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Why does Paul make statements that sound a lot like salvation is at least partially by works?

Discussion in 'Christian Theology Forum' started by Jason L, Jun 1, 2019.

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  1. Jason L

    Jason L New Member

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    "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life:"

    Of course, anyone is free to comment, but I'm really hoping for a response from someone who has very indepth knowledge of the Bible, preferably also with knowledge of Koine Greek.

    So, I'm reading Romans 2 and come across verse 7. I've been a Christian a long time and I've taken Bible study seriously for a long time. I'm a loooong way from shifting to believing salvation is anything other than through grace alone because there is just too many other clear scripture to that effect. I'm familiar with how this verse can be jammed into that box of salvation by grace alone, but it does take a bit of finagling. It doesn't really directly contradict the doctrine, but it seems to be far short of the best way of phrasing if one wanted to prevent someone from arriving at the conclusion that our good deeds contribute to salvation; especially considering that our natures, perhaps our pride, very easily slide in that direction without due vigilance. I would never phrase it like that. If I heard a preacher make a phrase like that, I'd be very critical and wonder if he was part of a cult like Mormonism that teaches "salvation is by grace, after all that we can do". I believe all scripture is inspired by God and I believe the phraseology is part of that although I realize that is partially if not mostly lost in translation. So...is it a problem that arises in translation somehow? I'm not interested in just making this verse fit in a 'salvation through grace alone' paradigm. I've seen that done already. What I want to know is why its worded this particular way rather than another way that makes it clear that works aren't earning our salvation. What was Paul trying to get across using the specific phraseology?
     
  2. 101G

    101G Well-Known Member

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    Addressing the OP, first welcome to the site. second, this has been a problem for the new in faith christian, and some seasoned ones alike. but to the matter at hand, when the Holy Ghost taught me on the matter is when the question came up about James and Paul. "Faith without works is dead". well the Holy Spirit quickley brought to my attention, "we are save to work" no contridiction here. it like in the natural world. one don't work unless hired first. once hired then one gose to work and receivess his reward/pay. for the Lord Himself told us so.

    Matthew 20:1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man [that is] an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
    Matthew 20:2 "And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
    Matthew 20:3 "And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
    Matthew 20:4 "And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
    Matthew 20:5 "Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
    Matthew 20:6 "And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
    Matthew 20:7 "They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, [that] shall ye receive.
    Matthew 20:8 "So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them [their] hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
    Matthew 20:9 "And when they came that [were hired] about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
    Matthew 20:10 "But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
    Matthew 20:11 "And when they had received [it], they murmured against the goodman of the house,
    Matthew 20:12 "Saying, These last have wrought [but] one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
    Matthew 20:13 "But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?Matthew 20:14 "Take [that] thine [is], and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
    Matthew 20:15 "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
    Matthew 20:16 "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

    sometimes a parble, or a saying gives us more information that what we are looking for. for they may have more than one meaning. here, one must be HIRED/ saved before they go to WORK.

    Hope this helped.

    PICJAG.
     
  3. Jason L

    Jason L New Member

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    Yes, good points. Thank you for writing. That is sort of the conclusion that I've come to as well; that although I already knew that we are saved unto good works, the union between the two realities (a person receiving the gospel and that person's subsequent good works) apparently are more intimately entwined than I have previously grasped which is where my difficulty stems from. May I ask what is your first language?
     
  4. tigger 2

    tigger 2 Active Member

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    James 2:29:

    For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. - ESV.

    For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. - KJV.

    For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. - NASB.

    For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead. - NRSV.
     
  5. Waiting on him

    Waiting on him Well-Known Member

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    James 1:4 KJV
    [4] But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.


    Tecarta Bible
    Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The works Paul references are the works of the Holy Spirit. Man( flesh) always wants to take the credit ( steal the glory ) no flesh will glory in his presence.
     
  6. Enoch111

    Enoch111 Well-Known Member

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    Once you understand that salvation includes sanctification, and sanctification includes good works, as well as patient continuance in righteousness, all such difficulties vanish.

    Also, one does not take an isolated verse to determine a doctrine. So Christians need to know everything regarding salvation and how practical righteousness and good works fit into the Christian's life. And it is all spelled out in the Bible.
     
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  7. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    The scriptures are not defined by word-smithing, but "must be discerned spiritually."

    Paul is simply reflecting on the same point made by James, regarding faith without works...which is another poor choice of words. But both are to be understood as: what truly is in a man is evidenced by his actions. Jesus said it best, "A tree is known by its fruit."

    But we should all take that as a lesson: The only correct interpretation of scripture...is by the Spirit.
     
  8. quietthinker

    quietthinker Well-Known Member

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    We all know what a hypocrite is....someone who doesn't deliver in spite of all the glowing words. Paul is saying, the faith of Jesus saves, not with permission to remain sinning but from sinning. There are plenty who spruke glowing words but deny them by their behaviour. If you do not deliver, if the spirit of God is stifled and suppressed so that men can continue in, and justify their carnal ways they will not see life irrespective of what they profess. You don't need to be a scholar of Greek to understand this.
     
  9. brakelite

    brakelite Well-Known Member

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    Justification...sanctification...glorification. All essential components of the plan of salvation, that none alone can produce, nor isolated can copmplete. They all form part of a whole, and once we accept Christ and Him crucified, while being able to trust in the promise that He who has begun a good work will complete it, we must not treat the work of Christ at Calvary (justification) in isolation to what He accomplishes after (sanctification) from His High Priestly ministry in heaven, as if through justification alone we are saved.
    So while we are justified by faith through grace, we cannot expect to be saved without the works that come as a result of being sanctified...our minds being renewed and our characters formed after the character of Christ, and our works reflecting those changes made by the Spirit of God, it being a work of a lifetime. So claiming to be "saved" simply on the basis of receiving Christ, is misleading. Sure, we are justified by faith alone, but being justified alone does not mean saved, albeit certainly a promise. If that makes any sense.
     
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  10. Episkopos

    Episkopos Well-Known Member

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    Everyone will be judged by their works. There is no "grace" judgment. What is grace doing for us? What are our doctrines doing to us? That's more the idea.

    Welcome here! :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
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  11. charity

    charity Well-Known Member

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    'But after thy hardness and impenitent heart
    treasurest up unto thyself wrath
    against the day of wrath
    and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
    Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
    To them who by patient continuance in well doing
    seek for glory and honour and immortality,
    eternal life: ... ... '

    (Romans 2:5-7)

    Hello @Jason L,

    In Romans 14:10, and 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul tells his hearers that they will all have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ, yes: but there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit (Romans 8:1): for the believer it is a matter of either reward or loss, not life or death.

    Romans 2:6-7 concerns the day when God will judge the secrets of men's hearts (Romans 2:16): Those who have never heard the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ for example, but have had the evidence of the things that God has made; the heavens declaring His handiwork and so on (Romans 1:19-20), gentiles who have not had the law of Sinai but only the law of conscience. Also those Jews who have not come into faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but are under the law. These are they who will be judged 'according to their works'. This is the subject of Romans 1 & 2, and of how God is able to be just, as well as the justifier of those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:26).

    Praise His Holy Name!

    Thank you for the question, Jason.
    In Christ Jesus
    Chris
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
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  12. H. Richard

    H. Richard Well-Known Member

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    Good works are what a child of God does as he/she is led by the Holy Spirit. They are not the ideas that a person comes up with.

    Nor are they required for salvation. Salvation is totally the work of Jesus (God) on the cross. AS long as you know the difference you are okay.
     
  13. justbyfaith

    justbyfaith Well-Known Member

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  14. Episkopos

    Episkopos Well-Known Member

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    We are being saved by grace through faith. There is no done deal at any point in the process. Unless God declares this. Paul is describing how we lay hold of the eternal life....the Jesus kind of life...right now.

    But it is through many trials and much patience that enter the kingdom in the eternity to come. That is for God to determine come judgment day.

    So then people get confused over what is for right now...and what is for later. For now we enter into the kingdom of God in the Spirit....but we also have a living HOPE that we will be deemed worthy of an eternity in the kingdom of God...later.
     
  15. Davy

    Davy Well-Known Member

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    Rom 2:7-8
    7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
    KJV


    Notice the next 8th verse is the opposite contrast, i.e., doing works of wickedness and the reward is indignation and wrath.


    Paul gave this same kind of contrast in Galatians 5 when he contrasted the works of the flesh and punishment by the law vs. the works of The Spirit which are not against God's laws. IF... we walk by The Spirit then we are not under the law, he said.

    Our works don't save us, but they do follow us in rewards and make up our righteous clothing. After having come to Faith in Christ Jesus the result of that Faith should produce good works. Our Lord Jesus and His Apostles admonished us to keep in well doing while waiting on Jesus' return. Paul was not saying that saves us.

    So can falling away to do evil like those in verse 8 put a believer in danger? Yes, most definitely. It is not up to us to condemn a believer to hell fire. Only our Lord Jesus has been given that authority. But we can give rebuke to fellow-believer that is sinning, because that is not condemning one to the lake of fire; it is only pointing out a problem that might lead to it.
     
  16. Ernest T. Bass

    Ernest T. Bass Well-Known Member

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    Romans 2:6 "Who will render to every man according to his deeds;"

    The type of works one does, whether righteous or unrighteous, determines one's eternal abode, heaven or hell. All God will do on judgment day is hand out to each one of us the sentence that fits the type of works we each choose to do.

    Those that worked righteousness (Acts of the Apostles 10:35) will be the ones accepted with God, that will hear the sentences well done thou good and faithful servant....enter into the joy of thy Lord.

    Those that worked unrighteousness will hear the sentence to depart from Me, I never knew you. Those that 'doeth evil' will receive a sentence of "tribulation and anguish" Romans 2:9.

    Therefore works are a determining factor to if one will be saved or lost. The issues lie with those that have allowed themselves to follow Luther's faith onlyism. They put themselves in a position where they will not see the clear difference between;

    1) working to earn/merit some thing
    and
    2) meeting the condition placed upon a free gift as salvation.

    The obedience God requires from man in order to be saved is simply a condition GOD has placed upon HIS free gift of salvation.

    This issue came up on another forum and I mentioned Galatians 6:8 "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."

    The law of reaping and sowing. Obviously one must sow BEFORE he can reap and one cannot reap what he has not sown.

    Therefore one must sow to the Spirit BEFORE he can reap everlasting life. The sowing earns nothing but is clearly a necessary condition one must first meet before one can reap everlasting life.

    If one reaps what he sows, then those that sow nothing will reap nothing. Too many want to reap [everlasting life] having sown nothing [obedience to God - Hebrews 5:9]. If one wants to reap the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) then one must sow to the Spirit, obey the Spirit's written word, the Bible. The unrighteous/disobedient will not reap love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance for they did not sow to the Spirit but to the flesh doing "works of the flesh" (Galatians 5:19) and will receive the sentence from God 'Depart from Me'.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  17. justbyfaith

    justbyfaith Well-Known Member

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    If there is a condition placed on salvation, then it isn't a free gift.

    The reality is that being born again is a work of the Holy Spirit that God works in people, not through works of righteousness which we have done, but through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.

    This work of making a man born again is by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

    We cannot add our good works to the equation, as being part of what saves us.

    God apprehends us by instilling faith into our heart.

    Faith is an attitude of surrender and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ; and therefore saving faith will produce works if given the opportunity.

    But scripture is clear that works/obedience is not the catalyst for us being saved; that the only true catalyst for salvation is faith alone in Jesus Christ: and that through such a faith we are made into new creatures in Christ; whose inclination is to love not in word or in tongue only but in deed and in truth. Such a love as is instilled into us through faith in the finished work of the Cross is the fulfilling of the righteousness of the law within us.

    Therefore, it is not a condition that is placed on salvation; but salvation itself is something that will always produce the thing that you previously thought was a condition.

    It is a miracle of God's grace that turns us from disobedient sinners into obedient saints. A saint, by nature, will do good works; but he is not redeemed by his works but rather he is redeemed by virtue of the fact that he is a saint.

    When we turn to Christ our direction is changed from heading towards sin, death, and hell to heading towards righteousness, life, and heaven. Our behaviour will be different because of this change in direction. But we are not saved by our new behaviour, but by virtue of the fact that our direction has changed.
     
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  18. Ernest T. Bass

    Ernest T. Bass Well-Known Member

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    There is the necessary condition of sowing BEFORE one can reap everlasting life. Claiming conditions are not necessary would have people reaping what they have not sown which is an impossibility. And clearly Paul did not say nor imply one is earning everlasting life by sowing. But again, the sowing is a necessary condition placed upon a free gift.

    Hebrews 11:7 the saving of Noah's house was a free gift of God's grace but God still required Noah meeting condition of building the ark to procure the grace - saving of his house. Building the ark was a work, as sowing, and was a necessary condition that had to be met before his house could be saved. If you agree with me that the saving of Noah's house was by grace, the you must also concede the work he did in building the ark earned him nothing, but just a necessary condition.
     
  19. justbyfaith

    justbyfaith Well-Known Member

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    We are the soil that is sown into...does the soil always sow the seed that is planted in it?

    Granted, I know that I spend time sowing the Lord's word into my own life by spending time reading it...

    But for the most part, most people do not hear the word for the first time by picking up a Bible and reading it...normally they are affected by an evangelist.

    Therefore, the initial sowing is most often done by an evangelist...and this means that no work is done on the part of the person who may be identified as soil.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  20. Ernest T. Bass

    Ernest T. Bass Well-Known Member

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    Each individual must do his own sowing, no one can sow for another.

    Again, From Romans 2:6 God will render to every man according to his own deeds. Therefore one reaps what he sows for himself. One then must first sow (present tense) to the Spirit if wants to reap (future tense) everlasting life.
     
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