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Noel 1525

Salvation: Faith alone or Faith + Works

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I believe this question has been asked before, but decided to open another topic about it to debate it. So what are your opinions about salvation, is it by faith in Christ alone, or by faith and works. Two verses that support each side are

 

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. - James 2:14-26

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

- Ephesians 2:8-9

 

For this debate, give your opinion on it, and evidence to back it up

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For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

- Ephesians 2:8-9

 

Ephesians 2 is within the context of works of the Jewish law. It is not a condemnation of all works, but specifically the works of the Old Covenant. 

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I love getting to pull out EC theology. See, the truth is that both faith and works (whatever their relationship may be) are needed for man to be brought into saving union with God. That's how love is. It trusts and acts, and it is a communion of love that we were created for. Nonetheless, we are broken. Sin's power has too much a hold over us as it is for us to ever have the faith we need in God, or to ever do the works God's love demands.

 

Basically, we cannot be saved by works because we commit too many sinful acts and stained good ones. We also cannot be saved by our own faith, because our faith is too faulty, riddled with doubts, insecurities, and disobedient attitudes. To be united to God by our own works would be akin to flying with a broken wing, and to be united to God by our own faith would be akin to receiving water through a thoroughly cracked pipe. Neither is sufficient.

 

This is why we affirm that salvation is truly sola gratia and solus Christus. If man and God are to be brought together in a saving relationship, man must come to God and God must come to man. This is the heart of the Incarnation. Because God Himself became a man, there is a true act of divine grace and human obedience in the person Jesus. 

 

See, for EC, Jesus redeemed humanity by living and dying for humanity in the sense that He believed and worked, loved and lived, in perfect communion with God on behalf of the rest of us, not merely in the legal sense of imputation in classic Reformed theology, but in a real, deep union through His human nature. He is the imago Dei in which humanity was created, and though we were severed from that nature by sin, through the work of the Holy Spirit we are brought back into union with Christ, which brings union with God through the hypostatic union of His two natures.

 

This is where faith and works come into play in our lives. The Holy Spirit unites us to God by and through faith, not inspiring our own hearts to trust God, but by uniting us to Jesus and making us share in His own faith. Jesus believed, and in Jesus' belief we now believe also. This is where salvation begins, as we personally become part of Jesus' life of faith and works.

 

In this way, we believe in solus Christus. Our salvation is entirely in Christ. He lived vicariously for us, believing and working on our behalf to bring us to God through Him. Our works and faith as believers are simply participation in His own, and so it is all of Christ. We believe in sola gratia, as God's self-giving through Jesus Christ, who is Himself the grace of God, is the basis for our salvation, not our works. We even affirm sola fide in as much as we are saved through means of faith, not necessarily our own faith, but the faith on which ours is based, Jesus' own believing God vicariously for us, in which we participate through the Spirit.

 

To provide Scriptural evidence for this would take a lot of work, as it comes mainly from the many themes and trajectories of Scripture more than any specific texts, but I would suggest the whole book of Hebrews and much of Romans.

 

TL;DR: Salvation comes through faith, and requires works, but the faith and works which save us are Jesus' faith and works, of which our own faith and works are personal, ontological participation. Apart from Christ, no faith or works can save us.

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Wesker i didn't mean to say it was one sided, but just pointing out a verse, i've been very conflicted about Faith vs works because the church I go to doesn't teach much about works, and says they're unnecessary, but after reading the book of James, I've been curious.

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In my humble opinion, you can have great love for Christ and belief in salvation, but still be an utterly terrible person. As an old-fashioned Catholic, I believe faith and works need to go together.

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In my humble opinion, you can have great love for Christ and belief in salvation, but still be an utterly terrible person. As an old-fashioned Catholic, I believe faith and works need to go together.

I don't think you can love Christ at all and be a terrible person. How could you actually love Jesus while not loving all of the people He loved enough to die for?

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In my humble opinion, you can have great love for Christ and belief in salvation, but still be an utterly terrible person. As an old-fashioned Catholic, I believe faith and works need to go together.

I think your definition of 'old-fashioned Catholic' needs re-working. :P

 

Really? No one has anything to say about my long EC rambling?

Everyone's probably waiting for Wesker or Yves to address it. I'm honestly not informed enough to do so.

Edited by Lefebvre

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Guest JAG

Faith produces good works.  Good works aren't what saves you.

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Guest JAG

Here is your evidence for what I just said.  The only reconciliation between these is that true faith does produce good works, yet good works is not necessary for your salvation.  This is why a person who comes to Christ at the end of their life, even on their deathbed, who places their faith in Him, may see the Kingdom of God.  The parable of the laborers in the field shows that God offers grace even to those who are unable to labor as long as others.  This is so, as Paul wrote in Ephesians, no one could boast about their salvation.

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

- Ephesians 2:8-9 -

 

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

- James 2:17 -

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Nicene Nerd, I agree with what you said, and have no need to debate it. Christ lived and died for us, which is as simple as that. I recently made up my mind on this, and see that Faith is what saves us, works are just the fruit from the tree of faith.

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Works do not save you, believing in Jesus Christ with all your heart is all you need to do! 

 

Good works are not needed to be saved!

Being saved just causes us to desire to do good works.

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I personally do not think faith alone can save you. If you believe in God but do hundreds of immoral things, you are not really living with God, you simply acknowledge him. A true believer will want to imitate Christ in their everyday life so people are more apt to see God within them, and want to know God as well.

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I personally do not think faith alone can save you. If you believe in God but do hundreds of immoral things, you are not really living with God, you simply acknowledge him. A true believer will want to imitate Christ in their everyday life so people are more apt to see God within them, and want to know God as well.

But how do these Good works save you? 

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But how do these Good works save you? 

These good works keep you on the right PATH. If we felt we could do whatever we wanted without rules, it would be a pretty immoral world to be in. But God has laid down a law, and when we follow what He feels is right for us then we follow the right path. If we do as we want, without good works, we move away from God and His teachings.

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These good works keep you on the right PATH. If we felt we could do whatever we wanted without rules, it would be a pretty immoral world to be in. But God has laid down a law, and when we follow what He feels is right for us then we follow the right path. If we do as we want, without good works, we move away from God and His teachings.

So by this do you mean that good works simply help us follow God, or do these good works save us? 

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Being saved is giving your life to God, and following the commands He gave you. Following His commands requires the use of good works.

 

So being saved is all about what you do? What does Christ have to do with it, especially since He is eternal life itself?

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So being saved is all about what you do? What does Christ have to do with it, especially since He is eternal life itself?

Every man comes short of the glory of God.

 

but many can SAY they believe in God and show completely different. the good works are what proves we truly are Christians...

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but many can SAY they believe in God and show completely different. the good works are what proves we truly are Christians...

Now you're speaking a language I understand. I don't entirely agree, but I'm comfortable enough.

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"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord" - Romans 6:23

 

To me this means that death strips us of our sin as that is our punishment for being sinners. But if we believe and love God we are offered the gift of eternal life.

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You will know them by their fruit. If you believe in Jesus, but continue to intentionally do bad, you probably weren't saved or transformed to begin with.

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