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Thoughts on Faith & Works

Discussion in 'Scripture,Tradition,Reason-Anglican & Old Catholic' started by everbecoming2007, Dec 8, 2019.

  1. everbecoming2007

    everbecoming2007 Well-Known Member

    XI. Of the Justification of Man.
    We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

    XII. Of Good Works.
    Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

    These are the two articles that come to mind when I ponder the relationship between faith and works. I have spent some amount of time reading Lutheran and Catholic perspectives and also asking my Oneness Pentecostal relatives their perspectives, since that is where I started my journey of faith.

    I admit that I find the topics of monergism verses synergism and related topics complicated, and I am still studying these matters.

    The understanding that was imparted to me by my great grandmother as a child, who had a Holiness background, is basically that a living faith is fruitful in virtues and good works, though we are never in this life perfect, and that faith is about faithfulness, commitment.

    She also believed and taught me that we come to be partakers in the divine nature, and our wills come to be conformed to God's Will. She referred to justified and holy people as "little gods." I presume she was approaching a doctrine similar to if not the same as theosis. She would have gained her understanding primarily from her reading of scripture rather than from formal theological studies.

    She converted to Oneness Pentecostalism, which is less strict than what she came from, but in some ways she always remained Holiness.

    As regards my views, which have been developing since I was a child and my great grandmother was still alive to teach me, it isn't that we earn our way into heaven by way of works. One way I put it is that salvation is "to be not to do." It involves a justified state of being, and from our justified being, made wholesome by grace, flow our activities. We are not perfectly whole in this earthly realm, and we are in need of contrition and repentance as we experience a gradual sanctification and growth in virtue.

    We are to "work out" our "own salvation with fear and trembling," and this involves faithfulness, commitment, contrition, and repentance, and our whole being and every good thing we do or are capable of doing is of course a gift of grace.

    I would like to hear from other Anglicans on these matters. I suspect there will be diverse perspectives, but perhaps they will bear a family similarity.

    One thing I've learned about doing Anglican theology, is that simply asking various Anglicans how they view the matter is helpful to get a sense of the faithful, and perhaps there will even be a family resemblance in our views.
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

    United States
    JC Ryle was an Anglican whom I respect immensely. One of his better known works is a book titled 'Holiness'. Here is an excerpt from that book:
  3. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

    United States
    Hello @everbecoming2007, when you mention Faith & Works, I think of Sanctification. I'm not Anglican, but the words below are from a man who is, Dr. J I Packer, and I thought you might be interested to hear some of what he has to say about this topic.


    Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?… And that is what some of
    you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name
    of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    1 COR 6:9, 11

    Sanctification, says the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q.35), is “the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.” The concept is not of sin being totally eradicated (that is to claim too much) or merely counteracted (that is to say too little), but of a divinely wrought character change freeing us from sinful habits and forming in us Christlike affections, dispositions, and virtues.

    Sanctification is an ongoing transformation within a maintained consecration, and it engenders real righteousness within the frame of relational holiness. Relational sanctification, the state of being permanently set apart for God, flows from the cross, where God through Christ purchased and claimed us for himself (Acts 20:28; 26:18; Heb. 10:10). Moral renovation, whereby we are increasingly changed from what we once were, flows from the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:13; 12:1–2; 1 Cor. 6:11, 19–20; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:22–24; 1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 13:20–21). God calls his children to sanctity and graciously gives what he commands (1 Thess. 4:4; 5:23).

    Regeneration is birth; sanctification is growth. In regeneration, God implants desires that were not there before: desire for God, for holiness, and for the hallowing and glorifying of God’s name in this world; desire to pray, worship, love, serve, honor, and please God; desire to show love and bring benefit to others. In sanctification, the Holy Spirit “works in you to will and to act” according to God’s purpose; what he does is prompt you to “work out your salvation” (i.e., express it in action) by fulfilling these new desires (Phil. 2:12–13). Christians become increasingly Christlike as the moral profile of Jesus (the “fruit of the Spirit”) is progressively formed in them (2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:19; 5:22–25). Paul’s use of glory in 2 Corinthians 3:18 shows that for him sanctification of character is glorification begun. Then the physical transformation that gives us a body like Christ’s, one that will match our totally transformed character and be a perfect means of expressing it, will be glorification completed (Phil. 3:20–21; 1 Cor. 15:49–53).

    Regeneration was a momentary monergistic act of quickening the spiritually dead. As such, it was God’s work alone. Sanctification, however, is in one sense synergistic—it is an ongoing cooperative process in which regenerate persons, alive to God and freed from sin’s dominion (Rom. 6:11, 14–18), are required to exert themselves in sustained obedience. God’s method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-reliant passivity), but God-dependent effort (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:10–14; Heb. 12:14). Knowing that without Christ’s enabling we can do nothing, morally speaking, as we should, and that he is ready to strengthen us for all that we have to do (Phil. 4:13), we “stay put” (remain, abide) in Christ, asking for his help constantly—and we receive it (Col. 1:11; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 1:7; 2:1).

    The standard to which God’s work of sanctifying his saints is directed is his own revealed moral law, as expounded and modeled by Christ himself. Christ’s love, humility, and patience under pressure are to be consciously imitated (Eph. 5:2; Phil. 2:5–11; 1 Pet. 2:21), for a Christlike spirit and attitude are part of what law-keeping involves.

    Believers find within themselves contrary urgings. The Spirit sustains their regenerate desires and purposes; their fallen, Adamic instincts (the “flesh”) which, though dethroned, are not yet destroyed, constantly distract them from doing God’s will and allure them along paths that lead to death (Gal. 5:16–17; James 1:14–15). To clarify the relationship between the law and sin, Paul analyzes in a personal and dramatic way the sense of impotence for complete law-keeping, and the enslavement to behavior one dislikes, that the Spirit-flesh tension produces (Rom. 7:14–25). This conflict and frustration will be with Christians as long as they are in the body. Yet by watching and praying against temptation, and cultivating opposite virtues, they may through the Spirit’s help “mortify” (i.e., drain the life out of, weaken as a means of killing) particular bad habits, and in that sense more and more die unto sin (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5). They will experience many particular deliverances and victories in their unending battle with sin, while never being exposed to temptations that are impossible to resist (1 Cor. 10:13).

    ~Packer, J. I. (1993). Concise theology: a guide to historic Christian beliefs (pp. 169–171). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.

    God bless you! (Philippians 1:6, 2:12-13)

  4. everbecoming2007

    everbecoming2007 Well-Known Member

    I enjoyed both of these reads, especially the first one!