[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Does Anybody agree with this Quotation?

by Matthew

Does anybody here agree with this quotation?


Are works really necessary if a person has faith?

James 2:17-26

Illustration: A young man may court a young lady, telling her that he loves her. But if he never asks her to marry him, is he really demonstrating that his love is thorough? Likewise, works are a means of demonstrating the genuiness of our faith and our love. If we do not obey God, we do not really love him or have faith in the rightness of his ways (1 John 5:3,4). But we cannot earn salvation no matter what works we do. Eternal life is a gift from God through Jesus Christ, not payment for our works- Eph 2:8,9


Reasoning from the Scriptures, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985, p.132

Is this a correct understanding of the relationship between faith and works?

24 Comments:

  • Of course its correct. Is it comprehensive? No.

    By Blogger Chris, at Saturday, July 15, 2006 7:44:00 AM  

  • Well, I suppose you would agree, Chris.

    Thanks for visiting. I think it is useful to have your distinct perspective on these theological isues that come up.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, July 15, 2006 7:51:00 AM  

  • St Augustine's tract On Faith and Works is illuminating.

    By Blogger Pontificator, at Saturday, July 15, 2006 9:25:00 AM  

  • Thanks for visiting.

    I am afraid I have not read that, Pontifactor.

    But do you agree with the quotation here?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, July 15, 2006 9:31:00 AM  

  • I think the analogy is bad. One can have deep and sincere love and not marry. Other factors may be involved!

    I agree with the last two sentences, for sure. Jesus said, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (John 14:21). In that light I cannot really dismiss the part about loving God and works. I suppose what remains is whether faith in and love for God are inseparable.

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at Saturday, July 15, 2006 9:32:00 AM  

  • Matthew, what I find most devious here is the source. If this is really from the JW's Watchtower, they are surely using deceptive language to prey on the unsuspecting christian.

    At face value, this would seem like a reformed doctrine, that is of course, until we understand their definition of Jesus Christ.

    It is true that only faith in Christ Jesus saves, but is there a caveat behind that in this definition?

    Perhaps you should have left out the reference information to really get a true answer.

    God bless,
    Jim

    By Blogger Jim, at Saturday, July 15, 2006 9:38:00 AM  

  • Angie, thanks for giving your view.

    Jim, I was tempted to leave out the source, however, I think people would have smelled a rat and would have wanted to know the source before affirming their agreement.

    So if this is not what the J.W.s believe, then what is their doctrine?

    Here the Watchtower Society has affirmed what essentially most Christians would say.

    If there is a difference between the Reformed and the J.W. view of saving faith, let us hear what it is.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, July 15, 2006 11:08:00 AM  

  • The young man is God - mankind is the young lady. He courts us - we only need to say yes because the gift of eternal life is based on the promise and merit of the giver not on the intensity of the receivers response. You must believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life. (that's a period)

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Saturday, July 15, 2006 5:45:00 PM  

  • I think, on the whole, I agree with this statement, as long as we understand "works" to simply be the external manifestations of love. Hence the insistence of St Augustine that the faith that justifies is the faith that "works by charity." Why does this faith justify? Not because God is keeping a ledger, but because this is simply what living within the eternal life of the Holy Trinity is. God is love and to be justified is to live in this love.

    By Blogger Pontificator, at Saturday, July 15, 2006 8:39:00 PM  

  • Matthew,
    Given your Free Grace perspective, why do you witness to people? Why are you considering a missionary work? You know doubt do it out of a heartfelt love and appreciation for God.

    This is why we do it. We aren't engaged in an unrighteous works based theology.

    Jim- Are you really using the words "prey, devious, deceptive? Tell me, what is an unsuspecting Christian? Is that who we cull from the herd? The weak ones?

    Really, please take the advise found at(Philippians 1:15-17)

    15 True, some are preaching the Christ through envy and rivalry, but others also through goodwill. 16 The latter are publicizing the Christ out of love, for they know I am set here for the defense of the good news; 17 but the former do it out of contentiousness, not with a pure motive, for they are supposing to stir up tribulation . . ."

    By Blogger Chris, at Saturday, July 15, 2006 9:28:00 PM  

  • Jon Lee, I agree with that.

    Pontificator, thanks for your answer.

    Chris, I serve Christ:

    1. Out of obediance.
    2. Out of gratitude.
    3. To gain heavenly rewards, including the right to participate in Christ's heavenly government.
    4. To avoid suffering chastening.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, July 16, 2006 1:07:00 AM  

  • I believe, am persuaded, am fully convinced, that diet and exercise can save me from the deadly consequences of heart disease.

    Yet my life up to this point has not been characterized by my faith.

    The Traditionalist would state that my belief is a spurious faith.

    Having faith in something and demonstrating that faith are two different things.

    The demonstration of faith is not a necessary component of the faith itself; does not fulfill or bring to completion, validate, or legitamize the faith that was exercised.

    Faith is one thing, and the demonstration of it is another thing altogether.

    To mix the two is to introduce works as an element of what it means to believe something. This not only confuses, it is abdurdity in action, as well.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, July 16, 2006 7:20:00 AM  

  • "The demonstration of faith is not a necessary component of the faith itself; does not fulfill or bring to completion, validate, or legitamize the faith that was exercised."

    This seemingly turns reason on its ear. When I am in service to God, that is when I go door to door proclaiming the good news, I am not only demonstrating my faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and love for him, I am building my faith. Faith, in your definition of it, becomes just an intellectual concept.

    Tell me, can you have faith and also a commission? Would the exercise of that commission then be dismissed under this theology as somehow a demonstration of a lack of faith?

    God worked to create, Jesus worked to bring us to God and paid the ultimate price for it on our behalf, the disciples worked at spreading this good news and also willingly paid a heavy price, for their devotion was total. God's Holy Spirit works through mankind as a force for good. What is wrong with work? Were Paul's works to spread the gospel invalidating of his faith? Did he somehow miss the point of the completed work of Jesus? No.

    By Blogger Chris, at Sunday, July 16, 2006 9:58:00 AM  

  • I wrote:
    ----------
    The demonstration of faith is not a necessary component of the faith itself; does not fulfill or bring to completion, validate, or legitamize the faith that was exercised.
    ----------
    I meant this in the arena of making it salvific, and in this sense alone.

    Demonstration of faith validates in the arena of other people, and fulfills faith in the sense that its implications and potentialities are richly developed.

    I am on my way to the beach...

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, July 16, 2006 1:24:00 PM  

  • Chris
    "This seemingly turns reason on its ear. When I am in service to God, that is when I go door to door proclaiming the good news, I am not only demonstrating my faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and love for him, I am building my faith. Faith, in your definition of it, becomes just an intellectual concept."

    Certainly works realise the Christian faith as part of life and in that sense they save in enabling us to walk in God's ways. Without works, faith cannot save us from the trials, temptations and the chasteing of God.

    However, the Scripture nowhere indicates that faith is in itself more than an intellectual assent to the truth.

    John 11
    25: "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
    26: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
    27: She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."

    Jesus gives a proposition that He is the resurrection and the life, that is the one who provides eternal life. Whoever affirms this proposition has eternal life, because they have appropriated the results of Christ's completed work.

    Jesus does not ask Martha about her works or her conduct. He asks her for a simple yes or no answer. The truthful answer of yes is the hinge of eternal life.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, July 17, 2006 12:23:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    How do we then reconcile the following scriptures?

    (John 5:28-29) 28 Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.

    (Revelation 20:13) 13 And the sea gave up those dead in it, and death and Ha´des gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds.

    Your thoughts are appreciated.

    By Blogger Chris, at Monday, July 17, 2006 8:59:00 PM  

  • Chris
    "(John 5:28-29) 28 Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment."

    There are a number of different interpretations of this verse. Some say that the good deeds referred to is only believing, after all this is what John says we must do to receive eternal life. Others say that the good deeds are actually the righteousness of Christ that believers received.

    My own view is that this is a general specific statement about the resurrection, in the common parlance of Jesus' day.

    Jesus is addressing the fact of the resurrection, not the actual deeds which affect one's eternal destiny.

    Potentially all of us could be included in the category, 'those who have practiced vile things.' It is by grace that we escape such a fate.

    If a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life, then he receives that free gift of salvation. He is delivered from hell, even if his later conduct is unworthy of such a salvation.

    John 5 does not address the issue of a person who believes and then falls into apostasy because it is simply declaring the fact of the resurrection of both the good and the bad.

    "(Revelation 20:13) 13 And the sea gave up those dead in it, and death and Ha´des gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds."

    This is a judgment only of the wicked. Believers before Christ's coming will be in heaven at this point and believers on the earth during the Millennium will not have died.

    All of those in this judgment are condemned.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:58:00 AM  

  • Matthew said..........
    Chris, I serve Christ:

    1. Out of obediance.
    2. Out of gratitude.
    3. To gain heavenly rewards, including the right to participate in Christ's heavenly government.
    4. To avoid suffering chastening.

    Matthew,
    What motivates you to do these works? Are you smarter than a FG carnal Christian? Has God worked more in your heart than a FG carnal Christian? Does your works flow from a true heartfelt saving faith?

    Jazzy

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Friday, July 21, 2006 5:55:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Todd, at Saturday, July 22, 2006 2:23:00 PM  

  • In Romans 10 Paul says that you confess with your mouth the belief in your heart, that Jesus is God raised up from death, and you will be saved. IMO, any other lessor specific passages of scripture about 'what saves' can simply be tested against a passage like that one in order to know whether you are soundly interpreting or unsoundly interpreting that lessor specific passage. Hi Matthew. Hope your summer is going well.

    By Blogger Todd, at Saturday, July 22, 2006 2:26:00 PM  

  • Todd,

    confessing Christ and calling upon the name of the Lord is a decidedly Christian activity as any word study will show.

    Salvation (soteria) is a very broad word that has much more semantical range than the mere "deliverance from hell" import that is the knee-jerk reaction of most readers of the N.T. This would not have been anywhere near the first assumption of the Greek readers or hearers.

    You can't even call upon the name of the Lord until you believe, the text says in 10:14.

    My thoughts,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, July 22, 2006 11:17:00 PM  

  • "If we do not obey God, we do not really love him or have faith in the rightness of his ways (1 John 5:3,4)."

    The author of this quote is not giving a fair representation of 1 John 5:3-4. None of us can act in perfect obedience to God (or we wouldn't need Christ), so does that mean that none of us love Him or have faih in the rigteousness of His ways? The quote is a nice sentiment, but, are we to go around feeling badly, always questioning our 'love' and our 'faith', since we cannot be in perfect obedience? Instead we need to be, just to cite a few examples, helping "that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified,...2 Th 3:1, as well as helping people know "the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you...2 Th 3:3, and helping the Lord direct peoples hearts into the Love of God, and into the steadfastness of Christ. That's one way we can strengthen ourselves and others in obedience to God, as well as exercise and 'walk in' our faith in the rigteousness of His ways. The author of the quote is telling me that, since I apathetically exceeded the speed limit this morning on my way to church, then I don't love God. And I think that is poor reasoning from scripture he has cited, or any scripture. Rather, my speeding behavior this morning was exhibiting a lack of love for God in that moment, and signaled to me that my mind was not set on the Spirit, where it belonged. The author would have looked at my speeding and said that I "do not really love Him". I don't think that is a sound conclusion.

    Just thought I'd take another run at it.

    I don't really like the way the guy puts anything else he has said either. So there's some more Matthew. Have a nice day.

    By Blogger Todd, at Sunday, July 23, 2006 10:44:00 AM  

  • And thanks for those thoughts Antonio. Heartily, Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at Sunday, July 23, 2006 10:55:00 AM  

  • Tood, thanks for your thoughts. Just come back from a great conference.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, July 23, 2006 2:26:00 PM  

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