2 What Does the Bible Say About Faith and Works?

 

If you hav’ta, got’a, need’a know,

where do you go?

 

To the beginning.

To the source.

To the root.

 

To the Word.

To the Bible.

 

What Does the Bible Say About Faith and Works?

 

An apparent contradiction between the need for Faith vs Works appeared at the very beginning of Christian belief, as expressed by Paul and James.

 

Paul’s View: We are not saved by works.

28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.                                                   Romans 3:28 NAS

 

James’ View: Faith must be shown by our actions, our works.

 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”                                                      James 2:17-18 NAS

 

The Old Testament View of Faith and Works

 

Works for Righteousness (Salvation)

25 “It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.                                                            Deuteronomy 6:25 NAS

 

For the Israelites in the Old Testament, obedience to the Torah (“Law” or “Instructions”) was the way to righteousness.

Sin was “missing the mark,” of the goal of compliance with the “Law.”

Chata2398 : Greek – sinned

do wrong, commit a mistake or an error; …

  1. make to miss the mark; …

  2. miss the mark, miss the way

 

Under the Torah, a sinful act required a sacrifice for atonement, in order for a return to righteousness: for the penalty of sin was death.

Examples:

12 “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.                                                            Exodus 21:12 NAS

 

2 “For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the LORD; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.                                                   Exodus 35:2 NAS

 

16 ‘Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.                                                Leviticus 24:16 NAS

 

 

The New Testament View of Faith and Works

 

Works not for Salvation (Righteousness)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.                                                         Romans 6:23 NAS

 

Nonetheless, the Greek of the New Testament Greek, uses a word for “sin” with a similar meaning to the Hebrew.

hamartía266 : Greek – sin

(a feminine noun derived from a1 “not” and méros3313, “a part, share of”) – properly, no-share (“no part of”); loss (forfeiture) because not hitting the target; sin (missing the mark).

 

Again, the concept of sin is “missing the mark” (as of a target).

 

However, Paul writes against the need to fulfill the requirements of the Law in order to achieve salvation (righteousness).

28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.                                            Romans 3:28 NAS

 

 

Works from Salvation

 

As believers in Christ, we no longer are bound to the Torah for our righteousness, for our salvation.

 

Nevertheless:

  • As Christians, we are to respond with acts of love.

34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”                                                     John 13:34, 35 NAS

 

  • As Christians, we are to respond with acts of trust.

13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.                                                 1 Peter 1:13 NAS

 

  • As Christians, we are to respond with acts of obedience.

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.                                                       Romans 12:1 NAS

 

  • As Christians, our acts are our “fruit,” i.e., God’s love made visible to the world.

2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.                                                 John 15:2 NAS

 

  • As Christians, we cannot rely on Jesus to be our “Savior” and not submit to Him as our “Lord.”

21Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.                                                            Matthew 7:21 NAS

 

 

No one can work for faith.

No one can work for salvation.

 

We can only work in response to the saving relationship we have received through faith.

 

 

What have you been taught about Faith and Works?

 

 

What Does the Church Say About Faith and Works?

 

I’ll write about that …

 

…next time.

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

TLThomas

 

It’s ok to doubt, if you check it out!

Be a Berean!

 10The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 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.                   Acts 17:10, 11 ESV

 

See also

1 By Faith or by Works? That is the Question

By Faith or by Works? That is the Question

 

Please join me in this journey of discovery.

  • Leave a comment, or ask me a question.
  • Share this blog with others, whether they are doubting, or not.
  • Take what I say and CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF!

 

© 2017 by the author

 

One thought on “2 What Does the Bible Say About Faith and Works?

  1. I know we have all heard “the penalty for sin is death” many times, however, I have yet to find that actual statement in scripture. However, as you have stated, Paul writes in Romans 6:23 “the wages of sin is death.” So if the first statement is true, does that mean “wages” are a “penalty”? Does anyone regard their paycheck as a “penalty” or punishment? No, of course not! How many employees do you know tell their bosses “Please stop penalizing me with all these paychecks!” I don’t know of any. That is because wages are what we receive in return for our work, a consequence, compensation, what we deserve for what we have done.

    So perhaps instead of saying, “the penalty for sin is death,” it might be better to say, “the consequence of sin is death.” That is what I believe Paul is saying. Death is what we receive in return for our (sinful) work, a consequence, our compensation, what we deserve for what we have (sinfully) done. Also understand, “death” may come in different forms, it may be physical, but it might also be relational, spiritual, or other forms as well, depending on the sin.

    What do you think?

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