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Salvation Based On Faith?


Cianna200
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Why do you think that heaven would need faith over good deeds and kindness?

Many Christians say because we fall short, but that makes no sense.

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As I understand it the writers of the NT thought that god could or would not tolerate any imperfection. So nobody could go to heaven who was not perfect. Since no one is perfect god provided an alternative means for people to be deemed perfect through the sacrifice of his son, jesus. Jesus took on all the sins of the world by his death on the cross. And his resurrection was deemed a victory over death for all who had faith in Jesus. So jesus' sacrifice for all, plus faith in Jesus, was counted as "justification" for the believers to be deemed perfect by god so they could go to heaven. No works could justify that because works of people were considered by god to be as "dirty rags".

 

Since works were as dirty rags, only god's grace and our faith could do the trick. Works count for nothing. Why were works just dirty rags? The bible doesn't say, to my knowledge.I think it was so provided by the writers of the NT to impress upon people that god's ways are so much higher than our ways that it can't even be explained to us. These were just clever tricks to overwhelm the masses and make them believe.

 

Of course the NT was not consistent in saying faith alone was sufficient. Other scriptures (such as in James) say works are necessary for salvation. Like in the rest of the bible, there is no consistency. bill

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The reason faith rather than works are deemed worthy of heaven is because a person who is not dedicated to the Christian religion could do good works. The requirement of faith, on the other hand, ensured people were dedicated to the Christian religion. In other words, the requirement of faith ensured the growth and dedication to Christianity rather than something else.

 

In addition, the requirement of faith helped to solve the problem of a lack of proof of the claims of Christianity.

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Because living what is referred to as a morally "righteous" life is bloody hard.  It requires tremendous self-sacrificing, deprivation, self-denial and the like.  In other words it is no fun.  They had to come up with a way to avoid the hard stuff so they said "oh just believe some things and that will get you into heaven."  The problem is that believing in Jesus is no more morally relevant than believing in unicorns.  Whether I believe that unicorns exist or not has no bearing on my behaviour or worthiness of entering an eternal paradise.  Whether I believe in Jesus or not, same difference.  This is why Jack the Ripper can easily get into heaven as easy as ABC "accept, believe, confess." 

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Acceptance with God does not depend on attainment of a standard of perfection that is humanly impossible to attain. Salvation is given as a gift, but like all gifts, it has to be accepted.

It involves repentance and putting our trust in God as a deliberate act of our will.

 

The logic of this is important, since the original fall or rebellion involved the opposite, a lack of trust and grasping at independence from God.

The way back therefore inevitable involves a change of that attitude, trusting God again.

 

Some people say it’s not fair that they should suffer because of what one man (Adam) did, and they would be right.

So that’s why Paul says ‘ through one mans disobedience the many where made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one many will be made righteous.

 

You don’t have to earn, it’s a gift.

 

In James, there is no contradiction between works and faith.

Faith without works is dead means that if you have faith for  salvation there will be an outward showing of change.

 

Hence, someone can’t just go ‘I’ll live how I want and then repent on my deathbed’.

If anyone thought ike that, they don’t know God and don’t care either.

It takes a change of heart, such as the criminal on the cross next to Jesus.

 

I am surprised at these questions and answers this being an ‘Ex-Christian forum, as this is basic 101 stuff. 

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Acceptance with God does not depend on attainment of a standard of perfection that is humanly impossible to attain. Salvation is given as a gift, but like all gifts, it has to be accepted.

It involves repentance and putting our trust in God as a deliberate act of our will.

 

The logic of this is important, since the original fall or rebellion involved the opposite, a lack of trust and grasping at independence from God.

The way back therefore inevitable involves a change of that attitude, trusting God again.

 

Some people say it’s not fair that they should suffer because of what one man (Adam) did, and they would be right.

So that’s why Paul says ‘ through one mans disobedience the many where made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one many will be made righteous.

 

You don’t have to earn, it’s a gift.

 

In James, there is no contradiction between works and faith.

Faith without works is dead means that if you have faith for  salvation there will be an outward showing of change.

 

Hence, someone can’t just go ‘I’ll live how I want and then repent on my deathbed’.

If anyone thought ike that, they don’t know God and don’t care either.

It takes a change of heart, such as the criminal on the cross next to Jesus.

 

I am surprised at these questions and answers this being an ‘Ex-Christian forum, as this is basic 101 stuff. 

hahaha,,,,, what you say is so very true,,,,,, i believe ,,,,,, hahahaha

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You cant just dismiss 'I believe' every time. I don’t mean it like a television evangelist 'I beeeeellliiievvvvee!!

 

If I jump of a building I believe I will hit the ground and get hurt

I believe Hitler was an evil man

I believe if I break the law, I could be arrested.

 

They are truths, and I believe them.

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It's important to be careful not to equivocate on "faith/belief."  The theological virtue of faith is not the same as the opinion that some proposition P is true.  People often, however, use the word "belief" to refer to each of these very different mental states.  I think I recall St. Augustine arguing that even unbelievers have faith; e.g. they believe (or have faith) that if they sit down on a chair, the chair will be there underneath them. This is not the same as the Ep. Hebrews sense of faith as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (11:1).

 

Your examples of truths that you believe, Gus, by themselves aren't relevant to a discussion about faith in the theological sense, because the mental states referred to by "believe" are quite different in the following:

 

"Gus believed that if he broke the law, he could be arrested"

"Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness"

 

The theological virtue of faith is distinct in at least two ways:

1. its ground is not evidential data open to verification by any objective observer but rather, things hoped for, etc.

2. it includes the opinion that a given proposition about God is true but adds a lot of other attitudes and/or emotions to that opinion

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You cant just dismiss 'I believe' every time. I don’t mean it like a television evangelist 'I beeeeellliiievvvvee!!

 

If I jump of a building I believe I will hit the ground and get hurt

I believe Hitler was an evil man

I believe if I break the law, I could be arrested.

 

They are truths, and I believe them.

you comparing

 

jumping down from a building to what you believe existence of god?

comparing evil of hilter to the possibility of the salvation plan of a garbage book of myths?

you breaking the law and being arrested to the fall of a man which cursed the whole humanity?

 

you need to see a pyschiatrist

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Acceptance with God does not depend on attainment of a standard of perfection that is humanly impossible to attain. Salvation is given as a gift, but like all gifts, it has to be accepted.

It involves repentance and putting our trust in God as a deliberate act of our will.

 

The logic of this is important, since the original fall or rebellion involved the opposite, a lack of trust and grasping at independence from God.

The way back therefore inevitable involves a change of that attitude, trusting God again.

 

Some people say it’s not fair that they should suffer because of what one man (Adam) did, and they would be right.

So that’s why Paul says ‘ through one mans disobedience the many where made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one many will be made righteous.

 

You don’t have to earn, it’s a gift.

 

In James, there is no contradiction between works and faith.

Faith without works is dead means that if you have faith for  salvation there will be an outward showing of change.

 

Hence, someone can’t just go ‘I’ll live how I want and then repent on my deathbed’.

If anyone thought ike that, they don’t know God and don’t care either.

It takes a change of heart, such as the criminal on the cross next to Jesus.

 

I am surprised at these questions and answers this being an ‘Ex-Christian forum, as this is basic 101 stuff. 

Gus, that seems like a good explanation of salvation. The way you show symmetries is nice IMO.

 

When I put on my Christian hat, I think faith is critical to salvation, but it is faith that Jesus loves us unconditionally. That faith isn't whipped-up out of thin air like hypnosis, but it comes from cumulatively experiencing God and Jesus in this life and some additional experience after we die. So everybody dies and discovers that most of their supposed goodness was done to glorify themselves or to gain the approval of other people (i.e. hypocrisy). Then they ask mercy from Jesus and realize that he loves us unconditionally... Happy ending for everybody - universal salvation.

 

Unfortunately when I study the history and current state of Christianity and the world, it looks like just another religion in an materialist/atheist reality.

 

Also, I assume everybody understands some version of "Christianity 101" (40,000 different versions out there). I think people go to far in ridiculing some of these ideas that have been a source of inspiration for many people for centuries. But that is part of trying to deprogram.

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Acceptance with God does not depend on attainment of a standard of perfection that is humanly impossible to attain. Salvation is given as a gift, but like all gifts, it has to be accepted.

It involves repentance and putting our trust in God as a deliberate act of our will.

 

The logic of this is important, since the original fall or rebellion involved the opposite, a lack of trust and grasping at independence from God.

The way back therefore inevitable involves a change of that attitude, trusting God again.

 

Some people say it’s not fair that they should suffer because of what one man (Adam) did, and they would be right.

So that’s why Paul says ‘ through one mans disobedience the many where made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one many will be made righteous.

 

You don’t have to earn, it’s a gift.

 

In James, there is no contradiction between works and faith.

Faith without works is dead means that if you have faith for  salvation there will be an outward showing of change.

 

Hence, someone can’t just go ‘I’ll live how I want and then repent on my deathbed’.

If anyone thought ike that, they don’t know God and don’t care either.

It takes a change of heart, such as the criminal on the cross next to Jesus.

 

I am surprised at these questions and answers this being an ‘Ex-Christian forum, as this is basic 101 stuff. 

gee thanks. We've never heard any of those platitudes before. Now that we use derstand, surely we'll turn back to God and accept this wonderful gift and all the strings claimed not attached.

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Jesus emphasized good deeds as the evidence of repentance (think Zaccheus, and sheep vs goats). So did John the Baptist (share your stuff). The faith and belief that Jesus spoke of was believing that he was the son of god, if we can trust the gospel of John. But over and over Jesus points to things like giving away wealth and feeding the poor as important in the day of judgment. The later books by Paul and crowd emphasize faith as salvation far more than the gospels. Only James really harps on doing good as evidence of being changed.

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The means for attaining salvation have been debated between various Christianities since the first century.  Gnostic believers attain it through secret knowledge.  Legalistic sects attain it through penance and good works.  Grace-based sects attain it through belief and hope.  Some believe that the kingdom of God is here now.  Others believe that it will be here in the future.  Still others believe that it's in another dimension.

 

Christianity has never had a unified teaching on the matter.  The words attributed to Jesus emphasized good works and keeping Jewish law.  Paul emphasized belief.  Other lost Christianities emphasized knowledge.

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Jesus emphasized good deeds as the evidence of repentance (think Zaccheus, and sheep vs goats). So did John the Baptist (share your stuff). The faith and belief that Jesus spoke of was believing that he was the son of god, if we can trust the gospel of John. But over and over Jesus points to things like giving away wealth and feeding the poor as important in the day of judgment. The later books by Paul and crowd emphasize faith as salvation far more than the gospels. Only James really harps on doing good as evidence of being changed.

If Luther hadn't come along and framed a new paradigm, I doubt the modern xians would be using the same talking points. The Bible says what one has been told it says. By itself, it's just contradictory, flowery and even confusing.

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As I understand it the writers of the NT thought that god could or would not tolerate any imperfection. So nobody could go to heaven who was not perfect. Since no one is perfect god provided an alternative means for people to be deemed perfect through the sacrifice of his son, jesus. Jesus took on all the sins of the world by his death on the cross. And his resurrection was deemed a victory over death for all who had faith in Jesus. So jesus' sacrifice for all, plus faith in Jesus, was counted as "justification" for the believers to be deemed perfect by god so they could go to heaven. No works could justify that because works of people were considered by god to be as "dirty rags".

 

Since works were as dirty rags, only god's grace and our faith could do the trick. Works count for nothing. Why were works just dirty rags? The bible doesn't say, to my knowledge.I think it was so provided by the writers of the NT to impress upon people that god's ways are so much higher than our ways that it can't even be explained to us. These were just clever tricks to overwhelm the masses and make them believe.

 

Of course the NT was not consistent in saying faith alone was sufficient. Other scriptures (such as in James) say works are necessary for salvation. Like in the rest of the bible, there is no consistency. bill

 

 

Acceptance with God does not depend on attainment of a standard of perfection that is humanly impossible to attain. Salvation is given as a gift, but like all gifts, it has to be accepted.

It involves repentance and putting our trust in God as a deliberate act of our will.

 

The logic of this is important, since the original fall or rebellion involved the opposite, a lack of trust and grasping at independence from God.

The way back therefore inevitable involves a change of that attitude, trusting God again.

 

Some people say it’s not fair that they should suffer because of what one man (Adam) did, and they would be right.

So that’s why Paul says ‘ through one mans disobedience the many where made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one many will be made righteous.

 

You don’t have to earn, it’s a gift.

 

In James, there is no contradiction between works and faith.

Faith without works is dead means that if you have faith for  salvation there will be an outward showing of change.

 

Hence, someone can’t just go ‘I’ll live how I want and then repent on my deathbed’.

If anyone thought ike that, they don’t know God and don’t care either.

It takes a change of heart, such as the criminal on the cross next to Jesus.

 

I am surprised at these questions and answers this being an ‘Ex-Christian forum, as this is basic 101 stuff. 

 

IMO, there is no consensus among Christians today or historically what the core of Christian belief really is (i.e., "Christian 101").

 

Luther's take on justification was not only not a medieval view, it was not an interpretation espoused by the early church either.  There was no sense of Luther's "imputed righteousness" and "justification by faith alone" in the early church.  If you look in the Church Fathers (and modern Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, and Oriental Orthodox viewpoints), there is the clear sense that one can commit sins that cause the loss of salvation.  Sure, the Fathers and these communions all say that James and Paul are in agreement (how could they not?), but they didn't reconcile them the way that you are suggesting.  

 

I think it helps to recognize that Luther himself struggled with the idea that James was teaching the same thing as Paul-- I've heard him quoted as saying that James was "shoddy" and "an epistle of straw."  He hated Jerome's commentary on Galatians, for instance, because it did not support Luther's interpretation of what "the gospel" was.  Personally, I think the argument that the NT is not harmonious is a far more plausible position.

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As I understand it the writers of the NT thought that god could or would not tolerate any imperfection. So nobody could go to heaven who was not perfect. Since no one is perfect god provided an alternative means for people to be deemed perfect through the sacrifice of his son, jesus. Jesus took on all the sins of the world by his death on the cross. And his resurrection was deemed a victory over death for all who had faith in Jesus. So jesus' sacrifice for all, plus faith in Jesus, was counted as "justification" for the believers to be deemed perfect by god so they could go to heaven. No works could justify that because works of people were considered by god to be as "dirty rags".

 

Since works were as dirty rags, only god's grace and our faith could do the trick. Works count for nothing. Why were works just dirty rags? The bible doesn't say, to my knowledge.I think it was so provided by the writers of the NT to impress upon people that god's ways are so much higher than our ways that it can't even be explained to us. These were just clever tricks to overwhelm the masses and make them believe.

 

Of course the NT was not consistent in saying faith alone was sufficient. Other scriptures (such as in James) say works are necessary for salvation. Like in the rest of the bible, there is no consistency. bill

 

Bill,

 

FYI-- the "filthy rags" verse is an OT one (Isa 64:6)-- "fine linen" is actually the way the NT refers to good works (at least in one place)...

 

Is 64:6

We have all become like one who is unclean,

   and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.

We all fade like a leaf,

   and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

 

 

Calvinists never mention this passage in my experience...

Rev 19:7-8

Let us rejoice and exult

   and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

   and his bride has made herself ready; 

to her it has been granted to be clothed

   with fine linen, bright and pure’—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

 

I would agree wholeheartedly with your assertion that the NT documents are not consistent.  IMO, proving theological perspectives from the Bible usually consists of taking verses that advocate one's preferred position and explaining away the ones that don't...

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Reading Aggie's comments reminded me of something. Some early Christians believed that sins after baptism were very serious. Apparently many Christians waited until death to be baptized for this reason. Also there is the line in the Nicene Creed "I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins". That line makes more sense to me in this context.

 

Also, I have a very limited understanding of the Eastern Orthodox view of salvation from being a member for a short time. Here are some differences that come to mind:

- theosis (becoming like God through asceticism, prayer, etc.) is a big deal

- heaven is a bit different

- original sin and the idea that Jesus took our punishment on the cross isn't so clear

 

I know other members have a better understanding of Orthodox beliefs, so maybe they can give a better explanation.

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Reading Aggie's comments reminded me of something. Some early Christians believed that sins after baptism were very serious. Apparently many Christians waited until death to be baptized for this reason. Also there is the line in the Nicene Creed "I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins". That line makes more sense to me in this context.

 

Also, I have a very limited understanding of the Eastern Orthodox view of salvation from being a member for a short time. Here are some differences that come to mind:

- theosis (becoming like God through asceticism, prayer, etc.) is a big deal

- heaven is a bit different

- original sin and the idea that Jesus took our punishment on the cross isn't so clear

 

I know other members have a better understanding of Orthodox beliefs, so maybe they can give a better explanation.

 

Whoops, edit so as to focus more on justification... 

 

They believe in baptismal regeneration.  Traditionally they have held that you must be part of the Orthodox Church to be saved, as it is only there that you can receive the sacraments and be in union with Christ.  It  looks at salvation as more relational than "legal"-- there is no notion of imputed righteousness where you "switch places" with Christ in God's eyes or something.  They pray for the dead and regard that as efficacious in some way-- although they don't have a full purgatorial doctrine like the Catholics (although that gets somewhat complicated historically).  Luther's "faith alone" approach has been explicitly denied by Orthodox councils, being described as a misunderstanding of Scripture and against the consistent witness of the Holy Spirit in the Church.

 

Confession is like a "second baptism" for serious sins-- repentance from serious sins is typically held as incomplete/invalid unless one participates in the sacrament of Confession.

 

Here's a good article by an evangelical Protestant who studied Orthodoxy extensively but did not join.  http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1997/january6/7t1032.html?paging=off 

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"If I jump of a building I believe I will hit the ground and get hurt


I believe Hitler was an evil man


I believe if I break the law, I could be arrested.


 


They are truths, and I believe them." gus


 


 


No, you got it backwards. They are truths to you because you believe them. bill


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Just because filthy rags is in the OT does not relieve it from being part of Xtian doctrine. bill

Bill, I agree.  I hear that verse quoted by Christians all the time and I think you outlined a very common approach.  My only point was that I found it interesting that the NT verse about "fine linen" was not quoted much if at all.  (Sort of like your James v. Paul ideas on justification...)

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You cant just dismiss 'I believe' every time. I don’t mean it like a television evangelist 'I beeeeellliiievvvvee!!

 

If I jump of a building I believe I will hit the ground and get hurt

I believe Hitler was an evil man

I believe if I break the law, I could be arrested.

 

They are truths, and I believe them.

 

We can just dismiss "I believe" every time if we want to.  I dismiss things when there is no good evidence or good reason to believe them.

 

Your three examples are things for which there is good evidence, therefore it is reasonable to believe them.  They are therefore different to god-belief.

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