Salvation by Faith Alone?

Discussions on the doctrine of salvation.

Salvation by Faith Alone?

Postby Paidion » Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:39 pm

We all know that the main theme of Martin Luther,the great reformer, and founder of "The Protestant Reformation" (though Catholics call it "The Protestant Revolution") was "Salvation by faith alone."

Indeed, Luther was so certain of this, that he even added the word "alone" to the word "faith" in Romans 3:28 in his translation.

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith alone apart from the deeds of the law.

When some one objected that Luther added a word that was not in the Greek text, he retorted that he was quite right in adding "alone" since that is what Paul meant.

As it turns out, there were people even in Tertullian's day (A.D. 145-220) who proclaimed salvation by faith alone. Tertullian called them "miscreants." In his treatise "On Baptism," chapter 13 and 14, Tertullian wrote:

Here then, those miscreants provoke questions. And so they say, "Baptism is not necessary for them to whom faith is sufficient; for withal Abraham pleased God by a sacrament of no water, but of faith." But in all cases it is the later things which have a conclusive force, and the subsequent which prevails over the antecedent. Grant that, in days gone by, there was salvation by means of bare faith, before the passion and resurrection of the Lord. But now that faith has been enlarged, and is become a faith which believes in his nativity, passion, and resurrection, there has been an amplification added with the sacrament, viz., the sealing act of baptism; the clothing in some sense, of the faith which before was bare, and which cannot exist now without its proper law. For the law of baptizing has been imposed, and the formula prescribed: "Go," He says, "teach the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The comparison with this law of that definition, "Unless a man have been reborn of water and Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens," has tied faith to the necessity of baptism. Accordingly, all thereafter who became believers used to be baptized.Then it was,too, that Paul, when he believed, was baptized; and this is the meaning of the precept which the Lord had given him when smitten with the plague of loss of sight, saying, "Arise, and enter Damascus; there shall be demonstrated to you what you ought to do," to wit — be baptized, which was the only thing lacking to him. That point excepted, he had sufficiently learnt and believed "the Nazarene" to be "the Lord, the Son of God."

But they roll back an objection from that apostle himself, in that he said,"For Christ sent me not to baptize;" as if by this argument baptism were done away! For if so, why did he baptize Gaius, and Crispus, and the house of Stephanas? However, even if Christ had not sent him to baptize, yet He had given other apostles the precept to baptize...For preaching is the prior thing, baptizing the posterior.

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Re: Salvation by Faith Alone?

Postby maintenanceman » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:31 pm

Yep, but some like Tom Wright would maybe say it was the faith OF Christ as opposed to the faith IN Christ was the meaning of the scriptures...

Alas, I am sure that this has been talked about but I have not the time nor inclination to do a complete search :lol:
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Re: Salvation by Faith Alone?

Postby qaz » Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:54 pm

I've read a good portion of Concordia. While the Lutheran position might officially say salvation is by faith alone, there is a caveat to it that effectively renders salvation by "faith and works". Concordia says good works manifest faith. So if a person doesn't have good works, it would follow that he/she doesn't have faith. In practice this amounts to salvation by faith and works. This is in contrast to Grace Evangelical Society ( which teaches we don't need good works to be saved.
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Re: Salvation by Faith Alone?

Postby St. Michael » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:44 pm

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith alone apart from the deeds of the law.

Martin Luther also thought that the book of James shouldn't be in the Bible because it flatly contradicts faith alone. Yes we are justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law but we are not justified by faith alone:

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. ~~ James 2:24

We cannot earn our salvation by works and are therefore justified by faith. But we are not justified by faith alone.

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. ~~ James 2:17
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