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Featured Is being Righteous different from being justified? James and Paul

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Guojing, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. def

    def Member Supporter

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    How can we be justified by faith alone when the Bible has justifications by grace, by works, by His blood and by the faith of Christ? Therefore, we need to work out how those other justifications are related to salvation.

    With the advent of digital Bibles; we can now search, classify, and collate teachings; basically doing data mining. We apply data mining tools and AI techniques that were not available to Luther. Also, we have forums such as CF that provides us with a means to exchange and correct ideas. In a way, Protestant theology is a casualty of modern science.

    Though we are not justified by faith alone, I believe we are saved by faith alone because faith allows us to accept the gospel and faith allows us to trust God when the works seem impossible. What this mean is that Luther may have misunderstood justification. Bible scholars, like N.T. Wright, are questioning: 'What did Paul really mean by justification?'.

    Protestants use to quote Ephesians 2:8-9 to support justification by faith alone, making salvation synonymous with justification. And they have to omit verse 10 to make the point stick. If you think that verse 10 is not part of the context in verse 8 - saved by grace through faith - then salvation comes by accepting the gospel, no good works involved. And Jesus says, there is only one who is good.
     
  2. iLearn

    iLearn New Member

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    Seems like the road to salvation for the Gentiles (me and you) are way easier than the Jews, according to you. Poor them LOL. I may say the road to salvation is very broad, easy and beautiful for me isn't it? People certainly going to love and fall for this kind of easy gospel. Just believe the Lord without the need to prove it with actions. I am not complaining though. Let them follow the broad road. As for me, I prefer the difficult road, the one that says the sheep must hear, follow and obey the shepherd (the works to do), instead of the shepherd following the sheep and is the servant of the sheep. Whatever floats your boat. Peace.
     
  3. def

    def Member Supporter

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    1. Another thing that James did not teach is the resurrection of Jesus, but it does not mean it never happened.

    2. I have a rule of thumb in Bible study, when people create a definition for a term, I would be very careful with what they have to say because a definition is a premise for their logic. Grace is defined in Hebrews 4:16.
     
  4. Guojing

    Guojing Well-Known Member

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    Makes you wonder why despite this, not many more unbelievers want to be a Christian, isn't it? I personally think its because many Christians themselves do not believe this, they think its like other religions where you need to do works to prove that you are saved.

    That is why non Christians get a mixed message from us. That is a sadder outcome, if you ask me.

    Once you truly understand what the Apostle Paul is saying, you will understand that God made it so easy for us Gentiles to be saved, is primarily to provoke the Jews into jealousy because the latter rejected his Son.

    Romans 9-11 would be a good start for you to understand that, especially when you reach that magical Romans 11:11 =)
     
  5. ~Zao~

    ~Zao~ Great is Thy Faithfulness Supporter

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    Never automatically except maybe in the rudimentaries of the faith. Sanctification is faith upon faith leading to glory upon glory, or more commonly termed growth.

    Aaron was anointed with oil, but the reference was to anointed one.
     
  6. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I think you have it precisely reversed. It's justification that's by faith, but that's only part of salvation.

    Your citation of Wright is interesting. Wright notes that the theological tradition has had a tendency to expand justification to include everything about salvation, whereas in fact it's used by Paul for one specific part. Justification is about establishing (or recognizing in some contexts) our status as accepted by God. Salvation, however, is a larger concept.

    Paul clearly says that we are *justified* by faith, not saved by faith. Faith is what makes us Christ's. In passages such as 1 Cor 6 we see that now that we are Christ's we are required to act like it. (A wide range of scholars will say that Paul teaches justification by faith but judgement by works, although that verbal agreement conceals a wide range of interpretation.)

    But justification doesn't cover the whole Christian life, nor everything that Christians mean when they talk about salvation. That is certainly not just by faith. For Paul, the key concept is being in Christ, and the implications of that. Justification is the basis for that, but not its entire content.

    You're correct that modern scholarship hasn't left Reformation theology untouched. The biggest problem is that Calvin and others misunderstood righteousness. They thought it meant moral perfection. Hence the idea that we are justified by imputations of Christ's righteousness to us. Paul never actually says this, and a proper understanding of the 1st Cent context makes it clear that it isn't needed. But I'm not aware of any scholarship that has challenged the specific role that justification plays in Paul's theology, both its importance and the fact that it's only a specific part of the whole story of salvation.
     
  7. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Eph 2:8 is an interesting passage because it says we are saved by faith. First, it's quite likely that Paul wasn't the author. Whether he was or wasn't, that passage is using saved in a place where Paul would use justified when he's being more careful. Since justification is the basis for salvation, that's understandable. As you note, 2:10 makes it clear that faith isn't really the whole thing involved in salvation.
     
  8. def

    def Member Supporter

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    I must admit I was careless. We are not saved by faith, but through faith. We are justified by faith. Good pick up.
     
  9. Soyeong

    Soyeong Well-Known Member

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    The Bible speaks about our salvation in the past, present, and future tenses, so our salvation is all-encompassing in that we have been saved from the penalty of our sins (Ephesians 2:5), we are being saved from continuing to live in sin (Philippians 2:12), and we will be saved from God's wrath on the day of the Lord (Romans 5:9-10). In Titus 2:11-14, our salvation is described in the present tense as being trained by grace to do what is godly, righteous, and good, and to renounce doing what is ungodly. Furthermore, verse 14 says that Jesus gave himself to redeem us from all Lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own possession who are zealous for doing good works, so this is describe both past and present aspects of our salvation.

    Likewise, we could point to multiple instances where Abraham was justified. In Romans 4:2-3 and Genesis 15:6, Abraham was justified because he believed God. However, Hebrews 11 lists examples of saving faith and in Hebrews 11:8 and Genesis 12:1, Abraham was listed as an example of faith when he obeyed the call to go out to the place where he was to receive his inheritance, so it could be said that he was justified prior to Genesis 15:6. Likewise, in James 2 and Genesis 22, Abraham was justified when he offered Isaac, so he was also justified after Genesis 15:6. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus said that faith is one of the weightier matters of the Law, so obedience to God should always be considered to be acting in faith.

    Righteousness is a character trait of God that is expressed by doing what is righteous, and God's Law is His instructions for how to express that character trait, not for how to attain it. So when God declares us to be righteous by grace through faith, He is also declaring us to be someone who therefore expresses His righteousness through our actions in obedience to His instructions for how to do that found in His Law. When we are righteous, we have right standing before God, and the same for when we are justified.
     
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