Tuesday, July 28

Catholic Visits Jazzycat preaching a Gospel of Faith plus Works

Answer to Jazzycat visitor on comment thread of Monday, June 15, 2009 Post……
His assertion was that faith plus works are needed to be justified and saved by God.

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 justified 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, 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, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 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 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. 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. He is not adding works to faith, but simply defining what faith looks like. 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 always be in doubt, and Paul certainly could not make the statements he made in Romans 5:1, Romans 8:1, Romans 8:31-39, and many other passages.

If we stand before God and present our deeds to be justified, we will have to present all of our deeds and that will mean we condemn ourselves since they are imperfect deeds. I for one plan on claiming the deeds of Jesus Christ through faith as my only hope which is what Paul says directly in Philippians 3:8-11…..

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