"Works"

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"Works"

#1

Post by RickD » Mon May 21, 2012 10:50 am

There has been some discussion about "works", and how they pertain to salvation, and the life of a believer. In this thread, I hope to come to a basic agreement about what constitutes "works", and the proper place of such, in the life of a believer.
I guess we can start off where we began in another thread, on the definition of "works", Byblos wrote:
As for my definition, I will only say that I make a distinction between works of the law (done in the spirit of the law, i.e. without regard to grace) and works of love and charity (done in the spirit of grace). I think we've derailed the thread enough though (apologies to the OP).
Byblos, could you elaborate on this please?
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Re: "Works"

#2

Post by Byblos » Mon May 21, 2012 11:22 am

RickD wrote:There has been some discussion about "works", and how they pertain to salvation, and the life of a believer. In this thread, I hope to come to a basic agreement about what constitutes "works", and the proper place of such, in the life of a believer.
I guess we can start off where we began in another thread, on the definition of "works", Byblos wrote:
As for my definition, I will only say that I make a distinction between works of the law (done in the spirit of the law, i.e. without regard to grace) and works of love and charity (done in the spirit of grace). I think we've derailed the thread enough though (apologies to the OP).
Byblos, could you elaborate on this please?
Certainly.

What I mean by works of the law is for example what Paul repeatedly was guarding against, i.e. the old mosaic law including circumcision as a means for salvation. I don't think there's much disagreement here. Works of love and charity are the result of what you would call the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They are not a means onto salvation either but the fruits of the grace freely given by God. I don't believe there's much disagreement there either.

I guess where we differ in our respective theologies is on the issue of one losing there salvation (or having proven they were never saved saved to begin with). That's where the idea of one must do something to stay saved comes from and whether or not that something constitutes a 'work'. I contend that some can be classified as works and some don't. What I or any other Catholic would call the sacraments we do not consider as works. They are simply sacraments instituted by Christ himself to help us in our sanctification process. Acknowledging one's sin, confessing, receiving the Lord's Supper, doing charity, and so on help us focus our attention on Christ on a daily basis in our attempt to be Christ-like. Obviously it is a task we fail at miserably but nonetheless, attempt we must. For me what constitutes one losing their salvation is a willful, deliberate, and conscious decision to deny Christ and his work, which is not a position one can oscillate from back and forth.
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Re: "Works"

#3

Post by RickD » Mon May 21, 2012 11:54 am

What I or any other Catholic would call the sacraments we do not consider as works.
OK. So, for example, are baptism, and the Eucharist, part of the salvation of a believer? I guess what I'm trying to get at, is if they're not considered "works", but are necessary for salvation, then are they part of the "faith" one needs for salvation?

I think we would both agree that it's more of a fiducial type of faith that saves, not a mere intellectual faith that saves, correct?
They are simply sacraments instituted by Christ himself to help us in our sanctification process. Acknowledging one's sin, confessing, receiving the Lord's Supper, doing charity, and so on help us focus our attention on Christ on a daily basis in our attempt to be Christ-like.
I only take issue with the last part of what you said here
in our attempt to be Christ-like
I hope this isn't semantics, but I see a fundamental difference in belief about sanctification here. On your side, "Acknowledging one's sin, confessing, receiving the Lord's Supper, doing charity, and so on", help us in our attempt to be Christ like.
On the other hand, I believe it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God, in a believer, who transforms us into the image of Christ.
Obviously it is a task we fail at miserably but nonetheless, attempt we must.
I agree we fail miserably at attempting to be Christ like, because it's impossible for us to be Christ like. Only God Himself can transform us to the image of Christ(be more Christ like). If that is true, then why must we attempt to be Christ like, when only God can transform us? To me, that sounds like a futile attempt, and an unnecessary burden on anyone. I hope you see the difference between the two views. One, IMO, is doing certain things(sacraments, confessing sin, doing charity, etc.), in order to help sanctify ourselves, and the other, is allowing God, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, to sanctify us. And as a result of God's sanctifying work, we become more Christ-like. And, we love God, and our neighbor, as a natural result(fruit), of God's transformation process.
John 5:24
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Re: "Works"

#4

Post by jlay » Mon May 21, 2012 1:04 pm

I guess where we differ in our respective theologies is on the issue of one losing there salvation (or having proven they were never saved saved to begin with). That's where the idea of one must do something to stay saved comes from and whether or not that something constitutes a 'work'. I contend that some can be classified as works and some don't. What I or any other Catholic would call the sacraments we do not consider as works. They are simply sacraments instituted by Christ himself to help us in our sanctification process. Acknowledging one's sin, confessing, receiving the Lord's Supper, doing charity, and so on help us focus our attention on Christ on a daily basis in our attempt to be Christ-like. Obviously it is a task we fail at miserably but nonetheless, attempt we must. For me what constitutes one losing their salvation is a willful, deliberate, and conscious decision to deny Christ and his work, which is not a position one can oscillate from back and forth.
Byb, I just can't agree with you when you say what I've highlighted in bold. It seems like a True Scotsman fallacy in the making. Having fellowshipped with RCCs for many years now, I just know this isn't the case.
"My people perish for lack of knowledge." Granted, this problem isn't Catholic per se, but pervades all denominations. I can't say what all baptists believe anymore than I can say what all Christians believe. Now, you may say this is what all Catholics should believe.
I know confession has changed over the years, but based on its tradtional practice it doesn't, IMO, focus one on Christ but on penance, which is self-based. "Repeat this prayer this many times, and it's good."
For me what constitutes one losing their salvation is a willful, deliberate, and conscious decision to deny Christ and his work, which is not a position one can oscillate from back and forth
Obviously another topic, but I can at least understand this position. This is apostacy and has nothing to do with 'works.' This one is always a point of contention for us Free Gracers.
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Re: "Works"

#5

Post by Byblos » Mon May 21, 2012 1:05 pm

RickD wrote:
What I or any other Catholic would call the sacraments we do not consider as works.
OK. So, for example, are baptism, and the Eucharist, part of the salvation of a believer? I guess what I'm trying to get at, is if they're not considered "works", but are necessary for salvation, then are they part of the "faith" one needs for salvation?
If we start again with baptism we're going to go into many different rabbit trails. Suffice to say that there is a first step to be taken for one to become in Christ, whatever that step may be, and only at God's prompting.

As to your second question, is the Eucharist or confession necessary for salvation? Directly I would say no, indirectly yes, and it hinges precisely on the belief that one can lose their salvation (I really hate that term: lose salvation, but for lack of a better term it will do for now). If these are sacraments instituted by Christ to keep close to him and if I fail to stay close to him and that results in me denying Christ, then I would hope you can see how this does become a matter of salvation. Of course, if one believes salvation cannot be lost no matter what, then that is how the sacraments will appear as works.
RickD wrote:I think we would both agree that it's more of a fiducial type of faith that saves, not a mere intellectual faith that saves, correct?
Agreed.
RickD wrote:
They are simply sacraments instituted by Christ himself to help us in our sanctification process. Acknowledging one's sin, confessing, receiving the Lord's Supper, doing charity, and so on help us focus our attention on Christ on a daily basis in our attempt to be Christ-like.
I only take issue with the last part of what you said here
in our attempt to be Christ-like
Rick in Catholic theology there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING a Christian can do apart from the grace of God. God does the saving, God does the forgiving, God does the baptizing, God does the miracle of the Eucharist, etc, etc. So to say something like 'in our attempt to be Christ-like' it is understood that that is done by God's grace alone.
RickD wrote:I hope this isn't semantics, but I see a fundamental difference in belief about sanctification here. On your side, "Acknowledging one's sin, confessing, receiving the Lord's Supper, doing charity, and so on", help us in our attempt to be Christ like.
On the other hand, I believe it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God, in a believer, who transforms us into the image of Christ.
I completely agree with that. Like I said, nothing is done apart from God's grace and the aide of the Holy Spirit in us. In fact it is the only way we can even attempt to be Christ-like.
RickD wrote:
Obviously it is a task we fail at miserably but nonetheless, attempt we must.
I agree we fail miserably at attempting to be Christ like, because it's impossible for us to be Christ like. Only God Himself can transform us to the image of Christ(be more Christ like). If that is true, then why must we attempt to be Christ like, when only God can transform us? To me, that sounds like a futile attempt, and an unnecessary burden on anyone. I hope you see the difference between the two views. One, IMO, is doing certain things(sacraments, confessing sin, doing charity, etc.), in order to help sanctify ourselves, and the other, is allowing God, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, to sanctify us. And as a result of God's sanctifying work, we become more Christ-like. And, we love God, and our neighbor, as a natural result(fruit), of God's transformation process.
We must attempt because we are commanded by Christ to do so. The way I see it, the sanctification of the Holy Spirit IS what makes me want to repent and confess my sins, makes me want to receive the Lord's Supper, makes want to be charitable to my friends, neighbors, and enemies. The 2 are not mutually exclusive, they are 2 sides of the same coin. Apart from the HS I can do nothing.
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Re: "Works"

#6

Post by BavarianWheels » Mon May 21, 2012 1:11 pm

RickD wrote:I hope this isn't semantics, but I see a fundamental difference in belief about sanctification here. On your side, "Acknowledging one's sin, confessing, receiving the Lord's Supper, doing charity, and so on", help us in our attempt to be Christ like.
On the other hand, I believe it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God, in a believer, who transforms us into the image of Christ.
Was Paul transformed? If so, why did he still see himself as a wretched man?

To see the need to change to a more Christ-like manner is by no means an attempt to attain salvation because of our works...it is an acknowledgement that THAT Christ's way is better and we should emulate him as best a sinner, saved by grace through faith, can.

I'm in agreement with Byblos. By their fruits you will know them. To bear fruit is to work...but the work is done BECAUSE...not IN ORDER TO...

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Re: "Works"

#7

Post by Byblos » Mon May 21, 2012 1:11 pm

jlay wrote:
I guess where we differ in our respective theologies is on the issue of one losing there salvation (or having proven they were never saved saved to begin with). That's where the idea of one must do something to stay saved comes from and whether or not that something constitutes a 'work'. I contend that some can be classified as works and some don't. What I or any other Catholic would call the sacraments we do not consider as works. They are simply sacraments instituted by Christ himself to help us in our sanctification process. Acknowledging one's sin, confessing, receiving the Lord's Supper, doing charity, and so on help us focus our attention on Christ on a daily basis in our attempt to be Christ-like. Obviously it is a task we fail at miserably but nonetheless, attempt we must. For me what constitutes one losing their salvation is a willful, deliberate, and conscious decision to deny Christ and his work, which is not a position one can oscillate from back and forth.
Byb, I just can't agree with you when you say what I've highlighted in bold. It seems like a True Scotsman fallacy in the making. Having fellowshipped with RCCs for many years now, I just know this isn't the case.
"My people perish for lack of knowledge." Granted, this problem isn't Catholic per se, but pervades all denominations. I can't say what all baptists believe anymore than I can say what all Christians believe. Now, you may say this is what all Catholics should believe.
I know confession has changed over the years, but based on its tradtional practice it doesn't, IMO, focus one on Christ but on penance, which is self-based. "Repeat this prayer this many times, and it's good."
Unfortunately many Catholics (dare I say even most) don't know why they believe what they believe. They simply take it on faith that the Church knows better and are content in going with the flow even if the result is a misunderstanding (between what they believe and what the church actually teaches). I can't answer for what most Catholics believe. I can only answer to what I believe the Church actually teaches.
jlay wrote:
For me what constitutes one losing their salvation is a willful, deliberate, and conscious decision to deny Christ and his work, which is not a position one can oscillate from back and forth
Obviously another topic, but I can at least understand this position. This is apostacy and has nothing to do with 'works.' This one is always a point of contention for us Free Gracers.
Agreed.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: "Works"

#8

Post by narnia4 » Mon May 21, 2012 1:45 pm

Apologies if I'm missing something that's already been said, but I have a question. In a nutshell, why is faith NOT a work? We should all be able to agree that Scripture makes an obvious distinction, but why is it not?
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Re: "Works"

#9

Post by RickD » Mon May 21, 2012 1:57 pm

Byblos wrote:
If these are sacraments instituted by Christ to keep close to him and if I fail to stay close to him and that results in me denying Christ, then I would hope you can see how this does become a matter of salvation.
y:-? So, according to Catholicism, one believes he must continue to participate in these sacraments, on a daily, or weekly basis, in order to feel a measure of security? If, as a Catholic, I believe if I don't participate in the sacraments, I may deny Christ, and "lose my salvation", for lack of a better term? Can't you see how this leads me to think that as a Catholic, I must participate in sacraments, in order to have a hope of not losing my salvation? Furthermore, can't you see how I feel that's a terrible burden for one to carry. Feeling that if I skip church, then I miss some sacraments here or there, then I may fall away from Christ, and deny Him? Do you really live with that kind of stress?

*****Added after post*****
Byblos wrote:
Rick in Catholic theology there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING a Christian can do apart from the grace of God. God does the saving, God does the forgiving, God does the baptizing, God does the miracle of the Eucharist, etc, etc. So to say something like 'in our attempt to be Christ-like' it is understood that that is done by God's grace alone.
Byblos, the difference that I see, is that in Catholicism(or any Christian denomination), God does the saving, and forgiving by His power alone. In Catholicism(or any Christian denomination), God does the baptizing(water), Eucharist(unique to Catholicism), etc., by the hands of men. This is where it becomes a work, performed by men, as something needed for salvation.

Other than that, I don't think there's too much disagreement. :pound:

BavarianWheels wrote:
To see the need to change to a more Christ-like manner is by no means an attempt to attain salvation because of our works...
I agree.
it is an acknowledgement that THAT Christ's way is better and we should emulate him as best a sinner, saved by grace through faith, can.
Not much to disagree with there, either.
To bear fruit is to work...but the work is done BECAUSE...not IN ORDER TO...
Disagree here. How hard does a tree 'work', to produce fruit? I've found that the more I rest on God, and His assurance, and His work, the more I desire to do His will(love God, and my neighbor). And, the more I try to do good, or work to bear fruit, the more I hate doing it, and it becomes a chore.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
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Re: "Works"

#10

Post by RickD » Mon May 21, 2012 2:09 pm

narnia4 wrote:Apologies if I'm missing something that's already been said, but I have a question. In a nutshell, why is faith NOT a work? We should all be able to agree that Scripture makes an obvious distinction, but why is it not?
John 6:29 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

So, faith IS a work. :esurprised:

On the other hand, work is something we do, that merits wages. Faith, is true faith, if it is in the work of Christ. How can we deserve the wages of a faith in Christ's work?
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: "Works"

#11

Post by BavarianWheels » Mon May 21, 2012 2:17 pm

RickD wrote:
To bear fruit is to work...but the work is done BECAUSE...not IN ORDER TO...
Disagree here. How hard does a tree 'work', to produce fruit? I've found that the more I rest on God, and His assurance, and His work, the more I desire to do His will(love God, and my neighbor). And, the more I try to do good, or work to bear fruit, the more I hate doing it, and it becomes a chore.
EXACTLY the point. A tree does nothing that isn't done by its nature of being a tree. In order to produce fruit, in our sinful nature as we are not changed yet, we continually struggle with the Spiritual nature...that naturally follows God's Law and therefore we do not naturally love God OR even our neighbor. If you think you're able to do that perfectly...I have some beach-front property in Arizona to sell you.

You're disagreeing with something you fail to see you agree with.
RickD wrote:the more I desire to do His will(love God, and my neighbor)
You are still in the flesh and cannot do that which you "desire" to want to do (see the wretched man spoken of by Paul ) Our attempts are for nothing. Nothing? They must show something if faith without works is dead. ( see James 2:18-26 )

Does the work save us? No! Faith that produces good works does. ( see also Matthew 25:14-30 )

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Re: "Works"

#12

Post by RickD » Mon May 21, 2012 2:27 pm

BavarianWheels wrote:
RickD wrote:
To bear fruit is to work...but the work is done BECAUSE...not IN ORDER TO...
Disagree here. How hard does a tree 'work', to produce fruit? I've found that the more I rest on God, and His assurance, and His work, the more I desire to do His will(love God, and my neighbor). And, the more I try to do good, or work to bear fruit, the more I hate doing it, and it becomes a chore.
EXACTLY the point. A tree does nothing that isn't done by its nature of being a tree. In order to produce fruit, in our sinful nature as we are not changed yet, we continually struggle with the Spiritual nature...that naturally follows God's Law and therefore we do not naturally love God OR even our neighbor. If you think you're able to do that perfectly...I have some beach-front property in Arizona to sell you.

You're disagreeing with something you fail to see you agree with.
RickD wrote:the more I desire to do His will(love God, and my neighbor)
You are still in the flesh and cannot do that which you "desire" to want to do (see the wretched man spoken of by Paul ) Our attempts are for nothing. Nothing? They must show something if faith without works is dead. ( see James 2:18-26 )

Does the work save us? No! Faith that produces good works does. ( see also Matthew 25:14-30 )
So, I guess I'm saying that when one bears fruit, real fruit, it's because of the 'work' of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit in a believer. Not by the believer himself. Are you saying the same thing, in a different way, that I'm not seeing?
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: "Works"

#13

Post by BavarianWheels » Mon May 21, 2012 2:42 pm

RickD wrote:
BavarianWheels wrote:
RickD wrote:
To bear fruit is to work...but the work is done BECAUSE...not IN ORDER TO...
Disagree here. How hard does a tree 'work', to produce fruit? I've found that the more I rest on God, and His assurance, and His work, the more I desire to do His will(love God, and my neighbor). And, the more I try to do good, or work to bear fruit, the more I hate doing it, and it becomes a chore.
EXACTLY the point. A tree does nothing that isn't done by its nature of being a tree. In order to produce fruit, in our sinful nature as we are not changed yet, we continually struggle with the Spiritual nature...that naturally follows God's Law and therefore we do not naturally love God OR even our neighbor. If you think you're able to do that perfectly...I have some beach-front property in Arizona to sell you.

You're disagreeing with something you fail to see you agree with.
RickD wrote:the more I desire to do His will(love God, and my neighbor)
You are still in the flesh and cannot do that which you "desire" to want to do (see the wretched man spoken of by Paul ) Our attempts are for nothing. Nothing? They must show something if faith without works is dead. ( see James 2:18-26 )

Does the work save us? No! Faith that produces good works does. ( see also Matthew 25:14-30 )
So, I guess I'm saying that when one bears fruit, real fruit, it's because of the 'work' of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit in a believer. Not by the believer himself. Are you saying the same thing, in a different way, that I'm not seeing?
Well of course! How else could a person do anything "good" apart from the HS ( and more so, why would they apart from the HS ) ? However I would caution anyone on believing this and therefore believing the Council of Trent teaching...that we are saved by Grace through Faith PLUS the works of the HS wrought in the heart of the believer. We are saved solely by Grace through Faith and not by works AT ALL. Works are simply the natural fruit of true Faith. There's a fine line. I dare not drop God's concil to do my own thing if the righteous things have been laid out for me already.

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Re: "Works"

#14

Post by RickD » Mon May 21, 2012 3:23 pm

Well of course! How else could a person do anything "good" apart from the HS ( and more so, why would they apart from the HS ) ?
So we all kinda agree. Bav, maybe you, Byblos, and I will see each other at Church, er, I mean Mass on Sunday, er, I mean Saturday. y#-o
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
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Re: "Works"

#15

Post by BavarianWheels » Mon May 21, 2012 3:29 pm

RickD wrote:
Well of course! How else could a person do anything "good" apart from the HS ( and more so, why would they apart from the HS ) ?
So we all kinda agree. Bav, maybe you, Byblos, and I will see each other at Church, er, I mean Mass on Sunday, er, I mean Saturday. y#-o
Maybe, but the Sabbath, Saturday, is the only day made for man and blessed by God to do so. :mrgreen:
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