Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
Joseph, you are confounding Justification and Sanctification, in my opinion, when you say "A faith that does not work is a faith that does not save."
Gabriel, thank you for your input.
I certainly don't want to be argumentive . . . I honestly want to understand your perspective . . . please explain to me how it is that you think my statement confounds justification with sanctification? I do not understand why you are making that charge.
I believe (as did all the Reformers) that "a faith that does not work is a faith that does not save."
Please help me understand how that statement is any different whatsoever from these sample statements:
As Dr. John Gerstner said: "Faith is Not a Work, but it is Never without Work"
As Brian Schwertly said: "Justification is by faith alone, but not by the faith that is alone. Biblical Protestants agree with the apostle James "œthat faith without works is dead" (Jas. 2:20). "
"œJustification is by faith alone, but not by the faith that IS alone." - Martin Luther
Like I said: "A faith that does not work is a faith that does not save."
Now, let me break up that statement into its constituent parts.
First of all, I am saying that there are two different kinds of faith. There is true faith, and there is dead faith. Do you agree with me so far, Gabriel? If so, great. (If not, then let's stop here and see why we disagree on this point.)
True faith is self-explanitory. It is simple honest belief in Jesus Christ for the salvation from sin. This is real faith.
Dead faith is false faith. It may outwardly appear identical to true faith for a while. But from day one, it never truly trusts in Christ for salvation. Thus, it is not real faith at all. Perhaps this could be better termed "apparent faith".
Now let me ask you: Which one of these two kinds of faith can save? Does God justify people on the basis of true faith, on the basis of dead faith, or on the basis of both?
I would argue from Scripture that ONLY true faith is salvific. Dead faith cannot save (James 2). Apparent faith is not good enough (Matthew 7:21-23).
In other words, I am saying that salvation is only granted to true, actual, real faith. If a person honestly believes in Christ for salvation, then he is justified by faith alone. Works have absolutely NOTHING to do with this imputed righteousness received by the sinner.
**** Now, on a totally SEPARATE note *****
Of the two types of faith, which one produces good fruit? Clearly, the dead faith does not produce good fruit. The true faith, though, most certainly WILL produce good works. As you well pointed out, this is sanctification, NOT justification. This is progression in holiness, NOT imputed righteousness.
Now let's ask the question:
Q: "Which faith saves?"
Answer: "Only True faith saves. Dead faith does not save."
Now let's ask this:
Q: "Which faith works?"
Answer: "Only True faith works. Dead faith does not bear good fruit."
------------- We have made two separate and distinct statements. Now let's succinctly say BOTH distinct truths in a single statement ---------
"A faith that does not work is a faith that does not save."
This statement is perfectly logical, and is perfectly TRUE.
Notice what is NOT said in the statement. The statement does NOT say that the salvation is *because* of the works! If it said THAT, then I WOULD be confounding justification with sanctification.
But I am saying nothing of the sort. Rather, I am simply pointing out that there are two different kinds of faith, and that only one kind of faith saves. True faith saves; dead faith does not save. True faith works; dead faith does not work.
What kind of faith is true faith? It is a faith that results in works!
Therefore, what kind of faith saves? The only faith that saves is the faith that works!
But it does not save BECAUSE it works. Rather, salvation & works are two DIFFERENT things that EACH flow out from true faith SEPARATELY.
In other words, true faith results in both justification AND sanctification.
The justification is granted BECAUSE of the faith. The justification is NOT granted because of the works.
Roman Catholic theology looks like this:
Reformed theology looks like this:
Justification comes on the basis of true faith.
Works flow out of true faith.
Thus, "the faith that works is the faith that justifies".
And since dead faith brings about neither justification nor good works, we can also say that "the faith that doesn't work is the faith that doesn't justify".
The negatives always go together, and the postives always go together.
(It is kind of like people in the Bible sparing someone's life, judging by how they pronounce the word "Shibboleth". They did not save someone or kill someone because they wanted the word pronounced a certain way. Rather, the basis for saving or killing a person was based on totally different grounds. But they just used their pronunciations of the word "Shibboleth" as a way to properly identify the people they were looking for. It was a method of identification, NOT a grounds for saving or killing someone.)
As you can clearly see in the diagram, justification is NOT on the basis of works, and does NOT flow from works in any way. Justification is on the basis of faith ONLY.
Justification and works both come from faith, but only side by side, in parallel lines.
[Edited on 4-7-2006 by biblelighthouse]