tychomaz

Sparrow
That's just emotional rhetoric. The Good News is that God defeated sin and death, ending the curse upon us and opening the door to salvation and unity with God. But that doesn't entail putting a gun to your head and marching you through the door. The offer is there, but God's not forcing you to take it.

The problem with "knowing you yourself are saved" is that it leads to pride and complacency.

Pentecostals make that argument all the time. Ironically the ones who believe in a works salvation actually do the least work

This demand for forensic certainty says much more about the mentality of modern rationalist westerners than it does God. I have noticed a vast difference in temperament between the Orthodox community of which I'm now a member, and the protestant ones I left.

In the latter, there's little urgency to strive for holiness because there's nothing at stake.
God promises eternal rewards for those who work for Christ. Going soulwinning is a commandment. Evangelicals do not go soulwinning but I’m not a evangelical, I’m a Baptist. It wouldn’t make sense to spread the Gospel if you didn’t know you were saved because, a non-believer can’t save others and you wouldn’t necessarily believe salvation is by faith alone(which it is). The mere thought of soulwinning wouldn’t compute because someone who believes in a works salvation wouldn’t even believe you could bring someone to Christ since it wouldn’t be a one time event to them but some vague ephemeral process over time.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things areof God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
They were all social clubs, for the most part, and thought about spirituality was mostly limited to detached, rationalistic discussion of abstract theological points and positions that was pretty much the same thing as debating sports, or pickup truck brands, or other stuff where guys pick a "team" they "play" for. I'm a Calvinist, you're a Lutheran, let's "fight." Let's debate the sermon and what the pastor got right over the course of expositing two verses from Galatians for fifty-five minutes. At the end of the day it was all just mental gymnastics that didn't really affect your relationship with God.
 
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Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
Pentecostals make that argument all the time. Ironically the ones who believe in a works salvation actually do the least work

And much more ironically those who supposedly believe in "faith alone" are most prone to bragging about the stuff they do. Case in point. Perhaps those who you accuse of "works salvation" are simply less prone to tooting their horn (Matt. 6.2) and what they do is less obvious.

God promises eternal rewards for those who work for Christ. Going soulwinning is a commandment.

No it isn't. "Go door to door shouting at people that they're going to hell and need to pray this prayer" isn't in the Bible or anywhere else in Christian history. It's literal door-to-door salesmanship that owes far more to 19th and 20th century American individualistic idiosyncrasies than Scripture. Jesus commanded His apostles to make disciples, not sell a product. This method has utterly failed to create disciples. If it actually worked you'd think Tempe Arizona was the holiest place in the country. Yet it isn't.

Evangelicals do not go soulwinning but I’m not a evangelical, I’m a Baptist.

Same difference. "Evangelical" is just a catch-all term. The vast majority of evangelicals and "non-denominational" Christians are just Baptists with the serial numbers filed off.

It wouldn’t make sense to spread the Gospel if you didn’t know you were saved because, a non-believer can’t save others

How do you know that? Recent protestant news even has a great example directly refuting that: Ravi Zacharias, internationally acclaimed Christian apologist and speaker, who was carrying on sexually deviant behavior for years and years. His actions were heinous and call into question whether he was even saved or honestly believed at all. But despite the many flaws with his "ministry," many people were saved (according to a protestant metric, anyway.) Who's to say God can't used a flawed messenger to save some?

This example shows why it's foolishness to boast about how I'm 100% certain I'm saved or this person is going to hell. Only God knows the heart. We struggle to even know our own hearts. I didn't reject Sola Fide because I thought I was a "good person" who could work my way to God's favor, I rejected it because I knew I was a bad person and could be deceived by my own false judgment about myself and tendency toward self-exaltation and false confidence. (And also because Sola Fide is a historical novelty based on interpretations of Scripture that didn't appear until the 16th century.)

and you wouldn’t necessarily believe salvation is by faith alone(which it is). The mere thought of soulwinning wouldn’t compute because someone who believes in a works salvation wouldn’t even believe you could bring someone to Christ since it wouldn’t be a one time event to them but some vague ephemeral process over time.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things areof God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

First, these verses don't prove anything, least of all what you want them to. Do you think Proverbs 11:30 is describing IFB "soul winning?" That's just silly. Second, who actually believes in "works salvation"? Mormons, probably. In your imagination, probably Roman Catholics. It's just an emotionally manipulative epithet with no substance, designed to evoke a knee-jerk response in those blindsided by confrontational IFB techniques.

If anybody actually wants to know what Orthodox believe about "faith vs. works," try this prayer, which is part of the morning prayer rule, so it will be permanently burned into the mind of anyone regularly praying:

MorningPrayer.jpg

I absolutely believe that we should evangelize and share our faith, but doing it through patient relationship-building where our friends can actually see a difference in our lives rather than being on the end of a shotgun-blast sales pitch is far more effective in drawing people toward a substantive faith.
 

tychomaz

Sparrow
Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

“righteous” — saved believers
And much more ironically those who supposedly believe in "faith alone" are most prone to bragging about the stuff they do. Case in point. Perhaps those who you accuse of "works salvation" are simply less prone to tooting their horn (Matt. 6.2) and what they do is less obvious.



No it isn't.


2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things areof God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

“given to us the ministry of reconciliation”

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

[Christ] “hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation”

we can and should use scripture to give the gospel to the unsaved.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

“we are ambassadors for Christ”

“in Christ’s stead”

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

"Go door to door shouting at people that they're going to hell and need to pray this prayer" isn't in the Bible or anywhere else in Christian history.

Yes it is.

Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

“And others save with with fear,” Saving with the fear of hell is endorsed by the bible in Jude 1:23

It's literal door-to-door salesmanship that owes far more to 19th and 20th century American individualistic idiosyncrasies than Scripture. Jesus commanded His apostles to make disciples, not sell a product. This method has utterly failed to create disciples. If it actually worked you'd think Tempe Arizona was the holiest place in the country. Yet it isn't.



Same difference. "Evangelical" is just a catch-all term. The vast majority of evangelicals and "non-denominational" Christians are just Baptists with the serial numbers filed off.



How do you know that? Recent protestant news even has a great example directly refuting that: Ravi Zacharias, internationally acclaimed Christian apologist and speaker, who was carrying on sexually deviant behavior for years and years. His actions were heinous and call into question whether he was even saved or honestly believed at all. But despite the many flaws with his "ministry," many people were saved (according to a protestant metric, anyway.) Who's to say God can't used a flawed messenger to save some?

This example shows why it's foolishness to boast about how I'm 100% certain I'm saved or this person is going to hell. Only God knows the heart. We struggle to even know our own hearts. I didn't reject Sola Fide because I thought I was a "good person" who could work my way to God's favor, I rejected it because I knew I was a bad person and could be deceived by my own false judgment about myself and tendency toward self-exaltation and false confidence. (And also because Sola Fide is a historical novelty based on interpretations of Scripture that didn't appear until the 16th century.)



First, these verses don't prove anything, least of all what you want them to. Do you think Proverbs 11:30 is describing IFB "soul winning?" That's just silly. Second, who actually believes in "works salvation"? Mormons, probably. In your imagination, probably Roman Catholics. It's just an emotionally manipulative epithet with no substance, designed to evoke a knee-jerk response in those blindsided by confrontational IFB techniques.

If anybody actually wants to know what Orthodox believe about "faith vs. works," try this prayer, which is part of the morning prayer rule, so it will be permanently burned into the mind of anyone regularly praying:

View attachment 29827

I absolutely believe that we should evangelize and share our faith, but doing it through patient relationship-building where our friends can actually see a difference in our lives rather than being on the end of a shotgun-blast sales pitch is far more effective in drawing people toward a substantive faith.
 

piceaabies

Pigeon
It seems many who espouse Sola Fide, do so because they cant reconcile with God over some sin, like adultery, greed or gluttony. If they are saved from the beginning and always saved, then that won't seem lika a problem for them cause they have blinded themselves from the fact that sin could bring them to hell if they don't do reparations to Gods perfection or repent.

Is it really surprising to know that the founder of protestantism, Martin Luther, could neither resist the temptations of lust nor greed, and built a theology to fit his lusts?

Archaeologists Unveil Secrets of Luther's Life
"And
800px-DHM_-_Luther_auf_Totenbett.jpg
then there was his obesity. At first, the doctor weighed 100, then 120 and, finally, an estimated
150 kilograms [330 lb] (the estimate is based on an ink drawing made of Luther shortly after his death)."

Is it far fetched to claim that the theologically invested protestants follow the same path as their founder, because they, unlike most Catholic or Orthodox christians don't accept the fact that their sin could lead them to hell?

It is not for any man to judge anyone. Man can not say to himself, "i am good, the Lord thinks im good, and i will be saved." That is up for God to decide. Anything else would completely fall short of humility.

Catholic and Orthodox people don't think themselves more virtous than protestants, only God knows our hearts, the only difference is that Catholics and Orthodox know they risk going to hell if they live too much in sin.
 
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I'm actually kind of shocked at all the hate thrown in the direction of Protestants on this thread.

As someone that has experienced many different denominations and is now completely out of the 501c churches, my experience has taught me that most of professing Christianity are not who they say that they are. But to generally equate Catholics as more righteous and God fearing than Protestants is absolutely, 100% not true.

I don't believe that denominations are Biblical and that's part of the problem. Ministries that claim 501c status and are yoked up with the government are a larger part of the problem. So generally speaking, we have too much religion and not enough Jesus. Some of the general issues with various denominations that I see:

Baptists often misunderstand the sovereignty of God, going too far with concepts like predestination.

Catholics often deemphasize the teaching and reading of the Bible.

Pentecostals often put too much emphasis on experience and feelings.

I don't know as much about Orthodox Christianity as the others, but from what I can see there is too much emphasis on rituals.

Churches that are yoked up with the government via 501c, or worse- churches that are yoked up with the UN, one world religion, beast system, et al, are compromised and watered down. It really is a shame to see so many people- I'm sure some of whom are legitimately in the faith- digging in their heels to defend their denomination, which will not save them.

Back to the matter at hand, faith vs. works. It's a narrow path. It's very easy to veer off to the left and say "my faith will save me so I can do whatever I want", and its very easy to veer off to the right and try to make it by following law and making the cross of Christ to none effect (see Galatians). The body of Christ, meaning those that belong to Jesus- not any particular denomination- need to strive to walk that narrow path.
 

Mountaineer

Pelican
Gold Member
I want to post this if I may aside from discussion. I watched the "Babushkas of Chernobyl" documentary. A humbling film. It shows their life. It ends with all of the babushkas going to the Orthodox nightly mass. At that point it struck me and I understood. This film is not about Chernobyl, it's not even about the Babushkas themselves, it's about God's grace. No one without faith would survive there. It's God's grace that gives these babushkas strength to live there, almost alone. I didn't expect this film would bring me to this conclusion but it did. Watch it if you can find it in full.

 

ben1

Sparrow
I am late to this thread so I apologize for not reading every post up to this point. But regarding the original question, here is the scriptural doctrine presented most clearly:

Salvation itself has multiple facets. It contains within it:
  • the removal of the legal penalty of sin and the declaration of righteousness (Justification)
  • entrance into God's family and his inheritance (Adoption)
  • cleansing from the corrupting stain of sin (Purification)
  • reconciliation to fellowship with God (Communion)
  • the defeat of the satanic powers of sin and deliverance into the Kingdom of Light (Victory)
  • growth in personal holiness defined by obedience to the law of Christ (Sanctification)
  • personal dedication to holy ministry (also Sanctification but in a different sense)
  • recreation and exaltation to a glorious state suitable for eternal worship (glorification)
So many benefits, praise God! But what is salvation itself? What is the very essence? It is union with Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit by the will of the Father to the glory of the whole Trinity. Salvation is union with Christ.

That union with Christ is established by faith, with no contribution of works. This is what Paul is talking about in Galatians: it is not by works of the law but by hearing with faith. Galatians 2:16 could not be more emphatic about this.

James on the other hand does use terminology that at first appraisal looks directly contradictory to Paul, but on closer examination we see that James is drawing a distinction between two different kinds of faith: one kind that merely believes truths about God, and another that works obedience. For James, the works exist to show the nature of the faith (James 2:18).

This fits perfectly with our paradigm described earlier. How can a person who is united to Christ experience only one benefit of salvation, namely forgiveness of sins? How can the Holy Spirit indwell you, intimately uniting you to Christ, and there be no changes in you? This would be to receive a "Christ" who is divided into slices and only receive one slice. Impossible.

As Christians, we must never perform good works in hopes that they will endear us to God for salvation. We should do good works because we are united to the perfect God-man, the king of righteousness, Jesus. In so doing, we will testify the truth of our faith in Christ, demonstrating that it is a real faith, and not faith like the demons who believe facts about God but nothing else.
 

Aloha50

Sparrow
I'm actually kind of shocked at all the hate thrown in the direction of Protestants on this thread.

As someone that has experienced many different denominations and is now completely out of the 501c churches, my experience has taught me that most of professing Christianity are not who they say that they are. But to generally equate Catholics as more righteous and God fearing than Protestants is absolutely, 100% not true.

I don't believe that denominations are Biblical and that's part of the problem. Ministries that claim 501c status and are yoked up with the government are a larger part of the problem. So generally speaking, we have too much religion and not enough Jesus. Some of the general issues with various denominations that I see:

Baptists often misunderstand the sovereignty of God, going too far with concepts like predestination.

Catholics often deemphasize the teaching and reading of the Bible.

Pentecostals often put too much emphasis on experience and feelings.

I don't know as much about Orthodox Christianity as the others, but from what I can see there is too much emphasis on rituals.

Churches that are yoked up with the government via 501c, or worse- churches that are yoked up with the UN, one world religion, beast system, et al, are compromised and watered down. It really is a shame to see so many people- I'm sure some of whom are legitimately in the faith- digging in their heels to defend their denomination, which will not save them.

Back to the matter at hand, faith vs. works. It's a narrow path. It's very easy to veer off to the left and say "my faith will save me so I can do whatever I want", and its very easy to veer off to the right and try to make it by following law and making the cross of Christ to none effect (see Galatians). The body of Christ, meaning those that belong to Jesus- not any particular denomination- need to strive to walk that narrow path.
I agree with you, but then again I'm a Protestant! Ha! Well most of the dudes on this forum are Ortho then RCC then us. Oh well, I like 'em (most) anyway.

Regarding your last paragraph. It is a narrow path. This is how God worked in my life so I tend to think this is how it must be for other Christians as well. Got saved at 20 from a hell bound life of sin. Upon repenting and believing in Christ I received the promised Holy Spirit. From that time until now many years later that Spirit has never left me. So regarding this line, "my faith will save me so I can do whatever I want" this makes no sense to me. Every since my new birth I've resisted sin (not always winning!) and tried to serve God. Many failures, but the desire to not sin and serve God was always there. I can't imagine a human indwelt by God (Holy Spirit) saying 'I can do whatever I want...'. I would say the person who says that was never a Christian! How would the Holy Spirit allow them to say that in their spirit? I have definitely fallen in to sin post conversion, but can honestly say I've always fought it whereas before conversion I never fought but instead sought sin.
 

Aloha50

Sparrow
It seems many who espouse Sola Fide, do so because they cant reconcile with God over some sin, like adultery, greed or gluttony. If they are saved from the beginning and always saved, then that won't seem lika a problem for them cause they have blinded themselves from the fact that sin could bring them to hell if they don't do reparations to Gods perfection or repent.

Is it really surprising to know that the founder of protestantism, Martin Luther, could neither resist the temptations of lust nor greed, and built a theology to fit his lusts?

Archaeologists Unveil Secrets of Luther's Life
"And
800px-DHM_-_Luther_auf_Totenbett.jpg
then there was his obesity. At first, the doctor weighed 100, then 120 and, finally, an estimated
150 kilograms [330 lb] (the estimate is based on an ink drawing made of Luther shortly after his death)."

Is it far fetched to claim that the theologically invested protestants follow the same path as their founder, because they, unlike most Catholic or Orthodox christians don't accept the fact that their sin could lead them to hell?

It is not for any man to judge anyone. Man can not say to himself, "i am good, the Lord thinks im good, and i will be saved." That is up for God to decide. Anything else would completely fall short of humility.

Catholic and Orthodox people don't think themselves more virtous than protestants, only God knows our hearts, the only difference is that Catholics and Orthodox know they risk going to hell if they live too much in sin.
I just got done reading Eric Metaxas' book on Martin Luther. It's interesting that if the RCC and Pope Leo X in particular had not dug its heels in regarding indulgences, Luther would never have left the church. As you know, he was very pious Catholic monk and was one of the few at the time who knew scripture backwards and forwards (at the time, monks and priests mostly did not read the Bible and in fact were encouraged not to) so he knew indulgences were a complete scam. His 95 theses did address other things but had the church stopped selling indulgences (which was done 35 years later at the council of Trent) Luther would have most likely stopped there. When the church pushed back, he kept studying and reading works of past reformers and started seeing other problems. On it went, we know the rest. In fact, I'd guess had the Eastern Orthodox church been in Germany, we would never know the name Martin Luther.
 

orthobulgarian

Chicken
Orthodox
Well, this is typical silly Western dialectics. No one does any works without faith. That being said, the controversy of faith vs works is more in the field of rhetorics rather than theology. Also it's important to notice that Salvation occurs only after death, not in particular day when one is decided to believe in Christ. The Five Solas are not grounded in the Bible.
 
@Aloha50

The Catholic Church still have the authority to grant indulgences today. Christ gave his Apostles and their successors the right to grant indulgences (Matthew 18:18). The problem (during Luther's day) was that some priests and bishops went too far and indulgences ended up becoming simony (the purchasing of spiritual gifts).

Martin Luther had psychological problems (even some Lutheran's accept this). He suffered from an obsessive compulsive condition called 'religiosity'. Luther was obsessed with sin and damnation. His "faith alone" idea was a neat theology he developed in order to deal with his guilt.
 

Sol Invictus

Sparrow
Orthodox Catechumen
John 3:16. Salvation thru Faith alone. No one is good enough for Heaven. Jesus is the only way. He died in the Cross for a reason.
See, this is the exact type of thing that Hermetic Seal and others have already put to bed. Typical Protestant quote mining to try to prove a point. Except it simply won't work with any Orthodox or Catholics who are grounded in their faith. You're trying to use the Bible as a "salvation manual", except that's not what it is, otherwise it would've been written like one. This just displays the superficiality of Protestantism and how it has thoroughly corrupted Christianity to be nothing more than a method of getting a one-time emotional experience in place of something that truly changes lives and gets people closer to God.
 

Dijkstra

Chicken
As a Protestant, I have been taught this question has a simple answer: Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone, and works are the proof of our faith.

Nothing we can do will ever be enough to "earn" righteousness and entrance into heaven, for we are fallen and sinful at birth. It is by God's grace alone that our faith in Jesus' willingness to be the perfect sacrifice for our transgressions as seen in his dying on the cross and resurrection three days after we are reconciled to God.

Likewise, our faith in this truth is not a carte blanche approval to continue on living the same sinful lives chasing worldly and carnal pleasures. Faith without works is dead, as it shows the claimant to be a liar whom the Holy Spirit is not working in their lives. It is very literally committing arson with one's testimony of conversion and being given new life in the Spirit.

Lastly, we do not do works for the sake of fame or sense of duty, but out of an honest desire to please God by striving to keep his commands and emulate Christ because of our love for Him and thankfulness for His grace and mercy on us while we were yet rebellious sinners.

I will admit I understand very little of what is taught in Orthodox parishes and seminaries, but the picture from your prayer book which Hermetic Seal posted seems very much in line with what I read in the Bible and have been taught both in grade school and when I attend service with my local Church.
 

The Penitent Man

Woodpecker
Likewise, we can perhaps agree that we can't enter His Kingdom by works alone. A, because God doesn't need anything from us; B, because you can't say for sure how many good deeds would be "enough" and C, because we're weak and fail constantly.
I think you missed the most important aspect, which is that God is holy and pure and no tarnished sinner can enter the kingdom of heaven, which means everyone. By the grace of God he gave a means to purify the repentant through the sacrifice of Christ, and only by faith in Jesus, and therefore God’s promise, can one be saved.

I think the works element is a test of faith. One can say mere words, make representations of faith, but your faith will be held to the test by works (how you behave and also how you respond to trials). As it is said, you shall know them by their fruits.

Each day is a test, every word and every decision. God will put us all to the test, perhaps some more and some less and at different times or capacities. We will all have to put our money where our mouth is.

1 Peter 1

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
 
I think we can all agree that salvation and our entry into the Kingdom of God is God's generous offer to us. Likewise, we can perhaps agree that we can't enter His Kingdom by works alone. A, because God doesn't need anything from us; B, because you can't say for sure how many good deeds would be "enough" and C, because we're weak and fail constantly.

That being said, does it mean that it's "by faith alone" that we can go to Heaven as Martin Luther claimed and his followers believe?


I. Matthew 5: 17-20
If the Law is not abolished, then it's in place. If it's still in place you kinda sorta have to live by it.

The reason the "Protestant Work Ethic" used to be well known is because Protestants, who I'm defining as those who accept the core beliefs of Luther and Calvin, believe we are saved 100% by the grace of God. Grace is the undeserved favor of God. We are saved by our faith, which is a gift from God. There is nothing you can do to justify yourself before God or sufficiently atone for your own sin. If you are forgiven and saved, it is because of Christ's obedience, not yours.

That said, the Protestant Work Ethic occurs when people realize that although they deserve hell, God in His infinite love and compassion has instead atoned for them so they could have eternal life. That causes a person to love God and be highly motivated to follow His commands. Love is a much stronger motivator than fear, although both are present.

If we do not do good works, we prove that we are not truly saved. No one who knows God and understands the sacrifice He made on our behalf would willingly continue in sin.


I quoted what you wrote about Christ who came to fulfill the Law of Moses. As far as I know, the standard Christian interpretation is that the Law of Moses still stands, and has been completely fulfilled by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. So we are set free from slavishly obeying the letter of the law, which God demonstrated through the OT did not lead people to righteousness but instead to hypocrisy and greater sin. We are free to know God and serve Him in spirit and in truth, motivated by love.

This is why people who truly believe in "grace alone" work extremely hard to please God.


One other point. I'm not personally offended by the condescending and flippant attitude of your post. But it is definitely not good for your reputation as a man of God, and in my opinion does not show reverence for things that are holy.
 

tractor

Woodpecker
Orthodox
The reason the "Protestant Work Ethic" used to be well known is because Protestants, who I'm defining as those who accept the core beliefs of Luther and Calvin, believe we are saved 100% by the grace of God. Grace is the undeserved favor of God. We are saved by our faith, which is a gift from God. There is nothing you can do to justify yourself before God or sufficiently atone for your own sin. If you are forgiven and saved, it is because of Christ's obedience, not yours.

That said, the Protestant Work Ethic occurs when people realize that although they deserve hell, God in His infinite love and compassion has instead atoned for them so they could have eternal life. That causes a person to love God and be highly motivated to follow His commands. Love is a much stronger motivator than fear, although both are present.

If we do not do good works, we prove that we are not truly saved. No one who knows God and understands the sacrifice He made on our behalf would willingly continue in sin.


I quoted what you wrote about Christ who came to fulfill the Law of Moses. As far as I know, the standard Christian interpretation is that the Law of Moses still stands, and has been completely fulfilled by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. So we are set free from slavishly obeying the letter of the law, which God demonstrated through the OT did not lead people to righteousness but instead to hypocrisy and greater sin. We are free to know God and serve Him in spirit and in truth, motivated by love.

This is why people who truly believe in "grace alone" work extremely hard to please God.


One other point. I'm not personally offended by the condescending and flippant attitude of your post. But it is definitely not good for your reputation as a man of God, and in my opinion does not show reverence for things that are holy.

Strictly speaking, I started this thread when I was seriously doubting some of the protestant dogmas (I was baptized Lutheran). Reading it now, I think I could have phrased it better (less sarcastic, for instance). Also I think, the thread title is quite misleading. My main concern was "by faith alone" and not some juxtaposition of "salvation by faith" and "salvation by works". I obviously don't believe in the latter as the quote you took from me indicates. I don't know why you felt compelled to write so many words that seem like a counterargument but are unrelated to my opening post.

I didn't deny God's grace, what's your issue here?

It's quite funny that you bring up this "protestant work ethic" like it's a great thing. The Calvinists and Lutherans mock Catholics for their "works" but then proceed to make a chutzpah by saying that it's predestined who's saved and who's not. How do you prove it? The protestant "theologians" have the answer:

Those who work hard and succeed in life are those "elect".

This assumption is highly problematic because it doesn't sit quite well with being a Christian:

Why do you need to be a Christian if everything is predestined? Are the Japanese and Jews also under God's grace if they work hard and succeed financially? Also, Jesus Christ preached quite the opposite of making dollars in this life. How was it? "go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me."

Note "then you will have treasure in heaven". Doesn't sound like a "predestination" to me.

Also "Seek first the Kingdom of God". Not "Seek first dollars in this world because your VIP ticket to the Kingdom of God is already booked and paid by Me".
 
Strictly speaking, I started this thread when I was seriously doubting some of the protestant dogmas (I was baptized Lutheran). Reading it now, I think I could have phrased it better (less sarcastic, for instance). Also I think, the thread title is quite misleading. My main concern was "by faith alone" and not some juxtaposition of "salvation by faith" and "salvation by works". I obviously don't believe in the latter as the quote you took from me indicates. I don't know why you felt compelled to write so many words that seem like a counterargument but are unrelated to my opening post.

I didn't deny God's grace, what's your issue here?

It's quite funny that you bring up this "protestant work ethic" like it's a great thing. The Calvinists and Lutherans mock Catholics for their "works" but then proceed to make a chutzpah by saying that it's predestined who's saved and who's not. How do you prove it? The protestant "theologians" have the answer:

Those who work hard and succeed in life are those "elect".

This assumption is highly problematic because it doesn't sit quite well with being a Christian:

Why do you need to be a Christian if everything is predestined? Are the Japanese and Jews also under God's grace if they work hard and succeed financially? Also, Jesus Christ preached quite the opposite of making dollars in this life. How was it? "go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me."

Note "then you will have treasure in heaven". Doesn't sound like a "predestination" to me.

Also "Seek first the Kingdom of God". Not "Seek first dollars in this world because your VIP ticket to the Kingdom of God is already booked and paid by Me".

Thanks for your reply, you are right I usually write (and speak) too much. I'm working on it.

I'll be the first to admit I don't understand the mysteries of God such as His plan of salvation. I know it's true that God predestined some to be saved and others to receive His wrath. I also know that everyone who goes to hell made the conscious free choice to do so, and fully deserves their punishment.

Whatever isn't clear to me now, I believe will be later. From the outside I guess that looks like circular reasoning, but it satisfies me.

Looking back you are right I'm not directly addressing your post. I'm trying to clear up how faith and works are related. Faith comes first (by grace) and works naturally follow. This is what it means to drink the blood of Christ. The blood is the lifeblood of the creature which makes atonement for our souls. When we drink His blood we receive His life into ourselves which naturally causes us to become like Him and do good things.
 
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