Question: Why is faith without works dead?
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? (Jam 2:20) Is faith without works dead?
Just as man’s redemption from sin hinged on the Messiah, a sinner is saved from infernal damnation solely by faith in Christ alone. It is not faith and baptism, faith and Eucharist, faith and works, faith and Church or any other concoctions. It is faith in Christ alone that saves: sola faith. But can a sinner evoke Godly faith? Faith in faith is idolatry. Faith is intellectual yet experiential. If faith resides in God alone then faith need come from God. Faith to believe is therefore the unmitigated gift of God to whom He wills. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life…And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” (John 6:63, 65)
Were works of righteousness ever a prerequisite for sinners to be saved?
Fact is, the sinners that Jesus had come to call and justified by faith led colorful lifestyles! But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).
Eternal security is therefore God’s gift to those He has drawn by His irresistible grace. God even predestined the elect, that is, He chose us in Him before the foundations of the world (Eph 1:4-11; Rom 1-8). Our preservation to the end is guaranteed by the perfect seal of Christ at Calvary. This then is the grace of God: just as Abraham was justified by faith in believing El-Shaddai in lieu of paganism (Josh 24:2, 3), likewise the sinner that repents and believes The Christ of God (Luke 9:20).
That faith and repentance are intrinsic components in salvation, faith alone guarantees eternal security. Jesus Himself made this explicit when He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 7:50).
So what then saves man?
Stripped of sacraments, morals and hype, what defines the saint is faith – a believing, saving faith in The Christ of God (Luke 9:20). What more, this faith is vested in a covenant with God that includes its irrevocable perks. Give the Lord His due then, the preservation of the saints rests on the laurels of Christ alone: For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous (Rom 5:19). Fallen man – utterly corrupt in thought, word and deed – need realize that his highest intrinsic good is still soiled in sin or simply dead works (Heb 9:14). Make no mistake then, Christ alone has preserved the pilgrim to present him holy and blameless at the Judgment Seat for an accounting to God and rewards, not condemnation. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior (Jude 24, 25).
3 Sep 2014
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