Faith that Works: Judgment According to Works

Other Approaches to Works

Long before we get to James, we really have to see what else Paul says about being judged by our works. This will get confusing before it gets (I hope) clear.

Wright writes,

Paul, in company with mainstream second-Temple Judaism, affirms that God’s final judgment will be in accordance with the entirety of a life led – in accordance, in other words, with works. He says this clearly and unambiguously in Romans 14.10–12 and 2 Corinthians 5.10. He affirms it in that terrifying passage about church-builders in 1 Corinthians 3. But the main passage in question is of course Romans 2.1–16. …

Paul means what he says. Granted, he redefines what ‘doing the law’ really means; he does this in chapter 8, and again in chapter 10, with a codicil in chapter 13. But he makes the point most compactly in Philippians 1.6: he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Christ Jesus. The ‘works’ in accordance with which the Christian will be vindicated on the last day are not the unaided works of the self-help moralist. Nor are they the performance of the ethnically distinctive Jewish boundary-markers (sabbath, food-laws and circumcision). They are the things which show, rather, that one is in Christ; the things which are produced in one’s life as a result of the Spirit’s indwelling and operation. In this way, Romans 8.1–17 provides the real answer to Romans 2.1–16. …

I am fascinated by the way in which some of those most conscious of their reformation heritage shy away from Paul’s clear statements about future judgment according to works. It is not often enough remarked upon, for instance, that in the Thessalonian letters, and in Philippians, he looks ahead to the coming day of judgment and sees God’s favourable verdict not on the basis of the merits and death of Christ, not because like Lord Hailsham he simply casts himself on the mercy of the judge, but on the basis of his apostolic work. ‘What is our hope and joy and crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus Christ at his royal appearing? Is it not you? For you are our glory and our joy.’ (1 Thess. [2].19f.; cp. Phil. 2.16f.) I suspect that if you or I were to say such a thing, we could expect a swift rebuke of ‘nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling’. The fact that Paul does not feel obliged at every point to say this shows, I think, that he is not as concerned as we are about the danger of speaking of the things he himself has done – though sometimes, to be sure, he adds a rider, which proves my point, that it is not his own energy but that which God gives and inspires within him (1 Cor. 15.10; Col. 1.29). But he is still clear that the things he does in the present, by moral and physical effort, will count to his credit on the last day, precisely because they are the effective signs that the Spirit of the living Christ has been at work in him.

This is confusing because Wright — like Paul — does not speak in strict Reformation categories. He is neither Luther, nor Calvin, nor Tetzel. Rather, Wright acknowledges the obvious — that God is very pleased when his children bear fruit of the Spirit and that fruit will redound to their credit at the Judgment.

Indeed, the absence of fruit of the Spirit could well evidence the absence of the Spirit — which is, to say, damnation. But the logic is backward from the usual Reformation logic.

Let me say this symbolically.

Faith -> Works (Faith implies Works or If we have faith, then we’ll have works.)

That’s true. Why? Because —

Faith -> Salvation -> Indwelling Spirit -> Law written on our hearts -> Transformed Lives -> Works of the Torah of the Spirit of Life (NOT works of the Law of Moses, of course).

Now, the series of implications above is not always true, but in the normal case, it is. For example, someone may be hindered by severe physical or mental disabilities. Or someone may have been so poorly educated about the gospel that he does the wrong kind of works, but entirely out of a genuine faith.

Now, logicians affirm (and have proved) that if Faith -> Works, then the contra-positive is also true: ~Works -> ~Faith, that is, the absence of works necessarily means the absence of true faith.

As noted, there are exception, but as a general rule, since faith necessarily produces good works, the absence of good works means the absence of faith.

That does not mean, however, that —

Works -> Salvation

We can do good works because we have saving faith or for entirely different reasons (to win a girl’s heart comes to mind). Therefore, not all works will be rewarded by God. Indeed, some will be entirely rejected (Matt 7:23).

But works produced by the Spirit will always be rewarded by God, because these are the works that show that his cosmic purposes in saving you are being fulfilled.

(Eph 2:10 ESV) 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Therefore, there is no contradiction between Paul and, say —

(Mat 25:34-40 ESV)  34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Jesus very plainly connects the good works of the “righteous” (v. 37) with their salvation. Are they saved because of their works? Well, as Jesus tells the story, they do good works because they’re righteous. They didn’t even know they were serving Jesus! They did the works, not out of duty but out of love. But, of course, this is a mark of the effectively working Spirit!

It’s not that we earn our way into heaven by feeding the poor, but that a mark of the saved is that they feed the poor. It’s how they are because of how they’ve been changed by being with Jesus.

Thus, faith produces salvation and salvation produces works. Therefore, in the normal case, there is no such thing as faith without works. But the test of salvation is faith. Paul says so. It’s therefore true.

Faith — in the ordinary case — does not exist apart from works.

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About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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32 Responses to Faith that Works: Judgment According to Works

  1. Alan says:

    Revelation speaks of two kinds of books.

    Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

    and

    Rev 20:15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    There are “books” and then “the book of life.” The “books” have recorded what we have done, and we will be judged according to what is written in those books. The “book of life” has the names of the saved. If our names are not written in the book of life, we will be thrown into the lake of fire. So:

    name in book of life -> salvation.
    deeds in the “books” -> judgment.

    It appears to me that, for those who will be saved, our deeds determine our reward. That would be the purpose of the judgment.

    In Rev 3 Jesus said:

    Rev 3:5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

    So, our name might be written in the book of life at one point, but then blotted out later. To prevent it from being blotted out, we need to “overcome”, which refers to what Jesus had said in the previous two verses:

    Rev 3:3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
    Rev 3:4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.

    So (speaking to those who are in the church) if we obey what we’ve heard, repenting, living worthily, then our names will be written in the book of life. Otherwise, even though our names were written in the book at one time, they might be blotted out.

    Therefore, our deeds determine in part whether our names remain written in the book of life. And if so, they determine our reward in heaven.

  2. Price says:

    Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

    I wonder if we sometimes confuse “judgement” with “saved or unsaved” ??? Could it be that our works are “judged” not so much to condemn us to hell but to see if the motivation and empowerment were “of Him” or “of ourselves” ?? To reward where reward is due or to teach us more about our motivation and selfishness.. I’m not at all convinced that being judged is always to decide our eternal fate… but then again, I’m just thinking out loud.

  3. Skip says:

    Our works are not only judged to see if we had faith, our works are judged to determine our level of reward in heaven. Our works don’t merit salvation but they determine in or out and reward. All true Christians will be saved on judgement but not all true Christians will receive the same reward beyond salvation. Jesus, Paul, and John speak of levels of reward in heaven. Matthew 6:4; 10:42; 16:27; 25:21 Mark 9:41; Ephesians 6:8; I Corinthians 3:14; Revelation 22:12.

  4. Alan,
    It seems to me you’ve made one assumption in your post … that you some how know the criteria God will use in making his judgements. Based upon the totality of the Text (already cited by Jay), it’s logical to say predict that God might say to me, “David, you did not do all the things I would have liked for you to do, but you had faith … so welcome to my bosom.”

    God is the only judge. Your view and my view don’t count … we don’t even get a vote in the matter.

  5. Skip’s point is important. We have two things to be recognized in the eternal: identity, and track record. While track record is indicative of faith, it is not faith, and thus is not salvific.

    To the person whose identity is not in Christ, his works condemn him. No one outside of Christ deserves any positive “reward” for his works, for they fall far short of the standard of the holiness of God. On the other hand, to the one who is in Christ, there is no condemnation– he already has eternal life through faith in Jesus. So, what do his works mean? His works are a basis for eternal reward.

    What is the point of eternal reward? This is something of a mystery, and hard to get our minds around because of our democratic view of the kingdom of God. The image of making one fellow ruler over ten cities and another ruler over two cities is meaningless to us. Which is why it gets glossed over when those parables are preached. The idea that life in the eternal kingdom might be something other than walking those golden streets and singing in the heavenly choir and ringin’ them golden bells and soaking our tootsies in the river of life– well, we don’t give that much thought.

    Jesus told us to store up for ourselves treasure in heaven. What for?

  6. Jerry says:

    Alan wrote:

    So (speaking to those who are in the church) if we obey what we’ve heard, repenting, living worthily, then our names will be written in the book of life. Otherwise, even though our names were written in the book at one time, they might be blotted out.

    Therefore, our deeds determine in part whether our names remain written in the book of life. And if so, they determine our reward in heaven.

    I have difficulty distinguishing the difference between this and the works-based salvation I was taught growing up. IF I obey what I have heard, IF I live worthily – THEN my name will be found in the book of life.

    Paul says that those with faith have no condemnation because they are in Christ. He does NOT say that this condition is necessarily irrevocable, for it is certain that some “made shipwreck of their faith” (1 Tim 1:19) by not holding onto faith and a good conscience. It is also certain that some were severed from Christ (which implies that they were once joined to Him) and have fallen away from grace (which implies that once they were “standing on the promises” of God’s grace) – see Galatians 5:4.

    Maybe its just hard for us “Campbellites” to talk of God’s grace without qualifying it with IF we obey and work? Paul talked about salvation by grace through faith with works flowing from the faith and love that are in Christ. We prefer to talk about our very salvation being contingent on our works.

  7. Laymond says:

    I am not going yo try to explain it just accept it.

    1Jo 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
    1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

    Jhn 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
    Jhn 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

    Hbr 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
    Hbr 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his.
    Hbr 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

    Rev 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.

    I believe it whether any one else does or not. I am retired from my work of choice here on earth, and I don’t find my life more boring than before, even better, a lot more choises.

  8. aBasnar says:

    And still – it seems to me – we are stuck in a Greek understanding of faith. As soon as we equate faith with faithfulness, repentance with submisson and loyalty, the puzzles are solved. But this needs a paradigm shift. Faith is not defined by what one confesses only. Yet, faith has its starting point with a confession. The new Birth is granted at the beginning of our conversion, without any works preceding it (except a confession of repentance and submission in goint through the water).

    Thus the New Birth and the Gift ofthe Spirit are given at the beginning of opur walk with Christ, but as a conditional gift: Unless we start living accordingly, we show the same attitude as the Israelites: They had faith in the Passover Lamb, and they truly got saved from Egypt when walking through the Red Sea. Yet, a whole generation except 2 persons, died in the wilderness because of disobedience rooted in unbelief. Where they believers? yes, they were in the beginning. Wre they saved? Yes, their first born survived and they got out of Egypt. Did they reach the goeal of their salvation – where they “ultimately” saved? Sorry, no. And this story is the blueprint for outr salvation!

    We are going to be saved or damned according to our works after baptism. We must make use of the gift of the Spirit, destroy the works and desires of our flesh ion His power and let him produce fruit of good works and a renewed character in us. Daily there are numerous opportunities to either resist or submit. This is how we prove our faith our demonstrate our unworthiness.

    There’ll be MANY (what a horrible undefined number!) who will be rejected in the end. And it#s not that they were never true believers or never saved to begin with. They – like Israel – started with faith in the Lamb of God and were baptized like the Israelites were baptized in the Red sea. All of that was real, was genuine. But we so often think, it is sufficient to have a good start. It is not.

    Being saved by Grace through Faith means: Faithfully making use of the power of Grace in our lives in order to crucify our flesh and become pleasing to God. It’s not a “one-time-event” (our conversion), but this phrase describes our whole life as Christians. If we don’t pursue holiness we are not living under Grace, nor by faith – even if we confess both with our lips. And here many are deceived by a Greek/Western understanding of faith that somehow makes a sharp distinction between faith and works. And that seed has been planted by the Devil.

    Alexander

  9. Price says:

    @ Alexander… you said “We are going to be saved or damned according to our works after baptism.” Man, I hope you’re wrong.. That puts my salvation back into my imperfect flesh… which essentially negates Grace altogether…

  10. Laymond says:

    Alex said, “And that seed has been planted by the Devil.” And might I add, it is being watered, by many.

  11. Monty says:

    Jerry said,
    “Maybe its just hard for us “Campbellites” to talk of God’s grace without qualifying it with IF we obey and work? Paul talked about salvation by grace through faith with works flowing from the faith and love that are in Christ. We prefer to talk about our very salvation being contingent on our works.”

    Well certainly those of the Calvinist persuasion aren’t wrestling with the topic of the day. While I certainly teach …salvation by faith in the atoning work of Jesus and believe that those who are in Christ aren’t condemned, that works fine until you read the letters to the churches in Revelation. Most all of which start with God saying, “I know thy works, and end with “he that overcomes shall be saved and he that remains faithful shall be saved.”

    Certainly no one earns salvation, but obviously there’s more to it than saying a sinners prayer or getting wet. Faith has to be lived out and our works validate or invalidate our faith. Even the churches where God said, “I know your works” and then proceeded to say positive things about them, he adds a disclaimer, “but I have this against you.” O.K. God which is it? I’m saved and there’s nothing to worry about or I’m saved but there’s still some question marks in my life? Only those who overcome get the rewards and blessings of eternal life. It certainly appears that many Christians who were “saved by faith” will not “overcome” and be rewarded(saved). Apparently many names will be blotted out of the Book of Life. Based on what, we ask? Based on not being able to “keep” God’s works(Rev 2:26). This isn’t our quest to merit salvation but our ability to live out(keep) God’s works(Eph. 2:10).

    Some (who profess Christ) will not be able to “keep” God’s works(thorny ground?). Judgment (at least to me) is did we maintain that which we committed to when we came to Christ, did we overcome. Did we “remain faithful” even unto death. Did we bear fruit?This must be hard for Calvinist to read. But in some regards our eternal destiny and reward or lack thereof, depends on “us” maintaining a certain level(only God knows if we have)of faithfulness. If that isn’t the case, then why all the fuss in Revelation. I can’t really see any difference in the warnings to the churches in Revelation and Paul’s warning to Christians in 1 Corinthians and in Galatians that those(Chritians) “who live like this” will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    Faithful living is just that, faithful “living”. Not perfection, but life lived in loyalty and faithful service to the King who judges every mans’ works. Sadly, some Christians’ names will be blotted out. But why? A lack of loyalty and a lack of service. “When did we see you hungry or naked….?” Works(fruit) while not needed to become a branch are most certainly required after we become ingrafted into the vine and our fruit is most certainly inspected by the King to determine the health of the branch. All the unhealthy branches are pruned and destroyed.

  12. Laymond says:

    Price said, “That puts my salvation back into my imperfect flesh… which essentially negates Grace altogether…”
    Not if you were accepted, and your heart was truly repentant, you will know the difference in works of God, and works of sin.
    Alex said, “Daily there are numerous opportunities to either resist or submit. This is how we prove our faith our demonstrate our unworthiness.”

    That is exactly what I meant in my other comments about a “daily list”.

  13. aBasnar says:

    That puts my salvation back into my imperfect flesh…

    Since when, Price, can God-pleasing obedience be accomplished by the flesh? Of course I speak of “using” the power of the “Indwelling Spirit” that so often is talked about here. If we live according to this Spirit, we shall live – if not, we’ll die. This means: Sanctification, Fruit, Good Works are the things God will evaluate on Judment Day, not only our lip-service.

    Obedience has to do with our will, with making decisions – but it is not based on nor empowered by the flesh. On the contrary: It kills our flesh!

    Alexander

  14. Alan says:

    David P. Hines wrote:

    It seems to me you’ve made one assumption in your post … that you some how know the criteria God will use in making his judgements.

    I only know what God has told us. But that is quite a lot. Those who are lost will not be able to say God was unfair, because he has told us in advance what he requires of us. And yes, he does require some things of us.

    “Salvation by works” says that a person deserves his salvation because of his works. That’s false doctrine. “Salvation by faith” says that when God deems us to have faith we are saved. But God has told us that without works we have only dead faith. So God does not deem it to be saving faith if not accompanied by works. You can’t be saved without doing the will of God. (Mat 7:21). There is some “doing” that is essential to our salvation.

    The notion that a person can be saved by faith without obedience to God is foreign to scripture. That includes what Paul wrote, as demonstrated in the passages I quoted in the first comment.

  15. Price says:

    @ Alan…I think the argument that we are saved by Faith is an argument that no one is making… The position that some (me) take is that we are saved by Grace….That means that it’s not a merited salvation.. It’s something offered to us that we accept by faith and trust that Jesus was in fact born of a virgin, was perfect in his life, was offered as a sacrifice for our sin (all of them), and rose from the dead… Certainly, our willingness to be lead into whatever God wants us to do is an indication of our true trust in Him. However, our trust as well as what we do will never be perfect and will never merit our salvation.

  16. Alabama John says:

    All over the world today, there are folks hearing about God and Jesus and doing all they can to be obedient to what they think our God wants of them.

    How varied is their belief and actions. Like in our past, most can’t even read or write and don’t have a Bible translated in their language to be read if they could read.

    They are totally dependent on translators to tell them what a christian is and how one should live and worship. Needless to say, they are obeying whoever is doing the telling.

    I will never believe those that are sincere in their heart and babes in Christ will be sent to hell for not agreeing with us.

    Heck, we don’t agree with each other on a lot of things and ifan open and truthful dialog or statement was required when we disagreed, would we say this poster or that that differs with us is bound for hell for not agreeing with me?

    Would sure be interesting wouldn’t it???

  17. Alan says:

    Price wrote:

    @ Alan…I think the argument that we are saved by Faith is an argument that no one is making… The position that some (me) take is that we are saved by Grace….That means that it’s not a merited salvation..

    I haven’t heard anyone here claim that there is any possible way to merit salvation. There’s no dispute on that point. The dispute is over whether you have to *do* some stuff in order to be saved. Doing that stuff does not make one deserving of salvation. But it’s still necessary.

    Read the letters to the churches in Revelation. Salvation is reserved for those who “repent and do the things you did at first”; those who “remember what you have received and heard, obey it, and repent”; etc.

    As Jesus said (Luke 17:7-10) “when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'” There is no contradiction. We must have the kind of faith that causes us to obey; and we still can only be saved by grace. We aren’t good enough. We can’t be good enough. But we still must obey. Grace isn’t a license for disobedience.

    Don’t be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

  18. aBasnar says:

    In the other thread (Peter and James) I try to make my point from Exodus. And the more I write and think about it, the more I begin to see (this is all coming in the process of writing – so such discussions force all of us to think in new ways as well. It’s a bit bopring if the same convictins are being repeated over and over again with the same words and [empty] phrases).

    See, it is entirely by Grace and completely unmerited tat the Israelites could come out of Egypt. All they needed was a lamb.
    Once in the desert it was interily by Grace that they could survive (Manna, water from the Rock)

    This is interpreted by Paul in 1Co 1:13 as types of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism happens only once in a Christians life – the Israelites only escaped Egypt once. The Lord’s Supper is spiritual food and drink throughout our life time, such as the Manna and the Water from the Rock (which was Christ).

    Without these two, no Israelite could ever have left Egypt and no Israelite could have survived in the desert. Why did so many die in the wilderness?

    Because their hearts were not fixed on the Lord and on the Promised Land. Once life got dificult, they wanted to go back to Egypt, they wanted a visible God, they murmured and rebelled. ALL of them wanted to be saved FROM Egypt, but only a few had a vision of God and the Land.

    See, a Gospel Presentation that only focusses on the forgiveness of sins will produce the same results. Christians won’t understand why there is this desert journey between now and heaven. But the desert is here, we cannot skip it. We HAVE TO go all the way through the desert in order to reach our inheritance. Walking ist part of our salvation process! Works are part of our salvation process. If we do God’s will, we will proceed, if we murmur and sit still, we won’t make progress in our journey, will we?

    Now, did their “walking alone” bring the Israelites to the Promised Land? NO! And neither do our works alone bring us there. We are brought out of Egypt and sustained in the desert by Grace alone (!) – but unless we walk/work we will not reach the inheritance. It’s the nature of a Path that we need to walk it ALL THE WAY. If we make a good start and then decide to top, we won’t make it. Even if we stop in sight of the Promised Land. It is on the other hand not that important whether we rush along or walk at a slower pace, if we took a rest in between, even fell back for a while – as long as we take up the journey again.

    Again: It’s only in the power of the Manna and the Water from the Rock (Christ) that we are enabled to even survive in the desert, that we are stregthened to walk and do good. So all Glory has to go to God alone. But without our walking, all of that profits us nothing.

    Alexander

  19. aBasnar says:

    Corr: the scripture refernce is 1Co 10:1-13

  20. Price says:

    @ Alan…interesting that you used the passage to the churches in Revelation to support your apparent argument for salvation based on works…Regarding Ephesus…the first one mentioned….is not the admonishment that they have relied upon their works and forgotten in whose name they were doing them? They had all these works they relied on and yet had forgotten their first love… And, I don’t think Paul was completely out of his mind and uninspired when he repeated mentions over and over again that we are saved by GRACE, (not by works, and this not of yourselves, etc.,etc.)… Paul didn’t contradict John…

    @ Jim…we do indeed grow in our understanding, maturity, knowledge, obedience…etc. but none of that merits salvation or Paul was a liar and we should discard his writings….Perhaps a word study of Sanctification would be appropriate…

    At what point was the prodigal son no longer a son ?

  21. aBasnar says:

    At what point was the prodigal son no longer a son ?

    At what point was he reconciled and reinstated as son?

    Alexander

  22. Price says:

    @ Alexander… He was NEVER not a son… He was reconciled to his Father once he repented and returned and started acting like the son that he was… But, we never lost his sonship…He tried to give it back and say he was unworthy but the Father would hear none of that senseless talk… and as I recall it was the son that never left that was rebuked..

  23. aBasnar says:

    Son or not – he was separated from the Father and had died among the swine hadn’t he returned, Price!

    Alexander

  24. And he STILL would have been a son, Alexander, even in death. A sadly delinquent son, and one with nothing left to claim but his father’s name, but a son, nonetheless– not a stranger. That son was estranged by distance and folly, but his identity never changed. Our place in Christ is because of our new birth identity. The beautiful thing about being born again of the Spirit is that we NOW have eternal life (John 5:24). Even a sin that might result in our physical demise has no power to change that.

    We keep hearing about how repentance somehow supposedly restores a misbehaving believer to his place in Christ. But the one-and-only repentance which can truly affect the believer’s status as a son is if that believer repents of his faith in Jesus Christ.

  25. Amen, Charles and hallelujah!

  26. aBasnar says:

    Charles: He was dead wven though he was alive. His deadness was his lostness.

  27. Doug says:

    Excuse me for coming in late to this discussion but after reading the comments, Alexander… you seem to be trading how many works does it take to please God (and get my name written in the book of life) for how much obedience does it take to please God? Both of these are troubling to me because they are unanswerable questions in our present life. It seems living under either of these two options causes a spirit of fear and uncertainty. So is that how you live Alexander? You might have developed so much obedience that you have convinced yourself that you are okay but still, that would only be your conclusion and quite frankly, You have to admit that conclusion might be faulty. .. don’t you?

  28. aBasnar says:

    Doug I cannot see how you come to the idea that I cound/quantify works? That’s never been my point. I just say we have to ork.

    An analogy: I could also have said, a man should grow a beard. My whole argument is about the beard; but your question sounds like: “How many whiskers make a beard?” And that is in fact a silly question, isn’t it? The only person who would propose such a question is one who would go for the absolute minimum of what is neccessary to grow in order to be recognized as beard.

    To me, ALL these discussion strive to fix the minimum of what God requires. I just want to grow a full beard.

    Alexander

  29. laymond says:

    Doug, do all you can as long as you can. Where is it written that God accepts anything but your best as a sacrifice.

  30. laymond says:

    Jay said “Paul says so. It’s therefore true.”

    Jay are you saying Paul was a prophet? That he spoke only the word of God?
    That is putting Paul right up there with Jesus isn’t it?

    Deu 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die

    That is exactly what happened to Moses, he died in the desert, was not allowed to enter the promised land. he spoke what God had not commanded him to speak.

  31. Doug says:

    Alexander, I guess it was just my mind that took me to the “How many works” and “How much obedience” place. I apologize for saying you went someplace that you did not. But, that seems to be the problem, at least for me, when salvation is attached to works or obedience. I naturally begin to wonder if my works/obedience are in measure to my ability to do works and be obedient. For me , that’s an uncomfortable place to dwell because it’s full of uncertainty. Christ’s mercy and grace on the other hand, is a much more pleasant place to dwell because I know He is able to save. I definitely don’t want to be one of those people who wonder on their death beds whether they have done enough work or been sufficently obedient.

  32. Doug says:

    After re-reading Jay’s comments, I believe he is saying that if the Spirit is active within a Christian, there should not be a concern that the works that Christian produces are good works and will be judged as worthy of reward. So I need to live within that certainty than within the uncertainty that comes upon me from time to time. I supose that it’s a “I believe, help thou my unbelief” sort of thing?

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