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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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1John 3:4-6 Continuing to Sin?

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Continuing to Sin?

 

1John 3:4-6 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

 

John is clear here that sin is associated with a certain behavior - namely lawlessness. And as Jesus appeared to take away our sins, those who live in him purify themselves from sin. If a person does continue to sin, that indicates they had never come to know Christ. This is an indicator of whether one has been born of God.

 

But realize also that the sense in which John is speaking is that of overall lifestyle or the general characteristic of the person. He's using the Greek Present Tense here, which as I mentioned previously he uses in this sense, as opposed to the aorist which would speak of individual events of sin. He's not speaking of what a person might do uncharacteristically from time to time. Nor is he speaking of sinless perfection here. Nonetheless, as we will see throughout this chapter, this characteristic is measurable. It is something which can be seen and determined to a relative degree, which is his point of mentioning this.

 

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I believe that bible says that whosoever says that there is no sin in him is a liar, and that the truth is not in him. We have an advocate with God for forgiveness of our sins. What I think John 1 3:4-6 means is that a person must turn from a sinful lifestyle and follow that advocate. A person cannot continue to live in sin and also be a Christian. Its the act of turning from the pleasures of the world that shows that the believer is also a doer. I believe the bible requires this.

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I believe that bible says that whosoever says that there is no sin in him is a liar, and that the truth is not in him. We have an advocate with God for forgiveness of our sins. What I think John 1 3:4-6 means is that a person must turn from a sinful lifestyle and follow that advocate. A person cannot continue to live in sin and also be a Christian. Its the act of turning from the pleasures of the world that shows that the believer is also a doer. I believe the bible requires this.

 

A couple of problems I see with that interpretation is first of all is that John uses the past tense saying, "No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him" So it's not possible to know Christ and then at some point in the future to live a lifestyle of sin. For if that were the case then there would be people who continue to sin but who had known him, which is contrary to the doctrine John is teaching here

 

Secondly, and by "require" I take it that you mean require to be saved, you would be advocating the idea that one's salvation is contingent upon one's on going performance, which is inherently contrary to the gospel promise of salvation by faith apart from works.

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A couple of problems I see with that interpretation is first of all is that John uses the past tense saying, "No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him" So it's not possible to know Christ and then at some point in the future to live a lifestyle of sin. For if that were the case then there would be people who continue to sin but who had known him, which is contrary to the doctrine John is teaching here

 

Secondly, and by "require" I take it that you mean require to be saved, you would be advocating the idea that one's salvation is contingent upon one's on going performance, which is inherently contrary to the gospel promise of salvation by faith apart from works.

 

This is precisely what I am saying, a person cannot continue in a sinful lifestyle and be right with God, to put it plainly. And God absolutely 'requires' us to perform certain steps to become a christian, and therefore saved by the blood of the Lamb. The bible says that once a person returns to sin, its as if Christ is begin crucified again. Saying that a person who says there is no sin in him is a liar, is the truth. The bible says this. Christ's blood being able to wash us from this sin, and that sin to be remembered no more, is also true. These two statements do not contradict each other. The bible says who is a believer is a doer. This is also fact. (At least if you believe the bible.) Faith without works is dead. Paul says this, too. So our performance, or our actions as if we turn from sin, which is part of our performance, does determine where we spend the afterlife. I don't think the bible says at any place, that a person can behave as they wish after being baptized.

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Isn't have sinful thoughts or ideas in your heart or mind a sin as well? Or is it only sin in action? This verse speaks to action, but what of thoughts or aspirations?

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Isn't have sinful thoughts or ideas in your heart or mind a sin as well? Or is it only sin in action? This verse speaks to action, but what of thoughts or aspirations?

 

Jesus said that anyone who hates his brother has already committed murder and anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery. Thoughts as well as acts can be sinful.

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The person who said, "Faith without works is dead" was not an apostle and opposed Paul's gospel.

 

@theophilus @RevT

 

Would love to hear your takes on this, especially yours RevT in consideration of Luther's objections to James.

 

God bless,

William

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The person who said, "Faith without works is dead" was not an apostle and opposed Paul's gospel.
Are you saying that the book of James should not be part of the canon? Are you saying the church was wrong to accept the book of James as canonical? Are you saying the book of James was not written by James the brother of the Lord?

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William informed me that the response I worked on for so long was deleted for some technical reason. Didn't save it and don't have time to repeat myself right now. But as for my view on James you can view the relevant article on my site, which includes Luther's take on it at http://bcbsr.com/books/jam_intro.html

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Jesus said that anyone who hates his brother has already committed murder and anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery. Thoughts as well as acts can be sinful.

 

Thank you. This is what I was thinking I just couldn't quite place it well enough to paraphrase or cite a source.

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William informed me that the response I worked on for so long was deleted for some technical reason. Didn't save it and don't have time to repeat myself right now. But as for my view on James you can view the relevant article on my site, which includes Luther's take on it at http://bcbsr.com/books/jam_intro.html

 

Your whole argument falls apart because you do not address the fact that the "brother of Jesus", in Hebraic culture and language is often used to mean cousin (or even fellow believer), as there is no separate word in Aramaic for cousin. Therefore James the brother of Jesus and author of the book of James was an Apostle, James the Less. Also, Luther changed his view on James in his later edition of the commentary on James. However, even if the Apostolic origin is debated and debatable, it could still be inspired scripture just as the Gospel of Luke or Acts is, due to its Apostolic witness (or imprimatur) and agreement with Apostolic dogma. And your accusation of nepotism being the culprit is way out there. Talk about a logic leap.

 

Luther in the end treated the book of James in the same manner in which all of the antilegomena were and should be read- in the light of the homologoumena. IOW, James is read in the light and context of Romans, not vice-versa. But the antilegomena are still canonical. When approached this way there is no contradiction between the books, rather they are complementary and serve to teach the intimate relationship between faith and its fruit.

 

To rightly quote Luther: "Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man would stake his life on it a thousand times. This confidence in God's grace and knowledge of it makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and all His creatures; and this is the work of the Holy Ghost in faith. Hence a man is ready and glad, without compulsion, to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, in love and praise to God, who has shown him this grace; and thus it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light fires. Beware, therefore, of your own false notions and of the idle talkers, who would be wise enough to make decisions about faith and good works, and yet are the greatest fools. Pray God to work faith in you; else you will remain forever without faith, whatever you think or do." (Preface to Romans)

 

What's even more interesting is that you consider Luther an astute scholar of scripture but the odds would suggest that you probably reject much of his teaching, in particular core doctrines he clearly taught. A very common occurrence these days.

 

What amazes me is that after nearly 2000 years of faithful reading and debate, there are still people that find reconciling two simple books of the Bible so difficult. It's a no-brainer for the Church to see these both as complementary scripture- so why is it so hard for the few on the fringe?

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RevT,

 

You're wrong and misinformed on many counts there. Luther did not change his opinion of James, but rather changed a few words in his introduction to James. As for Luke and Mark who were not apostles, if you read their accounts they were not writing doctrine but recording history. They did not even interpret Old Testament scripture, unlike Matthew and John. So your argument falls apart. Furthermore you fail to deal with actual content of the epistle of James in its contradiction of Paul as I pointed out, nor the fact that James tinkered with the gospel in Acts 15. Paul opposed James' doctrine not only in Galatians and Romans, but taught contrary to the regulations James imposed on the Gentiles. Thus the "Apostolic witness" is against James.

 

As for your speculation of James being James the less, it already dealt with that in the article I wrote.

 

 

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RevT,

 

You're wrong and misinformed on many counts there. Luther did not change his opinion of James, but rather changed a few words in his introduction to James.

 

No, he changed his mind. He also changed a few words in the introduction. The fact that he put James in his translation shows he regarded it as canonical. Any other argument that says otherwise is just silly. Stop trying to create your own Luther.

 

As for Luke and Mark who were not apostles, if you read their accounts they were not writing doctrine but recording history. They did not even interpret Old Testament scripture, unlike Matthew and John. So your argument falls apart.

 

How does that effect the fact that they wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? How does that somehow establish the idea that James isn't Spirit-breathed?

 

Seems like you are making a number of big logic leaps all too often.

 

Furthermore you fail to deal with actual content of the epistle of James in its contradiction of Paul as I pointed out, nor the fact that James tinkered with the gospel in Acts 15. Paul opposed James' doctrine not only in Galatians and Romans, but taught contrary to the regulations James imposed on the Gentiles. Thus the "Apostolic witness" is against James.

 

I didn't deal with it because no such problem exists. It's all in your head I think. James and Paul agree. James, Paul and the Jerusalem Council agree. What's the problem here? Your private, personal interpretation of scripture. It's clumsy and lazy.

 

As for your speculation of James being James the less, it already dealt with that in the article I wrote.

 

 

You dealt with it? How? Your article makes assumptions and doesn't back them up.

 

Next!

 

 

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I didn't log in to see a bunch finger pointing and posturing. Can't people conduct conversations in a polite matter anymore?

 

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Rev T,

 

Obviously due to your prejudice and refusal to call into question your own preconceived notions you're unwilling to entertain the notions I have challenged you with. I have provided proof to validated my view point but you're blind to it, so I don't see much point in discussing the matter further. But I leave you with this - NO, Martin Luther did not change his mind concerning James, and this is a fact. His last preface to James says, "it is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works" (See https://matt1618.freeyellow.com/preface.html for the actual changes made) So you're saying that Luther was silly to include James in his Bible. Apparently you were the one who created your own Luther.

 

He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him. I suggest in the future you study before answering, lest you just appear "silly".

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Luther states the following:

 

See, this is what James means when he says, 2, 26: "Faith apart from works is dead." For as the body without the soul is dead, so is faith without works. Not that faith is in man and does not work, which is impossible. For faith is a living, active thing. But in order that men may not deceive themselves and think they have faith when they have not, they are to examine their works, whether they also love their neighbors and do good to them. If they do this, it is a sign that they have the true faith. If they do not do this, they only have the sound of faith, and it is with them as the one who sees himself in the glass and when he leaves it and sees himself no more, but sees other things, forgets the face in the glass, as James says in his first chapter, verses 23-24. http://beggarsallreformation.blogspo...-restless.html

 

Two different worthwhile sources:

As to the second source, something worth considering...

 

There are three things about Luther and James that might interest us today:

 

First, Christians overwhelmingly believe the book ought to be in the Bible. But knowing that such a great scholar questioned it opens a fascinating window on to how we came to have our Scriptures and the complicated history of Church councils and synods that defined them.

 

Second, it sends us back to the core of our beliefs: that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, and that salvation is by grace through faith. It's quite right to major on these themes in our reading and preaching, and to test Scripture against these doctrines. All Scripture is inspired, but – as Luther says – all Scripture isn't equally useful.

 

Third, it sends us back to James to find out what made the early Church fathers believe it was scriptural or 'canonical'. And it has wonderfully practical advice about how to live the Christian life. James stops us from thinking what we do doesn't matter as long as we believe the right things. It matters very much.

 

God bless,

William

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And yet, Abraham was justified by faith alone apart from works. For in Gen 15:5 he was given the promise, and in Gen 15:6 he was declared righteous, there being no intervening works between the promise in Gen 15:5 and its fulfilment in Gen 15:6, which is the scriptural basis Paul uses for his argument in Rom 4, which says, "If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about— but not before God. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.""

 

Contrary to James who says that faith without works is dead and "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?", in fact it is faith without works that saves. It is faith without works which justifies. Thus Paul continues, "Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works" Rom 4:4-6

 

And as for the promise, James believes it was not fulfilled until Gen 22 when Abraham did a work of faith, thus contradicting Paul's usage of Gen 15:6.

 

James 2

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?

22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?

23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." (Gen 15;6) And he was called the friend of God.

24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

 

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James believes it was not fulfilled until Gen 22 when Abraham did a work of faith, thus contradicting Paul's usage of Gen 15:6.

The writer of Hebrews also points to Abraham's offering of Isaac as evidence of his faith.

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

(Hebrews 11:17-19 ESV)

Faith alone saves us but it is what we do that shows whether or not we have saving faith.

 

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The writer of Hebrews also points to Abraham's offering of Isaac as evidence of his faith.

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

(Hebrews 11:17-19 ESV)

Faith alone saves us but it is what we do that shows whether or not we have saving faith.

 

I agree, but the issue is what was James talking about, based upon what James ACTUALLY SAID. That's what I was pointing out.

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Rev T,

 

Obviously due to your prejudice and refusal to call into question your own preconceived notions you're unwilling to entertain the notions I have challenged you with. I have provided proof to validated my view point but you're blind to it, so I don't see much point in discussing the matter further. But I leave you with this - NO, Martin Luther did not change his mind concerning James, and this is a fact. His last preface to James says, "it is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works" (See https://matt1618.freeyellow.com/preface.html for the actual changes made) So you're saying that Luther was silly to include James in his Bible. Apparently you were the one who created your own Luther.

 

He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him. I suggest in the future you study before answering, lest you just appear "silly".

 

Oh please, give us all a break. Have you even read his commentary on James?

 

As this whole topic has been flogged to death on the internet for decades and in books for centuries, there's no point me having to explain anything to you. Here's some links

 

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com.au/2008/06/luthers-epistle-of-straw-comment.html

 

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2007/04/03/six-points-on-luthers-epistle-of-straw/

 

Also, it is important for you to understand and comment on my points about how Luther (and orthodox Lutherans) read and understand the canon of scripture. If you are trying to assess Luther's theology without understanding that, your wasting your time and mine- actually, ours.

 

Lastly, I never said "Luther was silly" to include James in the canon or even insinuated it. I strongly assert that he was wise to include it, despite the doubts he and most of his contemporaries had regarding its canonical status. It is, and always will be scripture, no matter how many new spirits and armchair internet teachers and scholars say it isn't or shouldn't be.

 

And you're absolutely right about one thing- I will not entertain "challenges" from those who deny scripture, (especially since after thorough investigation over decades I am convinced I am correct on this). St Paul tells me not to entertain your doctrines. Rom 16:17, Titus 3:10

 

What never ceases to amaze me is the arrogance of modernists. After centuries of faithful reading, studying, and living the Bible by literally billions of Christians no orthodox body of Christians has ever turfed the book of James out. No community of faithful has stumbled across this "contradiction" to the point of rejecting it. Along comes some modernist, with a Bible he bought at a store (which was translated by actual scholars) and says "you billions of people are too dumb to see what I have discovered". Amazing.

 

 

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'Sin' remains until that which is mortal shall have put on immortality, and that which is corrupt shall have put on incorruptibility; and that happens at the resurrection.

 

But "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Rom 8:1,2

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But "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Rom 8:1,2

 

It is indeed a fact that there are as many scriptures that point in different directions as there are different denominations based upon them.

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