Tag Archives: Sola fide (doctrine of justification by faith alone)

Facing daily events and exclaiming “Good grief!”

When waking up every day we may be lucky to wake up, to face the day again. In the day we may perhaps encounter lots of things which surprises us and sometimes we call out ‘good grief’

The young Garrick Sinclair “Ricky” Beckett, a U.S. Army veteran honourably discharged as a professional saxophonist in the Army Bands, currently attending Concordia University-Ann Arbor in the Pre-Seminary programme with a major in Christian Thought and a minor in Theological Languages looks at a popular cartoon figure.

He writes

As he hears some bad news, Charlie Brown exclaims, “Good grief!” We often think of this as an oxymoron. Grief can’t possibly be good! {Good grief}

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the word grief we think of sorrow and distress, even of great mourning and affliction. When having bodily pain or when our mind is being hurt we can be grief stricken. Deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death or by trouble or annoyance grief comes over us. Grievance overmans us when there is a cause of such suffering or a deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. We can come to grief but than it means we fail in something we’re doing, and may be hurt.

Mary Bringle also noticed

Even the cleverest boy could come to grief alone, in the night. {Collins dictionary on Come to grief}

In Dutch ‘grief’ is ‘verdriet’ and is connected to ‘lijden (suffering), ‘bedroefd zijn’ (grow sad, being sad, be sorry, sorrow) maar ook tot ‘afkeer’ (aversion, distaste, disgust, revulsion,repulsion, repugnance, loathing, abhorrence, abomination, scunner). When ‘come to griefwe founder, break down, collapse, fall through, flop (informal), be defeated, fall short, fizzle out (informal), come unstuck, run aground, bite the dust, and even feel that we go up in smoke, come to naught, not make the grade (informal)go down like a lead balloon (informal). In any case it looks like it turns out badly, us falling flat on our face, meeting with disaster. Stuck with grief we may be found lacking or wanting, facing a spiritual miscarry or misfire.

Some people sayGood grief‘ when they are surprised or shocked. When we face something that’s actually worth grieving over, we’re often overwhelmed.

From a ‘sukkelstraatje’ (being in trouble/in dire stratis) we can become ailing (sickly) with a ‘sukkelpartij’ (sucker party) receiving ‘zielspijn’ (agony, heartache, profound sorrow) or ‘zieleleed’ (sadness). That ‘zielesmart’ or ‘zielsverdriet’ (anguish, heartache,profound sorrow, misery, unhappiness),  ‘Weedom’ (woe), ‘hartenpijn’ ‘hartenleed’ (heartache, heartfelt grief, heartfelt sorrow, heartbreak), agony consumes us with grief.

We do know we have to cope with it, we have to conquer it or go over such grief.

It’s rather ironic that our culture views grief as a bad thing while it encourages grief over a lot of things. It is encouraged that we grieve over minimum wage, to grieve over what the White Man did to black people centuries ago during slavery, to grieve over what the government did to the indigenous peoples of America… {Good grief}

The savoury on our daily bread is not always pleasant. we may try to begin every day with gratitude, because all we have, has been given to us. This body, heart and mind, friendships, opportunities, challenges, family,… it is all given to us. But honestly we are not always pleased with the confrontation with it.

We may value family where we practice love and sharing.  We may value work where we share our passions and gifts. And most of all we would like to have a good health and value it.

img_4537As we align with gratitude, values, dharma,  and who we are as limitless conscious existence, every action we take becomes a contribution to the whole. {Why Are We Here?}

Getting up we notice we face the day and can fill it with words and deeds.

this world we touch but in words

words insulated in plated metal

this world we hold but in teeth

teeth estranged from heart’s palate {This World, A Seat}

Sometimes it looks like every day again we do have to start all over again, going back to these “manifold temptations,” which tour around our face. Every day there are so many things we do have to face, so many experiences we have to go through.

It can be anything in this life that tends to trouble us or haunt us that can bring grief over us.

something that hurts you at the most sensitive and delicate core of your soul, heart, and mind — things that tend to make you miserable.  How do we get past these things? {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

Facing each day we have to open our eyes and look at all things, seeing them in perspective, trying to understand what is really going on and what sort of place it deserves.

The danger is to just endure our troubles with groans and whines and complaints and not do anything to discover the remedy to the situation.  We come into the danger of thinking, “Why is God doing this to me?” {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

With “Ricky” Beckett we urge you not to think “why” these things happen to us, but rather to think what.

 Instead of thinking, “Why me,” think instead, “What can I learn from this?  What does God want to teach me?”  And then how:  “How will this make me grow closer to God?”  In short, other than the sinful condition of the world we live in, that is why we suffer — to learn something from God and to grow closer to Him, and then the “why” may reveal itself to you as God works out His progressive revelation in your life.  That’s the short answer, but now let’s discuss the longer answer. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

Each day again, and again, we should be prepared to learn and to continue our road, up to a better world for us.

We are living in this world and walking on our paths under the eye of our Heavenly Father.

Say to yourself,

“There is a definite plan and purpose for my life.  God has examined me and has adopted me into His family.”

Why does He do this for us?  So that He may bring us into perfection (which is not acquired during this earthly life).  That is His objective — that you may “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29), as Jesus Christ will say, “Here I am with the children God gave Me” (Hebrews 2:13).  If we do not believe and recognise this fundamental concept of ourselves as Christians, then we are bound to go astray and misunderstand these troubles that happen to us as God’s children. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

These days lots of people take some time to think about the death and remember the dead.

When death and disaster occur, we are so grief stricken that we don’t know what to do. While all this is going on, we avoid grieving over our sin, which the thing we should grieve the most. It is good to grieve over this because our sin alienates us from God. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). We should grieve greatly over this because the end of our sin is death. But fear not! The Romans verse continues, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Godly grief is good grief, for it leads us to repentance. Godly grief, or good grief, causes us to recognise our need for forgiveness—our need for Christ. By repentance we exercise faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).

Let us always remember that God may permit all these things we have to face, to happen to us and to the people around us, not for the purpose of making us suffer and watching us squirm, as some would like to believe, but rather in order to chastise us, which He enacts due to our complacency and for our failure.

In 2 Peter 1:5-7, the apostle writes that Christians are to discipline themselves and to supplement attributes to their faith, not merely to be content with minimal faith but for it to be forever increasing.  There are Christians who do not take heed of this exhortation and instead are indefatigable with their complacency and indolence.  As I understand New Testament doctrine, if we do that we should not be surprised if we start to experience troubles — that God perhaps begins to chastise us by shaking us off our shiftless butts. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Chastisement}

We ourselves are also not free from bringing grief to others. We must recognise that we too can do things wrongly. We too can bring pain to others and give them heartache or grief. Many Christians are convinced that as re-born people they cannot sin. But they are mistaken.

First John 3:9-10 says,

“Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.  This is how God’s children — and the Devil’s children — are made evident.”

 Now, it is easy to misinterpret this passage.  It is not saying that God’s children are incapable of sinning.  After all, even though we’re God’s children, we still sin.

St. John is saying that the one “born of God” — that is, baptised in the Holy Spirit — does not make it his life’s trade to sin.
The child of God does not make it his life’s priority to live in sin, as the children of the Devil do (e.g. the homosexual lifestyle, a murderous lifestyle such as ISIS or serial killers, etc.).

God’s children are not free from acts of sin, but the child of God does not commit to be a servant of sin, but rather a servant of God and His holiness.  Christians are not impeccable; they are simultaneously saint and sinner (simul iustus et peccator).  Sin lives within us, but the Christian is justified by faith (Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:24).  John is not speaking of sinless perfection but of a life imputed with Christ’s righteousness.

We can and shall have moments of weakness and shall sin. Afterwards we should repent, which is doing a work of faith. Only when we do such works of faith shall we be able to enter the Kingdom of God. When not willing to see what we have done wrong and not wanting to repent over the wrongdoing we shall not be allowed to enter through the small gate. The teshuvah or repentance is a necessary ingredient to come to God.

Knowing that God may have a particularly great task set for us we should wonder what we can do in the world God has prepared for us. Facing that world, where we are so many times tested, we should not mind having ourselves tested, when we are standing straight in our shoes, going for the One True God.

jonah-beach-whale-168772-printSo, one may have to pass through a certain trial because of some great task ahead that God has planned for them.  Think of any biblical character that had to endure such a trial.  The first person that comes to mind for me is Jonah.  He was running from God’s calling to preach to Nineveh, and as we know he was swallowed by a great fish; and upon repentance and accepting his calling, God saved his life by having the great fish spit him out onto the land to fulfill his calling.  Maybe a drastic example, but perhaps not as drastic as you might think.  Consider any whales of doubt you might have in your life and what God is doing to bring you through those doubts, or what you ought to let Him do. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – God to Prepare Us}

Facing each day lying in front of us we best remember that we are given the opportunity to be here and that God knows what’s best for us and what we need to experience in order to get us where He wants us to be. Therefore let us give ourselves in His Hands and be thankfull that He was willing to accept the ransom offer from His son.

As our Heavenly Father, God may see the need for trials and prescribe the necessary tools that are destined to make us grow in Him for our own good. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – God to Prepare Us}

With the knowledge that worldly grief produces only death because the world has no hope for a relief from their grief, we do have a better prospect in the hope given to mankind.

Worldly grief abandons the person who grieves. Godly grief is guilt over sin, which this guilt leads to repentance as the sinner recognises the necessity for forgiveness in Christ, which leads to salvation because the repentance we perform is exercised by this faith gifted to us, and it is through this gift of faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). {Good grief}

Perhaps we leave it to others to say ‘good grief’ when they see our endurance and come to see we want to present to the world a good example of a loving person, whatever happens to him.

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Preceding

Our existence..

Facing our existence every day

Are you right down in the dumps? Stop digging!

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Additional reading

  1. A world in denial
  2. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  3. Dealing with worries in our lives
  4. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  5. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  6. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  7. Isaiah prophet and messenger of God
  8. Suffering
  9. Offer in our suffering
  10. Suffering – through the apparent silence of God
  11. Suffering continues
  12. Suffering leading to joy
  13. Self inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  14. Surprised by time in joys & sufferings
  15. Profitable disasters
  16. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow
  17. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  18. Every athlete exercises self control
  19. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #3 Rejoicing in the insistence
  20. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  21. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  22. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  23. Continuing Paul’s Prayer Requests
  24. Written to recognise the Promissed One

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Further reading

  1. Day By Day
  2. Grief
  3. Throw-back Thursday: Grief is a fickle foe
  4. Book Mark: Notes on Friends’ Grief
  5. Grief From Across The World 
  6. The Well of Grief
  7. The unspoken grievance
  8. The Five Stages of Grief
  9. Sad
  10. Memories…and Grief
  11. Deviant Deflections – Unrequited Love
  12. When part of you is missing
  13. No one tells you about the guilt..
  14. Monday Morning Grievance: The New Copier
  15. After Suicide
  16. How To Go On
  17. God I miss you. 
  18. Letter to you, my little one…
  19. That feeling 
  20. Heart Holes
  21. Waiting For The Dutchman
  22. Old Unfinished Post: The 5 Stages of Relationship Grief
  23. Grief embraces love
  24. 1 a.m. on the Borderline
  25. Inside the glacier of my mind
  26. Beautiful Reminders
  27. Beyond the grey clouds
  28. The Mercy of the Morning
  29. Here’s to better naked tomorrows
  30. It Is God’s Gospel
  31. (11/04/2016) Works of the Spirit?
  32. Forgiveness and Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ
  33. Does Working with Others Lead to Better Results than Acting as an Individual? L 41
  34. Leading by example
  35. Jesus Models Friendship
  36. Saints
  37. Mercy in giving
  38. 1 Timothy 4:12 (31.10.16)
  39. The stories we tell
  40. Eulogia
  41. “Conformity To The Will Of God”
  42. Advice… L38
  43. If You Really Love Me
  44. Life Changing Moments While Young
  45. Good Advice for Us in Today’s World
  46. Love as a god

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

In the past there have been many discussion about the possibility man being good. When we look at the world today it seems not much has changed. Along all sides we can see people who do not want to share the luck they have with others. This has come to a high point with the refugee crisis. It is understandable that people want to protect their own goods and culture, but often they are too much afraid that their way of living would be in danger by others from far away coming to live in their regions.

Several people are convinced that people who are fleeing from war-zones can not be good and trustworthy people. According to several Christians it is even impossible for a human being to be good from himself and as such no one can be reliable.

A17th century Calvinist print depicting Pelagi...

A17th century Calvinist print depicting Pelagius. The caption says “Accurst Pelagius, with what false pretence Durst thou excuse man’s foul concupiscence, Or cry down Sin Originall, or that The love of God did man predestinate.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The controversial British monk Pelagius in the fifth century had taught that man’s nature was essentially good. This was not to the liking of the Catholic Church leaders who found that because of Adam’s sin all men were born with a strong tendency to sin. It is even for that reason that lots of Christians do say it is impossible for Jesus to be a man. Because he was without sin he should be God, according to them. This naturally is not at all true and makes of God a horrible Creator, having created human beings who can not decide for themselves to do good or bad. Worse it would also mean that God gave man commandments He knew they would never be able to follow.

Pelagius rightly said that an individual had the power to do right by choosing to do right and by beating the body into submission through ascetic practices. Traditional Christianity said that men could defeat their tendencies to sin only by the working of God’s grace in their heart. According to the churchleaders Pelagius‘s ideas meant that Christ‘s death on the cross served more as a moral example than as an atonement able to transform the soul from within by divine force, which meant against going their doctrine of sola fide.

Those who think that Old and New Testaments alike teach us that we cannot change ourselves have not very well read the Holy Book of books. In the many books which form the bible we do have many examples of people who have gone from bad to good but also from good to bad and sometimes returning to good.

Augustinus 1.jpg

Saint Augustine from a 19th-century engraving

The Christian philosopher and theologian St. Augustine or Augustine of Hippo (354-430), best known for “The Confessions” and “The City of God” was responsible for the excommunication of Pelagius.

While in Rome, Pelagius first heard of Augustine through his reading of a prayer from Augustine’s Confessions: “Give what Thou commandest and command that Thou wilt.” To Pelagius, the philosophy expressed in this prayer sounded like the total abandonment of human responsibility and a denial of the ethical dimensions of the Christian faith. If all moral action, thought Pelagius, depends solely on God — both the commanding as well as the ability to obey — God is either an arbitrary tyrant or else man is a creature deprived of free will. Pelagius conducted his teaching along these lines while he was in Rome, and it was to this teaching that an able lawyer, Caelestius, responded, leaving his profession of advocacy and becoming Pelagius’s disciple, companion, and the popularizer of his views.

Caelestius’s Pelagian views continued to spread, and soon Augustine was preaching and writing with intense fervour against this what he called a new heresy, arguing that the whole lump of humanity is infected with sin and that only the grace administered in baptism can wash away the guilty stain.

In spite of these admonitions from the Doctor of Grace, the controversy continued, and it was not long before the articulate bishop of Eclanum, Julian, stepped in to argue the Pelagian cause, forcing Augustine, by the clarity of his logic, into positions regarding the doctrines of grace and predestination that have been burdensome to Western Christendom ever since. {Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004}

Today we still find many who do not want to see that man has a lot in his own hands. Today there are still lots of Christians who think it is impossible for man to live according to God’s Wishes and that he does not have to do any good works to enter the Kingdom of God because it is just impossible for him to do such good works.

According to Augustine it is not possible to lead a sinless life, with (for whatever reason, probably she had to carry the god son according to the Catholic Church) the exception of the Virgin Mary. For Augustine divine grace must precede every virtuous act and today many Christians are also still convinced we are all saved whatever what we have done and whatever we do in our life.

For such Christians who try to put sand in the eyes of searching people, the saying that we need works to enter the Kingdom of God is heresy. For them it is not only possible for man not to sin, they are not able to bring any change in the salvation of themselves.

The caricature of Pelagianism found in many orthodox textbooks and devotional manuals is hardly one that Pelagius would recognize. He never, for instance, denied the need for grace or for infant baptism; he never accepted the position that man can, by his own moral efforts, achieve his salvation. On basic doctrinal issues, Pelagius was certainly orthodox; and on matters of Christian morality his chief concern was to foster among Christian people a right regard for the ethical responsibilities he saw as inherent in the Gospel message. {Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004}

The Christian attitude is a very important issue which was been tackled by rabbi Jeshua (master teacher Jesus Christ) with a lot of delicacy. The Nazarene Jew, who was not afraid to bring others to see they had no right to judge others, told his listeners many parables in which he tried to get them to understand that we must be very careful not to loose the right to enter the Kingdom of God.

Lots of Christians are mistaken to think they do not have to do any good works to enter Gods Kingdom. It is true that they are saved and have nothing to do to get under the Grace of salvation. But what they forget is that, though they received salvation for nothing, they can loose it when they do not work at themselves. The leaders of the Protestant Reformation, 1,500 years after the last books of the Bible were written wanted their flock to believe that Jesus paid the full prize or penalty for our sins, so that nothing had to be done or paid any more. They added their human doctrine, which is nowhere written in the Bible, saying that

Jesus paid the punishment for our sins, he having fully atoned for our sins and by saying “it is finished” he did what no human could do, make up for their sins and made an end to everything what had to be done.

But it was not finished by having to come to God (a work) or to follow God’s commandments (again demanding works).

It is totally wrong to think once new born and/or being baptised, we are cleared and have a free way to enter into God’s Kingdom, or what some are thinking to go to heaven. In case a person has fund Christ and has come to God several works are needed. First of all before finding Christ work has to be done to come to know him and his God. Once a person believes in Jesus Christ, the son of God, that person has to convert to Christianity which again is a work to be done. But once baptised it is not finished. Than the person has to work at his or her character and try to stay on the right track, following God’s commandments, which shall require again some, not to say ‘lots’ of works.

Every Christian must work to control themselves. Once having become a Christian that person should try not to lie, to steal, to betray, to fornicate, to murder and many other things he or she should avoid doing (which demands work). If none of these works are needed for salvation the person could have sex with as many persons or animals as he or she wanted no matter the gender. If no works have to be done a person could also continue to do fraudulent actions, without having to worry.

It is for the reason having so many Christian preachers trying to convince others they do not need to do any works, and because of the reaction by Grow Pastor, Minister to Men, Ken Miller to us, at his article That’s the Spirit!, that we think it opportune to warn people of the lack of understanding of the given grace.

Christ Jesus died for all people, sinners or not. By the works of faith he has done, we received the Grace of Salvation, but when we ignore his calling or his heavenly Father’s calling than we shall not be allowed to enter the Kingdom of god when we did bad things and did not repent about them. It is not by works of justice that we had done, but, in accord with the mercy of God, Him willing to accept the ransom offering of His son. Through Jesus Christ our Saviour we are been justified by his grace and are we allowed to become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)

When Saul had become a follower of the Messiah he looked at the work of the master teacher and at the sacraments which were given to those who followed Jesus. The apostle wrote

Romans 3:27-31 The Scriptures 1998+  (27)  Where, then, is the boasting? It is shut out. By what Torah? Of works? No, but by the Torah of belief.  (28)  For we reckon that a man is declared right by belief without works of Torah.  (29)  Or is He the Elohim of the Yehuḏim only, and not also of the gentiles? Yea, of the gentiles also,  (30)  since it is one Elohim who shall declare right the circumcised by belief and the uncircumcised through belief.  (31)  Do we then nullify the Torah through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah.1 Footnote: 1See 7:12.

and gave the Romans to know that they thought or hold that a man is brought into right standing with God by faith and that observance of the law has no connection with it.

Saying that he did not confirm that

“by faith apart from deeds of the law” as meaning, “by faith alone”

but him affirming that we then not through faith make null and void the law; instead, we confirm it. It is by our faith that we shall do certain works according to the faith. Pelagius considered that sacraments are elements believers should keep taking throughout their life. For him it was like it is for us, that faith should be expressed and perfected in works. Submitting to Jehovah His works in the proper disposition, which is that of faith, is an action or a work to be done.

Too many Christians forget the importance of the feeling we should have about what we have done. If we do not feel bad by the wrong things we have done and do not repent for them, for sure the Bible shows us, we shall not receive an entrance in God’s Kingdom. Repentance and teshuvah demands a work. Staying a good person also demands work. All those that say we do not have to do any work of faith, are either forgetting what the Bible tells about it and are insinuating we can do whatever we want and shall still be saved.

On the other hand it is very strange that it are just such preachers who talk so ferociously about salvation and no works needed for salvation, who also preach about damnation in a hell, a place of eternal fire.

Luckily the Bible speaks about the end of our life by death, and that we once we die shall not be able to feel anything any more. No frustrations, no pain, no sorrow any more when we die. Then it shall all be finished, but then it shall also be too late if we did not choose for God and did not work at our own self.

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Please do find also to read:

  1. Salvation and Righteousness
  2. Elul Observances
  3. God’s wrath and sanctification
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  6. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  7. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  8. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  9. Good and bad things in this world
  10. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  11. Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  12. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  13. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  14. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  15. Humbleness
  16. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  17. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong
  18. Being of good courage running the race
  19. Bearing fruit
  20. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core
  21. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  22. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  23. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  24. As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude
  25. 2014 Religion
  26. Disobedient man and God’s promises
  27. From pain to purpose
  28. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  29. God’s forgotten Word 5 Lost Lawbook 4 The ‘Catholic’ church
  30. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  31. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  32. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church

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Further reading

  1. No one is saved by the law. Salvation is by faith through Grace.
  2. The Justification of Abraham
  3. St. Paul Didn’t Say Faith Alone
  4. The Law of Diminishing Returns
  5. A Call to Dare God
  6. The Tangible Presence of God
  7. Devotion for Monday After the Second Sunday in Lent, Year C (ELCA Daily Lectionary)
  8. Grace is a soft gospel for soft Christians & The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  9. Did God really say “Prevenient” Grace
  10. Can someone who genuinely loves the God of Israel, prays to Him and trusts him go to hell? The New Testament says…
  11. I was wrong – but I am right – Calvinists preach a false gospel.
  12. The pain of radical grace
  13. The power of grace
  14. Seeing Christ
  15. (12/04/2015) By More Than Believing
  16. Faith Child – Forget the poor!
  17. (01/13/2016) How To Treat Unbelievers?
  18. Repent so that you can understand
  19. Faithfulness
  20. Faith Without Works (Pastor Joe Taylor)
  21. Faith without Works ??? (1 Way to live)
  22. Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life: Faith Alone Does Not Save
  23. The Works
  24. Faith in Action
  25. Put Your Faith Into Action
  26. Fashion advice?
  27. Intentional God
  28. The Sower of Seeds: A Parable of Jesus
  29. Matthew 23:23 [Coming Soon]
  30. Studies in Mark (Pt. 8)
  31. Galatians 5:4 [Unfinished]
  32. Galatians 6:7-9 [Unfinished]
  33. Ephesians 2:8-9
  34. Titus 3:5-7
  35. NT Reading – October 5
  36. James 1:14-20 — Faith that Works!
  37. James, Part 2
  38. The Book that Almost Wasn’t: Faith, Lists, and Works ~ James 2
  39. Tuesday Devotional: Revelation 2
  40. Faith Without Works Is Dead
  41. Putting Legs to Their Faith
  42. Are You a doer???
  43. Are You Willing to do more???
  44. Mincing no Words
  45. Epistle for September 6, 2015
  46. Tell it Tuesday w/ B.Parker|How To Pray When Life Isn’t Going Your Way
  47. Tell it Tuesday w/ B. Parker| It’s 2am and No One is Answering…Who To Call?
  48. Childish Thinking
  49. Are You A Weed?
  50. Sneaky Subjectivism
  51. What Future?
  52. Intentional Avoidance, Disconnected Ignorance, or Disinterested Forgetfulness?
  53. We Are All Damaged Goods…
  54. Just Sitting There
  55. The Subnormal Christian Life
  56. 14 How to Work Your Way to Hell
  57. Faith Life Congruence
  58. We pray and plead with you…”Do You Job!”
  59. Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 42 – “Pure Religion”

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