Saturday, July 26

Sola Fida or Perish

Romans 2:6-7: He will render to each one according to his works: (7) to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;

In the book of Romans, Paul begins to explain the gospel in Rom. 1:18 by first giving the bad news of the unrighteousness of men before God. He continues through Rom. 3:20 with the bad news of the sinful and helpless state of all men, both Jew and Gentile. After explaining the condition of all men before God in Chapter 1, he turns his attention to the Jews in Chapter 2. Although the Jewish people had the law of God, Paul makes it clear the law condemns them because they were unable to keep it. Thus, Jews and Gentiles are both in trouble in their standing before God.

In Rom. 2:5 Paul states that they are storing up wrath for themselves for the day when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He also says the Gentiles are in the same boat because, although they do not have the law, they by nature do what the law requires. In other words they have a God given sense of right and wrong. In Chapter 2 of Romans, Paul has not yet gotten to an explanation of grace alone through faith alone; therefore, he is talking about unbelieving Gentiles and unbelieving Jews. He is talking about unregenerate sinners who have not been saved by grace. In Romans 2:6, Paul explains their works will determine their eternal state. In verse 7 he is clearly talking about obtaining eternal life by works. This of course is a mission impossible as Paul goes on to state in Romans 3:20. Therefore, no one will be saved by their works and no one will be saved by Romans 2:7 since no one can merit eternal life through patience in well doing.

Once Paul begins to introduce the gospel beginning in Romans 3:21, he explains how Christians who have been regenerated and are in Christ by faith will NOT have their eternal destiny determined by their works. Believers will have eternal life based on being in Christ through faith (Romans 8:1), and not by their own works. They will be covered by the righteousness of Christ and justified by His righteousness. If they stood before God’s throne clothed in their own righteousness for judgment, they would suffer the same fate as unbelievers who do have to stand before God with their own righteousness.

Yet, many assert that Romans 2:7 is referring to both unbelievers and believers. They state that unbelievers will fail to have the works to receive eternal life, whereas believers will have works that demonstrate their faith is genuine. However, you cannot get away from the fact that this text, in context, is judging works for eternal life and not the genuineness of a person’s faith. So, to assert that this passage includes a believer’s works of sanctification is to say that God judges the genuineness of faith by works and awards eternal life based on works of sanctification. This is wrong, as eternal life is all grace and is a gift from God without works (Eph. 2:8-9). Certainly genuine faith comes from regenerated believers who produce works, and there is also a false dead faith as James explains in James 2:14, but Romans 2:7 is referring to God giving eternal life based on works. Paul explains to unsaved Jews in verse 12 that everyone who attempts to justify himself under the law will be judged by the law [works]. He states it very clearly in Romans 3:20 which launches him into explaining justification by faith alone.

Since the reformed faith holds that God knows those who are His (Romans 8:29-30) and affirms justification by faith alone, God certainly does not need to judge works of sanctification to determine who are truly elect. If Romans 2:7 could save even one person Sola Fida is untrue, and Paul would not have said in Galatians 3:2-3 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? (3) Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Later in Romans 8 Paul explains fully that the law kills and the Spirit gives life. Romans 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Being in the flesh and approaching God through one’s own works is spiritual death, but being in Christ sets one free from the law and being judged by one’s own works.

Justification is by faith alone and this precludes God’s judgment of works for eternal life through Romans 2:7 from applying to regenerated blood bought believers who are covered in the righteousness of Christ. TRUE FREE GRACE saves sinners totally and completely.

Wednesday, July 16

New covenant power

The Old covenant kills because it relies on man power! The new covenant gives life because it is powered by God! God transforms his people into the same image. If a person is not being transformed by God through sanctification that results in discipleship and obedience, then he is not in Christ and he is in need of saving faith. If you consider yourself a carnal Christian, I urge you to pray that God would give you the gifts of faith and repentance. When these are granted a person will then become a saved disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and will have spiritual life that is powered by God rather than the flesh. For as the following passage points out the flesh kills, but the Spirit gives life and it gives it now:

2 Corinthians 3:5-18 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.
12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Friday, July 11