“For it is not the hears of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” Romans 2:13
It seems to me that alot of people are so weary of joining faith and works that they say crazy things that aren’t Biblical, and are yet hidden under the guise of “the historic reformed faith” so as to stop all the mouths of any one who might approach things from another angle. Why this is so, I don’t know.
People say that we are saved by faith, and by faith alone. True. People also say that we are not saved by works. True again. But then people get into some kind of theological bind when others attempt to combine the two concepts (faith and works) and try to understand what James means when he says we are justified by works. All of a sudden the soteriological gestapo show up flashing their badges ready to throw some person into heterodoxical prison.
These same people say things like, “works are the “proof” that we are saved, but works do not save us. We are saved by faith alone.” What they mean is, “the only thing that renders me right with God and forgives me of my sin is my intellectual assent. I believe in Jesus with my mind, and I am not trusting in my good works to render me right with God. I am saved by faith ALONE. If I do have any good works, it is just proof that I am saved.”
When people think like this, and speak like this, they are separating works from faith, as if you can have one without the other. But James makes it clear, “you show me your faith apart from your works and I will show you my faith by my works…Faith apart from works is useless” (James 2:18,20).
Jesus also says that the one who loves Him will obey His commandments. John also says, “Whoever says ‘I know Him’, and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in Him” (1 John 2:4). Now my basic point is this, Faith and works cannot be separated. One is not the proof of the other, works is not to demonstrate to God, or anybody else that our faith is real and genuine. That is not how it works.
The New Covenant passage in Jer. 31 and Heb 8 say that the very nature of the N.C. is that God’s Law would be put into minds and be written on our hearts. So, the very nature of N.C. faith is one which is an obedient faith. You want to see what a fruit tree looks like, it has fruit. It has fruit, not because it is proving it is a fruit tree, but becuase its very nature is to produce fruit. And what did jesus say about trees that bore no fruit? They would be cast into the fire because they are worthless.
People don’t want to mix faith and works, but in order to understand our covenant relationship with God (promise, obligation), we must understand that our obligation is to obey God’s Commandments. Now some crazy gestapo is saying, “well your saying that a person can be saved by keeping God’s commandments, which is by works. You believe in salvation by works.” Uhh, yes and no. If you mean that a person can simply do the commandments of God and be saved absent of any faith, then NO. Because Faith is commanded, and is the foundation of all good works and obedience.
If you mean that a person must be covenantally faithful by observing the laws of God (which can only be done through faith) in order to be justified and saved on the last day then yes, This is what i mean.
I’m sure nobody will read this, but in the crazy chance that someone does, please comment if my thoughts are too scattered and I will attempt to make clarification.