Faith & Works versus… Faith & a Love Response
Paul, “the Apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13) wrote;
"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." Romans 6:14 (KJV)
Many pastors have a hard time with reconciling Paul’s 100% pure grace truth of Eph. 2:8-9 that says you are “saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS lest any man boast” … with James’ words in James 2:26b – “faith without works is dead.”
They are reluctant to accept the Apostle Paul’s grace gospel for salvation ‘as written.’ This is because they do not “righty divide the word of truth,” as to what applies to Israel from what applies to the Gentiles. They either ignore or not recognize the fact that James was NOT writing to Gentiles at that time or in their congregations today. James addressed his letter saying “to the Twelve Tribes (Israel) scattered abroad,” those Jews who are “under the Law” system (James 1:1).
It is undeniable that Paul, as “The Apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13), according to his “gospel of the grace of God” (Act 20:24), declares that faith in Christ ALONE is ALL Sufficient, Standing Supreme As The Sole Basis To Merit One’s Justification And Eternal Salvation during this unique pure grace age, called “the dispensation of the GRACE of God. Eph 3:2
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: 9 NOT of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5)
…for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14
We conclude that a man is Justified [declared righteous] by Faith Without the Deeds [Works] of the Law. Rom. 3:28
Paul emphasizes that there’s ‘no’ amount of works required for our salvation during this age of “the dispensation of the grace of God” since Christ has FULLY PAID our sin-debt. Israel was under a works-based performance system called “the Law” of blessing and cursing in the O.T. and at the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth, and Israel will again be under the Law during the Millennial Kingdom… after the body of Christ is removed from planet earth by the Rapture.
And If [salvation is] By Grace, then is it NO More of Works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6
Having well established that salvation today is gained “by [God’s] grace through faith” alone… where then does the believers motivation for righteous living come in; since there’s No Demand for Performance to fulfill any the law of works?
Just as a baby is not required to not mess his diaper while still a babe, but not as they mature, God doesn’t expect the messy and unappreciative lives of babes in Christ will necessarily stop immediately. A babe “in Christ” is not simply one who is young in years since they were saved. A babe may well be one who was saved many, many years but remains stunted in their “knowledge of the truth” and thus their growth “in Christ” is stunted. With Paul’s words being marginalized in the church, we see the cause.
This stunting is most commonly is due to poor Bible teaching; therefore, they lack understanding of the key elements or core points of what Paul calls “the faith.” This ignorance or lack of understanding results in a lack of appreciation… for the Lord’s freely offered love by Christ’s Cross-work on their behalf.
Most are also unaware of the ‘deposit of His overcoming ever-present life’ within their spirit. Having been saved and regenerated by His “Spirit of LIFE” by faith… all believers are right now equipped to live a righteous life by faith in… “Christ, Who Is Our Life” Col. 3:4, cf. Gal. 2:20.
Yes, salvation is received “by grace through faith” in Christ’s cross-work ALONE.
Not by Works of Righteousness Which We Have Done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5
Then also, having received such freely given love and grace of God, now as the recipient of Christ’s resurrection life, we ought to eventually become impelled to ‘respond’ in kind. Paul here succinctly expresses the believer’s normal expected response to God’s love and saving grace.
For the love of Christ ‘constraineth’ (Gk. synecho, binds) us…15 … that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
As genuine believers who have grown in knowledge of His love, grace, we willingly choose to ‘constrain (bind)’ ourselves to Him. We walk in UNION with the Lord as He leads us moment by moment… enlightening our path. That light within us also produces the faith necessary. This would be the normal result of coming to see, believe, and receive His love and grace… accomplished Without Such Appreciation Being ‘REQUIRED’ of us.
Question: How does “His faith” work in us to produce right living?
- God, by His indwelling “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” provides ‘revelation’ to every believer, progressively, and also as guidance for living moment by moment.
- In response, we ‘believe it.’ This is faith that produces and empowers ‘obedience.’
Ultimately, faith and obedience can’t be separated. Though obedience is not guaranteed while we yet live in these flesh ‘bodies of Sin’ (Rom. 8:3b, 7:17-18), we Can Never Lose Our Salvation even when we do slip at times. Today, our Salvation gained by grace through faith, once gained by faith Cannot Be Lost, even if we yet may inadvertently sin. The fact is that the regenerated believer’s sins are Not Imputed or Counted to him by the Lord, for we are yet learning to live as we should so long as we remain on this planet. Rather we are ‘counted as righteous’ before the Lord.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth [counts] a] righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom The Lord Will Not Impute [Count his] Sin. Romans 4:5-8 (KJV)
Actually, ‘salvation is to have Become A Partaker of the Divine life of the Resurrected Christ by the deposit of the “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” into our “spirit of man,” whereby we become “one spirit” with the Godhead. We are thereby “sealed [securely] with the Holy Spirit.”
17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit [by His Spirit in our spirit]. 1 Corinthians 6:17 (KJV)
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13 (KJV)
Once God’s freely given love, grace, and salvation is recognized and comprehended by us, it prompts us to freely make an offer of our self to Him. This is what Paul ‘beseeches’ of the believers at Ephesus.
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)
Having this understanding, we can see why the righteous fruit of salvation could be expected to become manifested in the life of genuine believers as they grow in grace, knowledge, and love of the Lord. They’ve begun to mature in their understanding and appreciation… as seen by the conduct of their daily walk with Him.