Friday, June 7, 2013

Faith Alone?


Arik said...

Works are a result that show that a man has a true and genuine faith. So faith that has no works is a dead faith, it is not genuine.
Paul is speaking about a man being justified (fully aquitted, brought into right standing) in the sight of God. James is addressing that a mere intellectual acceptance of truths without a genuine trust in Christ as Savior is demonic (verse 19) useless (verse 20), and dead (verse 26). There is a difference between a person who claims he has faith, and a person who actually has works that prove (justify) his faith. Luther was correct "Justification is by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone."

Faith is a committing of oneself to Christ totally and completely-really trusting and relying on Christ for our eternal destiny. This kind of real faith in Christ always results in works and obedience. This is why James can use Abraham as our example of faith being perfected or consummated, complete or realized-it fulfilled itself through the works that it produced. Thus James says, Abraham is justified by his works," not in the sense of being brought into right relationship with God (the sense used by Paul in Romans), but in the sense that faith is justified (vindicated) by his works. Again, his works prove he had a real faith. In essence, Paul is writing about a person being justified before God, while James is writing about a man being justified before men. Men cannot see another person's heart as God can. The only way men can tell that someone has a genuine faith is by seeing his changed life-in other word's, by the person's works. Works of obedience do not bring justification before God; rather, works flow from true justification and demonstrate that a man's faith is real. Rome endorses salvation by grace and works, as Trent decreed, "BY HIS GOOD WORKS the justified man really aquires a claim to supernatural reward from God." This is a false gospel and goes against Scripture ignoring Paul's teaching in Titus 3:1-7 that we are NOT saved (justified) by works of righteousness, and his teaching on Romans 4 that salvation to him that works (legalism) his wages are not counted as grace but as debt. In other words if we can "work" for salvation we can have something to boast about and come to God saying "Ok Lord, today I did a good deed now you owe me some grace." A rather ridiculous notion.

Of course we would be judged by our deeds, this is not against the Gospel of grace by faith alone. Everyone will be rewarded or condemned according to his actual life and true character. Our works are the evidence of faith. Works are recognized in the final judgement as evidence of faith. Faith in God's grace is not a substitute for right conduct and holy living (see James). Faith can prove its sincerity only by such evidence, God will render to every man according to this evidence.

Teresa Beem said...

However one wishes to interpret the text, we can all agree that it says clearly that you must, it is REQUIRED that one love. Faith is never alone.

Arik said...

However one wishes to interpret the text is the difference between the true Gospel and the false. Only Truth as found in Christ Jesus can sanctify us and set us free. "Faith works by love" Gal 5:6. Love for God and man is the spirit that prompts the "works" that accompany faith. These works flow from the appreciation of the free divine gift of grace. We do not perform works to secure our salvation, if we did we would have something to boast about and make God out to be our debtor. This is the true Gospel-we are saved by grace through faith 'alone'. This is a faith that works, this is a faith that Jesus accepts and He can say to us too "Your faith has saved you", "your faith has healed you."

Teresa Beem said...

Of course, Arik. The Cross saved us. We can never work our way to heaven. But my point is our faith is never alone if it is true faith. It must be accompanied by love.

Arik said...

"If anyone says that the justice received [i.e., justification] is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema." Council of Trent

"If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification let him be anathema." Council of Trent

On the other hand, Protestants see a once-for-all completed act of justification as a declaration of God whereby the sinner is pronounced just. The sinner is not personally righteous because justification occurs at the very point of saving faith. A believer has not even had the time to become righteous. Therefore he or she could not possibly have attained actual, objective righteousness before God. And yet the Bible declares this brand-new believer is declared righteous—no matter how sinful his or her life may have been or is. This is the whole message of the biblical gospel—that God declares sinful people and enemies of righteousness (Romans 5:8-10; Ephesians 2:1-10) to be perfectly righteous because He does this before they have any opportunity to become righteous on their own.

John Weldon; John Ankerberg (2012-03-01). Protestants & Catholics - Do They Now Agree? (Kindle Locations 778-779). ATRI Publishing. Kindle Edition.

In Hebrews 10:14 we see the clear difference between justification and sanctification. This Scripture reads, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time [justification] those who are [being] sanctified [further set apart].” Justification is salvation from the penalty of sin (past action) while sanctification is salvation from the power of sin (a continuing process).

Arik said...

What this means is that after justification the essence of the Christian life is a growth in sanctification, or the actual setting apart of ourselves to God for His purposes. This includes growth in personal holiness. This is why Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth” (kjv). In other words, it is ultimately the believer’s regular study and obedience to the Word of God which produces sanctification. Thus, sanctification—not justification—is a work of God in which believers cooperate (Ephesians 2:10; 4:15,16; Colossians 2:19; Philippians 2:13). Roman Catholicism has made justification the process of sanctification—and therefore entirely confused the two. Catholicism has wrongly made justification a process, just like the biblical concept of sanctification. Catholicism teaches that justification can be increased, lost through mortal sin, or regained. But the only reason that justification can be lost in the Catholic religion is because it depends on man’s cooperation, and men do not live perfectly. Even though the Catholic Church teaches that justification is of God, the believer must still cooperate with God in specific actions such as the sacraments. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) says, “The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men.”14 Unfortunately, by rejecting the immediate nature of justification and making justification a lifelong process of sanctification, the Roman Catholic Church has brought great confusion in the minds of Catholics regarding the biblical distinctions between these two doctrines.

Arik said...

Hilary of Poitiers (c 315-67) on Matthew 9:
"This was forgiven by Christ through faith, because the Law could not yield, for faith alone justifies. Migne’s latin: Et remissum est ab eo, quod lex laxare non poterat; fides enim sola justificat." (Sancti Hilarii In Evangelium Matthaei Commentarius, PL 9:961.)

Jerome (347-420) on Romans 10:3:
"God justifies alone by faith. Ignorantes enim justitiam Dei, et suam quaerentes statuere: justitiae Dei non sunt subjecti. Ignorantes quod ***Deus ex sola fide justificat***: et justos se ex legis operibus, quam non custodierunt, esse putantes: noluerunt se remissioni subjicere peccatorum, ne peccatores fuisse viderentur, sicut scriptum est: Pharisaei autem spernentes consilium Dei in semetipsis, noluerunt baptizari baptismo Joannis. Item quia sacrificia legis, et caetera, quae umbra erant veritatis, quae per Christum perfici habebant, praesentia Christi cessaverunt: cui credere noluerunt" (In Epistolam Ad Romanos, Caput X, v. 3, PL 30:692D.)

Thomas Aquinas:
"The sacraments of the New Law however, although they are material elements, are not needy elements; hence they can justify. Again, if there were any in the Old Law who were just, they were not made just by the works of the Law but only by the faith of Christ “Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation through faith,” as is said in Romans (3:25). Hence the sacraments of the Old Law were certain protestations of the faith of Christ, just as our sacraments are, but not in the same way, because those sacraments were configured to the grace of Christ as to something that lay in the future; our sacraments, however, testify as things containing a grace that is present. Therefore, he says significantly, that it is not by the works of the law that we are justified, but by the faith of Christ, because, although some who observed the works of the Law in times past were made just, nevertheless, this was effected only by the faith of Jesus Christ." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galations, trans. F. R. Larcher, O.P. (Albany: Magi Books, Inc., 1966), Chapter 2, Lecture 4, (Gal. 2:15-16), pp. 54-55.)

Thomas Aquinas, Expositio in Ep. I ad Timotheum cap. 1, lect. 3 (Parma ed., 13.588):
“Non est ergo in eis [moralibus et caeremonialibus legis] spes iustificationis, sed in sola fide, Rom. 3:28: Arbitramur justificari hominem per fidem, sine operibus legis” (Therefore the hope of justification is not found in them [the moral and ceremonial requirements of the law], but in faith alone, Rom 3:28: We consider a human being to be justified by faith, without the works of the law). Cf. In ep. ad Romanos 4.1 (Parma ed., 13.42a): “reputabitur fides eius, scilicet sola sine operibus exterioribus, ad iustitiam”; In ep. ad Galatas 2.4 (Parma ed., 13.397b): “solum ex fide Christi” [Opera 20.437, b41]).

Teresa Beem said...

Again, I as a Catholic would agree with Catholics on this. And Thomas Aquinas, Jerome and HIlary are Catholics.

But you are breaking things down further than I am. The video shows that faith alone is not biblical. At our judgement, we will be judged not just by our faith but by our love. I don't see how you can just pass by what Christ Himself said about the final judgement.

He said nothing about faith, but everything about doing to others.

Catholics believe all the above plus what I have stated. You can't pit them against each other. Our theology doesn't. They are all correct.

Arik said...

The judgement does not negate salvation by grace through faith alone at all. Our works are the evidence of our faith. This is the pure Gospel, that Jesus does not require works, or meritorious deeds to be justified (declared innocent, born again or in other words saved.)

Catholics do not believe "all the above, plus what you stated" the two are opposite. As well as what Aquinas, Jerome and Hilary said about being justified by faith alone. So I must reject your theology, being it is against the Scripture teaching of the trua and pure Gospel.

It's like you said "no matter how genius the mathematician you can't get a right answer with a wrong formula" (Reality is Better). The reality is that neither Catholics or Protestants today have it correct. Catholics reject justification by faith alone, and Protestants believe justification is something that can not be lost. This common thread of error is what will unite the two in trying to create the Kingdom of God here on earth.

I do not just pass by what Christ Himself said about the final judgment at all, in fact I take all of what Christ said together, not separating then as though they are not interelated. Jesus said plenty about faith, It was faith alone that saved the thief on the cross, it is faith alone that we live by. Jesus said "...we LIVE by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Paul said "the just shall LIVE by faith." These are not two different classes of people, to live by faith is to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

It is by faith alone I am justified, it is by faith alone that I do unto others, it is by faith alone on the merits of Christ I am saved.

Teresa Beem said...


You haven't understood Catholic theology on righteousness by faith nor our salvation model. It is a difficult concept for a Protestant because Catholics have a very different worldview than theirs. Ours is two millennia old and originated in a different language. So it is often like trying to learn Japanese. Catholicism is not your first language, Protestantism is.

Catholics believe a person is justified by faith. Faith is imputed. Jesus merits are applied to the repentant sinner. When a believer takes his very first act of faith in baptism, he enters eternity through Christ. Catholics believe a person is "born-again" through baptism and is eternally and indelibly marked as a child of God. Catholics also believe that through baptism into the Catholic Church you enter the Kingdom of God and His Church that He established while on earth. The Catholic Church IS the Kingdom of God that Christ instituted and gave Peter the keys and all the Apostles the authority to bind and loose.

Through the church, through the sacraments, you then begin the second process of justification which is sanctification. WITH the merits of Christ imputed upon you, you then begin having sanctification infused into you. You are actually changed. As we walk with Christ and His imputed righteousness we are also having imparted righteousness through God's grace change us into His likeness. We begin to walk in the deeds that have been laid out for us.

This is the Biblical model.

We become perfect through both the imparted and imputed righteousness. One naturally follows the other. Its like someone being crowned king.

The crown is being worn and you are LEGALLY a king, but your actions will tell us whether you really become a king in your heart. That is why historically we look back and say, "That man truly became king." Was he not a king before? Yes of course! But he grew into his glorious role, fulfilling more than the technical king role. He became a real king.

That is the Catholic model. God wants us not only to be technically "saved" children of God. He also wants us to be true children of the KING!! The world needs to see us in the role we have taken on.

After all the theology is silent, we have to go back to what Christ said. And He is clear. Judgement--final judgement--is about how we treated each other. It isn't about faith alone. That is not biblical. The faith alone doctrine was invented by Luther without precedent.

All the Catholic scholars you quoted are talking about the first step, the imputed righteousness by faith and that IS Catholic. Those same people ALSO agreed with Catholics, being Catholic, that there was also a imparted righteousness.

Teresa Beem said...

Do I know you?

Because I have this idea in my mind that I know who you are and I write to you more casually than I do others, because I am guessing who you are. And I don't want to be quite that casual with you if you aren't who I think you are. I want to be more respectful. But if I am related to you..... then I can be more direct....

So, please tell me--even if you are vague--are you someone I know?

Arik said...

I thank you for explaining the "Catholic model" of justification, but I must disagree that it is the biblical model. A couple of things stood out to me right away:
1)That maybe you think there are only two models of this doctrine-Catholic and Protestant, by Protestant I mean mainstream Protestantism. I subscribe to neither, and I can understand why Catholicism would not agree either. Mainstream Protestantism views justification as forensic only and something that can not be lost. While Catholicism does not make enough distinction between justification/sanctification, mainstream Protestantism put too much of distinction between the two.

2) Your insistance on the Catholic Church's authority and age as evidence that is is teaching truth, is not evidence at all. The evidence should always be based on the Word of God alone. After all, as I explained earlier, faith is indeed living by EVERY word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Your view in my opinion renders you unable to be objective ragarding doctrines, and I have the idea that if the Catholic Church was teaching this "by faith alone" doctrine, and I was teaching the Catholic view, you would be accepting your church's view simply because your church said so. This is also confirmed by your statement that you agree with
Jerome, Hilary, and Aquinas just because they are Catholic without looking at their statements objectively, and seeing they disagree with the Catholic model.

Jesus says to be SAVED we must be born again (John 3:3). Paul reiterates what Jesus that we are SAVED by grace through faith. To be SAVED by grace is to be born again. Titus 3:5-7 is the best example of born again/justified:
"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS which we have done, but according to His Mercy, He SAVED US, through the WASHING of REGENERATION and RENEWING of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been JUSTIFIED by HIS GRACE..."

Paul could'nt be any clearer. This is the born again experience Jesus says we must have to be saved. This born again experience happens before baptism and/or any sacraments (works of righteousness). The experience is the work of the Holy Spirit alone. This work is not just a mere admitting Jesus as Savior (mainstream Protestantism) it is the renewing of the mind, regeneration and washing by the Holy Spirit. In other words justification (saved)is not only forensic and legal in its application (Protestant view) but also experienced. To be justified is to be born of the Spirit.

Paul does not describe justification as a process and neither does Christ. Justification is the born again experience that is exemplified by the saved thief on the cross especially. This is grace by faith alone. No works of righteousness and no sacraments.

Once we are justified (born again or saved) we strive to live in the Spirit, dying daily to self. As long as we do this our justification can never be lost. This is the "works" that show our justification by faith (born again, saved) alone is Genuine.

Arik said...

I assure you I am not someone you know. We have never had any kind of dialog outside of this forum. I came accross your book, read it and couldn't believe the gross misrepresentations, exagerations, and omissions of historical facts contained in it. It was quite by accident I came accross this website.

Teresa Beem said...


If we don't know each other then I offer you my sincerest apology. The first time you posted, you wrote something very similar to what my cousin had just posted on another forum. I have thought you were him all this time and I had a familiarity in my way of writing that I shouldn't have. Too many assumptions I made that you would understand. From now on I will correct that. I apologize.

Steve Finnell said...


When the apostle Peter preached the first sermon under the New Covenant, on the Day of Pentecost 33 AD, what did he preach?

1. Peter preached Jesus as a miracle worker. (Acts 2:22)
2. Peter preached Jesus crucified.(Acts 2:23)
3. Peter preached Jesus resurrected from the grave. (Acts 2:31)
4. Peter preached Jesus ascended into heaven. (Acts 2:34)
5. Peter preached Jesus as Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36)

When the men at Pentecost heard Peter preach, they ask Peter and the rest of the apostles what they should do. (Acts 2:37)

What did Peter tell them they should do? Did Peter say "You can be saved just like the thief on the cross, simply ask the Lord to remember you when He comes into His kingdom?" NO, Peter did not say nor did he imply they could be saved like the thief on the cross.

WHAT DID PETER SAY? Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(NKJV)

There are no Scriptures stating that men can be saved like the thief on the cross under the New Covenant terms for pardon.

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