The false dichotomy of faith and works

7 thoughts on “The false dichotomy of faith and works”

  1. Yes, a lot of people forget Romans was addressed to the Judaizers. It would not make sense that Paul referred to all works (other than faith) because elsewhere he testifies, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9)

    Speaking as a Catholic (I’m not entirely sure of your views, but I get the impression they’re similar), Protestants frequently accuse us of denying the sufficiency of Christ’s redemption on account of supposing virtue and works of mercy are important to salvation. I think sola gratia in its strict sense also rules out the necessity of faith—in other words, it would basically entail universalism.

  2. Yes, a lot of people forget Romans was addressed to the Judaizers. It would not make sense that Paul referred to all works (other than faith) because elsewhere he testifies, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9)

    Speaking as a Catholic (I’m not entirely sure of your views, but I get the impression they’re similar), Protestants frequently accuse us of denying the sufficiency of Christ’s redemption on account of supposing virtue and works of mercy are important to salvation. I think sola gratia in its strict sense also rules out the necessity of faith—in other words, it would basically entail universalism.

    1. Nice points. It appears very clear from all of the scriptures that separating the ‘two’ is a false distinction that doesn’t exist in reality. And it’s true that if one is ‘saved’ only by the grace of God, then faith is also ruled out, since faith is ‘work’, and must come from the person wanting salvation. In a way, we could even say that faith IS the sole requirement for salvation – if by it, we mean all the things that faith entails, such as trust in God leading to certain actions, keeping of the commandments, etc. Yes, we live by faith – which means faithfulness. The problem only arises when you take ‘faith’ out of context and define it as purely a wish or belief which lets you off the hook of any action and lets someone else do all the work for you. Which is not, of course, faith.
      To me, the reality of this is so obvious, as I think it must be to anyone who looks at it.

    2. Oops. Meant to add in a bit after the sentence about scriptures: Everywhere in them, the people of God are told to repent, obey, love, serve, etc. These are all, obviously ‘actions’. Belief is never enough.
      And, further, yes, we are saved only by the grace of Christ, because without it, nothing we do is of anywhere near enough power. Even if we could fully justify ourselves through doing all the right things, which is impossible, we still wouldn’t have the ingredients to be ‘saved’. That requires the atoning blood of Christ – His saving power, through His perfection and love – the only thing that can sanctify us. The change comes from Him, but cannot be applied to a hard heart, or a person who doesn’t want with absolutely everything in them to be changed, pure, etc. And when you want something with everything that’s in you, you work tirelessly for it. How can Christ change my heart if I don’t read the scriptures, or pray, or serve others? How can He do it if I don’t understand what it means to follow Him? Why would I want or be able to become like my Father in Heaven if I have no idea who He is and have never done anything that is like what He does? Such as loving, serving, working through trials, becoming humble, etc.
      The Gospel only makes logical sense when you put these things together.

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