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Featured The Works of the Law

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by bcbsr, May 16, 2019 at 11:03 AM.

  1. bcbsr

    bcbsr Newbie

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    The Works of the Law

    Typically "Salvation by Works" Christians' spin on the verses where Paul speaks about salvation by faith apart from works is that they interpret "works" to only mean certain works - namely ceremonial works under the Law of Moses, but that living up to works such as not sinning, living up to the 10 commandments, all the moral laws are all conditions for salvation.

    But notice what laws Paul references when he speaks of the righteousness of the law in contrast to the righteousness which is by faith.

    Romans 10:4-6 Christ is the fulfillment{or, completion, or end} of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law,"The one who does them will live by them." (Lev 18:5) But the righteousness which is of faith says this ..."

    The righteousness of the law involves doing the very things that "Faith-in-Works" Christians insist a person must do to be saved. For if we go back to the context of Lev 18:5 which Paul references we find such things as not committing sexual immorality, be holy, respect your parents, observe the Sabbath, do not make idols, do not steal, do not lie, do not swear falsely, do not pervert justice, do not slander, do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. To name a few.

    Thus Paul is saying that making salvation out to be contingent upon such things as obeying the ten commands, loving your neighbor as yourself, and the like is contrary to the righteousness which is by faith.

    Notice also how Paul speaks of the works of the law in contrast to faith as two different things.

    Rom 9:31,32 Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.

    Gal 2:16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

    Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them."
     
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  2. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    The Law of Moses.

    Not any works.
     
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  3. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    I am sorry, bcbsr, but believing that Scripture means what you are proposing it means had no merit for the first 1,500 years of Christian faith. This is why Luther's theology was declared heretical by both Trent and Dositheus.
     
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  4. Kenny'sID

    Kenny'sID Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Again, I've not seen any of those here, not a single one...maybe you're on the wrong website??

    At any rate, if by works you mean the commandments, here is a simple experiment you can try, break several of those as a lifestyle, without repentance, and see what happens on the day of reckoning. And go ahead, tell God all is well because you had faith.
     
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  5. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    Paul made it clear in his letter to the Colossians what he meant by "works of the law":

    Col 2:20 - Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations

    [​IMG]Col 2:21 - “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”

    It is clear what he means. He is perfectly consistent in all of his letters. We are not justified by adhering to laws of ritual purity.
     
  6. Kenny'sID

    Kenny'sID Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do we know what exactly he means by "law".. the whole of Moses's law or just the commandments, or doing good deeds/helping others. OK, I see he goes into some detail there, but I saw nothing about helping others, something which is clearly a must do in the Sheep and Goats parable. Do you know if he claims faith also makes that no longer a necessity?

    I'd ask him but he seems to be very shy about answering questions.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 12:25 PM
  7. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    Well, here's a quote;

    "Thus Paul is saying that making salvation out to be contingent upon such things as obeying the ten commands, loving your neighbor as yourself, and the like is contrary to the righteousness which is by faith."
     
  8. Kenny'sID

    Kenny'sID Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thank you, maybe he'll answer specifically on the "helping others" part of my post, and is it no longer necessary for salvation?
     
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  9. bcbsr

    bcbsr Newbie

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    You mean like Leviticus 19:18 "’Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself." That's part of the Law of Moses and is in the list Paul references regarding "the works of the law", as I noted in the OP.
     
  10. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    Quite a bit carries over.

    To say that we don't need to obey Christ to get into Heaven is pretty absurd.

    Even Protestants who claim that "works are fruits of real, saving faith", would argue that without works to prove that your faith was saving / real, you won't get in.
     
  11. Athanasius377

    Athanasius377 Is a little right of Atilla the Hun Supporter

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    Ambrose of Milan d. 397. Letter 73 to Ireneus:

    . . . Now the world becomes guilty before God by the Law, in that all are made amenable to its prescripts, but no man is justified by its works. And since by the Law comes the knowledge of sin, but not the remission of guilt, the Law, which has made all sinners, would seem to have been injurious.

    11. But when the Lord Jesus came, He forgave all men that sin which none could escape, and blotted out the handwriting against us by the shedding of His own Blood.* This then is the Apostle’s meaning; sin abounded by the Law, but grace abounded by Jesus;* for after that the whole world became guilty, He took away the sin of the whole world, as John bore witness, saying: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.* Wherefore let no man glory in works, for by his works no man shall be justified, for he that is just hath a free gift, for he is justified by the Bath. It is faith then which delivers by the blood of Christ, for Blessed is the man to whom sin is remitted, and pardon granted.*




    Ambrose of Milan. (1881). The Letters of S. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. (H. Walford, Trans.) (p. 436). London; Oxford; Cambridge: Oxford; James Parker and Co.; Rivingtons.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 2:32 PM
  12. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    Law of Moses. Levitical Law.

    Not the works that would naturally and inevitably be done if we are following and obeying Christ.
     
  13. Athanasius377

    Athanasius377 Is a little right of Atilla the Hun Supporter

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    Ambrose was a gentile so that response doesn't work here.
     
  14. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    But it does. Gentiles were aware of Mosaic Law, aware of its history in God's interactions with mankind, and aware of the existence of Jews who still sought to be righteous through the Law of Moses.
     
  15. Athanasius377

    Athanasius377 Is a little right of Atilla the Hun Supporter

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    Yet the gentiles did not follow the Levitical law so how could it be injurious to him (to Irenaeus). Ambrose is not discussing the Jews that were still following the Levitical Law. That explanation does not make sense.
     
  16. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    But Gentiles could, in a misguided attempt to please God, seek to obey the Law of Moses, in the context of Christian faith. Galatians deals with this.
     
  17. Athanasius377

    Athanasius377 Is a little right of Atilla the Hun Supporter

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    The problem with that explanation is that isn't what is being discussed. Furthermore this letter is being written at the end of the fourth century after the hard split between Jews and the Christian church. I am not aware of any movement in Milan or elsewhere that such Judaizing was still going on.
     
  18. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    But again, Sir, Abrose clearly writes about works of the Law. And a recap of the Christian's relationship to the Law of Moses hundreds of years after wouldn't be unusual. Baptist pastors are still explaining this difference to congregations 2,019 years later, so clearly this is a topic which has been explained and ironed out often.

    Even today, on CF, we can find Gentile Christians who believe that God wants them / asks them to keep kosher, rest on Saturdays, celebrate Yom Kippur and Shavuot, etc.
     
  19. bcbsr

    bcbsr Newbie

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    For example, there are a number of examples of such in this thread based what people have posted. To those who aren't "salvation by works" Christians it's rather obvious.
     
  20. Soyeong

    Soyeong Well-Known Member

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    Righteousness is a character trait that is expressed through doing what is righteous. God's Law is His instructions for how to express that character trait, not instructions for how to gain that trait. In other words, there is a difference in behavior between someone who has the character trait or righteousness and someone who does not, and the Law describes this difference. In Romans 3:21-22, the Law and the Prophets testify that the righteousness of God comes through faith in Christ for all who believe, so this has always been the one and only way that there has ever been gain that character trait.

    Obedience to any set of instructions is about putting our faith in the one who gave them to guide us, which is why Jesus said in Matthew 23:23 that faith is one of the weightier matters of the Law. In Matthew 19:17, Jesus said that we want to enter into life, then obey the commandments, which would not be true if God's Law were not of faith. Likewise, in Leviticus 18:5, the one who obeys God's Law will obtain life by it, so it is speaking about a righteousness that is of faith. In Deuteronomy 30:15-16, obedience to the Law brings life and a blessing, so again it of faith. In Romans 3:27, Paul contrasted a Law that was of works with a law that was of faith, so works of the law are of works, while he said in Romans 3:31 that our faith upholds God's Law, so again it is of faith.

    So in Galatians 3:10-12, Paul was speaking about works of the law, which are not of faith in God, and was contrasting them with the Book of the Law, which is of faith in God. He associated Habakkuk 2:4 with Leviticus 18:5, so the righteous who live by faith are the same as the one who are living in obedience to God's Law, while no one is justified before God by works of the law because they are not of faith in Him.

    In Romans 9:30-10:4, Israel failed to obtain righteousness because they pursued the Law as though righteousness were by works in an effort to establish their own instead of by pursuing the Law as though righteousness were by faith, for Christ is the goal of the Law for righteousness for everyone who has faith. So we're not dealing with two different sets of laws, but rather the problem that that they misunderstood the goal of obeying the Law and thus failed to obtain righteousness because they obeyed it in the wrong manner. In Romans 10:4-10, this faith quotes Deuteronomy 30:11-16 in regard to saying that God's Law is not too difficult for us to obey, that the one who obeys it will obtain life by it, and in regard to what it means to submit to Jesus as Lord. So Romans 10:4-6 should not be interpreted as Paul contrasting what Moses said in Deuteronomy 30:11-14 with what Moses said in 30:15-16. Rather, the first word of Romans 10:6 can and should be translated as "moreover" rather than as "but" because Paul was not making a contrast.
     
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