Saturday, January 06, 2007

Did the Apostles Agree?

I have heard in conversations with some Christians that without Tradition, one cannot interpret Scripture. People as such have asserted that the oral word of God is what counts, not the written word which is subject to many different interpretations. Further, since Peter, Paul, James, and John all have differing doctrines of salvation, one definitely needs Tradition to interpret Scripture. While I believe that Tradition is helpful in determining doctrine and interpreting Scripture, what happens when Tradition is clearly anti-Scripture? The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church claim that we are not saved by God’s free grace alone through faith alone in the work of Christ alone. They claim that justification is not a declaration but a process. My contention is that there is an Apostolic consensus in Scripture: a person is declared righteous by God’s underserved grace through faith in Christ and not by works of any sort. The Scriptural quotations are so clear they are of no need of exposition:

"This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses....36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:32, 36-39).

"To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:43).

"Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:38, 39).

"For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:22-28).

"For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” [Gen. 15:6] 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. 5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 7 “ Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; 8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin" [Ps. 32:1-2] (Rom. 4:5-8).

"Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed" (Rom. 4:16).

"It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification" (Rom. 4:24-25).

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom. 5:1-2).

"Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life" (Rom. 5:18).

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).

"If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword....38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:31-35, 38-39).

"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:9-10).

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph. 2:8, 9).

"...that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith" (Phil. 3:8-9).

"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 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, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:4-7).

"who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began" (2 Tim. 1:9).

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:3-5).

"Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever" (1 Peter 1:22-23).

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures" (James 1:17-18).

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13).

"He who believes in Him is not condemned" (John 3:18).

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life" (John 5:24).

"And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:40).

"And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand" (John 10:28-29).

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live" (John 11:25).

"I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake" (1 John 2:12).

"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him" (1 John 5:1).

"And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God" (1 John 5:11-13).

This is the unanimous consensus of Jesus and His Apostles! We are justified, adopted, and made righteous before God by Christ's free grace through faith. We do not receive this gift by our works, but by faith! The Gospel is clear in the Scriptures!

16 Comments:

Blogger Rev. said...

Sola Gratia / Sola Fide, brother!

Thu Jan 18, 02:42:00 PM EST  
Blogger Augustine said...

Hey Rev,

How are you doing? What about Sola Scriptura? :)

Sun Jan 21, 04:41:00 PM EST  
Blogger Rev. said...

Thanks for asking.... Recovering nicely from surgery #5 in the last six months. :)

Sola Scriptura
Sola Gratia
Sola Fide
Solus Christus
Soli Deo Gloria

Is that better? ;)

Tue Jan 23, 09:59:00 AM EST  
Blogger Augustine said...

Hey Rev,

Sorry to hear about your struggles with surgery. Good to see you back on my blog!

Mon Feb 12, 10:21:00 AM EST  
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