Faith Works Into Salvation…

 “Basically, if there is no action, then there really is no faith.” (Joe)

Then the equation should logically be:

Faith + Works/Actions = Salvation

and not

Faith = Salvation

Because in your premise you are stating one without the other leaves either meaningless (for the believer and for the atheist).

Here is what you say about the atheist: “By definition of being an atheist, one cannot have faith and therefore cannot have been created in Christ and therefore, by God’s standard, can do no “good works“”.

Your answer, as well done as it all was (thanks), answers nothing in the end.

For the believer that has faith you require they go on to ‘good works’ to ‘prove’ they are Christian…meaning they need good works dude (it’s not an option).

For the atheist you say since they cannot have ‘faith’ their good works are meaningless. In this scenario everything hinges on their having ‘faith’ regardless of works. Faith is the end all be all according to this scenario.

In essence you play faith down for the believer and up-play works – whereas for the atheist you up-play faith and downplay works.

This system is unjust and weighs on the basis of what one claims to be – and changes the weight of each focus in each scenario. In fact, it is illogical.

I think you have come up with some interesting math but it doesn’t add up.

Faith + good works = saved
Faith – good works = not saved
No Faith + good works = not saved
No Faith – no good works = not saved

4 scenarios – but faith alone is not equal to salvation…how can one make that claim since faith alone proves nothing. If this was so – the equations below have to both be correct:

Faith + good works = salvation
Faith – good works = salvation

I am yet to meet the sane person that lives the second one out. It seems to me once we remove good works from the equation – there isn’t much anchoring faith anymore.

Thus faith has to be termed ‘faithfulness to something’ – linked to a set of ideals to make any lick of sense. Then we can say ‘someone is not a hypocrite’ based on such and such set of ideal. The exact thing I see Jesus doing in Matthew 6.

*Comment was originally aired in Stand to Reason ‘God is Narrow Minded’

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25 thoughts on “Faith Works Into Salvation…

  1. I read the other blog, and I know we’ve had discussions on this before, but the problem I find over and over again is that it takes the definition of “good” and makes it a relative one. Helping the homeless or feeding the poor are no longer good works in themselves. They’re only good if the right kind of Christian does them.

    Yet this standard is never applied to any sort of bad works. Bad works are bad regardless of who commits them.

  2. “Helping the homeless or feeding the poor are no longer good works in themselves. They’re only good if the right kind of Christian does them” (OSS)

    And what is that ‘relative’ factor…faith. Yet even within that definition faith can prove itself to be pretty useless. If Christians are going to be honest with themselves – works is everything in regards to a ‘working and vibrant faith’. Yet they cannot make this step because of the way they interpret Paul and define ‘faith’…as in ‘the just shall live by faith’.

    They see faith as something more confessional and believing in certain standards of doctrinal meaning (ie: atonement). Don’t believe right and your faith is in question. It’s really not tied to much. Yet they preach ‘good works’ over the pulpit because the topic of faith is such a singular message – can’t speak that message over and over and have it mean much. I think Christians just don’t where works fits in to the totality of everything with faith being defined so weakly.

  3. a good phrase i’ve learned is “we can’t reach salvation by our works, but we can show our salvation by our good works.”

    and OSS (as always) has a good point of bringing up the culturally realitive term “good.” how is it defined? i gotta say that there are universals out there, but what they look like, how they are defined, and how they are enacted are based on culturally relational means. i’m always astonished that we can communicate at all with our fellow beings because we’re all coming from such different places. for me, that’s the Spirit at work 😉

  4. Grace through faith…alone = salvation.

    (and faith is a gift of God, so having that is not a work)

    Faith in Christ…alone.

    Nothing else is needed.

    Works flow from that reality…and never precede it for salvation.

  5. Theoldadam,

    **Nothing else is needed.**

    The problem is that whenever someone points to a Christian who does have the faith and yet behaves in a less than stellar way, a usual explanation is that the person isn’t really a Christian, because they’re behaving poorly. Yet this poor-behaved Christian does have the proper faith. If nothing else is needed for salvation or to qualify as a Christian, then the poor-behaved Christian cannot be disqualified.

  6. All Christians behave in less than stellar ways.

    Our performances are a very mixed bag, depending on which day you catch us.

    But Christ’s performance and behavior was (is) always stellar…and that is enough for us.

  7. In the New Testament it was encouraged to treat men and women as equals.

    Sure, Christians have committed many sins (and still do).

    Christianity was the force behind ending the practice of slavery in much of the world.

  8. Theoldadam,

    Have you not encountered Christians who say that others weren’t true Christians because of the acts they committed? Where they say that Christians who did [fill in the blank] weren’t really following Jesus or something, and so they can’t be used to evaluate the religion?

    Because quite a few non-Christians have come across this argument, which is why I pointed to it as a problem if the idea truly is that “nothing else matters.” If that is the case, then anyone who has the proper faith — regardless of actions — is a true Christian. Which means the Christians who owned slaves were true Christians.

  9. Sure, I have.

    There are many Christians who have an improper understanding of the faith and who ignore scripture (don’t judge, lest you be judged – regarding someone’s salvation).

    I’m sure there were many murderers (St. Paul, Moses, David), and even slave owners who were Christians.

  10. Theoldadam,

    **There are many Christians who have an improper understanding of the faith and who ignore scripture (don’t judge, lest you be judged – regarding someone’s salvation).**

    If you can’t judge, though, how can you ever correct? How can you ever point to someone’s salvation being in danger? (Or do you not do that?) If Christians are murderers and slave owners, then how can we say that God works to better the person? I wouldn’t consider Paul a good example — after his conversion, he didn’t murder anybody. That was pre-Christian.

    And if you aren’t one who uses the argument that certain works disqualify one as a Christian, then the problem I see doesn’t apply to you.

  11. None of that is any of our business.

    Christ will decide all of that. At least that’s what it says in the bible.

    You can either believe that…or not.

    Again …that’s none of my business. 😀

  12. Steve

    What a cop out! If Jesus is going to decide it all and you dont know what he’s going to do, then maybe you should keep your mouth closed when trashing other people and their faith. Funny, but you seem to think Muslims are satanists but you wont include any Christians in that group. Smelly, very smelly.

  13. TfT,

    Islam is what it is. Are you blind? Do you wish to apologize for their wickedness?

    I cannot and will not judge their eternal destination. As I said (I guess it bears repeating), that is not my job. But I have every right to call a liar a liar, and a murderer a murderer.

    If you want to snuggle up to evil, then do it.

  14. If you want to snuggle up to evil, then do it(Oldadam)

    The problem is you “judge” it all based on a few. Shall I do the same for you and call you a “Christian” just like Fred Phelps?

  15. “Matt 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

    RESIST NOT EVIL! in resisting evil, we usually become the very evil we seek to destroy, perhaps worse. hense while Christians are all ramped up about Islam, they perpatrate evil to try to get rid of them. the cycle of violence ad infinitum. Jesus calls us to break the cycle and not even participate in it.

    to put it like this, this approach is akin to trying to beat up the ocean. all you’re going to do is splash around, get wet, and be humiliated. hate is not a part of being a Christian. the best way to fight hate is NOT with more hate, but with love. it’s not fighting fire with fire, it’s fighting fire with water. much smarter and it ends the cycle.

    “Do you wish to apologize for their wickedness?”

    no. i seek to change it. and the best way to change it is through love and relationship. so i will snuggle up to evil, just as Christ did, and if this kills me, so be it. it killed Christ. and that didn’t stop him nor will it i.

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