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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Are We Justified By Faith Or Works Or Both?

Roman Catholics & the Eastern Orthodox church believe that works are a part of justification.
The Eastern Orthodox church says that justification is by faith & works.
Roman Catholics believe same.
Both have a false gospel.
The Bible says that those who teach a false gospel are to be cursed (Galatians 1:9).
This is serious.

Here are just a couple of the sources where the EOC & Roman Catholics get it wrong:

Eastern Orthodox
Decree 13

We believe a man to be not simply justified through faith alone, but through faith which works through love, that is to say, through faith and works.  But [the idea] that faith can fulfill the function of a hand that lays hold on the righteousness which is in Christ, and can then apply it unto us for salvation, we know to be far from all Orthodoxy.  For faith so understood would be possible in all, and so none could miss salvation, which is obviously false.  But on the contrary, we rather believe that it is not the correlative of faith, but the faith which is in us, justifies through works, with Christ.  But we regard works not as witnesses certifying our calling, but as being fruits in themselves, through which faith becomes efficacious, and as in themselves meriting, through the Divine promises {cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10} that each of the Faithful may receive what is done through his own body, whether it be good or bad.
Roman Catholics
Council of Trent, Canons on Justification
CANON XXIV.-If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.

Many Roman Catholics cite James 2:24 as their authority for their view - regardless that the Bible has so many passages and individual verses that show that their understanding of that passage is incorrect. The overwhelming evidence of justification by faith alone could make a head swim by finding them all.

I realize that it can be confusing as to what James meant, because at first, it may seem to contradict so many other portions of Scripture.

I have been reading through the book Holiness by J.C. Ryle, and something he said really stood out to me.
"We are frequently told that a man is "justified by faith, without the works of the law," by Paul.  But not once are we told that we are "sanctified by faith, without the deeds of the law."  On the contrary, we are expressly told by James, that the faith whereby we are visibly and demonstratively justified before man, is a faith which "if it has not works is dead, being alone." (James 2:17.)  I may be told, in reply, that no one of course means to disparage "works" as an essential part of a holy life. It would be well, however, to make this more plain than many seem to make it in these days."  - J.C. Ryle
James 2:24 is in a context that is demonstrating that a living faith will produce works that prove to men that our faith is a real faith and not a said faith.
That particular verse in James is speaking of a different kind of justification that is before man & not the being declared righteous by faith kind of justification before God.
Many many verses make it clear that we cannot be justified before God by our works.
Romans 4, Romans 5:1, Ephesian 2:8-10, & Romans 3:28 are examples.
Plus, Galatians warns against those who were trying to add the works of the law back in.
Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?  Galatians 3:3 NASB

Works are the fruit of a living faith, but they don't make the faith efficacious.
Faith is a gift of God - not of works.
Forgiveness of sins is not a result of our works either.
Unlike what the EOC teaches, works are witnesses to a living faith & have to do with sanctification.
Works can't add a thing to what Christ did on the cross...not physical baptism, church, or communion, etc.
Works are evidence of a life being transformed by the Holy Spirit.
We don't keep ourselves saved or help make ourselves declared righteous by works.
Justification and sanctification go together, but they are also distinct.
A true Christian is given the desire to obey Christ and to fight against sinful desires.
"The only righteousness in which we can appear before God is the righteousness of another — even the perfect righteousness of our Substitute and Representative, Jesus Christ the Lord.
His work, and not our work — is our only title to Heaven.
This is a truth which we should be ready to die to maintain."
- J.C. Ryle

"Justification is the reckoning and counting a man to be righteous for the sake of another, even Jesus Christ the Lord.
Sanctification is the actual making a man inwardly righteous, though it may be in a very feeble degree."   - J.C. Ryle
Justification is the act of God for us and is not easily discerned by others.
Sanctification is the work of God within us and cannot be hidden in its outward manifestation from the eyes of men.   - J.C. Ryle
J.C. Ryle quotes are from:

Added Food For Thought For Christians: 
Created For Good Works - Voice of Reason Podcast

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