Thursday, August 16, 2012

Faith and Works?

In my last blog quo vadis, I alluded to this one.  In the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible on the the Letter of St. James, there is a sidebar discussing this subject which has raised much discussion and difference since Martin Luther’s assertion of “solo fide” or faith alone as justification for salvation.

The sidebar discusses the two verses of Paul’s letter to the Romans and the letter of James:

    Romans 3:28 “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.”
    James 2:24    “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

These seemingly contradictory notions suggest a serious division in teaching and has causes a great deal of historic controversy.  But, the sidebar puts them in context.  Paul is talking about the faith of the convert that leads to Baptism and he is discussing the works of Mosaic Law.  James, on the other hand, is discussing the life of a Christian after Baptism who put his or her faith into action by endeavoring to live the gospel and the Christian life on a daily basis. 

Unfortunately, I have the sense that far too many contemporary people are falling away from the idea of living as a Christian and misusing Paul’s assertion in this passage as a cheap way to salvation by just having “faith” without participating in any church services on a regular basis in their misguided belief that works of law does not include church services or obedience.  I hear from too many people that they have a personal and spiritual relationship with God which does not include church membership, attendance and participation.  As the author Timothy J. Keller wrote in his forward to the book “Bonhoeffer” (Detrich Bonhoeffer), They have “a non-costly love from a non-holy God who just loves and accepts us as we are.  That will never change anyone’s life.”  He, also, wrote about these people that, “They don’t like talking about Jesus’ death on the cross to satisfy divine wrath and justice.”

What are your thoughts?

Let the light of our Lord shine upon you!

REM (Ray Makowski) Co-Founder, Director and Secretary-Treasurer

1 comment:

  1. As St. Paul said, we are to WORK out our salvation in fear and trembling. Justification is an ongoing process, and is NOT by faith alone, CONTRARY to what Luther said: "You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because the word “alone” (which Luther added) is not in the text of Paul (Romans 3:28). If your Papist makes such an unnecessary row about the word “alone”, say right out to him: “Dr. Martin Luther will have it so”, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word “alone” is not in the Latin or the Greek text…it shall remain in my New Testament. All the Popish donkeys will not get it out."