Tag Archives: Abraham’s righteousness

Kel Hammond on Faith, grace and works

Kel Hammond

Faith, grace and works.

As I understand it, it is by faith that we enter into grace (Rom.5:2). That is, we are now in Christ, having put on Christ by faith and baptism (Gal.3:26-27), and thereby enveloped in grace … having been saved by grace through faith, and not by our works (Eph.2:8-9).

Baptism in the first place represents death of the old man. It declares this principle (Rom.6:3-4, Col.2:12). It means that we bring no virtue to God – only a conscience influenced by the gospel message (1.Pet.3:21). We are thereby saved by faith through grace, which is God’s free gift to us (Eph.2:8-9). Having now ALSO risen with Christ, we are to walk by faith, which keeps us in grace – that is, we must now stay true to the things received by the preaching of the gospel, firm to the end (1.Cor.15:1-2).

We have been created anew in Christ, and by faith we are to walk in newness of life (Rom.6:4, Col.2:12), having been born again / created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph.2:10). These works that come AFTER baptism into Christ demonstrate that our faith is alive, and therefore James says

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” James.2:26.

In this context, James has already presented two examples from Abraham’s life to show what he means. One is drawn from early on and the other from much later. Early on, Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Gen.15:6). Later one, Abraham was faithfully obedient when he offered up Isaac (Gen.22:16-18), and his “works” demonstrated that his faith was alive and had grown.

By this we “see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works, and the Scripture was fulfilled that says,

“Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”” James.2:22-23 ESV.

Now ponder James 2:24 in this context –

“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only”

Martin Luther, the ‘great’ reformer, was not happy with James’ epistle and tried to remove it from the cannon of Scripture. He called it ‘an epistle of straw’. Luther, because of his misunderstanding of how God saves in Christ (i.e. his belief in penal-substitution), was not able to understand James.

Peter also speaks of the need for spiritual growth in the following words –

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;..” 2.Pet.1:5-10

We will let the apostle John have the last word, where he later writes –

“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” 1.Jn.3:7

 

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Preceding articles

  1. The works we have to do according to James
  2. Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works
  3. Luther’s misunderstanding
  4. January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works
  5. Our life depending on faith
  6. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  7. Is Justification a process?
  8. Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer
  9. Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof
  10. Letter to the Romans, chapter 3
  11. Letter to the Romans, chapter 4
  12. Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans
  13. Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4
  14. Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?
  15. James 2:14-23 — Justified Dynamic Faith & works
  16. James 2:24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
  17. James 2:25. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
  18. Paul giving notice of the works we have to do

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Additional reading

  1. Risen With Him
  2. The way of salvation
  3. A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham
  4. God works faith
  5. Faith is the belief that god will do what is right
  6. Christ’s ethical teaching
  7.  Being Justified by faith
  8. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  9. Faith Requires a Basis
  10. Walking in love by faith, not by sight
  11. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  12. Thought for those who think it is not necessary to do any works any more
  13. When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith
  14. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  15. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  16. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  17. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  18. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  19. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  20. Faith and works
  21. Sharing your faith
  22. Bearing fruit
  23. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  24. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  25. Be holy
  26. 1 Corinthians 15 Hope in action
  27. Chief means by which men are built up
  28. Not to play at Christianity
  29. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  30. Faith, storms and actions to be taken
  31. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  32. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong

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Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Peter Forbes comments:

4:2      In questioning Abraham’s righteousness Paul develops the point that he made in Rom 2:13 showing that the law does not bring righteousness.

4:3Abraham believed God …‘ the quotation is from Gen. 15:6. Righteousness is imputed by God on the basis of faith, not works of the law. Gen. 15 predates the giving of the law. This is the thrust of the argument in verses 4:4,5 and circumcision – the implications of this are developed in Rom.4:9-13.

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusa...

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, March 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4:6-8 The appeal to Psalm 32:1-2 which is a Psalm that David wrote after Nathan had spoken of God’s forgiveness for David’s adultery [2 Sam.12:13] continues the theme of forgiveness from ch. 3:4 We should take great comfort from the fact that God was willing to forgive the repentant David.

4:7  Notice the subtle but important difference between the language of  Psa 32:1 – and Paul’s words here. Whilst the Psalm has ‘he’ whereas Paul here says ‘they’. Paul generalises from the Psalm. The Psalm has specific relevance to David’s situation. Paul says that specific application of forgiveness actually extends to all who follow David’s example of repentance.

4:11 Whilst Israel seemed to see circumcision as the ultimate test of Jewishness Paul clearly says here that it is a sign of what has already been seen in Abraham – that is his faith in God which was counted for righteousness.

4:18against hope believed in hope‘ tells us that Abraham had to have faith in the promise of the seed as it was humanly speaking impossible.

4:23 The implication from ‘now it was not written for his sake alone …‘ is that Abraham had a written copy of the promise.

Cliff York comments

Romans 4 To meet the views of the Jews, the apostle first refers to the example of Abraham, in whom the Jews gloried as their most renowned forefather. However exalted in various respects, he had nothing to boast in the presence of God, for he too was saved by grace, through faith, even as others. Without noticing the years which passed before his call, and the failures at times in his obedience, and even in his faith, it was expressly stated in the Scripture that “he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” Genesis 15:6. From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must then be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness.

It is clear from the Scripture, that Abraham was justified several years before his circumcision. This then is Paul’s point to those who prided themselves on their pedigree and/or on the very private mark they received in their flesh whilst they were too young to effectively protest otherwise. It is, therefore, plain that this circumcision was not necessary in order to that justification which is by faith.

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It is truly fascinating to reflect on the great wisdom of the Father as one reads the 3 portions of Scripture each day, and often there runs a “Golden Thread” through them all. For example, one of the Golden Threads evident today, is the concept, that we can only be Justified by the Grace of God. Paul deals in great detail with the subject, of course, in Romans, Joseph in his life revealed how great a force faith in God is the life of each of His saints – Genesis 47:12, and the Psalmist captured the same beautifully in the closing verse of Psalm 50Whoso offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God.”

John Wilson comments

Prayer of David, psalm 51

Prayer of David, psalm 51 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rom 4:7  As we read from Psa 32 the other day, and as we read from Psa 51 tomorrow, we can clearly see, and appreciate that the confession of sin is not seeking forgiveness, it acknowledges the righteousness of our Heavenly Father. We must also be aware of the fact, that our failings can not be forgiven unless we are prepared to acknowledge them.

Rom 4:17  “I have made thee a father of many nations.” Paul is quoting from Gen 17:5  Sarah was still barren at this time, but we see that this is written in the past tense. This was foreordained. There is a difference between pre-existence and being foreordained. The seed of Abraham, both Isaac and Christ were foreordained.

4:21 All promises that have been made by God, he is able to perform, certainly different from promises made by man. God never forgets a promise, while man frequently forgets, God’s promises are priceless, while promises of man are often times useless, God’s promises are always right, while mans are often wrong.

Michael Parry comments

Paul; the writer to the Hebrews; James; and Peter all talk about Abraham. He was the patriarch of the physical Jewish nation and also father of the faithful (4:16).
He was given the promises before the Law (Gen 17:5-8) – even before his circumcision (Gen 17:24).  The particular seed of his promise was Christ who fulfilled the Law (Matt 5:17, Gal 3:16).  However, God still has a covenant with the Jewish nation and the land of Israel even though they have not (yet) accepted Christ.  It is a mistake to believe, as some groups do, that any prophetical reference or future application concerning the Land and people of Israel is purely spiritual and not physical.

Rob de Jongh comments

For many of us the intricate arguments of scripture are too much to grasp. That’s why we’re given Abraham as an example. All we need to do is read about his life, emulate what we see, and we will obtain the same promises as him. Rom 4:3, 11-12, 16, 20-25.

 

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

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Additional reading

  1. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness
  2. Testimonies to observe, inspired by God
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  7. A secret to be reveiled
  8. Gone astray, away from God
  9. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  10. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  11. Two states of existence before God
  12. The God of hope filling us with all joy and peace
  13. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  14. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  15. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  16. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  17. Atonement and the race been bought
  18. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  19. Fixing our attentionSelf inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  21. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  22. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  23. Hope by faith and free gift
  24. God’s love – Equal and unconditional for all believers
  25. True richesBeing Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  26. If you have integrity
  27. Honor your own words as if they were an important contract
  28. All Positive Energy People Are Acceptable
  29. Our openness to being approachable
  30. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  31. Is your mind thirsty?
  32. The Dress Code for Women in the Quran

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Further readings

  1. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:1-12
  2. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:12-25
  3. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  4. Faith-full Father Abraham
  5. Paul’s Scriptural Argument
  6. Paul’s Argument of Maturity
  7. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  8. Background to Romans 9-11: key teaching from Romans 1:16-4:25
  9. Structure of Romans 1:16-4:25
  10. May 23 2 Chronicles 6,7; Psalms 135; Romans 4
  11. Devotional # 90. Galatians 3:15-29
  12. A Promise
  13. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  14. “It’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it.” ~Apostle Paul
  15. The relevance of  God’s Word today
  16. Righteousness of Faith
  17. Could Abraham have remained childless?
  18. Would Your Faith Save You?
  19. It’s not about you
  20. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  21. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  22. Nullify the Torah?
  23. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  24. Under The Law
  25. Scriptures on Righteousness- Joseph Prince
  26. Righteous and Right-ness
  27. Greater Love Hath No Man
  28. Jesus Christ has done enough
  29. Verse of the day – Righteousness of the Law
  30. Grace words for today Devotional
  31. It is in difficult times that we choose to continue to do what is right while everything else seems wrong that we grow
  32. Getting wisdom
  33. Moral Image
  34. Incredible Peace
  35. It Is God’s Presence in Us
  36. Strength In Your Hair Or Your Faith?
  37. Daily Inspiration, January 28th
  38. You Have on Different Clothing Now
  39. Christ: A Place In God
  40. The Privilege
  41. The Sermon on the Mount is not a Guide to Christian Salvation
  42. Experiencing Revival Part 3: Obedience
  43. Righteousness Pt 10
  44. Kingdom Come
  45. You Christian, shouldn’t carry guilt, or seek ongoing forgiveness to stay “right” with God.
  46. Exodus 4-6 Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son
  47. The Myths and Facts of Circumcision
  48. The Question of Circumcision II
  49. God confronted even Moses for not keeping the covenant
  50. What is so important about this Commandment?
  51. Experience the change in status from “Children of the flesh,” and of the world : to “Children by promise,” and in the World -Guy#2:03
  52. Surrender: Circumcision of the Heart
  53. Is your heart circumcised today?
  54. Only Jesus Christ – no if’s, no but’s (1)
  55. Yes’s and No’s
  56. entering in…as chosen ones

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Is Justification a process?

CatholicBibleTalk

According to Heb 11:8,

Hebrews 11:8 King James Version (KJV)

8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Abraham came to faith in Gen 12:1-4,

but according to Romans 4:3 he was not justified until Gen 15:6.

Romans 4:3King James Version (KJV)

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

And according to James 2:24, Abraham is further justified in Gen 22:1-18.

James 2:20-22King James Version (KJV)

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

So…

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Romans 4 and the Sacraments

In our series looking at “Faith and works” yesterday (January 28) we looked at the letter from Paul to the Romans, chapters 3 and  4. the 4th chapter often being referred to to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Luther’s work

In our previous posting we saw how the German theologian and religious reformer who was the catalyst of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation Martin Luther gave enough food for the Antitrinitarians. He is one of the most to go against their idea we still have to do works to be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

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It is thanks to his marvellous work of translating of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) that so many more people could read and find out what was really written in the Holy Scriptures, which had a tremendous impact on the church and West European culture.

From 1510 to 1520, Luther lectured on the Psalms, the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians. As he studied these portions of the Bible, he came to view the use of terms such as penance and righteousness by the Catholic Church in new ways. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity.

The most important for Luther was the doctrine of justification – God’s act of declaring a sinner righteous – by faith alone through God’s grace. He taught that salvation or redemption is a gift of God’s grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

Looking at Paul’s teachings

The blog “Washed, sanctified and justified” also looks at Paul’s teachings in the knowledge that lots of protestants refer to Romans 3:26-28 as their conclusion that a man is justified by faith. Some will say

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Many Christians forget to notice “of the law” which indicates something more and something different than just the “Blood of Christ” or “the Blood of the Lamb“.  The Jewish scholar knew very much the importance of “The Law” or the “Torah” in God’s Plan. And these words are very important to the idea that the apostle Paul is expressing. In the previous articles we have seen that the apostle is speaking of works of the law because that is what he was speaking of in the last chapter.

He didn’t suddenly change subjects. However, he has omitted the words of the law at this point. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Some Catholics may say the Jews did not have ‘Sacraments’, but they had a Covenant and arrangements (or sarcaments in the wider interpretation), also having their own religious signs or symbols and practices as forms of worship.

Paul was very well aware how men of God were justified in the past. Abram (Abraham), born way before God made the covenant with the Israelites, had come in the faith. When he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Genesis 12:1-4; Hebrews 11:8; Romans 4:3) He also had not forgotten, like today many Christians do, that Abraham became the father of many, justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar. (James 2:20-22)

Covenants given to man

The Abrahamic Covnenant may have been interchanged with the Messianic or New Covenant this did not make done with The Law. Too many people forget the terms of the New Covenant.

De Maria in “Romans 4 and the Sacraments” looks further at the misunderstanding of Faith without works.

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We remember from it:

Romans 4 = a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.

  1. Abraham = our father, according to the flesh
  2. if Abraham > justified by works = he hath whereof to glory > not before God.
  3. if Abraham justified himself = more power to him => it is not of God.
  4. Abraham believed God => counted unto him for righteousness.

=>  that means.

  1. him that works = reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt > obey God’s voice + keep His covenant => a peculiar treasure unto God above all people
  2. to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly > faith is counted for righteousness.
  3. Abraham was => did not work for debt
  4. Abraham did work for faith

He also looks at David, one of the circumcised =>  covenant of reconciliation

  • No one can deny David did many works <= all he did was believe in God’s mercy

reconciliation not only offered to Israelites (Abraham not an Israelite + not even circumcised yet) ===> God saw his faith at work => reckoned in uncircumcision to receive sign of circumcision=  seal of the righteousness of the faith

=> = prophecy which showed that even gentiles would be justified by faith.

=> We, like Abraham, believe and are imputed righteousness, in the Sacraments of Jesus Christ.

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St. Paul contrasting Old Testament with New Testament.

  • Old Testament = the Law.
  • New Testament = the Faith.

no ministry of reconciliation in Old Testament. ~~~ David’s reconciliation exception = foreshadowing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

=> Just as it is imputed to the Catholic, who believing the promises of God, approaches the font of grace and submits to the Sacraments, calling on His name.

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

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CatholicBibleTalk

 Romans 4 is frequently used to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone. But it is actually a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.  Let’s go through it.

King James Version (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?Abraham is our father, according to the flesh. The Apostle asks, “what has he found”?

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Now, he asks, “did Abraham justify himself?” If he did, then more power to him, but it is not of God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Now, he quotes Gen 15:6Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

and he begins to explain what that means.

4 Now to him that…

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Luther’s misunderstanding

In our series looking at the faith of man and what he does with it or what faith should make him doing, it is good to look how some denominations got influenced by certain theologians who interpreted something not exactly in the right way.

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All Christians should come to understand that though we are given the Grace of salvation for free, we shall not be free for doing works according to the faith.

In several denominations of Christendom Paul’s letter to the Romans is frequently used to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

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In the articles January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works and Our life depending on faith we tried to show the importance of people having to find the way to God and once they found it how they have to act or react when they do come in the faith for God.

When we look at the many works written in Christendom we also find works which speak about the Sola fide a human doctrine of justification by faith alone. In those clergy works where is asserted that God’s pardon for guilty sinners is granted to and received through faith alone, excluding all “works” there is sand thrown in the eyes of those who look for God and want to serve Him well.

It is not because all mankind would be fallen and sinful, under the curse of God, and incapable of saving itself from God’s wrath and curse. In the previous posting you can see that certain people say God, on the basis of the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ alone (solus Christus), grants sinners judicial pardon, or justification, which is received solely through faith according to those theologians.

For them “Faith” is seen as passive, merely receiving Christ and all his benefits, among which benefits are the active and passive righteousness of Jesus Christ. Christ’s righteousness, according to the followers of “sola fide,” is imputed (or attributed) by God to the believing sinner (as opposed to infused or imparted), so that the divine verdict and pardon of the believing sinner is based not upon anything in the sinner, nor even faith itself, but upon Jesus Christ and his righteousness alone, which are received through faith alone.

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It should be known that in Christendom there are also several believers who are convinced that such a “Justification by faith alone” is not telling the truth to people or at least is only saying half of the matter, because some of them though saying we should not do any work to be saved in other writings do speak about “other graces of salvation” and speak about things believers should take part of , which they call sacraments. They then believe in a series of conceptual steps within the Christian doctrine of salvation which is often called Ordo salutis, (Latin: “order of salvation”).

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De Maria of CatholicBibleTalk shows us here that for him as a Catholic it is clear, from Scripture, that unless someone keeps the Commandments and does the Will of God, he will not be justified.

Having sought God‘s Face, for him it is the believer who first of all had done the work by studying to show himself approved. On the way to coming in the faith the work of prayers is already at that time necessary. We namely have to come to a prayerful relationship with God. Once having come into the faith the believer has to allow God to wash his or her soul with the washing of regeneration and renewal which is Baptism by water and the Holy Spirit.

He says

“we don’t do anything at that moment”

but agrees

“We only believe.”

Forgetting that to believe requires an act of setting our minds on God. Also coming to the baptism the person first of all has to repent, which demands action as well. Further the person has to arrange his or her baptism, which again shall demand some works to be done.

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At our baptism we do have to give ourselves to God Who sees our faith and credits it to us as righteousness and that is why we are called the children of Abraham or Abraham’s seed (Genesis 15:6).

The Catholic writer understands that it was because Abraham obeyed God His Voice, and kept His charge, His commandments, His statutes, and His laws, all works, that made Him righteous in the eyes of God. Also we, when baptised, shall have to step in the footsteps of patriarch Abraham and have to look for continuing on the Way the Nazarene master teacher Jeshua, Jesus Christ, laid out for us. Then we do have to put on the helmet of salvation.

We have to find ways of Godly understanding by being Faithful to the listening ear.

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De Maria his theory is that the 16th century German friar credited with initiating the Protestant Reformation, simply did not see the Sacramental Teaching which St. Paul was making when he wrote these words. He believes

that when St. Paul said, “we are justified by faith apart from works”, he was describing that justification which occurs in Baptism. But Luther was led astray. And the prophecy of 2 Peter 3:16-17 was fulfilled in him:

In Romans 4 and the Sacraments De Maria continues writing

There was no ministry of reconciliation in the Old Testament. David’s reconciliation was the exception and it was to show the blessedness to come. It was a foreshadowing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

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Lets not forget that love is a something that needs works. Loving is a verb. We should continually love God, which means we do have to come into an intimate position with God the Father. God also asks us to recognise His sent one, and like He is one with this person, we do have to become one with Jesus Christ.

Christianity is a love relationship and It’s love language is pursuit.  Just like God has pursued us He calls us to live a life in striving to come to know God better and to become like Christ, which shall demand lots of work.

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Preceding:

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

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Additional writings

  1. Looking for a primary cause and a goal that can not offer philosophers existing beliefs
  2. Souls and Religions with Nirvana and light
  3. Between Alpha and Omega – The plan of creation
  4. God is the strength of my heart
  5. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  6. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  7. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  8. Finding God amid all the religious externals
  9. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  10. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  11. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  12. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  13. People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms
  14. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  15. People Seeking for God 6 Strategy
  16. People Seeking for God 7 The Lord and lords
  17. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  18. Isaiah 55-56, Revelation 11
  19. Al-Fatiha [The Opening] Süra 1: 4-7 Merciful Lord of the Creation to show us the right path
  20. Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh
  21. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  22. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone
  23. Being in tune with God
  24. Faithful to the listening ear
  25. To find ways of Godly understanding
  26. Being Justified by faith
  27. Obeying the King
  28. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  29. Faith and works
  30. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  31. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying

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Find also

  1. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  2. January 25 – Clarity
  3. Hope is Strength – It Starts with Faith
  4. God’s Love Language: Christianity is A Love Relationship & It’s Love Language is Pursuit
  5. 21 Day Fast | Day 17- Removing Sneaky Idols & Refocusing Our Hearts

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CatholicBibleTalk

I have a theory about Luther’s misunderstanding of justification, see if it makes any sense to you.

1st: Before the advent of Martin Luther, the Father of the Protestant Revolution, some very prominent and influential Catholics also said that justification was by faith alone.

Basil of Caesarea (329-379) “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord, that Christ has been made by God for us righteousness, wisdom, justification, redemption. This is perfect and pure boasting in God, when one is not proud on account of his own righteousness but knows that he is indeed unworthy of the true righteousness and is (or has been) justified solely by faith in Christ.”

Ambrose (c. 339-97) “Therefore let no one boast of his works, because no one can be justified by his works; but he who is just receives it as a gift, because he is justified by the washing of regeneration. It…

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Our life depending on faith

Looking at the Bible reading for January 28

When we look at our bible readings of the day, we do find Genesis 46-47, Psalm 50 and Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 3-4.

English: Apostle Paul in the apse

Apostle Paul in the apse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Apostle Paul when he was called Saul had been full of zeal for keeping the law and saw the followers of Christ as appearing to have no respect for keeping the law so he persecuted them – until he was dramatically converted. After his conversion and the maturity gained by the experiences that followed, he wrote his remarkable letter to the Romans, a letter primarily to the Gentiles.

The apostle asks a valid question, which should bring us to wonder what the good might be us of difference between a non believer and a believer doing good works.

People trained in God’s ways

Throughout history we have seen that there have been many people who were so called trained in God’s ways and even got titles of universities, declaring them to be theologians. Lots of people look up at them and think they are the person who best know how everything is about God, gods, religion, man, life and death. Lots of people got frustrated with what they got to know from those scholars  who often said we just had to belief this or that, because it is incomprehensible for a human being to understand. As such lots of human doctrines were introduced in Christendom.

People also got annoyed with certain behaviour of those so called religious men. Some had relationships not only with different wives, but there have also been clerics who had intercourse with children.
On the other hand the world sees lots of unbelievers who are doing very good works and are always ready to help others, plus giving very good examples how we make the best of our life in a good relationship with others.

God not abandoning people

It is true that lots of non-religious people are also good people, but the apostle Paul tells us as it turns out, it makes a lot of difference who is a follower of Christ and a believer in the Only One True God.

In history there have been many people who tried to bring the Word of God to others and make it alive for the future. We had the Jewish scribes who were being put in charge of writing down and caring for God’s revelation, what we call the Holy Scriptures or the Bible. In the course of doing that, when some of those Jews abandoned their post, we can see that God didn’t abandon them.

Throughout the Book of books we can see how God always stayed with His People, even when they did bad things or had moments that they forgot Him. Even the most important of these men of God had one moment of doubt, that he questioned God why He (Jehovah God) had abandoned him (Jesus).

Jesus at one moment also cried to his heavenly Father saying

 Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? (Matthew 27:46)

being a call unto God questioning Him why he had forsaken or had deserted the son of man Jeshua (Jesus Christ), who was willing to do God’s Will instead of his own will. (In case Jesus is God he naturally would always have done his own will and could never have left himself.)

Not cancelling out Jehovah his faithfulness

Do you think Jesus and other men of God their faithlessness cancels out Jehovah the Almighty God His faithfulness?

We are told that God keeps his Word even when the whole world is lying through its teeth. Scripture says the same

“God forbid! Yea, let God be true, though every man a liar. As it is written: “That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.”” (Romans 3:4 KJ21)

We are given God’s Word which stand fast and true and is not given to confuse us or to.  We are given commandments in that book of books and are questioned if we make the law of none effect through faith.

The unbelievers can do good and bad like we too can do a lot of bad. But if our wrongdoing only underlines and confirms God’s right-doing, “shouldn’t we be commended for helping out?” remarks Paul. When having come into the faith we should be willing to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ (a work to be done) and should do our uttermost best to comply not only with his teachings but also with the ordnance of God.

Sayings we are saved and have to do no works

The people who do want us to believe we can do whatever we want because salvation is on us by the blood of Christ, must know that it is not by our bad deeds that God would come out better.  It’s simply perverse to say,

“If my lies serve to show off God’s truth all the more gloriously, why blame me? I’m doing God a favour.”

or to say

“The more evil we do, the more good God does, so let’s just do it!”

That’s pure slander. (Romans 3:7-8)

Same start for every one

It is not because we are Jews, Christians or Muslims that we would be we more excellent than the others and are getting a better break than the others. (Romans 3:9) Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it that there’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God. They’ve all taken the wrong turn; they’ve all wandered down blind alleys.

It may sound harsh, but there is “No one’s living right”.

“9 What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise! For we have before proved that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin. 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 there is none that understandeth; there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They have all gone from the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”” (Romans 3:9-12 KJ21)

Therefore every day we do have to be careful not to have our throats to be gaping graves,our tongues slick as mud slides. (Romans 3:13) With no tongues to deceit we should try to get others to know Jeshua, Jesus Christ, the son of man and the son of God. In him we did receive salvation, but in him we do have to grow (a work) so that we can run a good race, not for the honour of sinner-of-the-year, or for the one who made the most money on the back of others.

Afraid for those coming in

In our land littered with heartbreak and ruin, many of us do not want to know living with others. They are so afraid of the refugees coming into our nation. Are they afraid of them being able to get others to believe what they believe and to come to the same religion as theirs. Should they than not wonder how it comes that those immigrants not come to be surprised by the faith we are having and that they would become interested in the faith that lives in Europe? We think the greatest problem is that there is not so much faith in God living around in our regions. Most people never give God the time of day. This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else?

For sure it is not our involvement with God’s revelation that will  put us right with God. There are also many unbelievers who write about our God and about religion. There are also people who are against God who try to bring others in doubt by throwing lots of discussions at them.

Should we not more question why there would be a danger of Muslims converting people from here unto the Islamic faith? In case there would be enough people standing strong in their faith we should not worry.

Did Jesus also not give the task to his followers to go out and preach? When Christians would do what Jesus Christ ordered them to do we should have enough preachers witnessing about the works of god and about the real faith we should follow.

Man incapable to govern

Throughout history man has proven to be incapable to come to good governments, or to be able to rule this universe. By the Word of God we are forced to face our complicity in our sins. By all our stupidities we do have to come to see we can only have a good government under the jurisdiction of Christ Jesus.

Because by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified in God His sight (Romans3:20) we should know that for by the Law comes the knowledge of sin and are we given the ways to handle sin. Now we also do not have any excuse because in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about in our Scriptures, has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this.

“20 Therefore by the deeds of the law, no flesh shall be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, which is by faith in Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all those who believe. For there is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:20-23 KJ21)

“30  What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, who followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.” (Romans 9:30-31 KJ21)

Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God sent us His only begotten son and accepted this man’s ransom offering to pay for our sins. did it for us. The action of God, out of sheer generosity, was taken for the recognizance of the humbleness of  the Nazarene Jew who was willing to put his own will aside for complying totally to God’s Will.

A Freebox in Berlin, Germany 2005, serving as a distribution centre for free donated materials, and where the gratis is really for free.

With Jeshua (Jesus Christ) the world has received a pure gift. With God it is not, like we can see so many times today, that there are offers to people where they say it is gratis, but then they still have to pay so much money. By God Gratis does really means for free. We do not have to pay anything for the Gift of Grace. Salvation is given to everybody in the world. But it is given at one point and then we have to continue from there onwards. And that is what a lot of people seem to forget.

The mess we are in & Setting the world in the clear

God by the action taken, or by the work done by His son, got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where God always wanted us to be. In His plan fits a righteous people. Jehovah, the God of gods, did it by means of Jesus Christ. It was God who sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear.

God decided on this course of action in full view of the public — to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. For many that does not seem to be clear, but it’s now — this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.

Working at a relationship

When we come to know that Jesus is the Way to God, we do have to respond (an action to be taken or a work to be done). Our response to what God does for us should create our willingness to do the right works to come to a very good relationship with Him. to come to such a good relationship our lives have to get in step with God.

Jehovah God is the God of outsider non-Jews as well as insider Jews and this God of Abraham should be the Allah, Adonai, Elohim or God of Israel and God of all Jews, Christians, Muslims but also of all those who wander in this world without knowing yet what the purpose and the goal of their life is.

The apostle Paul warns the world to know that there is only one God Who has set right all who welcome His action and enter into it, both those who follow the apostle’s religious system and those who have never heard of his and our religion.

“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 KJ21)

“in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.” (Ephesians 3:12 KJ21)

“knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16 KJ21)

“And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know. Yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” (Acts 3:16 KJ21)

“But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3:22 KJ21)

“23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24 KJ21)

“30 seeing it is one God who shall justify the Circumcision by faith, and Uncircumcision through faith.” (Romans 3:30 KJ21)

Having stressed “the faithfulness of God” (verse 3) and having told that God reacts to what he sees – seeing “faith” and also faithlessness – we should be fully aware that it is important how we act. Our behaviour is an important factor to our faith-life.

Several people are cross with God and left faith because they did not see any difference between them and the unbelievers. Many do say it is not right God also “inflicts” trouble, pain and sorrow to those who believe in Him.
We must not say,
“God is unrighteous to inflict wrath” (verse 5) on the disobedience he sees in his creation.
What God looks to see, Paul says as he higlights the example of Abraham in the fourth chapter, is – faith, genuine belief and trust in God for “faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness” (verse 9) and it will be “counted” to us also.

“Cometh this blessedness then upon the Circumcision only, or upon the Uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.” (Romans 4:9 KJ21)

English: Statue of Saint Paul at Bab Kisan, Da...

Statue of Saint Paul at Bab Kisan, Damascus, Syria Français : Statue de Saint-Paul à Bab Kissan, Damas, Syrie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul stresses this was “the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe … so that righteousness would be counted to them as well” (verse 11).

We read in Genesis earlier this month all the things Abraham did – through faith. Paul is stressing that

“For the promise that he should be the heir of the world came not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13 KJ21)

Acting faithfully toward God in our lives is what matters most of all and Abraham is the key example for us to follow. In the past the Jews had a contract or covenant with God. With Christ there was made a new covenant. In the knowledge that a contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect, we have been offered a much better contract. Yes, we as human beings do need some contract or written rules. As  such those who follow Christ, believing in him, can live with the promise that God made to our forefathers. God’s promise, though, can not be broken. This is why the fulfilment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and His way, and then simply embracing Him and what He does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father — that’s reading the story backwards. He is our faith father. Therefore Paul realized that “the law brings wrath” and

“15 because the law worketh wrath; for where there is no law, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be given by grace to the end that the promise might be made sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Romans 4:15-16 KJ21)

It depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace.

We should recall God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 17:4,5 and his life of faith beginning from when he left Ur. We must each reflect on our own acts of faith, for it is not just something we talk about! What things have we done, and are doing – that show our faith?

Our eternal future “depends on faith”.

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Preceding article: January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

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Please do find also to read:

  1. Epicurus’ Problem of Evil
  2. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  3. Elul Observances
  4. God’s wrath and sanctification
  5. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  6. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  7. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  8. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  9. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  10. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  11. Being of good courage running the race
  12. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  13. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong
  14. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core
  15. Being religious has benefits even in this life
  16. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  17. Good and bad things in this world
  18. Salvation and Righteousness
  19. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  20. Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  21. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  22. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  23. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  24. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  25. Faith and works
  26. Not making yourselves abominable
  27. The attraction of doing something
  28. Re–forming ourselves
  29. Humbleness
  30. Wired to Connect?
  31. Bearing fruit
  32. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  33. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  34. Whoopi Goldberg commandments and abortion
  35. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  36. As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude
  37. 2014 Religion
  38. Disobedient man and God’s promises
  39. Crisis man needed in this world
  40. From pain to purpose
  41. Unconditional love
  42. Relying on the Love of God
  43. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  44. God’s forgotten Word 5 Lost Lawbook 4 The ‘Catholic’ church
  45. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  46. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  47. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church

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Further reading

  1. Faith (Heartfixxer)
  2. Embracing the Path
  3. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core (the Inscribed heart)
  4. See Other with God’s Eyes
  5. Faith is the Key
  6. Wear Your Faith on Your Sleeve
  7. We Need to Water Our Faith
  8. A Date With God
  9. Where is the Church that Christ built?
  10. Actions are the Megaphone of Words
  11. We are justified by faith and works, in a manner of speaking.
  12. Luther’s misunderstanding
  13. Faith-Rooted Practice – Rev. Dr. King and Prophetic Evangelicalism
  14. Declaring what is not as though it is
  15. What is Right?
  16. Thankful Thursday: God’s Faithfulness
  17. Great Faithfulness
  18. Grace Makes All The Difference

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