Faith, Works, and Salvation

path_of_one

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As a Christian, are we saved by our faith/belief or by what we do with it? This key question is discussed throughout the New Testament, I believe to no real conclusion. Some writers emphasize faith/belief, others emphasize works. And on into today- some churches and theologians think salvation rests on one's beliefs, while other think it rests on one's actions. I would wager that we all agree it really rests on God's grace, but it brings us back to the question of how that grace is metered out amongst us. Is it freely given to all? Only to believers? Only to believers whose actions testify their beliefs- and how much of this is enough? Only to those whose actions follow Christ's example, no matter what their beliefs? I have some opinions of my own, but my point with this thread is not to try to convince you all into my own thoughts on the matter, but rather I am very interested in the (no doubt) varied perspectives that are out there.

For anyone interested in discussing what the original Greek and/or Aramaic said, I'd welcome the illumination- because I don't know if the word "belief/believe" was originally multiple different meanings/words in the original text and it just came to be all lumped under that English word, or if it really is consistent throughout.

Here's a few passages to start us off:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotton Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3: 16

"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well. The demons also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"
James 2:19-20
 

InLove

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Hello, and Peace to All Here--

I will attempt to post my "short answer" for now. Somehow, I have a feeling that it will not be my only contribution to this thread:).

Very briefly, then, I submit that it is impossible to be a true follower (since even the demons "believe") without producing "fruits of the Spirit" (deeds, works). There is an old adage most of you have probably heard: "If we were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict us?".

Now, someone might ask how to reconcile this with those who come to believe in the last moments of this life. Personally, I don't have the answer to that, for I have not found one that does anything but limit God.

Oh,well--I know I did not address everything in the original post, but thought it well to drop in while I could and say this little bit.

InPeace,
InLove
 

earl

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Great topic Path as 1 of the things that I think most divides Christians from other Christians let alone from non-Christians is what they interpret "salvation" or to be saved means. You mentioned Aramaic language-based interpretations, (actual language that Jesus may have spoken). Very interesting book in that regard is Neil Douglas-Klotz, "The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spiritual Message of the Aramaic Jesus," which offers his alternative interpretations of New Testament verses based on Aramaic re-translations of alternative meanings, (of course he is a Sufi;) )

So as to "saved," he notes its Aramiac term is heyya which came from hayye meaning life force. then retranslates the verse from Mark 8:35-36 about "saving one's life by losing it" as follows:

"Everyone who desires to give energy to his separate, subconscious self
will eventually find that self surrendered,
extinguished in the Only Self.
Everyone who surrenders her separate self,
the way I have done and hoped for,
will give energy to it.
For what advantage do you have if
your development in form exceeds
all that the world can offer,
but your soul remains incomplete?"

What is lost and what is saved/found are the questions we ask ourselves throughout our journey in life. Take care, Earl
 

JJM

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I think one is Saved through Grace which is achieved by the acceptance of Christ. Or I guess better it would be better phrased as a lack of a rejection of Christ. However one can reject Christ by both belief and action (or lack a there of), so one needs both Faith and Works to achieve salvation. However, those works don't achieve the salvation nor does having faith but they achieve the acceptance of Christ which brings salvation.

 

Quahom1

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JJM said:
I think one is Saved through Grace which is achieved by the acceptance of Christ. Or I guess better it would be better phrased as a lack of a rejection of Christ. However one can reject Christ by both belief and action (or lack a there of), so one needs both Faith and Works to achieve salvation. However, those works don't achieve the salvation nor does having faith but they achieve the acceptance of Christ which brings salvation.

Disagree. Works have nothing to do with salvation. Faith (by the Grace of Jesus) is the only thing that saves us. Works however, is a natural byproduct of our faith. (let me re-emphasize that, only a byproduct of our faith).

Case in point: a person who declares Jesus as his/her personal savior (and means it) with the last breath...saved or not? Faith, but no works to show for it...

If the Catholic doctine insists that faith must be accompanied by works for salvation to occur, then it is going directly against basic Biblical scripture. It is that simple.

v/r

Q
 

JJM

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Quahom1 said:
Disagree. Works have nothing to do with salvation. Faith (by the Grace of Jesus) is the only thing that saves us. Works however, is a natural byproduct of our faith. (let me re-emphasize that, only a byproduct of our faith).

Case in point: a person who declares Jesus as his/her personal savior (and means it) with the last breath...saved or not? Faith, but no works to show for it...

If the Catholic doctine insists that faith must be accompanied by works for salvation to occur, then it is going directly against basic Biblical scripture. It is that simple.

v/r

Q
Situations are different. Like I said it's more of a rejection of Christ. The man on there death bed would receive salvation for he hasn't rejected Christ by he actions. However a person can accept Christ as God and absolutely mean it but if 2 days later they go kill someone without any remorse even though they know it's wrong they are rejecting Christ for Evil. There is no set number of good deeds that must be done to merit salvation however one by refusing to do good deeds can be rejecting the source of that Good.


"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Jn 14:15

Jesus answered and said to him, "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. Jn 14:23-24

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. Jn 14:12

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. Jn 3:20-21

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 in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?' Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.' Mt 7:21-23

It is not that we need some how to earn the Grace but rather we must do these things if we love Christ. We can have true faith and not do good works. Demons have true faith. The simple fact is that one can reject Good by doing Evil. For no man can serve two masters if one serves Evil they hate God. And God who loves them won’t force himself on them even if it means eternal damnation.
 

Quahom1

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JJM said:
Situations are different. Like I said it's more of a rejection of Christ. The man on there death bed would receive salvation for he hasn't rejected Christ by he actions. However a person can accept Christ as God and absolutely mean it but if 2 days later they go kill someone without any remorse even though they know it's wrong they are rejecting Christ for Evil. There is no set number of good deeds that must be done to merit salvation however one by refusing to do good deeds can be rejecting the source of that Good.


"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Jn 14:15

Jesus answered and said to him, "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. Jn 14:23-24

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. Jn 14:12

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. Jn 3:20-21

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 in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?' Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.' Mt 7:21-23

It is not that we need some how to earn the Grace but rather we must do these things if we love Christ. We can have true faith and not do good works. Demons have true faith. The simple fact is that one can reject Good by doing Evil. For no man can serve two masters if one serves Evil they hate God. And God who loves them won’t force himself on them even if it means eternal damnation.
First of all, you do not know what you are talking about, on this issue.

Your concept of accepting Jesus, is akin to whether one likes a video game one day, but then grows tired of it the next. Your's is a concept of a "throw away God". People don't throw away God, once they've felt Him. They may not pan out (consider the seeds sewn in various places), but they do not forget being touched by the Almighty.

Oh, and don't you dare imply I'm not Catholic, again. That is not your place. (you know what I am talking about).

I think you should listen more, and spout off less, since you do not seem to know how to debate in a reasonable way (and debate seems to be the only thing you wish to do...or should I say condencend). You might learn something.

I love Christ, and you too, else I wouldn't be so angry with your constant diatribe.

I suggest you consider the wisdom of hard knocks that some of us have dealt with, rather than leaning on your own wisdom. Again, you migh learn something.

but then again, you might not...

your call.

Q
 
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JJM

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Quahom1 said:
First of all, you do not know what you are talking about, on this issue.

Your concept of accepting Jesus, is akin to whether one likes a video game one day, but then grows tired of it the next. Your's is a concept of a "throw away God". People don't throw away God, once they've felt Him. They may not pan out (consider the seeds sewn in various places), but they do not forget being touched by the Almighty.

Oh, and don't you dare imply I'm not Catholic, again. That is not your place. (you know what I am talking about).

I think you should listen more, and spout off less, since you do not seem to know how to debate in a reasonable way (and debate seems to be the only thing you wish to do). You might learn something.

I love Christ, and you too, else I wouldn't be so angry with your constant diatribe.

I suggest you consider the wisdom of hard knocks that some of us have dealt with, rather than leaning on your own wisdom. Again, you migh learn something.

but then again, you might not...

your call.

Q
Wow sorry. I didn't mean to offend you. Show me what you mean. I'll shut up and listen. I was just trying to clarify that I didn't mean to say that we need to earn the grace but that we could separate from and reject it through our action. Is that not what Mortal Sin is? I guess I'm wrong, please tell me. And I realize that last sentence sounds really cocky (or at least it does to me) but I don't mean it to I just really want to know what you think. Once again Sorry.
 

InLove

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Hi (very quietly) Peace--

Maybe you guys could discuss David--it might help.

Outta here--probably should not be here anyway....

:) <----probably doesn't help

Bye

InPeace,
InLove
 

Quahom1

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JJM said:
Wow sorry. I didn't mean to offend you. Show me what you mean. I'll shut up and listen. I was just trying to clarify that I didn't mean to say that we need to earn the grace but that we could separate from and reject it through our action. Is that not what Mortal Sin is? I guess I'm wrong, please tell me. And I realize that last sentence sounds really cocky (or at least it does to me) but I don't mean it to I just really want to know what you think. Once again Sorry.
No, I am sorry. And I can't "show" you what I meant. But you can show yourself. Go spend a day at a soup kitchen in your local big city. Volunteer to do the dirty work (they will give it to you in spades, scrubbing floors, cleaning up vomit, and human excrement, and sometimes dressing up the dead's dignity for the EMS services that come to pick up the body.

Or go spend a summer at Christian/non Christian camp, or go look in on the widows and orphans of the town.

By faith, we are lead...

Do what God tell you, despite what you feel. Go coach ball, or go help in the church...who knows.

As far as Mortal Sin...That is taking credit for the works of the Holy Spirit of GOD. It is the only unforgivable sin. The very term "Mortal", means immortality is lost. It is also called Blashphemy.

There are the seven deadly sins, and the One Mortal sin. The terminalogy is the same, but the meaning is different.

But what ever you do, don't assume you know more than anyone else. And don't ever presume to be judge over others...unless you are a JUDGE by law or Church, over others...otherwise you just piss people off. I can't make it any clearer than that.

v/r

Q
 

JJM

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Quahom1 said:
No, I am sorry. And I can't "show" you what I meant. But you can show yourself. Go spend a day at a soup kitchen in your local big city. Volunteer to do the dirty work (they will give it to you in spades, scrubbing floors, cleaning up vomit, and human excrement, and sometimes dressing up the dead's dignity for the EMS services that come to pick up the body.

Or go spend a summer at Christian/non Christian camp, or go look in on the widows and orphans of the town.

By faith, we are lead...

Do what God tell you, despite what you feel. Go coach ball, or go help in the church...who knows.

As far as Mortal Sin...That is taking credit for the works of the Holy Spirit of GOD. It is the only unforgivable sin. The very term "Mortal", means immortality is lost. It is also called Blashphemy.

There are the seven deadly sins, and the One Mortal sin. The terminalogy is the same, but the meaning is different.

But what ever you do, don't assume you know more than anyone else. And don't ever presume to be judge over others...unless you are a JUDGE by law or Church, over others...otherwise you just piss people off. I can't make it any clearer than that.

v/r

Q
Alright man. I just want to say I didn't mean to act as Judge over you. Honestly I never thought until now that anything I ever said to you pissed you off. With the volunteer work you suggested are you saying that by doing such things God will touch me as you say and I won't be able to forget it? Because honestly now I'm a little confused. How will doing works make me understand how they have nothing to do with salvation. Are you saying that I'll do these action because I have faith? And just to let you know I didn’t single you out because you are Catholic nor do I ever I get a bit of a hint your thinking this (then again I could be wrong). In fact I wouldn’t have said anything if you post wasn’t a direct reply to mine and your statement made it sound as if I was saying the Grace must be earned but that isn’t what I meant so I wanted to say more. Anyway God Bless.
 

Quahom1

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JJM said:
Alright man. I just want to say I didn't mean to act as Judge over you. Honestly I never thought until now that anything I ever said to you pissed you off. With the volunteer work you suggested are you saying that by doing such things God will touch me as you say and I won't be able to forget it? Because honestly now I'm a little confused. How will doing works make me understand how they have nothing to do with salvation. Are you saying that I'll do these action because I have faith? And just to let you know I didn’t single you out because you are Catholic nor do I ever I get a bit of a hint your thinking this (then again I could be wrong). In fact I wouldn’t have said anything if you post wasn’t a direct reply to mine and your statement made it sound as if I was saying the Grace must be earned but that isn’t what I meant so I wanted to say more. Anyway God Bless.
I merely suggested you consider helping those in need. Once you do, your life is changed forever. Faith is kinetic energy (ready to act). Deeds are the result of that faith.

I also do not play word games with those that think they are smarter than me. I've said my piece. Take it or leave it.

Q
 

JJM

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Quahom1 said:
I merely suggested you consider helping those in need. Once you do, your life is changed forever. Faith is kinetic energy (ready to act). Deeds are the result of that faith.

I also do not play word games with those that think they are smarter than me. I've said my piece. Take it or leave it.

Q
Ok I understand now and I really think you've got me wrong though there were no word games. I honestly wanted nothing other than a clarification on what you meant.



At the moment I'm really taking offence to such claims so you know what maybe you need to take a little lesson from you own book about judging people.

 

mynameisstephen

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Working Faith
A faith that works
By Jesse Morrell a friend and fellow pupil at the school of Biblical evangelism


Non-copyright. Feel free to print off to share

Faith; has anything been doubted more severely and has anything been more passionately believed? Throughout time Kings have tried to slay it, politicians have tried to outlaw it, mobs have tried to beat it, and yet it’s alive and well today! The strongest force in the world is faith. Faith calms the storm and walks on water. It has humbled the intellectual and has enlightened the uneducated. Faith stands tall on its feet in strength when mighty empires crumble and fall to their knees. Though faith is foolishness to a foolish world, faith has overcome the world when all else has succumbed to it. (1John 5:4).

We live in an era of complacent Christian living. Complacency is rotting the very bones of the Church. Men desire to have the least amount of responsibility towards Christ and yet receive the most amounts of rewards from Christ. As weeds are to a field so are the unfruitful to the Church (Matthew 13:24-43). The attitude and message today is “believe and receive” while the biblical message has always been “repent and believe” (Mark 1:15). I had a recent talk with a Pastor who told me about a conversation he had with one of his church members. Their conversation was regarding the relationship between believing and repenting, and the responsibility the lost has of doing both of those. “All the lost has to do is confess and believe. That’s it. If they confess and believe they will be saved,” a lady insisted. I found the Pastors response to be very wise. “Yes, I completely agree. All someone has to do is confess and believe and they will be saved (Romans 10:9). But now we must define what ‘believe’ means” as he explained that true faith is always accompanied by action.

Faith entails and includes more then some admit. It is a common thought and message today that repentance is not necessary for salvation because you’d be “adding works to faith”. While it is faith only that saves us and not any “good” work, I don’t see how you can separate faith from works, especially the work of repentance (Luke 13:3). What is one without the other? Faith that works is truly a working faith. Real faith is an active faith. A faith that moves mountains is far from being idle! Faith that is real is violently forceful spiritually and aggressively active physically. We do not need to add works to faith, because they should already be there. If a man desperately needs a car and he hears over the radio that a certain car dealership is giving away all their cars for free, yet he doesn’t act, we would all safely conclude that he had no faith. He must not have trusted the offer. Had he trusted it, he would have found his way to the dealership even if he had to run to it. Likewise when a man hears the claims of salvation and says “Oh I believe all that” yet he is not willing to leave his sin for the Savior and serve Him, it can be safely concluded that he had no faith.

Under the disguise of “adding works to faith” many have subtracted works from their lives. You can not remove works from faith anymore then you could remove moister from water. What good is a perfume without a fragrance, without a scent? And what good is inward faith that does not produce outward acts of love and charity? “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!” (James 2:19). Our faith, meaning our trust in God, ought to cause us to be willing to do anything that He asks of us. Our faith in God makes us willing and wanting to serve Him because of who He is, what He has done, and what He is going to do!

How many Christians are there today who are “statue” Christians. They look good, even as good as a statue, but do absolutely nothing except sit and stand idly all day long? In essence many preachers ultimately teach “you can have your sin, you can live entirely for yourself, and you can get to heaven at the end of your life as well”! This is appalling to a God who is worthy of all the fruit we could possibly bear to him. God will destroy the fig tree if he comes to it at a time when it has no fruit. (Matt 21:19). Works is the expression of a living active faith. Works are the branches that spring up from the roots of faith. I asked a brother recently, “If you saw a tree without any branches or leaves what would you think of it?” Without a moments hesitation he simply said “dead”. A tree without branches and leaves is a dead tree! “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:20). “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26)

T. T. Eaton wrote in his 1906 publication “Faith and the Faith” “The relationship between faith and works is the relationship between doing and deeds. To say: ‘show me thy faith without thy works and I will show thee my faith by my works (James 2:18),” is equivalent to saying – show me thy doing without thy deeds and I will show thee my doings by my deeds. Of course there can be no doing without deeds and no deeds without doing.” He went on to write “New Testament faith is far more than the mere acceptance of certain teaching. Faith is more then believing. A man might believe everything in the Bible, from lid to lid, and still be lost. Gospel faith is a heart trust in Christ as Savior and Lord, the heart including the will, so that actions follow. Faith is not passive. It is the doing. Christian faith involves turning from sin to God, surrendering the will to Christ, and throwing one’s whole power into His service.”

Who can genuinely deny that a faithful man must work in light of the scriptures? Was John Baptist out of line when he said “bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matt 3:8)? Did Christ intend to have a stagnate Church when he said “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”? (Mt 5:16). Will a Christian be judged by his faith or by his works? You are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9) but you are judged and rewarded by your works! (2 Cor 5:10). Our attitude must be that of our Lord Himself who said “I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day” (John 9:4)

A couple hundred years ago the old Methodists would sing a hymn which would do us some good if we learn it today. The fifth stanza sums it up plainly and painfully. May this be our prayer:

“Lord, shall we live so sluggish still,
And never act our part?
Come, Holy Dove, from the’ heavenly hill,
And warm our frozen hearts!”

While the questions of a child are innumerable - the value of their answers at time are immeasurable. Children have a way of educating adults. As a family returned home from Church, the child asked “Mommy, the preacher said that God lives inside of us. Is that true?” The Mother with a smile responded with “yes dear. God lives inside of us.” With a look of confusion on the child’s face he asked “Isn’t it true that God is bigger then us?” “Yes, God is bigger then us” the Mother said. After some quick thoughts the child said “then wouldn’t he show through?”

Faith cannot help but to work. If it fails to work it fails to be living faith. A Christian can not help but to bear fruit to His Lord so long as he has living faith. If He fails to serve, He fails to be a servant. A mirror can not help but to reflect. That is just what it does. We are to be mirror images of the Christ who served and loved God by serving and loving men. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor 13:18). Moses was a man who was a friend of God, who walked with God, and had been in God’s presence so much that his face brightly shined and needed to be veiled. As a great preacher once said “when Moses left nobody knew where he went, but when he returned everyone knew where he had been.” God must shine through or God is not there. A bush that doesn’t burn does not have God. The Christian must shine with “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23) or the Spirit of God is not in him. There are many veiled faces and mute mouths today. We’ve played the fool and have put our lamps under the bed (Mark 4:21). It’s time that our light shines through to brighten this dark world. It’s time that we allow our faith to flows out so that it can flood and fill this dry land!

The hall of fame of Heavens hero’s, Hebrews chapter 11, describes to our shame the tremendous works of faith God has done through men. Their faith was always accompanied by works; “who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.” (Heb 11:33-35). Faith conquers all. Men of greatest faith will do the greatest works! A faithful church will be a world changing church. The men who have done the greatest good to all of mankind have all had faith which was faithfully married to works. Our great need today calls for great works of faith.

Let me give a final warning in ending. Just as surely as faith without works is dead, so also works without faith is dead. Men try to use works to bring the assurance which doubt holds captive. There is a type of works which flows from a loving heart of faith, and then there is works created to fill the void of non existing faith. Many do not have the assurance of salvation by grace through faith. They feel they must perform certain duties and works in an attempt to secure their salvation and to feel saved.

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” (Matt 7:21-23). What a frightful day it will be for those at The Judgment who start boastfully spouting off all their works when they ought to be thanking Christ for the cross! They will expect their deeds to be the keys which open up the gates of Heaven. How shocking it will be when those expecting life receive death. The staff of good works for salvation is a weak one. It will one day break and those leaning on it will be pierced by the very thing they thought would save them. These men haven’t faith, meaning they haven’t trust in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. They trust in themselves and in their works to save their guilty souls, not knowing they are adding to their guilt. These men are not known by the Lord, but “He knows those who trust in Him.” (Nahum 1:7).

That Day will be “great and very terrible” (Joel 2:11) for those who have faith without works and for those who have works without faith. Therefore may your faith be full of works and may your works be full of faith that we may all be faithful workers!
 

dayaa

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hello all

didn't jesus say something like "forsake sin and follow me" ?
 

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I believe we are saved by grace and I've taken to calling it radical grace, which is kind of redundant but I mean to distinguish it from the 'grace' that is earned by believing a certain way or by doing certain things. Grace by definition is unearned.

Tonight I was reflecting on the following passage from Luke:

32Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One."
36The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."
38There was a written notice above him, which read:|sc THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
40But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.["
43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

(Luke 23:32-43)

I was struck by two things. The first is of Jesus' words in this passage: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." The soldiers who crucified Christ did not believe He was the Son of God and they were forgiven. How can I think that anyone else would be less worthy of God's grace and forgiveness? Second, one of the criminals at least feared God, and it is not clear whether he thought Jesus was the Son of God or whether he just knew that they were crucifying an innocent man, which is an unrighteous act. At any rate, he knew he was guilty and being punished justly, and we might conclude that his deeds would not earn him salvation. Yet, Jesus answered him: "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." A last minute, death's door salvation for someone who may or may not have believed in Jesus as the Son? To me the message is that it is not what you believe, it is not what you do, but it is God's grace that saves. Now, we have a lifetime to figure out what to do with that salvation.

my 2 c
lunamoth
 
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earl

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earl said:
Great topic Path as 1 of the things that I think most divides Christians from other Christians let alone from non-Christians is what they interpret "salvation" or to be saved means. You mentioned Aramaic language-based interpretations, (actual language that Jesus may have spoken). Very interesting book in that regard is Neil Douglas-Klotz, "The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spiritual Message of the Aramaic Jesus," which offers his alternative interpretations of New Testament verses based on Aramaic re-translations of alternative meanings, (of course he is a Sufi;) )

So as to "saved," he notes its Aramiac term is heyya which came from hayye meaning life force. then retranslates the verse from Mark 8:35-36 about "saving one's life by losing it" as follows:

"Everyone who desires to give energy to his separate, subconscious self
will eventually find that self surrendered,
extinguished in the Only Self.
Everyone who surrenders her separate self,
the way I have done and hoped for,
will give energy to it.
For what advantage do you have if
your development in form exceeds
all that the world can offer,
but your soul remains incomplete?"

What is lost and what is saved/found are the questions we ask ourselves throughout our journey in life. Take care, Earl
To me in accord with Dougla-Klotz' notion here, there are several intertwining concepts, whose notions perhaps are not considered traditionally the way I mean them here, (though obviously I'm not traditional in my thinking:p ) I like to use the metaphor of God being the Ground upon which we trod our path. Faith is the sometimes assured, sometimes shaky belief that regardless of whether our path is rocky or smooth, twists and turns, or goes straight; whether we stumble and fall or thow ourselves down upon that ground in agony, we nevertheless believe that ground is always underneath our feet. Works is the trodding of that path. The irony is if we want to have awareness of God, (gnosis); to realize we always have been and always will be saved by the grace of that Ground, we need to exert efforts, be they contemplative/meditative or what have you. See for me it's not enough to have faith because my small-minded ego tends to make me forget that reality. Faith is of assistance though, as when we walk through the valley of the shadow, (go through our personal dark periods-I've been going through a little fog myself lately) and cannot feel or see that ground, believing it's there and all has some sort of meaning does help us continue to put 1 foot in front of the other. Like that old saying goes, it's not how many times you fall down; it's how many times you get up. The i nteresting thing about the intertwining of faith, works, and awareness, however, is that often how we define things or in what we place our faith changes as a result of the works-awareness interaction, as awareness may bring new forms of understanding. That in turn may change the nature of the works we do, etc. in a syngergistic "Celtic" knot. Take care, earl
 

lunamoth

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earl said:
...intertwining concepts...God being the Ground upon which we trod our path. ...we nevertheless believe that ground is always underneath our feet. Works is the trodding of that path. The irony is if we want to have awareness of God, (gnosis); to realize we always have been and always will be saved by the grace of that Ground, we need to exert efforts, be they contemplative/meditative or what have you. ... Faith is of assistance though, as when we walk through the valley of the shadow, (go through our personal dark periods-I've been going through a little fog myself lately) and cannot feel or see that ground, believing it's there ... the intertwining of faith, works, and awareness, ...as awareness may bring new forms of understanding. That in turn may change the nature of the works we do, etc. in a syngergistic "Celtic" knot. Take care, earl

I like this earl. Forgive me the omits in your words (I liked them all)--it just helped me to go through and highlight some of the thoughts I really liked, especially introducing the part about awareness. Beautiflly expressed, faith and works are like a dance (I love dance as a metaphor!), intertwined, moving in grace. And it is the awareness of it all that is our salvation starting here and now, and this awareness, or relationship, is to be cultivated.

peace,
lunamoth
 

path_of_one

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Thank you all so far for your replies. I myself believe in "radical grace" as lunamoth puts it, but I do agree that if we find awareness of God, and have faith in our experience of God, it is manifest in our actions. As one person put it (forgetting the name, and paraphrasing): "If people really believed what they say they do, they wouldn't live this way." Our awareness/experience of God, whatever form that takes, can only yield faith through our own contemplative and prayerful efforts, and this process, if genuine, will yield a great desire to be in accordance with God's will and thus will alter our actions. But none of that gets us into heaven. We were already saved the moment we were created, the gates of heaven flung wide open to all of us. What faithful nurturance of our awareness of God, manifest in our actions, will get us is our own recognition that God is awaiting us with open arms, that the kingdom of heaven is available to us. Only the grace of God allows it, but it is what we do with that grace that allows ourselves to perceive it. Reality is what it is, and all is upheld solely by the grace of God, but how we perceive it makes all the difference.
 

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from what i can see, grace faith & works all go together. Grace is HIS part, works through our faith is our part. Through our faith in Christ, God can work in us, just like He did with Jesus, the apostles & the prophets.
 
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