Faith, Works, and Paul

It’s not only that, it seems that ‘Lordship salvation’ isn’t really work based theology, but was misunderstood. What I meant was his attacks on Catholic Church seem to be mostly because Catholic Church (and Eastern Orthodox Church, but we aren’t as prominent in the west) has a work based salvation theology.

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You’ve misidentified the issue; it’s “works-based salvation” that is heterodox, not “works-based thelogy.”
Those are two fundamentally different things.
“Not as the result of works, lest any man should boast, but the free gift of God instead…” is the passage you’d want to consult.

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I’m a borderline Jesuist. Meaning: not a big Paul fan.

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I attended a Jesuit Catholic high school, and know my primary allegiance is to Jesus, but know better than to position myself as a “cut above” Paul in any fashion. I suspect the same of you, when it gets right down to it. Come to think of it, there are several things that Paul clarifies that are, at best, unwelcome news --yet are, nevertheless, TRUTH.
You pretty much can’t have the truly good news of the gospel without the correspondingly unwelcome news that Paul makes clear.
Tough gig for him! You can read all about it in the pages of the New Testament.


Jesuist, not Jesuit. And I’m not putting myself above Paul, I’m putting Jesus, James and Peter above Paul. Because, quite honestly, all three preach something completely different when it comes to faith and works than Paul does.

I know many theologians tried to make it so it ends in Paul’s favor, but I simply can’t, in good conscience, follow Paul before following, Christ, or James.

Peter himself credits Paul with sound theology, and castigates those who would twist his words.
“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” - 2 Peter 3:14-16 NASB

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What about James? And Jesus?

Both of them clearly taught that works are, indeed, very important.

James met with Paul, examined him, and agreed to send him out with the blessing of the church in Jerusalem, as missionary to the Gentiles. James was, at the time, the head of the church in Jerusalem.
He was fairly quickly martyred in the history of things, but we have nothing on record of his opposing Paul’s teachings, only approbative actions.

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Yes, but he clearly taught that works are as important as faith.

‘Faith without works is dead’. His words, not mine. Even though I might agree with him.

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Works that are the result of faith in God, as revealed through Jesus, and enabled by God’s indwelling Spirit --not works that somehow “earn” our salvation. Huge difference!
“Lest any man should boast…”


Many people with faith in God without works. Many people without with works.

What does that mean? Good atheists believe in God, bad Christians don’t?

“Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” -Galatians2:16 NASB

That talks about Old Law, not about ‘works’ as in good deeds.

Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. 23 If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. 24 They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. 25 But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice - you will be blessed by God in what you do. 26 Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself. 27 What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.


Are you somehow pitting these two passages against each other, is if they contradict each other?
Do you somehow think that doing good deeds “earns” our salvation, and that Christ’s atoning sacrifice was / is unnecessary?

I’m saying that good deeds are important part of salvation. What does it matter that you believe in God and then go around being a despicable person?

Here’s evidence:

Speak and act as people who will be judged by the law that sets us free. 13 For God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful; but mercy triumphs over judgment. 14 My friends, what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it? Can that faith save you? 15 Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don’t have enough to eat. 16 What good is there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!” - if you don’t give them the necessities of life? 17 So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead. 18 But someone will say, “One person has faith, another has actions.” My answer is, “Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions.” 19 Do you believe that there is only one God? Good! The demons also believe - and tremble with fear. 20 You fool! Do you want to be shown that faith without actions is useless? 21 How was our ancestor Abraham put right with God? It was through his actions, when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. 22 Can’t you see? His faith and his actions worked together; his faith was made perfect through his actions. 23 And the scripture came true that said, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.” And so Abraham was called God’s friend. 24 You see, then, that it is by our actions that we are put right with God, and not by our faith alone. 25 It was the same with the prostitute Rahab. She was put right with God through her actions, by welcoming the Israelite spies and helping them to escape by a different road.26 So then, as the body without the spirit is dead, also faith without actions is dead.


I agree. Good to compare notes.
However, do you see this as good deeds “earning” salvation regardless of what one believes concerning Jesus the Messiah, or regarding the very existence of God?
Were the disciples wrong to have disregarded the judicial decision handed down to them to “stop preaching in Christ’s name?”
Were Paul and Barnabas bad men, when a crowd was incited to riot in protest of their message?
Was Jesus Himself a failure, when a court handed down the decision that he had blasphemed. and was to be put to death?
How, exactly, do you define what makes someone a “bad man?”
Personally, I’ll go with Peter and James’ assessment that Paul’s theology was good, and that Paul himself, was a good man.

Good doesn’t equate lawful. Holocaust was lawful, yet (almost) no one would consider it ‘good’.

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And I’m not saying that Paul was a bad man. Hell, I’m not even necessarily saying that he was wrong. I’m saying that I consider the interpretation ‘faith without works’ to be utter bull… balderdash because there is no way I can follow Christ’s slightly (understatement) socialistic teachings and faith independent of works.

It’s faith in Christ, not our own “good works,” that saves and justifies us. That is not a counsel to refrain from good works, only to do them light of, and in gratitude for, all Christ has done for us, and continues to do.
Only God knows our hearts that fully, but He does ask us to examine ourselves, as well.
Faith causes good works, but “good works” can be gotten up to for totally different reasons, which have nothing to do with pleasing God.