Pulpit Magazine Discussion
Over at Pulpit magazine, they are featuring the Lordship Salvation debate, complete with its own banner that's getting pasted around the reformed blogger world. (So far they've posted: True Faith and True Grace, Wrongly Dividing the Word, A 15-Year Retrospective on the Lordship Controversy, A Quote from Zane Hodges, An Introduction to Lordship Salvation. ) Free Gracers were asked a well-articulated question on a topic I've been meaning to blog on:
I would love to hear from some who hold to Free Grace on this question:
What is it about the notion “true belief results in action” (i.e. faith results in works) that is so detestable? Why is it that this is a logical fallacy to you?
Imagine yourself driving down the highway, and on the radio you hear an announcement that there has been a huge accident about a mile ahead of you. At this point you have two options. You can either genuinely believe the report of the accident and take preventative action to avoid plowing into a pile of cars, or you can refuse to believe, or only partially believe, the radio announcement.
Genuine belief in anything will naturally result in action. If you believe that the stock market is going to crash tomorrow, you will be taking your money out today. If you truly believe that your sin is detestable to a holy God, and that God has sovereignty given you a new heart and a new life that caused you to believe on Christ for salvation from hell, this has natural ramifications for the believer. Who among us, after being saved, has felt no compulsion to clean up some area of our lives in reverence of Christ?
What do we say of a Republican or Democrat who votes against their party? We call that person a scoundrel, one who does not truly believe in the principles of their party and they should just do everyone a favor and admit that they are on the opposite side. It matters little if we can talk the talk, but if we do not walk the walk, all of our talk is an empty lie. We are either for Christ or against Him, and those who love Him keep His commandments. The love for, and faith in Christ that is put into us by God Himself causes believers to keep His commandments.
So, back to my original question: What is it about the notion “true belief results in action” (i.e. faith results in works) that is so detestable? Why is it that this is a logical fallacy to you?
Since you technically asked 2 question let me answer them separately.
What is it about the notion “true belief results in action” (i.e. faith results in works) that is so detestable? ...
My two cents are that this idea sometimes seems to almost personify a person’s faith and therefore seems to me to steal a bit of the credit from Christ in us. When a person believes in Christ for his eternal life, He is born again. He receives eternal life. We know from the ending verses of 1 John that eternal life is Christ himself. So we know that at the point of regeneration Christ himself takes up forever residence in him. The real him is now the regenerate self, Christ in him. Because we can do all things through Christ we know that it is He and His resurrection power that works the works God has selected for us to walk in. So…
When someone talks about how faith by definition produces works and true faith results in good works, I admit to a degree my skin crawls. It seems like they are taking something they sincerely believe to be a gift from God and personifying it and claiming for it almost super powers that go far beyond the Scriptural information. We know from Scripture that sometimes God’s gifts become a distraction for the receiver of the gift, maybe that goes too far.
I agree that faith is a victory over the world, but that is because we are confident in Christ’s power to give us victory over sin in our lives and that He will give us boldness and make manifest the pure love that knits us together with our Christian chums.
But when seen as something that if authentic will years and years later result in good works… I see that as a conceptual competitor with Christ in us. Obviously, the “gift of faith” isn’t a member of the Trinity, so what makes it so powerful as to result in so much?
...Why is it that this is a logical fallacy to you?
If you are talking about faith-in-time, an incredibly strong inner conviction in the present, than I do believe that type of “present” or ongoing belief tends to be acted on. (However, their may be competing beliefs, fears, deceptions and affections that stall, slow down or reverse the action.) But this in-time faith is what Hebrews is talking about. Faith located in the present that looks forward to the future in Christ and His rewards inspired to action Abraham, Moses, certainly the martyrs and all the rest. They were looking for a city built by God. And Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him. Even your illustration was about a prospect in the future(meeting up with the traffic in a certain area).
Thanks for a specific question that wasn’t demeaning.