Monday, June 15

God powers sanctification

A pastor in the free grace theology movement made the following comment on his blog concerning the reformed view of justification by faith alone:

It [Reformed theology] is a view that says, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is not alone.” My book spends 300 pages and 600 footnotes trying to clarify the mistake in this cliche.

I think I can show through Biblical teachings why this cliché is true. If sinners were saved apart from God’s intervening grace, regeneration, and the indwelling Spirit, then this statement would be false and he could build a solid case. However, through regeneration (John 3:3, 2 Cor. 5:17, Eph 2:4-5) and the indwelling Spirit (Romans 8:9) those that are saved by faith alone are led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14) and are changed to different degrees. While still being far from perfect, these new attitudes, behaviors, inclinations, etc. are present in all saved Christians. Since saving faith comes with this POWER from God and not man’s effort alone, it is true that faith alone for justification does not exist alone. It comes with GOD POWER!

41 comments:

Doulos Christou said...

Good thoughts! By the way, I guess he'll have to ignore or twist (just as only one example) 1st John...

mark pierson said...

I'll be back tomorrow to consider this with you, the Lord willing.

mark pierson said...

Wayne,
I've noticed that those in his movement ALWAYS gravitate towards scriptures that SEEM to indicate that a Christian can fail to persevere. How telling is THAT? Perseverance of the Saints is THE enemy for THAT group. They hate THAT aspect of the TULIP even more than "L".

jazzycat said...

Doulos,
Yes, I believe twist is the key word.

Mark,
That is true and they never want to reconcile the clear Scriptures that indicate that regenerated Christians do persevere through the work of God in their hearts.

Wayne

mark pierson said...

Notice how that group has a "low" view of the regeneration experience. It seems that they MUST destroy the biblical concept of the new birth in order to prop up their "carnal" Christian theory.

It also seems that only those influenced by L.S. Chafer (the classic dispensationalists) buy into this garbage.

jazzycat said...

It does seems they have to jump through many hoops to reconcile and prop up their system.

David G said...

Martin Luther inserted the word “alone” into Romans 3:28 when he translated it.

One has to wonder about the wisdom of changing the interpretation of the divinely inspired Word of God to fit your own theology, especially after 11 centuries.

The only time you actually do see the words faith and alone together in a sentence is in James 2:24, where James says, "See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24)

jazzycat said...

David G,
Thanks. The Bible translations I read were made directly from texts that pre-date Martin Luther. Therefore, he [Luther] has nothing to do with the current Christian Bible.

You have missed the point in James. Please see the following post for my explanation:
James 2:14-26

David G said...

Dear Jazzycat,

What Paul and James actually wrote:

Galatians 2:16 - "Yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in/of Jesus Christ.

And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in/of Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law."
(see all of Gal 2:15—3:14).

Romans 3:28 - "For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law." (see all of Rom 3:21—4:25).

James 2:24, 26 - "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone... For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead." (see all of James 2:14-26).

The common but incorrect interpretation, leading to an apparent contradiction between Paul and James:

Paul supposedly said: Justification comes not by our good works, but by our faith in Jesus alone.

James supposedly said: Justification comes by our good works, not by our faith in God.

Errors with these interpretations:

Paul is not talking about "good works" in the sense of "charitable acts"; rather, he says "works of the Law" (Gal 2:16; 3:2-12; Rom 3:28), which refers to the Jewish/Mosaic laws on circumcision, sacrifices, dietary restrictions, etc.

When James says "works," he means acts of charity = care for widows, orphans & the poor, love for neighbors, etc. (James 1:27; 2:8; 2:15-16).

Paul is not opposed to "good works" or "charitable actions"; he sees them as necessary consequences (although not the foundation) of authentic Christian living (see Gal 5–6; Rom 12–15).

Conversely, James is not opposed to faith; he presupposes it, and then stresses that authentic faith must be put into action (James 2:14-26).

Paul is not talking primarily about our "faith in Jesus," but rather the "faith of Jesus" in God (i.e., Jesus' own trusting in God; see Gal 2:16, 20; Rom 3:22, 26); based on this foundation, our faith in God/Jesus is a necessary (but secondary) response.

In contrast, James does mean people’s faith, primarily believing in God (2:23) but also believing in Jesus (2:1).

Paul does not presuppose the same definition of "faith" as James does; for Paul, "faith" means "trusting" God, or "entrusting oneself" to God's plans (Rom 4:3-22).

For James, "faith" is more of an intellectual assent to theological truths, e.g., "believing that God is one" (2:19; even demons can "believe" in God's existence).

Paul did not write the word "alone" in Rom 3:28; Martin Luther was the one who added the word "allein" in his German Bible translation.

James does not write "by works alone" but stresses "not by faith alone"; he maintains that both have to go together.

David G said...

Paul & James on Faith & Works

jazzycat said...

Paul and James agreed that perfect obedience to the law would result in salvation, but that no one could meet that standard. Likewise no one is capable of perfect deeds. Therefore, you are asserting that imperfect deeds added to the atonement of Christ are needed to secure salvation. Does this make sense to you? Your attempt to distinguish righteousness obtained from the old covenant law [which is now obsolete] from good deeds apart from the law only goes so far. A perfect righteousness is needed to stand before God whether through the law or apart from the law. Paul points this out clearly in Titus: Titus 3:4-7 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Paul dealt with your objection in Romans 4. Abraham’s obtained a righteousness by faith long before the old covenant law was given at Mt. Sinai. His faith was credited apart from works [Romans 4:1-3]. Paul could not be talking about the works of the law here since this was 400 years before the law was given.

The human problem with standing before God, since the fall of Adam, has been sin and a lack of a perfect righteousness to stand before God. Jesus Christ solved both of these problems by paying our sin debt and also providing the perfect righteousness required [Romans 5]. This is obtained by faith in Jesus Christ alone as a gift [Romans 6:23].

Believers are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, which produces good works of sanctification. Romans 6 through Romans 8 explain this concept. James is simply telling hypocrites that a claimed faith without deeds is not a sincere saving faith. A sincere saving faith will result in a “born again” life that will result in good works. That is why Jesus said, you must be born again [John 3:3]. It is why Paul describes a Spirit led Christian in Romans 8 as showing characteristics that are different from the non-Christian. However, these good works flow from being saved and justified and do not contribute in any way to being justified before God. If works were required, the final outcome would be in doubt, and Paul certainly could not make the statements he made in Romans 5:1 or Romans 8:1.

If we stand before God and add our deeds to be justified, we will have to add all of our deeds and that will mean that we will condemn ourselves. I for one plan on claiming the deeds of Jesus Christ through faith as my hope…..

Michael said...

5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Dear Jazztcat,
Texts which on the surface seem to support Baptismal regeneration
which is directly tied to salvation — are used in support of the Roman Catholic understanding of Baptism as efficacious for purification and regeneration.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

The Catechism suffers no shortage of proof texts for Baptismal Regeneration ((see also Titus 3:5; 1 Pet 3:20; Gal 3:27; 1 Cor 6:11; 12:13; Eph 5:26).

Michael said...

Dear Jazzycat,

Faith alone OR faith working in love (faith plus works)

Matthew 19:16-17 - if you wish to enter into life, keep my commandments
John 14:15 - if you love me, keep my commandments
1 Corinthians 13:2 - faith without love is nothing
Galatians 5:6 - the only thing that counts is faith working in love
James 2:24 - a man is justified by works and not by faith alone
James 2:26 - faith without works is dead

Michael said...

Dear Jazzycat,

Good Works:

Matthew 7:21 - It is not anyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Matthew 19:16-17 - to have life, keep the commandments
John 14:21 - he who keeps the commandments loves me
Romans 2:2-8 - eternal life by perseverance in good works
Galatians 5:4-6 - nothing counts but faith working through love
Ephesians 2:8-10 - we are created in Christ Jesus for good works
Philippians 2:12-13 - work out salvation with fear and trembling
James 2:14-26 - a man is justified by works and not faith alone

Michael said...

Dear Jazzycat,

Judged according to deeds:

Romans 2:5-8 - God will repay each man according to his works
2 Corinthians 11:15 - recompense accord to what one did in their body (their end will correspond to their deeds)
Colossians 3:24-25 - will receive due payment for whatever you do
1 Peter 1:17 - God judges impartially accordingly to one's works
Revelation 20:12-13 - dead judged according to their deeds

Michael said...

Dear Jazzycat,

Assurance of Salvation?

Matthew 7:21 - It is not anyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Matthew 24:13 - those who persevere to the end will be saved
Romans 11:23 - remain in his kindness or you will be cut off
1 Corinthians 9:27 - I punish my body and bring it under control, to avoid any risk that, having acted as herald for others, I myself may be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 10:11-12 - those thinking they are secure, may fall
Philippians 2:12 - work out your salvation in fear and trembling
Galatians 5:4 - separated from Christ, you've fallen from grace
2 Timothy 2:11-13 - must hold out to the end to reign with Christ
Hebrews 6:4-6 - describes sharers of the Holy Spirit, who then fall away
Hebrews 10:26-27 - if we sin, after receiving the truth, judgment remains
2 Peter 2:17-22 - It would have been better for them never to have learned the way of uprightness, than to learn it and then desert the holy commandment that was entrusted to them.

Michael said...

Dear Jazzycat,

Have you been saved?

The Catholic reply is "I have been saved, I am being saved and I hope to be saved."

Past Event: I have been saved:
Romans 8:24 - for in hope you were saved
Ephesians 2:5, 8 - by grace you have been saved through faith
2 Timothy 1:9 - he saved us, called us, according too his grace
Titus 3:5 - he saved us through the bath of rebirth, renewed by the Holy Spirit

Present Event: I am being saved;

Philippians 2:12 - work out your salvation with fear and trembling
1 Peter 1:9 - as you attain the goal of your faith, salvation

Future Event: I hope to be saved:

Matthew 10:22 - he who endures to the end will be saved
Matthew 24:13 - he who perseveres to the end will be saved
Mark 8:3-5 - whoever loses his life for my sake will save it
Acts 15:11 - we will be saved through the grace of Jesus
Romans 5:9-10 - since we are justified, we shall be saved
Romans 13:11 - salvation is nearer now, then first believed
1 Corinthians 3:15 - he will be saved, but only as through fire
1 Corinthians 5:5 - deliver the evil man's natural life to Satan so his spirit may be saved on the Day of the Lord
Hebrews 9:28 - Jesus will appear a second time to bring salvation

jazzycat said...

Michael,
There are many passages that teach and exhort Christians to obedience, love, and good deeds. This is called sanctification and is separate from justification, which happens in an instant. Sanctification results from justification and does not cause justification. I have no quarrel with the importance and the many texts that point to Christian sanctification as reality in the life of true Christians.

The Titus 3 passage I gave you is NOT about baptismal regeneration, it is a passage that clearly denies any meritorious works for justification. This passage points to God’s mercy and grace and specifically excludes works done by us in righteousness. Paul is speaking of being saved [justified] and points to the true source and cause of salvation, which is God himself. You did not deal with this verse, but erroneously labeled it as baptismal regeneration and preceded to start listing proof texts for meritorious works for being saved [justification].

Ironically, in verse 26 of the first passage you give, Jesus states that it is impossible for man to obtain eternal life by works. The rich young ruler asked, “WHAT MUST I DO”, and Jesus told him. The disciples understood this was impossible and responded in verse 25 which prompted Jesus’s reply in v. 26. When Jesus said it was impossible, he did not leave any room for works.

None of the passages you mention even come close to being convincing that works are meritourous for justification. I do not have time to refute them all, but I will make you a proposition. Pick your top 2 passages that you think affirm faith plus works for justification and I will deal with them, and you deal with my Titus 3 passage where Paul says, “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness,” and with another passage that I will give later.

jazzycat said...

In your Catholic system the work of Jesus is complete and finished. Therefore, the deciding basis for determining whether one has eternal life or not is a person’s deeds. It all hinges on one’s deeds. A person must add to the finished work of Christ if he wants to be saved according to Catholic doctrine. If this is true, the obvious question to me is: Why would the creator and sovereign ruler of the universe come to earth, take on human flesh and die a painful death if this were not the crucial and only means for God to reconcile man to himself? If salvation depends on human deeds, then Jesus could have come to earth performed his ministry and ascended to heaven untouched by human hands. If salvation depends on our works, why was an atonement necessary?

You are claiming that Christ died for our sinful deeds and yet our faith is not the deciding factor for salvation. No, according to Catholic doctrine, the deciding factor for salvation is more of our sinful deeds. If these sinful deeds have improved sufficiently [what is sufficient enough???] then a person will be saved. The bottom line here would be that salvation is based on an improved but still sinful deeds. If it depended on human works, then Christ died for nothing! Paul says that directly in Galatians 2:21 in speaking about law. It would also apply to works of righteousness apart from the law.

Michael said...

The Titus 3 passage I gave you is NOT about baptismal regeneration, it is a passage that clearly denies any meritorious works for justification.

Dear Jazzycat,
You are wrong!

Holy Scripture gives us several guidelines for what we are obligated to do when we see error.

If a Prophet from GOD gives us a warning in regard to error once, then we certainly should pay attention to it.
And one certainly did:

Ezekiel 3:18-19, "Suppose I tell you that wicked people will surely die, but you don't warn them or speak out so that they can change their wicked ways in order to save their lives.

Then these wicked people will die because of their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their deaths.

But suppose you warn the wicked people, and they don't turn from their wicked ways. Then they will die because of their sin, but you will save yourself.
"

However, if that same Prophet from GOD gave a similar warning a second time, then he has added emphasis for the importance of his message and so we must take it very seriously.

And thus did Ezekiel issue his message for a second time:

Ezekiel 3:20-21, "If righteous people turn from living the right way and do wrong, I will make them stumble, and they will die. If you don't warn them, they will die because of their sin, and the right things they did will not be remembered.

I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin, and they don't sin, they will certainly live because they listened to the warning. You will save yourself.
"

But what if that very same Prophet from GOD repeated that same warning yet a third time???
Ouch!
Surely it has become a dire warning indeed, one that simply cannot be ignored
:

Ezekiel 33:8-9, "Suppose I say to a wicked person, 'You wicked person, you will certainly die,' and you say nothing to warn him to change his ways. That wicked person will die because of his sin, and I will hold you responsible for his death.

But if you warn a wicked person to turn from his ways and he doesn't turn from them, then he will die because of his sin. However, you will save yourself.
"

As you can readily see we are obligated to speak up and to challenge those who are in error.

If we see someone about to fall into the pit, then we must warn them before they do so. If we fail to warn them, then we too will fall into the pit with them, since by our failure to act we have assumed their error as well.

Matthew 15:14, "Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

Proverbs 12:28, "In the path of righteousness is life, but the way of error leads to death."

2Peter 3:15-17, "So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability.
"

1John 4:6, "We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error."

Ephesians 5:11, "Take no part in the fruits of darkness, but instead expose them."

Ephesians 5:13, "...but all the things that are exposed are made manifest by the light: for all that is made manifest is light."

"Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it".
Pope St. Felix III (483-492)

swordbearer said...

Jazzy, your points are well taken!

Michael not only seems to confuse the grounds of salvation (faith alone) with medium though which faith expresses itself (faith working through love); but more importantly he denies the sufficiency of Christ's atonement and seeks to replace it (even if in part) with the sufficiency of of his own works, of which the prophet has stated "even our best works are like filthy rags before God."

Consider the words of Paul: "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."

jazzycat said...

Michael,
You didn’t deal with my challenge to provide two verses showing faith plus works and respond to Titus 3 and another passage to be given. Telling me I am wrong does not deal with Paul when he said, “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness,”

Unless you deal with this passage of Scripture, I will have to assume you have no answer. Simply telling me I am wrong does not satisfy as an explanation of the passage. In return I will deal with your best two passages that you think assert faith plus works to honor my part of the challenge.

Michael said...

Dear Jazzycat & Swordbearer,
The Only Church That Christ Established Is The Catholic Church."He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned." [Mark 16:16].

My Dearly Beloved Christians, from these words of our Divine Savior, it has already been proved to you, that faith is necessary for salvation.

And without faith there is no salvation. Without faith there is eternal damnation. Read your own Protestant Bible [Mark 16:16], and you will find it stronger there than in the Catholic Bible.

Now then, what kind of faith must a man have to be saved? Will any faith do? Why, if any faith will do, the devil himself will be saved, for the Bible says the devils believe and tremble. [James 2:19]

It is, therefore, not a matter of indifference what religion a man professes. He must profess the right and true religion, and without that, there is no hope of salvation.

For it stands to reason, my dear people, that if God reveals a thing or teaches a thing, He wants you to believe it. Not to believe, is to insult God.

Read more...

jazzycat said...

Michael,
For this discussion to continue, you must deal with Titus 3 and provide your best two verses that assert human works are needed for justification!

Michael said...

Dear Jazztcat,

The Catholic Church is the Pillar and the Foundation of Truth (1 Timothy 3:15)

Truth...

"The Church, instituted by the Lord and confirmed by the Apostles, is one for all men;
but the frantic folly of the diverse impious acts sects has cut them off from her.

It cannot be denied that this tearing asunder of the faith has arisen from the defect of poor intelligence, which twists what is read to conform to its opinion, instead of adjusting its opinion to the meaning of what is read.

However, while individual parties fight among themselves, the
Church stands revealed not only by her own doctrines, but by those also of her adversaries.

And although they are all arranged against her, she confutes the most wicked error which they all share, by the very fact that she is alone and One.

All the heretics, therefore, come against the Church; but while all the heretics can conquer
each other, they can win nothing for themselves.

For their victory is the triumph of the Church over all of them. One heresy struggles against that teaching of another, which the faith of the Church has already condemned in the other heresy, - for there is nothing which the heretics hold in common, 'and the result is that they affirm our faith while fighting among themselves.
"
Saint Hilary of Poitiers... The Trinity, 7:4, 356 A.D.. Jurgens 865

"Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new; for it has already gone before in the ages that were before us." (Ecclesiastes 1:10)

The Jews tried to destroy it and they in turn were almost totally destroyed in 70 AD.
The Catholic Church is still here.

The Romans tried to destroy it, but they in turn were destroyed and their entire empire collapsed in 471.
The Catholic Church is still here.

The Moslems tried to destroy it in the middle ages, and failed.
The Catholic Church is still here.

The Protestants tried to destroy it in the reformation and failed, and look what happened to them. The Church of Protestantism, which Luther founded, was from the very beginning cracked and splintered. Look at Protestantism today, over 36,400 splinters, with more cropping up every day.
The Catholic Church is still here.

Hitler tried to destroy it and failed. Where is he and his 1000 year Reich now?
The Catholic Church is still here.

Communism tried to destroy it and failed, and where is communism today?
The Catholic Church is still here.

Why do you think the Catholic Church has endured all these attacks for almost two millennia?

It is because it was founded by Jesus Christ and is guarded from within and from without
by Him and the Holy Spirit, that is why.

Christ guaranteed the perpetuality of His ONLY Church.
Isa 59:21, Matt 16:18, Matt 28:20, John 14:16-17, Eph 5:23, 1Tim 4:16

So, if all of the above much more formidable foes tried and failed to destroy the Catholic Church, what makes you think you can succeed?

Remember, if you fight against GOD's Church, you fight against GOD Himself...

"If GOD is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 8:31)

jazzycat said...

James 2:14-26
A close look at James 2:14 through 2:26 makes it clear that James is speaking of a professed faith, but not a genuine faith. He is distinguishing between a professed faith and an actual possessed faith. A person can make all kinds of claims that are not true. One can claim to have things he does not have or claim to be something he is not. It is not unusual and happens on a daily basis. In James 2:14 we see that James is talking about someone who claims to have faith. James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? This would be like saying: What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to be a doctor but has no training? Can such a doctor heal people? The answer is obviously no. A claim to be a doctor when a person has no training is a false claim. It is a worthless dead claim. Therefore, James was warning that a true living faith would result in a changed person with a changed agenda that naturally produces deeds and works. These deeds are a result of grace, regeneration and a saving faith and have no merit for justification. Good works are the fruit of a saving faith not the root or cause of salvation. James goes on to say: James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James is quite simply saying that a person who does not show any signs of the fruit of the spirit does not have a saving faith. He may have a belief or mental assent, but he does not show the signs of someone who has placed their hope and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ. James then compares such mental assent belief with that of demons in verse 19. James gives examples of saving faith being backed up by action in verses 20-25. James closes Chapter two by equating the body without the spirit to faith without deeds. He says both of them are dead. Dead means a false, worthless, not genuine faith that does not save.

Michael said...

Dear Jazzycat,
When I gave my Mission in Brooklyn several Protestants became Catholics. Among them there was a very highly educated and intelligent Virginian. He was a Presbyterian.

After he had listened to my lecture he went to see his minister, and he asked him to be kind enough to explain a text of the Bible.

The minister gave him the meaning. "Well, now," said the gentleman, "are you positive and sure that is the meaning of the text, for several other Protestants explain it differently?"

"Why, my dear young man," says the preacher, "we never can be certain of our faith."

"Well, then," says the young man, "good-bye to you: If I cannot be sure of my faith in the Protestant Church, I will go where I can," and he became a Catholic.

We are sure of our faith in the Catholic Church, and if our faith is not true, Christ has deceived us.

I would, therefore, beg you, my separated brethren, to procure yourselves Catholic books.

You have read a great deal against the Catholic Church, now read something in favor of it.

The One True Church
By Fr. Arnold Damen S.J.

jazzycat said...

Michael,
If you do not defend your views and address Titus 3 rather than copy and paste Catholic teaching into this thread I will have to start deleting you.

If faith plus works is a Biblical teaching, you should be able to explain Titus 3 and the passage Swordbearer gave. I will grant you the freedom to do your exegesis and try to prove your theology, but I am not going to continue to let you ignore a two way discussion of the issues at hand. It is my blog and I want you to address not what I claim, but what Paul wrote in Holy Scriptures.

Michael said...

jazzycat said...
Michael,
If you do not defend your views and address Titus 3
....

Dear Jazzycat,
Private Interpretation of Scriptures:

While the Catholic Church truly believes that reading and understanding the Bible is a good and holy thing, she cautions strongly against trying to understand the true meaning of sacred scripture on your own.

After all, Peter warns in his epistle "First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, " (2 Peter 1:20).

And there is also 2 Peter 3:15-16: "And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures."

Michael said...

Who Gets Into Heaven?

Dear Jazzycat,
A lot of ministers say that works are useless as regards getting into heaven.

But does the Bible really say what they say it says? They say that works are useless despite what James says in James 2:26 - "Faith without works is dead".

These are good works (Ephesians 2:10), of course, and not the useless Jewish works of the law (circumcision, ritual handwashing, no pork, etc.) that Paul condemns (Galatians 3:10).

God freely gives us grace, which increases our faith in Jesus, which in turn leads to good works, justification, and salvation.

The reason Jesus cursed the fig tree is because it bore no fruit (Mark 11:21). Good works are the fruit of our faith (Colossians 1:10).

Having faith in Christ without performing good works as a result of that faith is like having a full tank of gas in the car but never starting it up to go anywhere.

It just sits there doing no one any good.

Michael said...

True faith in Christ means being a doer of the word, and not just a hearer (James 1:22).

So if you want to get into heaven, read the following scripture quotes and go out into the world and imitate the life of Christ by performing as many good works as you can, out of love, of course.

It may be your cross to bear (Mark 8:34), but that's OK. We are commanded to do them by Jesus -

John 14:12:"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father."

Matthew 18:3: and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

(**NOTE - Being child-like is not the same as being child-ish. Being child-like means being innocent, meek and humble, and having total trust in God Your Father that He will take good care of you, no matter what. What infant worries about money, clothes, or promotions at work? Then neither should we. (Luke 12:22-31)).

Matthew 25:31-46:"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.

Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?

And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'

And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'

Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'

Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' Then he will answer them,

`Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
"

Michael said...

Dear Jazzycat,

Romans 2:6: For he will render to every man according to his works.

Galatians 5:19-21: Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.

I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Revelation 20:12-13: And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.

Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done.

And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done.

(**NOTE- Notice that you are not judged by your "faith alone in Jesus Christ", nor in "faith alone in the Bible".

You are judged according to what you have done with the graces that God gave you in this life.

Remember the parable about the Master receiving back interest on his investments? (Matthew 25:14-30))
.

Revelation 21:22-27: And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day -- and there shall be no night there; they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.

But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

jazzycat said...

Are you asserting that you cannot understand Scripture on your own, but must rely and accept without question what other men tell you? How can you e-mail all of those verses to me to prove points that you now tell me you are not capable of understanding? How can we discuss and debate doctrine, if you claim you can't understand the true meaning of Scripture on your own? Who is capable of understanding the true meaning of Scripture? At what point do they make the transition from not being able to interpret to being able? The Catholic Church has no brain or capacity to believe anything. When you said the Catholic Church believes, you really mean the leader(s) of the Church believe. By deferring to these leaders you have made them a higher authority than the Word of God. You are telling me you do not accept the plain meaning of Scripture unless your higher authority [church leaders] affirms it for you. When your doctrine is based on other men [church leader(s), you are basing your views on a commentary of the Bible rather than the Bible itself. The Bible does not teach us to do that. As a matter of fact the Bible teaches the opposite and most of the New Testament Epistles are addressed to believers directly. Eph. 1:1 says To the saints who are in Ephesus

My highest authority is the Word of God, which was written under the inspiration of the HOLY SPIRIT and is infallible. If you want to convince me that faith plus works are necessary for justification, then you will have to do it with infallible Scripture and not commentaries written by fallible men. Your Pope and church leaders have no authority over me on doctrine or anything else. My denomination and church leaders have no authority over me on doctrinal matters other than my five church vows that I have affirmed before God and our congregation. Had I not agreed with these basic vows, I would not have become a member. My authority is the Word of God.

How can you use Scripture [to prove this view] when your church tells you can’t understand Scripture? You can’t! So, you are really telling me that your church leaders are telling you that the Bible says that you must rely on them! The Bible may be misinterpreted, but it is unchanging. Your church has changed doctrinal views over the years! Doesn’t that raise a red flag about how infallible they are?

jazzycat said...

Michael,
I am puzzled that you have rejected my challenge to debate on the basis that your church leaders have said that you do not understand Scripture, but you continue to inundate this thread with Scripture to prove your point.

None of the passages you give prove your point. I do not have time to refute them all. The challenge remains. Deal with the two [mine and Swordbearer's] and pick out your best two and I will deal with them. If you are not qualified then send someone who is qualified.

Michael said...
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Michael said...

jazzycat said...
Who is capable of understanding the true meaning of Scripture?

Dear Jazzycat
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a necessary supplement to a Bible study since the Church guided by the Holy Spirit both produced the Scriptures, formulated the canon or list of books included in the New Testament and guards their orthodox interpretation.

jazzycat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jazzycat said...

Seems to me you are making Scriptures secondary to the orthodox interpretation by the Catholic Church [actually the men who lead the Catholic Church].

Be that as it may you are welcome to use these orthodox views in accepting my challenge and confronting Scripture. My challenge remains. If you do not defend your position, then I have no choice but to consider it an admission that you can't. You prefer to blindly accept what other men tell you rather than to discuss and investigate Scripture.

Michael said...

The Kindness of His Mercy:

Now I understand in part, O my God, what Hell is. It is a place of extreme pain, of extreme despair. It is where I deserve to be for my sins, where I would have been confined for some years already if your immense mercy had not delivered me.

I will keep repeating a thousand times: The Heart of Jesus has loved me, or else I would now be in Hell! The mercy of Jesus has pitied me, for otherwise I would be in Hell! The Blood of Jesus has reconciled me with the heavenly Father, or my dwelling place would be Hell.

This shall be the hymn that I want to sing to Thee, my God, for all eternity. Yes, from now on my intention is to repeat these words as many times as there are moments that have passed since that unhappy hour in which I first offended You.

From the Writings of St. Anthony Mary Claret

Michael said...

jazzycat said...
You prefer to blindly accept what other men tell you rather than to discuss and investigate Scripture.

Dear Jazzycat,
Tell The Truth Or Suffer The Consequences!

jazzycat said...

Michael,
Speaking of salvation from hell you said…….
if your immense mercy had not delivered me.
and
The Blood of Jesus has reconciled me with the heavenly Father, or my dwelling place would be Hell.

Now, I agree with this! However you are the one who finds fault because you have asserted that Jesus is not enough. You have claimed that good deeds must be added to the finished work of Christ to be justified. Therefore, it is imperfect deeds that are the determining factor. You assert that imperfect jewish law keeping does not save, but that imperfect keeping of the laws of Christ [DEEDS] do save. Does this make sense to you?

It is you who retreat into a corner rather than confront Scripture. One of the verses you sent in your latest blitz is John 17:17 where Jesus said, Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. Notice Jesus said the Word is the truth to be sanctified by. He did not say sanctify them by the word of church leaders because Scripture is too difficult for mere laymen to understand. Yet, YOU SAID earlier in this thread the following:

“While the Catholic Church truly believes that reading and understanding the Bible is a good and holy thing, she cautions strongly against trying to understand the true meaning of sacred scripture on your own.”

My unanswered challenge remains. You have failed to confront Scripture and continue to send these spam like comments that I leave up only because they are so revealing of your spiritual bondage. IT CERTAINLY EXPLAINS HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS ABLE TO APPOINT THOSE TEEN AGE POPES OF THE MIDDLE AGES