Tag Archives: Grace

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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Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Race and Grace

When you run alone its called race, but when you run with God, its called #Grace

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Filed under Reflection Texts, Religious affairs

Witnessing because we love

Yesterday we saw how Jesus spoke about God His second commandment and how Jesus ordered us to keep to a Royal Law.

In the readings of this week we can find an other work than the brotherly love we have to do. Though that work should be part of brotherly love. Out of love to others we should go out into the world and proclaim the Good News. Witnessing to others is a way of showing our love to them, because we want them also to be saved.

God’s abundance is for the furthering of His will here on earth. God wants all people to know Him and to worship Him. We, when we are thankful for what God provided for us, will love to serve our God and shall do our best to be workers in the name of Jesus, following his orders to preach.

The Lord Jesus stripped himself of everything save love, that he might more readily meet each human soul on its own level. Jesus emptied himself, humbled himself, only wanted to do the will of God, his heavenly Father and asked us also to put our own selfish will aside. That will demand some work. Like Jesus became obedient unto death, even the death at the stake, for our sakes, we should offer our selves, working hard to bring others also into the knowledge of God.

Jesus was set on proclaiming the Gospel so that even the dying thief might enter Paradise, and that not one prodigal in all the human family should think that he had sunk too low or gone so far as to be excluded from the hope of salvation.

One of the duties of friendship is just to lend an ear to others and our second duty is to try to give them right answers. Those answers are given by God in His Book of books, the Bible, which we should carry in our heart. To keep it only for ourself is selfish. We should share it with others around us.

The first followers of Christ Jesus were very well aware of their responsibility. They also knew it was God Who had given Jesus authority and also given them responsibility of serving His church by proclaiming the word of God in its fullness. Paul wrote.

Colossians 1:21-29 The Scriptures 1998+  (21)  And you, who once were estranged and enemies in the mind by wicked works, but now He has completely restored to favour  (22)  in the body of His flesh through death, to present you set-apart, and blameless, and unreprovable before Him,  (23)  if indeed you continue in the belief, founded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the expectation of the Good News which you heard, which was proclaimed to every creature under the heaven, of which I, Sha’ul, became a servant,  (24)  who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in Messiah’s afflictions, for the sake of His Body, which is the assembly,  (25)  of which I became a servant according to the administration of Elohim which was given to me for you, to fill the word of Elohim,  (26)  the secret which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His set-apart ones,  (27)  to whom Elohim desired to make known what are the riches of the esteem of this secret among the gentiles: which is Messiah in you,1 the expectancy of esteem, Footnote: 1See Messiah in you in the Explanatory Notes.  (28)  whom we announce, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, in order to present every man perfect in Messiah יהושע {Jehsua},  (29)  for which I also labour, striving according to the working of Him who works in me in power.

Even when the mystery may have been hid from ages and from generations, now for us it should be clear, having been made manifest to the Elohim His saints. When having received the blessings of the offering of Jeshua we, out of thankfulness should be pleased that we got to know what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the non believers. Having Christ in us we do have the hope of glory and should be so overtaken by joy that we shout it out and call others to become partakers of the same joy.

Faith belief D will do rightIt is that Messiah, given to us, without us having to do something for it, that now our turn has come to do something in return. The Grace is given for free, but now we have to act when we have come into the faith and want to make the faith alive. It is the Messiah whom we should preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, whereunto the apostles also laboured, striving according to his working, which works in believers of Christ mightily.

The message kept secret for centuries and generations past has been revealed to God’s people. And the secret “Christ in you is the hope of glory!’”  should be sounding all over the earth.

Our task is to get this hope of glory with Christ in us. Having his presence and power in our life, because it is the only way we will ever become all that God has created us to be. That is the great secret that is now made known to all! And this is why we we have to do the work of faith proclaiming Jesus, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully grown, mature and complete in Christ. It is to this end we like the apostle Paul have to labour, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in the followers of Christ.

Like it was the great Life Lesson Philemon learned from Paul, and how it has made all the difference for him in everything he did, we too should be inspired by Jesus’ teachings and by the power of God’s Spirit should inspire others as well.

We were made for a purpose; one that will never be realized apart from our Lord Jesus Christ. Once Christ puts his presence and power into our lives – then we can do whatever Christ can do through us if we are opening ourselves to him! Paul’s timeless words should become our very own,  so that we too can say

‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’

This is our hope of glory!

In Christ – the defeated become victorious; the weak become strong; the poor become rich! In Christ – the lame are made to leap and dance; the blind are made to see; the enslaved are set free and rejoice!

In Christ – the lowly are raised up; the brokenhearted are healed; sinners are forgiven, and backsliders are restored! In Christ –dreamers are envisioned; builders are empowered; and all are strengthened with might in their inner man!

To become in Christ we should give ourselves to him, which demands works.

To bring others to Christ also demands works. Though we do have to show others others that Christ is the Way.

We do have to open our ears so that others can open their hearts. We then should try to show them the answers God provides. Like David did not brood on his problems in solitary bitterness we with those around us should bring them before God.

We ourselves must not be ‘puffed up’ because of the way our careful reading of God’s word has led us to increasingly comprehend the ‘big picture’ of the meaning of life and the spirit of genuine love for God that must be part of this.

Let us be like the scribe who knew that there is only one God; and there is none other but He and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength. To love God demands action or work. But when we do love we first of all have to love His creations as well because when we do not love our neighbour as ourself, we do not show appreciation for the creation of God, because each person is a created being, allowed to live here on earth by God.

Mark 12:26-33 The Scriptures 1998+  (26)  “And concerning the dead, that they rise – have you not read in the book of Mosheh, at the bush, how Elohim spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the Elohim of Aḇraham, and the Elohim of Yitsḥaq, and the Elohim of Yaʽaqoḇ’? (27)  “He is not the Elohim of the dead, but Elohim of the living. You, then, go greatly astray.”  (28)  And one of the scribes coming near, hearing them reasoning together, knowing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first command of all?”  (29)  And יהושע  {Jeshua} answered him, “The first of all the commands is, ‘Hear, O Yisra’ĕl, יהוה {Jehovah} our Elohim, יהוה {Jehovah} is one.  (30)  ‘And you shall love יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first command.  (31)  “And the second, like it, is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other command greater than these.”  (32)  And the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one Elohim, and there is no other besides Him.  (33)  “And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the being, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself, is more than all the burnt offerings and offerings.”

We should clearly understand what is being said here. There is only One True God the Elohim Hashem יהוה {Jehovah} and this we should believe and practice with all our heart, offering our love for God to others.

Do we feel as thankful as we should for the wondrous blessing of being spiritual children of God – in this godless world? Let us make sure that we do – and then – how soon will we see and experience – for ever – “the salvation of God”.

Paul challenges us when he looks at the call of Christ to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. He expresses this responsibility in the bluntest terms,

1 Corinthians 9:16 The Scriptures 1998+  (16)  For if I bring the Good News, it is no boasting for me, for necessity is laid on me, and it is woe to me if I do not bring the Good News!

Youngsters listening to a preacher

Youngsters listening to a preacher

Let us not overlook that it is for necessity is laid on us as well.  ‘A necessity’, etc.: i.e. having no choice. The compelling force was twofold, love of god and love of Christ plus fear of being held responsible for the loss of souls. Woe: calamity, in this case, eternal death. So explicit and solemn was Christ’s commission that Paul could not retain his favour if he refused to obey it. 1 Corinthians 9:17 shows how this impending woe, and the necessity it laid on Paul, make the mere fact of his preaching no ground of exultation. For if we do this of our own will, we shall have a reward. But if not of our own will, we will have a stewardship entrusted to us.

1 Corinthians 9:17 The Scriptures 1998+  (17)  For if I do this voluntarily I have a reward, but if not voluntarily, I am entrusted with a management.

Stewardship “stresses obligation, responsibility, and faithfulness of the servant to his master in carrying out the entrusted task” (Rienecker and Rogers, p. 415). In other places such as Luke 16:2-4 this same term is used to describe the management of property.
We have to do the preaching or witnessing as a matter of duty, because God has entrusted us with this task.  And this is something too many Christians forget or do not want to see.

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Preceding

Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

A Royal Rule given to followers of Christ

First man’s task still counting today

He who knows himself, is kind to others

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

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?

Leading people astray!

Crisis man needed in this world

Preaching Christ Is Not Enough

Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news

Preaching by example

A Christian has to have eyes and ears and a tongue to use in good ways

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

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Additional reading

  1. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  2. Bible in the first place #2/3
  3. Hope by faith and free gift
  4. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. Illuminating our minds and watching out
  7. Those who love Jesus
  8. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  9. Paulus to Philemon
  10. Bringing Good News into the world
  11. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  12. First Century of Christianity
  13. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  14. Let us make sure we are not stiff-necked
  15. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  16. Breathing to teach
  17. Witnessing
  18. How should we preach?
  19. Showing by the scriptures that …
  20. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  21. Church sent into the world
  22. How do I know if I’m called to ministry?
  23. Not all ability to preach
  24. A Synod to speak freely and to listen without reservations
  25. Preachers should know and continue the task Jesus has given his followers
  26. Necessity of a revelation of creation 10 Instructions for insight and wisdom
  27. Risen With Him
  28. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  29. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  30. Engaging the culture without losing the gospel
  31. Counting sands and stars
  32. The Big Conversation
  33. The Big Conversation – Christadelphians in the United Kingdom
  34. The Big conversation – Antagonists
  35. What Should I Preach ?
  36. How to Choose a Bible for Preaching
  37. Positive Preaching Day 2015
  38. Soviet Witnesses
  39. Using the name Jehovah but not a witness of that name
  40. Why we do not have our worship-services in a church building
  41. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #5 Not law binding
  42. Sunday 7 September service: Imitate prophets and Paul
  43. Begin by carrying away small stones to remove a mountain
  44. Signs of the Last Days

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Further related articles

  1. The Sum of our Stories
  2. The Gospel Addresses the Culture
  3. Baptism and Temptation
  4. Are You Ready For Jesus’ Return?
  5. Can you be faithful?
  6. Learn It, Do It, Teach It …Preach it?
  7. Preaching on the Subject of Heaven
  8. John Newton on the Practical Effects of Faith
  9. “forgiveness is not a legal action”
  10. Into the Wilderness
  11. 1 Peter 2:1-3, What about Milk?
  12. Preaching
  13. The Power of Place and Story in Preaching
  14. Consecutive Expository Preaching
  15. Stop Teaching
  16. What’s red and furry and climbs trees? (avoiding the Sunday School answer)
  17. Train of Thanks 14-15
  18. ‘Body Language’ in 1 Corinthians
  19. Sound Bytes or Substance? (Part 2)
  20. The Essential Element to Church Health and Success
  21. Sermon in a Sentence
  22. What’s Pastor Kevin Reading: Will Willimon’s “How Odd of God”
  23. Dulcis Loquela, Dulcis Oratio, or Un-Umming Your Speech
  24. Preaching – Prof K J Mathew – Shalom Night Vigil – February 2016
  25. Preaching – Fr. Roy Palatty – Shalom Night Vigil – February 2016
  26. “Today You Will Be With Me” – A Sermon Starter
  27. “Where is the promise of His coming?” (part 2)…
  28. Expository Preaching
  29. New Network Show; Preachers of Infernum
  30. Dressing for Church: Which Way Does One Go?
  31. How Will You Listen to Your Pastor This Weekend?
  32. 3 Essentials of A Good Sermon
  33. QotD – Speaking from the Heart – 2.11.2016
  34. Almost Spiritual, Almost Revived
  35. My Library // Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry
  36. One Anothering – The Ministry of Mutuality
  37. “Powerful Preacher”
  38. 6 Ways Bible Reading Enhances Your Church Experience
  39. One wild preacher!
  40. The Dilemma of Balance in Preaching
  41. Unlawful Arrest for Preaching Gospel
  42. Post-Preaching Inscape
  43. Benefits of Expository Preaching
  44. 4 “Non-Sin” Sermon Practices
  45. Are Red Letters More Important than Black Letters?
  46. Preacher, Do You Tremble before the Word You Preach?
  47. A Christ-Centred Life And A Christ-Centred Ministry
  48. The Ministry of Reconciliation
  49. Acts 4
  50. Acts 10
  51. Challenge: Find Somebody to Love
  52. Time for a Great Poem (evangelism)
  53. Don’t just give up, give out! #Lent
  54. Faith’s Checkbook: A Constant Witness
  55. Simon Peter
  56. When We Struggle
  57. February 8th-Love your neighbor as yourself. And, our unruly society has about as much difficulty with that as did His chosen people back then. Yet, as His children, we are required to be different.
  58. Leading Souls to Christ, Part 6 (Onward Christian Soldiers #116)
  59. Are You Sitting?
  60. We Are The Body!
  61. Equipping the Saints (Part 2)
  62. Life Expectations
  63. Rude Witnessing
  64. Feb 4 – That’s What Friends Are For
  65. Thankful
  66. How evangelism rests on trust and what you possess
  67. Eleven Trust in Jesus
  68. So, What Is Good News?
  69. Parking Lot Salvation
  70. My Utmost For His Highest: The Key To The Missionary’s Message
  71. Friendship Born By God
  72. He Died For Us Let’s Live For Him
  73. Is being a humanitarian enough to convey the full love of Christ?
  74. Go Ye!
  75. Let’s Proclaim The Gospel to The World
  76. 1 John 1:3 What To Proclaim
  77. 2016- A year to teach the masses about our Lord!
  78. Rejoice, Not Criticize
  79. εὐαγγέλιον – And God Ordained Encounters
  80. The Work of God
  81. #AdventWord #Proclaim
  82. Get The Word Out
  83. Joy Never Goes Silent
  84. Good News From The Bad News
  85. Walk before many people with good tidings and the gospel of peace
  86. There Is A Fire
  87. God Energizes Our Efforts August 27
  88. Refusing to Be Silent
  89. How Beautiful
  90. A Passion To Proclaim Him

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

More on Grace and Spiritual Fruit – Abide in Me, and I in you


Abide in Me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  (John 15:4-5)

Although these verses do not mention grace, they are a classic biblical explanation of grace bringing forth fruit in lives.
The language depicts an actual vineyard, where fruit grows on branches that are properly related to a vine. Then, this physical reality is applied figuratively to spiritual fruit developing in our lives, if we are relating correctly to Jesus.

In this teaching, our Lord reminds us that literal branches are not able to produce fruit themselves.
“The branch cannot bear fruit of itself.”
We are spiritual branches, so we will not be able to produce fruit either.
“Neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
In fact, our potential for manufacturing genuine spiritual fruit is zero.
“Without Me you can do nothing.”
The best we could ever hope to produce would be religious, wax fruit. Such would come from our fleshly attempts to appear godly or effective. People may be fooled by this, but God never will be. Furthermore, people cannot be edified by partaking of such, and God cannot be glorified.

True fruit results from the ongoing development of life.
Life is only innate to vines, not branches.
For a grape to develop on any grape branch, the life of the vine must flow into, and work within, the branch. So it is with us. “I am the vine, you are the branches.” This distinction is vital. We must never forget the difference, if we desire to bear fruit.
The life we need for fruitfulness is in Him, not in us.

How do we avail ourselves of that life which is essential for fruit?
“Abide in Me, and I in you.”
We are to look to Jesus for life, counting on Him to live in and through us. Then, His life, working in us, brings forth Christlike fruit.
How do we know if we are abiding?
If we are willing to depend upon Jesus for spiritual fruit as a grape branch relies upon its vine for grapes, then we are truly abiding in Christ. Such dependency brings valid expectation for great measures of Christlikeness to be developing in and through our lives. “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.”

This is clearly grace at work, as seen in the relational realities of humility and faith.
Humility is operating as we acknowledge”without Me you can do nothing.”
Faith is exercised as we believe” that He who abides in Me . . . bears much fruit.”

Lord Jesus, my true vine, I humbly agree with You that I cannot produce spiritual fruit on my own. I admit that apart from You at work in me, I could never manifest any genuine godliness. So, with great expectation I look to You to provide the life I need for much fruitfulness, Amen. 

 

We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.
prayer for … – name


  • Bob Hoekstra


Preceding

100-Day Identity Makeover: Day 56

Paul giving notice of the works we have to do

The works we have to do according to James the brother of Christ

Our life depending on faith

Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?

James 2:24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only

Passion fruit still on the vine

Passion fruit still on the vine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Additional reading

  1. The way of salvation
  2. Faith Requires a Basis
  3. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  4. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  5. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  6. Faith and works
  7. Sharing your faith
  8. Bearing fruit
  9. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  10. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  11. Be holy
  12. 1 Corinthians 15 Hope in action
  13. Chief means by which men are built up
  14. Not to play at Christianity
  15. To be established in the present truth
  16. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  17. Love for each other attracting others
  18. Share your faith
  19. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  20. Faith, storms and actions to be taken
  21. The longer you wait
  22. A call easy to understand

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Filed under Lifestyle, Reflection Texts, Religious affairs

Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer

Today there is still lots of commotion about works and faith. Still too many Christians do think they do not need any works.
The Catholic church, we must say, has from the beginning seen that certain works were necessary. One can not become a Christian without putting the previous life of sin away by having regret, asking for forgiveness of sins and taking steps to show regret (an act to be taken), opening oneself for remission by going for a baptism (a work).

Not only Rome sees baptism as a channel of sanctifying grace, as the primary instrumental cause of justification, and the sacrament of penance, whereby congruous merit is achieved through works of satisfaction, as the supplementary restorative cause whenever the grace of God’s initial acceptance is lost through mortal sin.

Not only for the Roman Catholics believers save themselves with the help of the grace that flows from Christ through the church’s sacramental system. Several other denominations request that people change their life once baptised (which sometimes demands lots of works). Other protestants groups do forget that it is impossible that a Christian would keep living the same sinful life as before his or her baptism. It is an illusion to believe that we are saved by the blood of Christ and would not have to do any works any more because we would go to heaven or always will be allowed to enter God’s Kingdom.

First of all the Kingdom will be here on earth for most of us. And Jesus showed us with his parables the danger of loosing the entrance through the small gate of life in eternity.

Justification may be given free, like people can win a lottery, but if they do not do anything with the price, they will be nothing with it.

For example if I would give you a limousine you are nothing with it if you do not use the key and turn the motor on (a work). Before you can go into the traffic you have to learn the road code and have to learn to drive. Then you will have to drive (doing a job) and shall have to be careful in traffic (taking attention), going to some place (trafficking).

Also with faith we do need to come into the faith (a work), trafficking, having to keep our faith (demands work), read the Word of God regularly and study it (demands work) we have to be careful to keep the code of God, His regulations and ordinances (keeping to the commandments requires work). Jesus also gave the order to go out in the world to proclaim the Gospel of the coming Kingdom (which demands a work) and to come together regularly, i.e. meeting with each other, which demands also some work.

For those who think they do not have to have self-control (which demands work) we must disappoint them. If they keep lying, bullying, stealing, fornicating, murdering, they shall miss the entrance of the coming Kingdom.
If they think it will be so easy in this system of things, we also must disappoint them, because also when baptised there shall be temptations, suffering and so on, which demand stamina to continue (work) in the faith.

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To remember

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” Galatians 3:11

=> =  we do have to be righteous to be able to live by faith

The author tells us:

  • doctrine of justification, storm center of Reformation = major concern of apostle Paul = heart of gospel (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-5:21; Gal. 2:15-5:1) shaping both his message (Acts 13:38-39) + his devotion + spiritual life (2 Cor. 5:13-21; Phil. 3:4-14).
  • > other New Testament writers affirm same doctrine in substance => terms in which Protestants have affirmed + defended it for almost five centuries are drawn primarily from Paul.
  • Justification = judicial act of God pardoning sinners (wicked and ungodly persons, Rom. 4:5; 3:9-24) > accepting them as just => putting permanently right their previously estranged relationship with himself.  > => justifying sentence = God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:15-17) = his bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • God’s justifying decision = judgment of the Last Day, declaring where we shall spend eternity
  • necessary means, or instrumental cause, of justification is personal faith in Jesus Christ as crucified Savior and risen Lord (Rom. 4:23-25; 10:8-13).
  • As we give ourselves in faith to Jesus, Jesus gives us his gift of righteousness, so that in the very act of “closing with Christ,” as older Reformed teachers put it, we receive divine pardon and acceptance which we could not otherwise have (Gal. 2:15-16; 3:24).

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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

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Restitution

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Additional reading

  1. The business of this life
  2. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  3. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  6. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  7. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  8. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  9. Christ’s ethical teaching
  10. Being Justified by faith
  11. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  12. Faith and works
  13. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  14. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  15. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  16. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  17. Running away from the past
  18. Malefactors becoming your master
  19. Be holy
  20. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  21. Love for each other attracting others

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Further related articles

  1. No Regrets
  2. Day 19: Things to regret
  3. Access: Denied
  4. Giving our regret to God
  5. Reminisce
  6. Life is like a river
  7. Questions & Answers About Lent
  8. Godly Sorrow Leads Us on to a Glorious Celebration of the Gospel
  9. A Threefold Malice
  10. Reconciliation
  11. Penance – Chapter One
  12. Wednesday of Septuagesima week: O, Merciful God! Have Mercy On Me The Fallen One!
  13. CFP: Discipline and Excess (Cambridge Friday, April 15, 2016)
  14. That kind of Franciscan
  15. The Savior of the World
  16. (01/07/2016) Salvation Only Through Christ?
  17. My Take on the Gay Marriage Bill.
  18. Missing the Mark
  19. Leading people astray!
  20. Tips for Gracious Living: Bad Driving
  21. Unfaithful fornicating adulterating Christians will perish
  22. We don’t meet God 1/2 way.
  23. The Salesman
  24. Actions are the Megaphone of Words
  25. The Justification of Abraham
  26. (01/13/2016) How To Treat Unbelievers?
  27. Tuesday Devotional: Revelation 2
  28. Fashion advice?
  29. (12/31/2015) By Faith, Not By Interpretation?
  30. Faithfulness
  31. Seeing Christ
  32. Faith in Action

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Verlore seun

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” GALATIANS 3:11

The doctrine of justification, the storm center of the Reformation, was a major concern of the apostle Paul. For him it was the heart of the gospel (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-5:21; Gal. 2:15-5:1) shaping both his message (Acts 13:38-39) and his devotion and spiritual life (2 Cor. 5:13-21; Phil. 3:4-14). Though other New Testament writers affirm the same doctrine in substance, the terms in which Protestants have affirmed and defended it for almost five centuries are drawn primarily from Paul.

Justification is a judicial act of God pardoning sinners (wicked and ungodly persons, Rom. 4:5; 3:9-24), accepting them as just, and so putting permanently right their previously estranged relationship with himself. This justifying sentence is God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:15-17), his bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus’ sake (2…

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Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

 

 

“1  What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
4 Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as debt. 5 But to him who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 Even as David also pronounces blessing on the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works, 7 Happy are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Happy is the man whom the Lord will by no means charge with sin.”

9  Is this blessing then pronounced on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it credited? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might also be credited to them. 12 The father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had in uncircumcision.
13 For the promise to Abraham and to his seed that he should be heir of the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of no effect. 15 For the law works wrath, for where there is no law, neither is there disobedience. 16 For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, to the end that the promise may be 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.

17  As it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations.” This is in the presence of him whom he believed: God, who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were. 18 Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, “So will your seed be.”
19 Without being weakened in faith, he considered his own body as dead (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 Yet, looking to the promise of God, he did not waver through unbelief, but grew strong through faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 Therefore it also was “credited to him for righteousness.”

23  Now it was not written that it was credited to him for his sake alone, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:1-25 NHEB)

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Woodcut for "Faith" depicting Abraha...

Woodcut for “Faith” depicting Abraham and Isaac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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