Friday, January 11, 2013

Faith vs Works

Let’s look at verses that many Protestants use to make their case of Sola Fide, the doctrine of salvation through faith alone as compared to passages that seem to suggest that salvation is found through works alone.

Galatians 3:11 “Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”

Romans 3:28 “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”

Acts 16:30-31 “He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.””

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

1 John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”


Eph 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.”

It seems pretty obvious that we are justified, that is saved, by faith alone right?  Not so fast, let’s compare the case for salvation through faith alone with the many passages in the Bible on the need of doing good works in regards to our salvation.

Rom 2:13 “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”

James 2:24 “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.”

James 2:20 “You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

Mat 7:21 ““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Mat 19:16-17 “ Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

Eph 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Therefore, by virtue of not having a single verse directly stating that one is saved through faith alone along with the fact that our Bible does say that one is saved by what we do, we see a need to marry all these verses together without contradictions.  Paul does exactly that in his letter to the Galatians where he says that “the only thing that counts is faith working through love.”  And so we can see that it’s not exactly what we do but with what intention that we do these things because of our faith.  If we do these things out of love then that makes it pleasing to God and useful for our salvation (James 2:20-26).


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