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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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bruno232

Sola Fide doctrine

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Greetings friends,

As a catholic - but first and foremost a christian - I struggle with a question.

It is true that the Pauline Epistles point toward salvation through grace by faith alone.

 

However, I am not convinced that Jesus thought this. Was is not said to the rich man who asked how he could have eternal life that he should 1) follow the law; 2) follow Christ; 3) Sell his possessions.

 

I understand that (3) is a specific command, not a universal one. This being said, if the sola fide doctrine were true, why then would Christ ask of somebody to follow the law in order to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?

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p.s. : I did of course not imply to say that I have a better understanding of the Gospels than Paul did. I just wonder how one can come to this conclusion based on the teachings of Christ...

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Hello Bruno,

 

Welcome to ChristForums!

 

The law Christ told the man to follow was impossible to be done. The man (as well as all of us) ought to have realized that righteousness does not come through the Law. Notice that in Mark 10:20 the man said he had kept all the commands Christ mentioned from his youth. This means the man believed he was perfect, thus no need for a Savior.

 

By the works of the Law will no flesh be justified (Galatians 2:20).

 

 

In terms of the Lord Jesus, remember that He was asked what works (plural) were to be done for God. The Lord Jesus incorporated their idea of works and used it by speaking of the work (singular) wrought by God in faith in Christ (John 6:28-29).

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Greetings friends,

As a catholic - but first and foremost a christian - I struggle with a question.

It is true that the Pauline Epistles point toward salvation through grace by faith alone.

 

However, I am not convinced that Jesus thought this. Was is not said to the rich man who asked how he could have eternal life that he should 1) follow the law; 2) follow Christ; 3) Sell his possessions.

 

I understand that (3) is a specific command, not a universal one. This being said, if the sola fide doctrine were true, why then would Christ ask of somebody to follow the law in order to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?

 

 

I would say that by following the law a person would prove his love and respect for God and his authority and would create a standard that others should imulate. In doing this the person would show their desire to sacrifice not only his time and his personal freedoms, but also, with the inclusion of the sale of his possesions, his status and wealth. This may seem cerimonal to some, but it is truly the heart that God looks at and his obediance in these matters is a testimony of his faith in Jesus Christ as his lord and savior.

 

It all ties into one simply thing. recognizing Jesus as our Lord and savior and that he died on the cross for our sins.

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Thank you for your responses!

 

Would you say then that since one is saved through recognition of Jesus Christ, it could imply that he leads a very sinful life? Or does the very sinful life he leads - e.g. to commit adultery, to steal, to murder,... - would serve as a proof that he never truly believed in Christ?

 

For the more fundamental question is this:

I know we all fall short of the glory of God.

Was the passion and the resurrection of Christ /in itself/ enough to absolve us from our sins, given that we believe in Him?

 

And if so, doesn't 'Sola Fide' give us a 'licence' to lead a very sinful life, knowing that when believe in Him we will still be forgiven?

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Thank you for your responses!

 

Would you say then that since one is saved through recognition of Jesus Christ, it could imply that he leads a very sinful life? Or does the very sinful life he leads - e.g. to commit adultery, to steal, to murder,... - would serve as a proof that he never truly believed in Christ?

 

For the more fundamental question is this:

I know we all fall short of the glory of God.

Was the passion and the resurrection of Christ /in itself/ enough to absolve us from our sins, given that we believe in Him?

 

And if so, doesn't 'Sola Fide' give us a 'licence' to lead a very sinful life, knowing that when believe in Him we will still be forgiven?

 

In terms of your first question I would refer to 2 Timothy 2:19. Some people, myself included, may take quite some time to "break free" from certain sins they were heavily involved in before the Lord saved them. A few things are still a struggle for me, but by the grace of God, I haven't fallen into them again in many years.

 

For your second question, the answer is yes. Romans 4:5 is clear on this.

 

For your third question, I would say that if committing sin after one becomes a Christian prevents them from entering heaven then both Peter and John are not in heaven.

https://www.christforums.org/forum/c...n-19-10-sinned

But the fact is, we know that they are.

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Greetings friends,

As a catholic - but first and foremost a christian - I struggle with a question.

It is true that the Pauline Epistles point toward salvation through grace by faith alone.

 

However, I am not convinced that Jesus thought this. Was is not said to the rich man who asked how he could have eternal life that he should 1) follow the law; 2) follow Christ; 3) Sell his possessions.

 

I understand that (3) is a specific command, not a universal one. This being said, if the sola fide doctrine were true, why then would Christ ask of somebody to follow the law in order to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?

 

Remember that we believe that only by God's grace do we come to faith and from that faith springs love that ( informed by the Holy Spirit) eagerly follows the Law of God. We Lutherans call this the Third Use of the Law. The first use is to restrain wild and wanton behavior, the second ( and chief) use is to reflect our own sins back to us and let us know how seriously our sins offend God and the Third Use of the Law is how regenerated Christians seek to pattern their lives. With God, remember, all things are possible, so that if the rich man were regenerated by the Holy Spirit, he would have eagerly cast off all that he had for the sake of following his Savior.

 

The rich fellow kept the law externally, as he was taught to do. Our Blessed Lord pointed out that God's Law was to be kept and followed from the heart. It all goes back to faith as the bedrock, but God's grace is the foundation of that bedrock. We can do nothing on our own, nothing we can do will please God. The Holy Spirit regenerating us, beginning the life of faith in Holy Baptism and continuing ( and strengthening) that life of faith through the sacraments of Holy Absolution and the Lord's Supper, is Who provides us the faith and hope we need to live God pleasing lives. We also need to hear the Word proclaimed.

 

When one worships manna, as did that poor rich fellow ( he valued his great possessions over following God), salvation becomes impossible. The Holy Spirit makes all things possible, but we must passively accept the Lord's movements in our hearts and not vainly imagine that aught we do has anything whatever to do with the finished work Jesus Christ Himself completed for our salvation on that Cross.

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Would you say then that since one is saved through recognition of Jesus Christ, it could imply that he leads a very sinful life? Or does the very sinful life he leads - e.g. to commit adultery, to steal, to murder,... - would serve as a proof that he never truly believed in Christ?

For the more fundamental question is this:

I know we all fall short of the glory of God.

Was the passion and the resurrection of Christ /in itself/ enough to absolve us from our sins, given that we believe in Him?

And if so, doesn't 'Sola Fide' give us a 'licence' to lead a very sinful life, knowing that when believe in Him we will still be forgiven?

So many thoughts all buzzing around in my head, I don't know where to begin.

 

Let's start with "given that we believe in Him", because @just_me was correct that it all ties back to our recognition of Jesus as Lord and Savior. So what does it mean for a man (or woman) to "believe". Even the demons 'believe' and tremble ... yet none wound argue that their belief saves them. James speaks of a dead faith that cannot save in his letter. So what does it mean to "believe in Him"? The answer to this question will answer many of the others, because it gets to the heart of what it means to be saved, to belong to Christ as one of His sheep, to be the Church and Body and Bride.

 

I am not a theologian, so I am qualified to speak with certainty about no one except me, yet I am the foremost authority in the world on the experience of my transformation and life. So I will speak of what I know. Once I was dead in sin, sinning and teaching others to sin. The final rung on the ladder in Romans. I was approaching the reality of death by cop vs life in prison (like all those that had disappeared before me) and decided to take control of the time, place and method of my departure. I believed with absolute certainty that there was no god ... the god of Christmas and Easter was something adults told children and no more real than Santa or the Easer Bunny. Pascal's Wager: every thinking man facing the end of his life must wonder 'what if I guessed wrong?' I pondered the possibility that God might exist and that I would face him at the judgement seat and be damned to hell (see, I knew the facts, I just didn't find them credible). I concluded that in that billion to one chance, I deserved to be in Hell, surrounded by beings that hated Him as much as I did, because if God was real, then it was Omnipotent God who chooses to do nothing about human suffering that was truly the monster.

 

I have gone into all of this unnecessary detail because people ask me how I can be a Calvinist and believe that people have no freedom to choose or reject God. I have shown you where I was. How can my salvation not be the Soverign act of God for reasons that have NOTHING to do with any merit in me?

 

So when God revealed himself to me, road to Damascus style, and offered an even exchange of everything that I had for everything He had. The DEATH I had planned, for a new LIFE that He would give. MY POVERTY for His RICHESS. My DESPAIR for His HOPE. My PAST for His FUTURE. Everything for everything. That was the offer that God made to me. [God made me an offer I couldn't refuse - literally].

 

So for me (my only area of expertise), believing in Jesus as LORD (God incarnate), Lord (Boss of my life) and Savior (the one that takes away sin) involves a new heart with two rules carved so deep that they can never be removed:

 

“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” (Luke 10:27 NASB)

 

So to now answer some of your "what ifs" ...

Nobody DESERVES the sort of amazing grace and unconditional love that God offers.

The transformation is accomplished by God based on our faith (which God supplied) and the work of Jesus Christ on the cross ... we are powerless to add or subtract from God's Miracle of salvation!

No man can be transformed and remain the same. That was the point James was making about the "dead faith" and the point that Christ made both ways ... those who do 'good works' apart from Christ still go to Hell because He never knew them, yet those who Jesus knew (foreknew) can easily be recognized by their fruit (including good works).

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How should we interpret in the light of ''sola fide'': [h=3]Matthew 7:21[/h] “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

 

 

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How should we interpret in the light of ''sola fide'': Matthew 7:21

 

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

 

 

Context in the immediate sense, and Scripture to interpret Scripture in the broader sense.

  • Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Notice Matthew 7:21, "but the one who does the will of the Father who is in heaven". Now read John 6:40 which already answers a question if posed as to who does the will of the Father. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." In other words by faith the saints shall persevere till the last day. Which leads me to a couple of problems with Matthew 7:21-23. These people obviously knew of Jesus, and Jesus obviously knew too much about them being omniscient. He knew all about them and their works. But notice, Jesus says, "I never knew you". That is, He says "I" never "knew" you. It doesn't say "you" never knew Him. The use of knew stands in stark contrast to the way it is used elsewhere in Scripture:

 

When the Bible speaks of God knowing particular individuals, it often means that He has special regard for them, that they are the objects of His affection and concern. For example in Amos 3:2, God, speaking to Israel says,“You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” The Lord knows about all the families of the earth, but He knew Israel in a special way.* They were His chosen people whom He had set His heart upon. See Deuteronomy 7:7,8; 10:15. Because Israel was His in a special sense He chastised them, cf. Hebrews 12:5,6.*God, speaking to Jeremiah, said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” (Jeremiah 1:5). The meaning here is not that God knew about Jeremiah but that He had a special regard for the prophet before He formed him in his mother’s womb. Jesus also used the word “knew” in the sense of personal, intimate awareness. “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers’ “ (Matt. 7:22,23). Our Lord cannot be understood here as saying, I knew nothing about you, for it is quite evident that He knew all too much about them – their evil character and evil works; hence, His meaning must be, I never knew you intimately nor personally, I never regarded you as the objects of my favor or love. Paul uses the word in the same way in I Corinthians 8:3, “But if one loves God, one is known by him,” and also II Timothy 2:19, “the Lord knows those who are His.” The Lord knows about all men but He only knows those “who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28) – those who are His!

 

Obviously, these people were doing works, works which were prophesying and casting out demons, were they a bad work? Matthew 7:21-23 therefore emphasizes a type of relationship which Jesus has with His elect. If good works alone were good enough then anyone doing good works is righteous. We'd have a case for performance based salvation or works righteousness, and little if no need for the righteousness of Christ.

 

There are other places in Scripture which contrast the same work. For example the Bereans in Acts 17:11

  • Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

And,

  • John 5:39-40 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

Both are performing the same work, searching Scripture but why is only one noble and the other without eternal life? The Bereans unlike the Pharisees did not search for their own authority. And the Pharisees believed and taught works righteousness and performance related salvation, that is, they made everything in Scripture about them, "I, me, and myself". That is, they did not see Christ through faith which the Scriptures bear witness.

 

God bless,

William

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Slight correction. John 6:40 (instead of Matthew 6:40).

Thanks brother,

 

I edited my post.

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The forgiveness of sin is by faith in Christ Jesus not works of the law. But this is also written

“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

 

God sets the condition not mankind. Take the first passover. If a wise egyptian painted their door frames with blood they by their faith would have kept the destroying angel out of their home. Likewise if a grumbling jew thought it silly and failed to paint their doorframe with blood the destroying angel would have entered their home. For they did not believe God. People are not spared because of their heritage but because of their faith in God. Likewise Jesus is our passover lamb. Jesus is how God chose to forgive sin.

Edited by Randy

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