Discussions Relating to Universal Reconciliation > Discussions on Universal Salvation

the critical difference between "good works" and "works of the law"

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Raggedy Anne:
From some of the things I've read about Martin Luther, it seems he might have used his "discovery" of faith alone as an occasion for the flesh to rule.   That's why I don't see him as a hero of the faith.

anne

Seth:

--- Quote from: Jerm on September 12, 2009, 04:48:56 PM ---I think Martin Luther is to blame for alot of the confusion here.  Although I think he got the basic idea right, "Justification by Faith Alone" was a horrible name for his docrtine because the only place in Scripture where the phrase "faith alone" or "faith only" is written in James and it has a big NOT right in front of it. (Then again, that's why Luther wanted James taken out of the canon)  Something I've had to come to grips with is the fact that justification is by faith and works.  HOWEVER THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE EARN OR MERIT SALVATION.  What James is saying here is works are required for justification because they are the natural outcome and thus natural evidence of a true transformation. Salvation is so much more that going to heaven when you die.  When we recieve the Spirit, it is from then on constantly at work in us, molding us into the image of Christ, so yes, the natural outcome is going to be a gradual transformation of who we are and how we live our lives.  Seeing this truth as well as the fact that when Paul says we are justified by faith apart from works of the law he meant the Jewish Torah has erased alot of errornous thinking from my mind, especially considering the Hyper Dispensational (Dual Gospel) ideaology.

--- End quote ---

Jerm, great point. One of the major confusions comes with the term: justification. It comes from the word "dikaioo" which means "righteous." Check this out:

Romans 3:28
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified (righteous) by faith without the deeds of the law.

Compare to James:

James 2:21,24
Was not Abraham our father justified (righteous) by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Ye see then how that by works a man is justified (righteous), and not by faith only.

Now if James and Paul are talking about the same kind of works, then it is a clear contradiction. But they are not talking about the same kind of works. Paul is talking about not being made righteous by "works of the law." James is talking about "good works" which are works that come by obedience to faith. That is what Martin Luther did not understand.

The dual-evangel folks think that they resolve this by claiming that James is talking to Jews and Paul is talking to Gentiles, meaning that Jews must have faith and obey the law too. GARBAGE! The law NEVER brings righteousness and ALWAYS holds people in bondage. Paul actually agrees with this statement: "by works a man is justified (righteous) and not by faith only"

Romans 4
 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
 6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
 9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
 10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
 12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also WALK....IN....THE..... STEPS....OF....THAT.....FAITH of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith

We should see the distinction being made here regarding "good works" and "works of the law." Abraham WALKED in steps of faith, he didn't just HAVE faith. That is what James means when he says

James 2
19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
 22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
 24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Paul and James are talking about the same thing: walking in steps of faith, not just having faith. And that walking by steps of faith is CONTRASTED to works of the law. Yes, when we have faith, THAT faith is counted to us for righteousness, but when WE WALK in STEPS of faith, then WE are imputed righteousness. John agrees:

1 John 3
 5And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
 6Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
 7Little children, let no man deceive you: he that DOETH righteousness (justification) is righteous (justified), even as he is righteous (justified).
 8He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
 9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
 10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

rosered:
 

  well thought out   posts !  guys 
 love it
  makes me think !
   good Job , Seth! 
 good  thoughts WW , Bradon  and Jerm !
 
  one  thing I thought of  while reading this 

   was how the works /dees and the Labour  can be in vain or it can be in love 
 the labour of love is mentioed by Paul as a good thing/work
  and the labour in vain is something  that is NOT new under the Sun /Son
 so I got to thinking  , we first must die to  our desires for the true desire of the Lord to manifest within us ..
  just some more thoughts while on this I have considered  :icon_flower:
 
  God bless yas all  :HeartThrob:  rose
 
 
KJVRev 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. 
 
  TNIV 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."
       "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

Jerm:

--- Quote from: Seth on September 12, 2009, 08:12:36 PM ---
--- Quote from: Jerm on September 12, 2009, 04:48:56 PM ---I think Martin Luther is to blame for alot of the confusion here.  Although I think he got the basic idea right, "Justification by Faith Alone" was a horrible name for his docrtine because the only place in Scripture where the phrase "faith alone" or "faith only" is written in James and it has a big NOT right in front of it. (Then again, that's why Luther wanted James taken out of the canon)  Something I've had to come to grips with is the fact that justification is by faith and works.  HOWEVER THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE EARN OR MERIT SALVATION.  What James is saying here is works are required for justification because they are the natural outcome and thus natural evidence of a true transformation. Salvation is so much more that going to heaven when you die.  When we recieve the Spirit, it is from then on constantly at work in us, molding us into the image of Christ, so yes, the natural outcome is going to be a gradual transformation of who we are and how we live our lives.  Seeing this truth as well as the fact that when Paul says we are justified by faith apart from works of the law he meant the Jewish Torah has erased alot of errornous thinking from my mind, especially considering the Hyper Dispensational (Dual Gospel) ideaology.

--- End quote ---

Jerm, great point. One of the major confusions comes with the term: justification. It comes from the word "dikaioo" which means "righteous." Check this out:

Romans 3:28
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified (righteous) by faith without the deeds of the law.

Compare to James:

James 2:21,24
Was not Abraham our father justified (righteous) by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Ye see then how that by works a man is justified (righteous), and not by faith only.

Now if James and Paul are talking about the same kind of works, then it is a clear contradiction. But they are not talking about the same kind of works. Paul is talking about not being made righteous by "works of the law." James is talking about "good works" which are works that come by obedience to faith. That is what Martin Luther did not understand.

The dual-evangel folks think that they resolve this by claiming that James is talking to Jews and Paul is talking to Gentiles, meaning that Jews must have faith and obey the law too. GARBAGE! The law NEVER brings righteousness and ALWAYS holds people in bondage. Paul actually agrees with this statement: "by works a man is justified (righteous) and not by faith only"

Romans 4
 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
 6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
 9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
 10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
 12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also WALK....IN....THE..... STEPS....OF....THAT.....FAITH of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith

We should see the distinction being made here regarding "good works" and "works of the law." Abraham WALKED in steps of faith, he didn't just HAVE faith. That is what James means when he says

James 2
19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
 22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
 24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Paul and James are talking about the same thing: walking in steps of faith, not just having faith. And that walking by steps of faith is CONTRASTED to works of the law. Yes, when we have faith, THAT faith is counted to us for righteousness, but when WE WALK in STEPS of faith, then WE are imputed righteousness. John agrees:

1 John 3
 5And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
 6Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
 7Little children, let no man deceive you: he that DOETH righteousness (justification) is righteous (justified), even as he is righteous (justified).
 8He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
 9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
 10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.



--- End quote ---

Great post Seth.  An awesome read that really helped me here is Justification by N.T. Wright.  I seriously read the whole thing in 2 days (would have been one day but I started in the car while we were on vacation and ran out of light once the sun went down  :laughing7:)  Anyways, I definately recommend it to anyone and everyone.  I don't agree 100% with everything Wright says but nonetheless I give it Five Stars.

Tim B:
So, it seems that "good works" come from the heart (through the Spirit, I would assume), and "works of the law" are doing things because "it's the law," or perhaps, to get blessings. Is this, a bit of the idea you're getting at Seth?

And on another, but similar, note:

Is it not interesting that it seems there's more non-Christians that do "good works" than Christians? It seems Christians generally do "works of the law" as opposed to "good works."

Some people might insist that non-believers cannot do "good works." But who says that the Spirit is not moving in them too? I see no reason to limit God to just working in those that call themselves Christians. Non-believers (who once "when to church" or called "Christian" by their parents) might not realize it yet, but is it coincidence that many "believers" leave "the faith" and turn agnostic, atheistic, or go after a different belief system, because orthodox Christianity has horrid, anti-Christ doctrines such as eternal torment? I don't think so. God's Spirit is alive in more people than we think. After all, it's in God that ALL men live, and move, and have their being.

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