Friday, March 24, 2017

Biblical Objections To Sola Fide Refuted

  • Introduction:
          -Many Scripture passages have been thrown around on the subject of justification, that is, how mankind is saved from eternal damnation in flames. Are works necessary for salvation or not? How does ta person get saved, anyway? The controversy amongst differing parties continues to brew, even though the Bible has already provided a fairly straightforward answer. Quite simply, the answer to these questions is by the grace of God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, and that alone (Acts 16:29-31). Opponents such as Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Seventh-Day Adventists would argue otherwise. In other words, many professing Christian groups believe that salvation is determined in part by, if not entirely, on the basis of human efforts. Interestingly, all world religions believe in the concept of a works-based salvation. Perhaps such a belief originated from proud mankind's internal desire to selfishly earn rewards, including salvation. But the purpose of this paper is to provide solid responses to the most commonly cited verses against the biblical doctrine of Sola Fide.
  • "You see then how a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." (James 2:24):
          -If this text is teaching that people are saved in part by works, then the Bible must contradict itself because the Apostle Paul emphatically states that works do not justify us (Romans 4:2-8; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7; 2 Timothy 1:9-10). But this cannot possibly be the case, since all Scripture is equally inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
           -James clearly occupies the word justify to mean vindication, or proven. He does not argue against salvation by faith alone, but rather, a salvation that stands without any good works to accompany it. In other words, he is warning against living a Christian life that is devoid of good deeds. What James is saying is that we demonstrate the reality of our faith by good works (v. 18). Are we going to merely talk the spiritual talk or actually going to walk the spiritual walk (v. 14-17)? Faith and works must accompany each other because works are the evidence (not the cause) of our genuine faith in the Lord (v. 19-20), which justifies us. The inspired writer then provides is with two biblical examples to illustrate his point on the relation between faith and works (v. 21-26). While the Apostle Paul repeatedly uses the word justify in the sense of salvation (i.e Romans 3-5), James uses the term in the sense of vindication, which is also used elsewhere in Scripture (i.e. Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:29; 10:29; 16:15).
  • " out your salvation with fear and trembling..." (Philippians 2:12):
            -Notice that the verse says "work out", not "work for" your salvation. People who have genuine faith in Christ will by definition be doing good works as a result of their salvation (i.e. Matthew 7:15-20; 2 Corinthians 5:17-18; Ephesians 2:10). Thus, Christians are able to "work out" their salvation.
  • "Not everyone that saith unto me, 'Lord, Lord', shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21):
           -The context is about differentiating between true and false Christians. Jesus said, "So by their fruits you shall know them" (v. 20). Genuine believers will produce "good fruits" (works) because they are the result of salvation, not the cause. 
           -The "will of the father" is to believe in (accept)/place your trust in Jesus Christ (John 6:28-29; 40).
           -Notice that in verses 22 and 23, professing Christians were condemned for trusting in their own alleged works of righteousness and for thus being in an improper state of heart. In reality, this passage only enhances the cause behind the "faith only" argument!
  •  Lacking in the afflictions of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:24)?:
         -No, the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ is more than sufficient to redeem mankind from sin (i.e. Hebrews 10:10-18). In fact, the Apostle Paul never even says that man's suffering justifies anyone. He was simply telling his audience about what was lacking in the church and is reminding the people of his epistle of his suffering for them. Today, we suffer in the same sense of bearing burdens for other people and winning lost souls over to Jesus Christ.  
  • "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48):
          -The quick stock rejoinder to the citation of the above passage is to ask the opponent, "So are your perfect?" According to the Bible, nobody has ever reached God's perfect standard of morality (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10-23). For this reason, God sent His only begotten Son into the world so that He could make the final propitiatory sacrifice to redeem mankind from the repercussions of the Fall and thus spiritual death (John 3:16). If a person denies the fact that he or she is a sinner, then he or she is a deceptive liar who turns God into a "lair" (1 John 1:8-10), which is blasphemy against His name. In Matthew 5:48, Jesus was simply emphasizing the fact that holiness is an essential characteristic of an authentic Christian. We have been called to let the light of our faith shine in the spiritual darkness for other people (Matthew 5:16). Or hearts are perfected, or purified, by faith in His work (Acts 15:7-11; 1 John 3:3). Jesus was simply telling His followers to mimic the example of the Creator by striving to be the best person that they can be. 
  • "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be saved." (Romans 2:13):
           -There was a group of Jews who believed that they could be saved by keeping the Law (Romans 2:17). In other words, some Jewish people were relying upon the keeping of the Mosaic Law to save them. In response, the Apostle Paul dedicates much time to reprimanding them. He goes on (Romans 2:18-3:19) to call the Jews hypocrites because they had in reality failed to perfectly keep the Law, which demands perfect obedience in order to get saved by it (Deuteronomy 27:26; Galatians 3:10). He finishes his indictment against them by saying, "Therefore, by the deeds of the law there shall be no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the knowledge of the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). Nobody is saved by keeping the Law (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 3:20-28; Galatians 2:16-21; Philippians 3:9). Otherwise, everybody would automatically be disqualified from inheriting eternal salvation in heaven because nobody is capable of fulfilling the demands of perfection which is prescribed by the Law for salvation (Galatians 3:10). In this text, the Apostle Paul was simply speaking in a hypothetical sense to illustrate the point that nobody is able to follow the Law in a perfect manner.
  • "Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague broke in upon them. Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed. And it was counted unto him for generations unto all generations for evermore." (Psalm 106:30-31):
            -The background of this event is recorded in Numbers 25. In it, some of the men of the nation of Israel were committing fornication with the woman of Moab. Consequently, God was provoked to anger and He cast a plague over Israel. Then Phinehas took a spear and drove it through a couple in the act of fornication, which killed them both. Because of his desire for righteousness, he obtained mercy from God, terminated the plague, and was simply regarded as being righteous. His deed would be blessed and remembered in every future generation. 
            -Although some have tried to link Psalm 106:30-31 to Genesis 15:6 (meaning to equate their messages as being the same), this is not a valid argument because the two passages have different contexts. Neither Psalm 106:30-31 nor Numbers 25 have contexts pertaining to justification or how to get saved. Genesis 15:6 is relevant to the debate because A.) Both James and the Apostle Paul used this text in their illustrations on justification and the Christian life, and B.) The passage in Genesis 15 is not the moment of Abraham's justification, but rather, the promise of salvation to him and posterity, which is by faith in the Lord. It is foretelling the complete message of the gospel, which is centered around the Messiah. In light of this, it is safe to conclude that Phinehas did this act as a result of his salvation. Is driving spears into random people a requirement for salvation or something?
  • The Story Of The Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:17-30; Luke 18:18-30):
        -A young man who was wealthy approached Jesus Christ and asked him about what kind of works he needed to accomplish in order to obtain eternal salvation in heaven (Matthew 19:16). Then, Christ revealed that the young man fell short of meeting God's perfect standard of obedience to the Ten Commandments (v. 21-22), as we all do. He concluded the conversation by reinforcing the fact of the impossibility of salvation apart from the work of God (v. 26). So this in another passage that is supportive to the "Faith Alone" argument.
      -The Parable of The Tax Collector and the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14), which was told right before Jesus ended up meeting with the rich man, clearly teaches that one is saved by his or her faithfulness to God's will (not dependent upon one's own works).
  • The Parable Of The Sheep And Goats (Matthew 25:31-46):
           -In this text, Jesus is not giving us a specific list of things that we need to do in order to obtain salvation. In other words, the context of Matthew 25:31-46 is not about justification, but rather, faithfulness to the will of God. The "sheep" symbolize the true followers of God, whereas the "goats" represent the people who never experienced (or fell away from a) true conversion of heart. The works mentioned within this context merely describe the type of person who fits into one of the two distinct, general categories. In every judgment scene found in Scripture, the Lord points out to our works because they are the evidence of our faithfulness to Him. These works of obedience are the evidence of what is already in our hearts, by faith. While it is true that we will be rewarded for our good works, none of them have any bearing on our salvation (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). Eternal life is a free gift that is given to us out of God's infinite love and unmerited grace to mankind. It is something that we cannot and do not earn

Papal Grandiloquence!

Image result for pope claims to be christ on earth

Image result for pope claims to be christ on earth

Two Major Biblical Evidences For Sola Fide

  • 1 Corinthians 3:10-15:
        -"10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
  • Commentary On 1 Corinthians 3:10-15:
           -On the Day of Judgment, God will evaluate the quality of each Christian's work through flames. If a person's work withstands the testing of the fire, which is metaphorically referred to in this text as being "gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and straw", then he or she will receive rewards (v. 14). If a person's work in Christian holiness fails to pass the test of fire, then he or she will still be saved. Notice that the Christian is saved in both scenarios! Thus, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 tells us that good works do not in any way contribute to our salvation, but rather, determine the heavenly rewards that we will receive as a result of our deeds. While good works do not save us, they do determine our heavenly rewards. We are saved by faith, apart from the merit of all works. 
  • The Parable Of The Rich Man And The Tax Collector:
      -"Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
  • Commentary On Luke 18:9-14:
        -Notice how the Pharisee relied on his good deeds when he offered his prayers to God and the tax collector humbly approached God with his faith. Jesus Christ said that the tax collector went home justified in the sight of God. If works contributed to our salvation, then how could any of this be possible? Obviously, we are saved by faith apart from the merit of any works of righteousness. Additionally, Luke 18:9-14 demonstrates the ultimate failure of a works-based salvation: it gets to people's heads. The Lord Jesus Christ finished His parable by saying, "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Thus, Jesus plainly taught that no person should depend on his or her own good works of righteousness to be justified by God. The just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:16-17; Galatians 3:10-11; Hebrews 10:38).