Faith, Works, and Paul



Let’s just agree to disagree.

(Guy Coe) #22

Good exchange, and I thank you for your engagement. Cheers!


Oh, and, by the way, ignore ‘socialistic teachings’ part. That was shameless advertising.

No matter how true it might be. :grin:

(Guy Coe) #24

Many have tried to slap that label on the voluntary sharing that was taking place around the campfires when Jesus and the disciples were learning and hanging out together, and in the early Christian community of Acts chapter two.
Difference is, you cannot formalize such an ethos into an atmosphere of “required sharing,” mandated by a government, and still retain exactly the same voluntary ethos.
Some truly socialist situations do very well, and others don’t. Kudos for continuing to try to live along the original line of this ethos, in imitation of your Lord and His disciples. No objection from me at all.
We have several Eastern Orthodox households who live in the community where I do, and most of the time, we live with these kinds of values in mind.

(Matthew Dickau) #25

I’m failing to see a huge disagreement here. Isn’t the usual harmony between Paul and James that we are saved through faith in Christ, and that obedience to Christ is the evidence of that faith? That “faith” is not mere intellectual assent to certain truths, but a trusting in Jesus that works itself out in how we live?

In other words, we are saved through faith (not through merit earned by good works, as if God owed us) but the absence of good works is evidence of the absence of genuine faith (in other words, faith without works is dead).

(Guy Coe) #26

Good summary! Thanks, @structureoftruth , and cheers!
Jesus also says we will be known by our “fruits.”
I have a daughter, for example, who is “special needs,” and incapable of “good deeds” in the usual sense.
Yet, from my experience, her presence and demeanor is a “good fruit” producing enterprise, and I’ve no doubt of her affection for God… which God has plainly reciprocated, again and again. We love Him, because He first loved us. What a delight!

(Ashwin S) #27

James did not teach that Works are as important as faith. He taught that Works are an outward indication of Faith. i.e if you have real faith (also known as "saving faith) your actions will show it.

James clearly believed that Works without faith is powerless. let me give some examples -

  1. James on Prayer without faith -James 1:5-7; His conclusion. Dont expect to recieve anything from the Lord if you dont have faith.
  2. Every Good Gift is from the father and he gave birth to us through the word of truth: James 1:17,18; clearly teaching that every good gift (including and primarily salvation) is from God, through a supernatural act of “begetting us through the word of truth”.
  1. James on Faith Without works : he points out faith without works is a dead faith. His example, like Pauls in romans is Abraham. He points to Abrahams Act of obedience in Sacrificing Isaac. His main point is that His faith determined his actions and his actions proved his faith, Refer verse 22-

22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”

The basic idea is that real or true faith is reflected by the persons actions.

The same thing is taught by paul also… For example in ephesians he says -
Ephesians2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We are not saved by works… but we are saved to do good works… or As James said, faith that does not lead to good works is dead. (because real living faith leads to a new creation that does good works!)


My problem isn’t with that interpretation, although I disagree with it. My problem is with many Christians, including theologians, who think that works don’t matter because they have faith.

(Ashwin S) #29

I have a problem with such a theology too if i have understood what you are saying correctly.
However Paul doesn’t teach that kind of theology in the bible. In fact he refutes it emphatically in Romans 6.A verse that summarises his stand is verse 11,12. Paul is quite consistent in insisting on a holy life… Your problem doesnt seem to be with Paul, but rather a misinterpretation of his writings.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.


Yes, this might have been a misconception on my part because I don’t understand Protestant theology all that well.

I think, if I understand it correctly, that in Protestant, and other less traditional denominations, all good works are gained through faith (i.e. grace), did I get that correctly?

In my own church, emphasis is put on free will.

(Ashwin S) #31

Not as i understand it.
Pretty much all protestant denominations stress on the new creation. I.e, we are made into a new creation as we become christian. The holy Spirit indwells us and gives us a new nature that desires to obey God. Meanwhile the old nature still exists and we have to choose to obey the new nature. The process by which we increasingly show the character of the new nature (or christlikeness) is called sanctification.
I think pretty much every church acknowledges the importance of human cooperation (even enthusiasm) in Sanctification while also acknowledging that it is by Gods grace alone that progress is made.

Edit: good works is a result of sanctification.


What about those who do good works but are not sanctified?

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #33

Holocaust was lawful? Please explain.


Everything Hitler did was lawful in Germany, and other countries he conquered, including Holocaust.

The only reason it would be seen as a war crime today is because of Geneva Convention but WWII happened before that.

(Ashwin S) #35

Not upto God’s standards… the bible describes our own good works/righteousness as filthy rags.
The bottomline is becoming more like Jesus by the power of the holy spirit… And our righteous standing before God is in lieu of Jesus death on the cross and our accepting the gospel.
What is the orthodox churches view?


Depends on a person, but when it comes to church and salvation, a lot of us believe in ‘sheeps without, wolves within’.

(Ashwin S) #37

Didn’t get you there…

(Greg) #38

I respectfully completely disagree with your assessment is that Paul is different than Jesus in the essence of their teaching/ theology. The rule i use when attempting to understand the theological perspective espoused by any inspired communicator of truth found in Scripture is what is the context and type of revelation (letter to small group vs sermon to masses) that generates the fabric of that letter/sermon.

And the more i study Scripture, the more i am just overtaken w awe how fitting Pauls theology is with Jesus’s. One has to read carefully and pray for discernment. For example, Paul says on one hand that we are saved by grace thru faith alone. Yet he also says in agreement w Jesus that the sexually immoral will not inherit eternal life in heaven. That is only one of many types of sin God disapproves of. So what gives?..saved by grace but bad behavior means no salvation? The Christian theologian should know the answer. So, if one is very careful in understanding the context of teachings from Jesus, Paul and Peter, the picture all three paint is that God hates sin and He loves us so much that He desires to save us from both the temporary and eternal consequences of sin. All three stand upon the premise that we are saved from eternal consequences of sin by grace our loving God gives us through His Son. All three would agree that Gods perfect love drives out fear, but God is worthy of high reverence by His saints. And all three would agree that people who claim to saved by grace by such a good God are called to examine themselves to see if such grace that forgives heinous sin against a great and loving God is really apparent in their lives. If someone told me that they won an all inclusive vacation package in the Caribean and never went, but stayed home eating saltine crackers, i think we’d all conclude that he was not a true recipient of the prize. Jesus tells us that his commands are not burdensome and that the rule that helps to understand how to not feel such a burden is love. If i appropriate by faith the fact that the literal God who made those galaxies and stars visible in those rural TN skies loves me so much that He was willing to save me from the ramifications of my sin by grace, it is quite not burdensome to love Him back in obedience through which even loving an unlovable neighbor is possible.

When i read all of Scripture w that package of ingredients in mind, they fit together so well that sometimes i will see an unrealized fitting pattern betw the prophets im reading in a certain time where i will find myself stammering in humbling reverence before our great God who wrote those Words.


Sheep without - some people outside of the church will be saved
Wolves within - on the other hand, some people within the church won’t.

We also have David Bentley Hart, who believes in purgatorial hell and is, thus, Christian Universalist.

(Ashwin S) #40

I can agree with that. Jesus saves… not any particular church.

Is that a traditional belief? I thought it was a Catholic belief… is it officially accepted?