Monday, December 18

Faith has Action....

Many students in colleges and universities profess and claim they are going to work and study hard to achieve their degree. However, many fail to actually do what they claim and flunk out. Paul tells us in Titus that some profess to know God, BUT……
Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

It is clear that Paul is linking how people behave or act to what they say. It is very close to what James says in James 2:14 (What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?). Paul is talking about people professing faith and James is talking about people saying they have faith. This is the same thing, and Paul and James also give the same bottom line. Paul says that their lack of works are a denial that they know God and James asks rhetorically is that kind of faith any good for salvation. They are not talking about a temporal salvation. They are talking about a faith that secures a spiritual salvation of eternal life. Paul and James are both affirming that this kind of faith is not implemented by claiming and professing, but by action. Sincere faith that saves will motivate a person to a response of action and works. This is action is not motivated to earn justification, but rather flows from the grace that brought about the justification. For example, a student in a college like the one shown in the photo above does not succeed by claiming and professing to his parents that he is going to study and apply himself to the work at hand. He succeeds in his course work by actually studying and working hard. When the semester grades are posted, it will be evident if the student has actually done the required study and work or if his claims and professions were worthless. It is the same with the faith that secures salvation. Saying, claiming, and professing faith does not save, but possessing faith will save and will result in works that were prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10). Therefore, do not kid yourself into believing teachers that say faith has no action (Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.).


jazzycat said...

The faith to believe is a gift from God (Eph 2:8-9) and is a result of God's grace that changes the sinners heart. The works that flow from this grace are from God just as surely as the grace and faith are from God.

Let me be clear that works do not justify nor are they mechanically done to prove justification. They occur because the new creation desires and wants to do them.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

What does it say about God if we say no result could come of salvation, when Paul says that God creates for good works? I never cease to be amazed at the FG movement.

Steve said...

This is a tremendous post! Thanks. This needs to be said often, and far and wide.

jazzycat said...

You are right. They deny the power of regeneration, which is to deny his power. This is an insult.


bluecollar said...

Jazzy, I admire how relentless you are! You inspire me. Thank you.

H K Flynn said...

Hi Jazzy,

To clarify, we do not say there will be no effect. Hodges has clarified that all regenerate people are going to have some works. Jonathan chooses not to process what we are saying. We are created for good works, just as Solomon was created for wisdom.

What we are saying is that it is possible to resist God's Spirit, even dramatically.

Jazzy, would you say that to know God is always static reality? Or do some know him more than others? Didn't Philip not know God when he became confused by what the Lord was saying early in the Upper Room Discourse. Jesus said, Do you not know me Philip?

People like Solomon at the end of His life did not know God! He had once, but in the end he didn't with his worshipping of every single regional pagan diety! (though he was regenerate) Hymenaeus didn't after he wandered away from the truth. (1 Tim 1:19,20; 2 Tim 2:18) Peter didn't when he denied the cross. Since you believe in the reality of people drifting it seems this shouldn't be completely far-fetched to you. Mull it over: does the backslider truly know God in every sense of the word?

Warmly in Christ,


jazzycat said...

I will respond to this post more thoroughly later as I must be out for the evening. I am also going to do a post on “What the bible says about grace” right after Christmas that should serve as a response to your questions. I am somewhat puzzled by your comment that Hodges believes regenerate people will produce works. Seems like such a belief would be subject to all the criticism that is labeled at the reformed camp by the UOG group. I have debated Matthew’s who believes that in rare cases the regenerate can produce no works even with enough time of life to do something. There must be some differences of opinion in this area.


H K Flynn said...

I'll look forward to reading your posts. But believe me, W.H., there is a huge amount of difference of opinion in grace circles. But Hodges and all the leading lights of whom I'm aware, believe that when one is regenerate there will be some fruit. At a practical level, that means new converts that don't shift gears in some way are supplied with more evangelism.

New birth is the life of Christ within a person. That miracle is always perfect and holy, and when it is expressed the person gains a sense of inner freedom. They feel like their authentic identity is thriving. that's what obeing the law of liberty is all about.

But people backslide, sometimes permanently. Kids are saved and don't continue to adequately grow. Anyone not under the acitve authority of God's Word is vulnerable to the life-destroying work that God has the devil accomplish in the life of those believers who turn from God.


God bless.

jazzycat said...

You said the following………… But Hodges and all the leading lights of whom I'm aware, believe that when one is regenerate there will be some fruit.

To me “some fruit” means some obedience and response to becoming a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Yet the following quote is from your website where you quoted directly from the Grace Evangelical Society website concerning beliefs:

However, the Bible does not teach that this obedience will be manifested in all believers. If a believer does not yield to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in his experience, failure will result, evidenced by sinful acts or even prolonged disobedience (1 Cor 10:1-13; Gal 5:16-21).

To me the first sentence is affirming that some believers will never be obedient which would mean no fruit. Then a verse (Gal. 5:21) is cited as referring to believers when it very clearly speaks of someone who will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Do you believe some fruit will result from the regenerate as you say Hodges does? If so this view that Hodges and others holds seems to be at odds with the GES position. It seems to me that the difference between some fruit and no fruit is a huge point of distinction in this debate. Did I miss something?

It does seem that the FG position has a lower view of the impact of grace through the Holy Spirit and a higher view of man's contribution in sanctification than the reformed view. I will post on grace next week.


jel said...

Hope you don't mind if I pop in here to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

jazzycat said...

Thanks Jel, I hope you have a great Christmas up there in the Mo. countryside. Love your photo's.

Steve said...

Merry Christmas!

jazzycat said...

Thanks and Merry Christmas to you.