved by faith, by believing, apart from works). This teaching that "works saves" also contradicts St. James' teaching in this very passage, but I'll take that up in just a moment

        But they do not contradict each other. This in itself is a false premise. It was Luther who pitted Paul against James. Neither was trying to cancel out the other. For 1500 yrs Paul and James got along just fine. It was Luther who created this friction that never existed in the first place. So many times Paul in his epistles echoes James "faith without works is dead", being part of Christ, being his disciple, being born again in Him, all that is for naught if we don't love, if we don't show it through our conduct and actions.

        15Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 1 Cor 6
        2If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 1 Cor 13
        12Do not let sin control the way you live;a do not give in to sinful desires. 13Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. Rom 6
        15Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Rom 6
        4So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. Romans 7

        Can you not see the parallelism of Paul and James? In those verses Paul is basically saying what James is saying. If we believe, if we are new creatures in Christ, if we have died in Him, then all these other things MUST follow. The life of faith demands actions, conduct and sanctification. The works that need to follow are not that which merits us our INITIAL justification, by doing the works of Jesus we maintain that justification. There is a mandatory expectation of believing of receiving this FREE gift of faith.

        1Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. Eph 4

        Again here, faith must yield good deeds, christian conduct. Faith is our calling and it is incumbent upon us to LIVE UP TO THAT EXPECTATION. Same thing James is trying to say, believing without backing it up with actions is a lie. A certain status is given to us through baptism and faith. We need to maintain that status quo with good works. It is clear to Paul that simple faith isn't enough to fight sin. We need to do works. We need to act, talk and live as Christians.

        21Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,22throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Eph 4



        Quite frankly, the Cross itself stands in stark contrast to the teaching that our works can save us, even in part.

        Our works do not save us. God saves us. Our works in themselves do not save. Only God can save. But it is God's will to save those who have the works to back it up. God can save even if works aren't present as in infant deaths after baptism. As you can see works are not the primal nor formal cause of salvation. You still can be saved even if you did zero good works. So works per se in and of themselves do not cause salvation. Works just keeps us within what God had already given to us for free.

        If faith alone saves then why does James say this: 12God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
        How come there is no mention of faith here? How come James talks about God rewarding us for our patience and love? Is merit actually being talked about here? It doesn't say here that we will recieve the crown of life to those who "believe" in Him, but rather those who "love" Him.

        It was convenient for you to ignore James 1, 22-25 where James clearly and unambiguously says that actions must follow belief.
        22But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

        If faith alone is truly faith alone, why is James emphasizing action in 22-25?


        This passage contrasts and compares a "DEAD" faith, which is a faith that does not result in good works, with a "lively" or "SAVING" faith, which is a faith that does result in good works. In either case, the subject matter is "FAITH". The works it produces (or the lack thereof) is the evidence for the KIND of faith it is. IOW, works or the lack thereof is the evidence for the KIND of faith one has, saving or dead.
        So on the one hand, "Saving Faith" is the kind of faith that produces/results in good works. Can that KIND of faith save someone? Of course :) In fact, it is SPECIFICALLY that "kind" of faith that saves (as St. James teaches us).
        "Dead Faith", on the other hand, is the kind of faith that does NOT produce/result in good works. "Can THAT faith save him?" The implied and obvious answer is no, that KIND of faith cannot save, because a true SAVING FAITH always results in holy living/good works (unless a person is converted on his/her death bed, of course).
        So one way or the other however, this entire passage is a discussion about two different KINDS of FAITH. It's not about works at all really, nor can it possibly have anything to do with the possibility that good works are a requirement to be saved, because "good works" are the PRODUCTor the FRUIT of our salvation, NOT the cause!!

        It can't be referring to "dead faith". I dare you to substitute "dead faith" every time faith is mentioned by James in that passage and you'll see how absurd it is to equate faith to "dead faith" in that verse.

        Jimmy Akin: But it mistakenly locates the source of the deadness in the faith itself. That is not what James says. He says faith (at least the kind discussed in this passage) is dead if it does not have works. He does not say that dead faith is without works. There is a big difference between those two statements, just as there is a big difference between saying that bricks without straw are useless and saying that useless bricks are those which are without straw. A brick can be useless for other reasons than that it doesn't have straw (it may not have been fired properly or at all, it may be made out of the wrong material, it may be the wrong shape or size or color, it may be too brittle, etc.). One simply cannot convert statements of the form "X without Y is Z" into statements of the form "Z is X is without Y." James does not locate the source of the deadness in the faith itself. The deadness is produced by the absence of works; it is not a product of the kind of faith being discussed, or else the above interpretation of the passage (the "dead faith" substitution) would result. The problem in this passage is not with the kind of faith being discussed but with the fact that that kind of faith is sometimes alone. (And note that the kind of faith being discussed is only sometimes alone, for James offers to show it by his works.)





        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by William View Post

          You underlined "Don't do your good deeds publicly" but then seemed to reject its context which followed - Ambition makes alms vain. Take what you said, and contrast it with 1 Corthians 10:1 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

          We are not boasting of our works, but we are glorifying God in our salvation. Can you honestly say the same of the Semi-Pelagian position of Catholicism? It appears to me that the Protestant position attempts to glorify God alone, but the Catholic position wants to bring glory to man. Why is that?


          God bless,
          William
          Your whole argument in James is that James is telling us to seek justification of our faith before man. Jesus is telling us the exact opposite. We should never ever seek the approval of men. If the protestant truly sought to glorify God alone then why make a case of justification before man in James? It is not me who is worried about justification before man, it is you! If anything I'm the one arguing that whatever we do only God should know about it. I'm saying that seeking man's justification is vain. To say that James is teaching that in chapter 2 is a complete violation of the text.

          Answer me this: is James solely talking about the need of justification before man with our good works?
          Comment>

          • #6
            You didn't address my points. Why is that?

            Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
            Your whole argument in James is that James is telling us to seek justification of our faith before man.
            Wrong. No sense going any further.

            Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
            Answer me this: is James solely talking about the need of justification before man with our good works?
            He's saying the same thing Peter has in 1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect..

            God bless,
            William
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
              But they do not contradict each other. This in itself is a false premise. It was Luther who pitted Paul against James. Neither was trying to cancel out the other. For 1500 yrs Paul and James got along just fine. It was Luther who created this friction that never existed in the first place. So many times Paul in his epistles echoes James "faith without works is dead", being part of Christ, being his disciple, being born again in Him, all that is for naught if we don't love, if we don't show it through our conduct and actions.
              Actually, the Pelagian controversy began before Luther. The Catholic church was not fine for 1500 years. A brief history lesson:

              Pelagianism was condemned. Six years after the council of Carthage a general council of African Churches reaffirmed the anathemas of 412 AD. Zosimus sided with Pelagius in 412, he wrote a letter condemning the anathema of Carthage. Of course having the support of Scripture, the leaders of the Carthagian Council disregarded the Bishop and his letter. Philip Schaff noted church historian observes, "This temporary favor of the bishop of Rome towards the Pelagian heresy is a significant presage of the indulgence of later popes for pelagianizing tendencies". It was these later "pelagianizing tendencies" that lead to the works-righteousness advocated by the bishop of Rome that later led to the Roman Catholic belief system. This was a pivotal moment in church history. Cornelius Otto Jansen like Martin Luther believed the early Church of Rome departed from its position that all of life was by the grace of God. And like Augustine Jansen taught that man's spirit was dead in sin, and therefore needed to be regenerated. Jansen understood that this was something that happened to man by God's grace and not something man made happen by his faith. In 1713 Pope Clement the XI issued a Papal Bull denouncing over 100 statements, many of which were actual quotes of Augustine. A Church that once sided with Augustine now sided with Pelagius.
              God bless,
              William
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by William View Post
                You underlined "Don't do your good deeds publicly" but then seemed to reject its context which followed - Ambition makes alms vain. Take what you said, and contrast it with 1 Corthians 10:1 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. And we are to be ready to witness towards man of our God 1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect...

                Tell me what you think. I'm under the impression that our "good deeds" are to be used to bring God his due glory(Colossians 3:23, 1 Peter 4:11) and we are to be a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14). Giving on the other hand is a different act and follows different rules: Matthew 6:3.
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by wfredeemed009 View Post


                  Tell me what you think. I'm under the impression that our "good deeds" are to be used to bring God his due glory(Colossians 3:23, 1 Peter 4:11) and we are to be a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14). Giving on the other hand is a different act and follows different rules: Matthew 6:3.
                  Hi wfredeemed,

                  I agree with you, and follow up with our works and deeds are those things done from true faith, according to God’s law, and done for God’s glory, not so as to earn a reward. However, I think we must distinguish exactly what good works are? Giving to charity, walking an old lady across the street etc., don't unbelievers do that too?

                  Lemme leave you this to consider:
                  • Isaiah 64:6-7 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
                  • Galatians 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
                  • Romans 7:21-24 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

                  Another words, our works remain seriously tarnished or stained by our sinfulness, so that apart from Christ works would only serve to condemn us since such a work is corrupted by sin and not truly good.

                  I think Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6; 2:13 says those justified by faith alone will obey God's commandments though in our obedience we may hesitate or err. Our works (apart from Christ) would only serve to condemn us since such a work is corrupted by sin and not truly good. And I'll avoid making a fatalistic response until the question or objection arises.

                  Yours or anyone else thoughts?

                  God bless,
                  William
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by William View Post

                    Hi wfredeemed,

                    I agree with you, and follow up with our works and deeds are those things done from true faith, according to God’s law, and done for God’s glory, not so as to earn a reward. However, I think we must distinguish exactly what good works are? Giving to charity, walking an old lady across the street etc., don't unbelievers do that too?

                    Lemme leave you this to consider:
                    • Isaiah 64:6-7 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
                    • Galatians 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
                    • Romans 7:21-24 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

                    Another words, our works remain seriously tarnished or stained by our sinfulness, so that apart from Christ works would only serve to condemn us since such a work is corrupted by sin and not truly good.

                    I think Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6; 2:13 says those justified by faith alone will obey God's commandments though in our obedience we may hesitate or err. Our works (apart from Christ) would only serve to condemn us since such a work is corrupted by sin and not truly good. And I'll avoid making a fatalistic response until the question or objection arises.

                    Yours or anyone else thoughts?

                    God bless,
                    William
                    Oh I agree, that's why I put good works in quotation marks (John 15:1-8 1 Corinthians 13:1).
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by David Lee View Post
                      Hi TS, I never finished replying to the last thread I was on with you, so I am reluctant to begin a new one here. I will comment quickly on James 2 and hopefully someone else will join in as well (as I would prefer to return to the other thread and finish that one first).

                      That said, you mentioned that there was no focus on man in these verses (James 2:14-26), that the focus was on God alone. I'll add the passage in here so we don't have to go looking for it.

                      You said that "God needs to see those works. It is God whom we are trying to prove that our faith in Him isn't in vain." So you're saying that God doesn't know the true intentions of our hearts? Is that really what the RCC teaches these days? ;)

                      As for God being the focus of St. James' attention, I will have to respectfully disagree. Men are clearly the ones who are in view in every verse of this part of his Epistle (i.e. "show me your faith without the works and I will show you my faith by my works" v18). The implication being, of course, that it is not possible to show/demonstrate/justify our "claim" of being saved apart from how we live our lives and/or apart from what we do/say/think.

                      Moving on, if v24 is interpreted to mean that our works are the reason, or even part of the reason that God graciously chooses to save us, then you create on one hand, the perfect support for your non-Biblical presupposition, but on the other, you cause the Bible to directly contradict itself (the "proposed" meaning here that our "salvation" is by our "works", directly contradicting the teachings of St. Paul, St. Peter, and the Lord Himself, who all tell us plainly, and at some length, that we are saved by grace through faith, by believing, apart from works). This teaching that "works saves" also contradicts St. James' own teaching in this very passage, but I'll take that up in just a moment

                      Quite frankly, the Cross itself stands in stark contrast to the teaching that our works can save us, even in part.

                      Oddly enough, after saying all that, I also have to say that none of it really matters, not with regard to the topic at hand anyway ;) Here's why! This passage isn't teaching that justification is by works or by works + faith, because ONLY justification by "faith", which is just another way of saying, "justification by faith alone", is in view here!

                      Take a look at the passage, and then take a look at the phrase you asked us all to focus on, "Can that faith save him?

                      This passage contrasts and compares a "DEAD" faith, which is a faith that does not result in good works, with a "lively" or "SAVING" faith, which is a faith that does result in good works. In either case, the subject matter is "FAITH". The works it produces (or the lack thereof) is the evidence for the KIND of faith it is. IOW, works or the lack thereof is the evidence for the KIND of faith one has, saving or dead.

                      So on the one hand, "Saving Faith" is the kind of faith that produces/results in good works. Can that KIND of faith save someone? Of course :) In fact, it is specifically that kind of faith that does save (as St. James teaches us).

                      "Dead Faith", on the other hand, is the kind of faith that does NOT produce/result in good works. "Can THAT faith save him?", asks St. James. The implied and obvious answer is no, that KIND of faith, a faith that does not result in good works, cannot save, because a true saving faith always results in holy living/good works.

                      So no matter how you cut it, this entire passage is a discussion about different KINDS of FAITH, not about works, because "good works" are the PRODUCT/FRUIT of our salvation, NOT the cause!!

                      Yours in Christ,
                      David
                      p.s. - if you'd like to discuss WHY a "saving faith" results in good works and a "dead faith" does not, I'd be happy to. Just let me know!





                      "He saved us, NOT ON THE BASIS OF DEEDS
                      which we have done in righteousness,
                      but according to His mercy"

                      Titus 3:5
                      I must also say, the Hebrews 3: 12-19; and 4: 1-11, 16 and Matthew 11: 28-30 shows us that it is only by faith as God conforms is and transforms us to the image of the Son of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit that we will see, not it, but will see fruit as God places His word within our innermost being, and looking back on our Christian life we will see that God has worked in and through us, and we no longer desire things from our former life...the things of life grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

                      We will still see sin in our fleshly minds and bodies, but it has been condemned and there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, we have been set from from the law of sin and death.

                      God tells us through Paul that there is no good thing in us, that is, in the flesh, what we could not do, cannot do in the flesh, God did: by sending His Son, who has condemned sin in the flesh...

                      The basic foundation for forgiveness and salvation, i.e. eternal life in Christ, is faith in Him, that is the bottom line, all the rest are details God is working out in our innermost being, in our spiritual minds and hearts, and we WILL come to maturity in Christ.

                      The world will see the change in us, and the world itself will not understand it, good works and the fruit of the Spirit, i.e. our spirit will be seen more clearly as we look back upon our Christian lives. To God be the glory period, in all things.

                      John 3: 27 'we have received nothing that has not been given to us from heaven'
                      John 15: 5 '...you can do nothing apart from Me...says the Lord.
                      Philippians 2 13...it is God who is at work in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
                      1 Peter 1: 3 Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again.

                      All that we are in Christ, is because of who Christ is, and who He continues to be in regards to our relationship to Him.

                      We have chosen Christ because we were chosen before the foundation of the world to be in Him, we chose because God has chosen and predestined us, and has called us and drawn us and given us to Christ John 6: 37, 44, 63, 65
                      we chose because God has prepared our innermost being, our spiritual hearts to hear, and hearing we believed, and believing we are forgiven and saved into the Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity, His work and not our own. Romans 9: 11

                      In choosing us, God drew us to hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and hearing it, we believed in Him, and believing we are saved. 'For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it...and nothing else, by the will of God...is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith.

                      Romans 10: 9-10...if we confess Jesus as Lord and believing in our heart God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved; for it is with the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and confessing with the mouth, resulting in salvation.

                      All that we are in Christ, is a work of the Holy Spirit of God, and we will bear fruit, yes, some will take longer than others, but they WILL, I repeat, WILL bear fruit, because God is at work in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure...

                      Hebrews
                      It is just as simple as that, faith in God is what Israel was veiled to and could not understand or do, for Israel was created to show the world that mankind, Jew or Gentile cannot do the will of God, work the will of God, that we need a Redeemer, Savior, Deliverer, and only God can do that, and we will see that fruit as we look back on our Christian lives, it is a work of God from the very beginning to our being placed into Christ...Ephesians 2: 6...

                      John 6: 28-29 Therefore they...the Jews...said to Jesus, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the word of God, that you BELIEVE in Him whom God has sent."

                      Yes we must chose, we must bear fruit and good works, but we must never forget who is doing that within and through us as the word of God is made a reality in our innermost being, it is a work of God and God alone who has changed us within to believe, to chose Jesus Christ, from birth to our dropping of our sinful mind and flesh, until it dies and we find ourselves in a new sinless body united with Christ in the heavenly realms. Not our doing or not doing, but it is God who is at work in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Hi James, WELCOME TO CF :) I'm glad you found us!!

                        I'll be back in a bit (Dv). I look forward to reading what you've written here and in your other posts!

                        Yours and His,
                        David
                        Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                        "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                        "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                        "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                        "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Yes, He first loves us before we love Him. In fact we are created because of His love for my kind.
                          Now, how do we reciprocate His love? 1. By praising Him everyday. 2. By preach His love to other
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Hi Timothy, WELCOME TO CF :) Thanks for joining us!

                            Yours in Christ,
                            David
                            Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                            "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                            "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                            "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                            "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              <<The basic foundation for forgiveness and salvation, i.e. eternal life in Christ, is faith in Him, that is the bottom line, all the rest are details God is working out in our innermost being, in our spiritual minds and hearts, and we WILL come to maturity in Christ.>>

                              Oh really, then why did Jesus say:

                              John 6:51
                              "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."
                              John 6:53-57
                              So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.

                              Are you sure of sola fide here? If faith is all you need for salvation, why is Jesus adding onto that faith? Sola fide not so sola here.
                              Comment>
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