I love to share my faith with non-believers and seekers alike, who have questions about the Christian faith, what we believe and why we believe it. In light of the postmodern perspective that many people adhere to these day, I would like to give a biblical perspective as a contrast to those who say that there is no absolute truth. I believe that the truth can be found in God's word the Bible. http://media4lifeministries.com
Friday, July 20, 2012
Faith or Works?
some that firmly believe that the Bible is full of contradictions. Are
they right, does the Bible contradict itself? The most common one that
people use to proof their case the Bible contains contradictions are the
writings of Paul and James. Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians
grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it
is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph 2:8,
clearly states that believers are saved through faith in Christ Jesus
and His finished work on the cross. Saving faith is a gift and it was
given by God to the believers. They cannot earn it by works or any other
means. Salvation is truly by God’s grace and through faith in Christ
minute some argue, what about James, he seemed to think that works are
required in order to be saved. Is that what James is saying and people
use it to point out a contradiction to what Paul wrote? Paul wrote “not
of works.” James mentions works. “Thus also faith by itself, if it
does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and
I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show
you my faith by my works.” James 2:17, 18.
contradiction some would say. But is it really a contradiction? Let me
first say that there are no contradictions in the Bible, there might be
some words that got lost in translation from the Hebrew or the Greek
into English where the translators could have used a different word,
but there are no contradictions.
passages in conflict with each other? Did James contradict Paul when he
wrote that faith without works is dead? I don’t think so at all. The
most simplest way of looking at these two passages is that Paul wrote
from God’s perspective or the divine level and James wrote from the
human perspective, the human level.
it very clear that man cannot save himself. No matter how hard someone
might try to reach God by works or religious rituals. Salvation is a
free gift of God by His mercy and grace. It is His divine action that
saves the believers, not the other way around. God did what we could not
do for ourselves. He made the way to be reconciled with Him through the
sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, our propitiation. Many times in the
Bible we read “I will.” It is God that saves.
saying that someone can say that they have faith which cannot be seen.
Anyone can say, I have faith and I believe in God, but they do not show
or bear any fruit at all. They may go to church, read their Bibles, look
spiritual and act holy but in reality they are unfruitful. They go
through the motions and that’s what James is saying, true saving faith
should be evident in the believer by how they live and how their faith
in Christ produces fruit, some thirty, some sixty and some a hundred
Jesus say about faith and bearing fruit? There are many passages of
course, I will use the gospel of John to show what Jesus said.
the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. “Every branch in Me
that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears
fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. “You are already clean
because of the word which I have spoken to you. “Abide in Me, and I in
you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the
vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are
the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for
without Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is
cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw
them into the fire, and they are burned. “If you abide in Me, and My
words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done
for you. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so
you will be My disciples.: John 15:1-8.
Christ is the key, faith in Him and Him alone saves a person, not works.
Good works or bearing fruit is the evidence of faith. There are many
within the Christian faith that teach that works are required and in
order to be saved you have to do this or that. Those are either cults or
legalistic people who do not know or understand the grace of God. They
are in bondage to themselves. If anyone ever comes to you with that kind
of doctrine, point them to the thief on the cross. He had no works to
show for that would save him, yet Jesus told him that he would be in
Paradise with Him. The thief on the cross believed Jesus and had a
change of mind (repentance).
“Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4.
For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3. James 2:23.
“For God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16.