Here goes, Not your usual grace/works argument.
I mean none of us would be saved if not for the grace of God, but how about the murderer who "confesses" his sins on deaths door? Is he going to the same "heaven" as say, Mother Tereasa?
The way I understand it, to be "saved" one must "believe in Jesus Christ as ones personal Savior and this will make one want to turn away from ones sins. Isn't there some requirement to forsake ones sins? Didn't Jesus Himself tell the woman who had be taken in adultry to "Go and sin no more?"
I know that we are all sinners, and without Christs intervention we can no way have "eternal life." Also "by works along no one can be saved," however, God is a God of reason, then does it make sense that we are "saved" by grace alone?
I'm not wanting to start a flame war, just discussion.
I know you are not trying to start a flame war here.
But the root of the flame festival lies in the definition of terms.
People simply cannot agree on what is a "work".
As I understand and can illustrate:
Be Baptized to be born again
There are some here who I call "Faithists", which is a religious sect that has grown up in the last 100 or so years, that call being baptized a "work" and not necessary to spiritual regeneration.
They have tried to say the act of repenting is not a work, but being baptized IS a work. They also claim that there is nothing WE CAN DO TO BE SAVED, and baptism is "nice" but not necessary. Which flies in the face of sound doctrine and plainly worded scripture.
To back my claims here are my proofs:
Ro:6:3: Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Ro:6:4: Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Ro:6:5: For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
The spritual rebirth that Nicodemus could not understand, as he thought you had to go back into your mothers womb. The waters are those of baptism and require you to be buried like as Christ Jesus was.
Faithists claim that works cannot save but faith alone will. Lets listen to the Word shall we:
Jas:2:20: But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Jas:2:26: For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
So in a nutshell, you have here the contentions of the Church of Christ. You must be baptized and you must be working for the Lord, in whatever method that He has blessed you with He expects you to be using that talent in his service... be it visiting the sick, giving to those who have nothing out of your plenty, preaching, comforting those who are in need.... the list is endless.
M't:3:10: And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
M't:7:19: Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Lu:3:9: And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
As a Christian you MUST bear fruits which are in line with your talents that God gave you.
So in the end, Grace of course saves... but you must be working for the Lord or you will end up like the trees above and hewn down.
The Apostle Paul speaks of running a race while here on earth. If he was saved permanently then why would he need to run ANY course/race to receive that crown of righteousness.
That is my understanding Hessian. I will tell you now, there are plenty that do not agree with the Word on this one issue.
Makes perfect sense to me, Dram.
I agree with Dram too, in that it isn't by works that we're saved. It's just that if we're living our lives properly so that we are saved, there will be good works that will shine like a light to others.
Its all of Grace. We did nothing to deserve or cause it. Thanks be to God entirely. Because of grace we are able to repent and believe. We owe it all to God.
Going to bed now so cant participate right now.
Basically I owe my salvation entirely to God. Had it not been for Him, I would still be lost. I would still be "Just as the others"Ephesians 2:1-3
Yes. Like the prodigal son who was welcomed back into the family a repentent murderer will be in heaven with us. Also the thief crucified with Jesus will be in Heaven. However, some people will have treasure in heaven and some won't (Mat 6:19-21).
You must confess you sins to God:
The following are links to verses that appear to show descrepancies in the Bible on the issue:
List of some other contradictions, if interested.
IMHO, the Sceptics Annotated Bible seems to be a good referance for anyone who HONESTLY is interested in TRUTH about the Bible. If nothing else, it's a good place to start discussions.
I agree with the above statement. I also take issue with Dram's notion that the doctrine of Grace has only been around for 100 years. As I've stated in the "Born Again" thread, the doctrine goes back at least 500 years (you can also trace parts of it back another 1000 years or so to Augustin 354-430), and is well rooted in the Word.
As far as "deathbed conversions", who am I to judge God's work?
Thought about the "Grace vs. Works" again. I appologize that my previous post was probably too "Trollish".
My understanding is that most Christain doctrine agrees that one is "...saved by grace through faith, not by works lest any man should boast." (Eph 2:8?)
Within that, it still seems that one's WORKS would be a reflection of one's faith - not the reason they "are saved", but to show that they actually have faith.
14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
While I am a skeptic of most of the "miracles" and "supernatural" occurances in the Bible, I greatly admire those who show their faith by their works. To me, what one DOES actually is a REFLECTION of their true FAITH - for good or for evil. To me, the most important part of Jesus' teaching was to get his followers to actually LIVE his teachings, not follow them in word only.
1"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' 5So they went.
"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'
7" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered.
"He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'
8"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'
9"The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'
13"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'
16"So the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matthew 20:1-16)
Repentance and good works are the fruit of the salvation experience.
If you could earn your way into heaven, Yeshua's suffering and crucifixion were history's cruelest joke.
The point is that we can't do it on our own. Study what Paul wrote about the true purpose of the Law.
I'm saved by Jesus, I do works because people need help. Grace is my daughters name.
That about covers it!!!
Thank you for the insightful post, brother!
We're all in this together. Keep your stick on the ice. I'm pullin' for you!
You don't know how good that sounds this morning Browhawk.....................thanks
Grace and grace alone.
Luke 23:32-43 (English Standard Version)
32Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."[a] And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!" 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 38There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."
39One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him,[c] saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 40But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Not a lot of baptizing going on here, just faith... justification by faith alone.
In the standard arfcom tradition: BOTH.
A bit of anthropology is needed here: human beings have intellects and wills. Our will cannot move until the intellect determines something as good. Therefore, you can't do anything good (or bad) until you accept that act as good to be done or evil to be avoided.
So when you "make an act of faith" you are in a sense "working". You've accepted something as true that will change your life (i.e. MEAN something to your will.)
Faithless works and loveless faith won't "save" you. But loving faith will.
A practical help in this is to pick up the four Gospels and read them with this question in mind: What does Jesus ask us to do?
Start with Matthew. Time and again he is asked this question by people. Time and again, it would be a slam dunk, perfect opportunity for him to expound on sola fidae "Just declare me to be your personal Messiah and savior and that's it! Yipee!" Except that he never does that.
Instead he makes commands.
Faith is the sine qua non, the essential element, but works are NEVER DIVORCED FROM THAT FAITH.
Peter had faith - so he did the impossible, he walked on water. (If that's not a "work" what is?) But the INSTANT his faith faltered, so did his work!
No where does Jesus tell us to MERELY BELIEVE. Conversely no where does he tell us MERELY TO WORK.
To set it up as an either/or is to miss the whole point of being human and the point of the Incarnation itself - He came to us as a man, to save men who by nature are HARD WIRED to unite what we believe with what we do.
Faith itself is a theological gift (virtue)... we can't "do anything" to merit it. But we can either accept it as true or reject it...and that is an act of the will, which is either good or bad, meritorious or sinful.
The logical repercussions of a faith alone dogma is to relativise morality as ancillary to the purpose of Christ.
It's not mere Gnosis" or belief, but also action that is vital to be saved. Otherwise why did they call the Church "the Way"??? It's a way of life. Why did he lay commandments on us to fulfill or warn us from hell?
If once-saved-always-saved-by-a-one-time-act-of-will (which is what the Angels had) were what humans' had, then the whole of the Gospels wouldn't make any sense.
Catholics understand that God is close to us - that it's not "me alone without any divine help doing these works that will win me, loveless, into Heaven". No way. WE WERE THE ONES WHO FOUGHT AGAINST PELAGIUS! We're not Pelagian! (Google it)
You can't be saved without grace, because salvation is a supernatural thing. But if you are capable of free will, then God expects you to USE that will either to accept him or reject him and that means WORK.
Now I'm sure alot of you reject the whole of above BECAUSE it's Catholic. "Grace alone" is your motto, perhaps.
Fine. Now explain to me if that's the case, what possible beef you could have with baptising infants, since if it's grace-alone and not works of our own that saves, why couldn't infants be saved without doing their own individual act of will?
Catholics believe those who can't choose on their own can be saved by God's grace because, BY DEFINITION, a grace is a gift and a gift isn't a wage that is earned!
The thing is, we've had 2000 years to ponder the RAMIFICATIONS of each doctrine and theory, whereas many Protestant groups are discovering this stuff for the first time after overlooking it perhaps in the last church you belonged to.
Something tells me that those who pooh pooh us for having Creeds and Catechisms will end up creating their own equivalents while calling them something different just because they need them to keep everyone on the same page.
(Kinda like those groups who pooh pooh liturgy...until every Sunday they end up doing the same thing: greet, meet, sing, read, sermon, meal, song, meet... in that order, over and over again.
Reminds me of my brother who was blowing up beaver damns in MN with a game warden. GW said "now Fred*, we'd better move back before blowing it so we don't get hit by the debris". "Shoot Bill, I ain't worried about no debris, I'm just worried about getting hit by the rocks and mud and sticks and ice!"
We are saved by Grace. James said faith without works is not true faith
he said it.