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Paul

Is his a message of faith only? Or, is it also a message of works?

Paul's message is greatly misconstrued by some.  From the beginning of Romans, a careful reading gives a message of works! (DRC used unless otherwise stated)
Romans 1:5, By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith, in all nations, for his name
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and to the Greek.
The unintelligent reader will just fix his attention on the single word believeth, but the intelligent one will understand that in order to believe, someone had to have an apostleship and a message, the Good News, that this someone preached, worked at giving. Thus the message of faith is a message of a busy preaching activity.

But the unintelligent one will claim, "17 . . .as it is written: The just man liveth by faith.
" Indeed, he lives by faith -- yes, indeed, lives, exists, and works by faith -- not just breathes by faith.

Again, Paul stresses works, (2:6)" . . .of the just judgment of God. 6 Who will render to every man according to his works. "
8But to them that are contentious, and who obey not the truth, but give credit to iniquity, wrath and indignation. 9Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek. 10 But glory, and honour, and peace to every one that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The words: obey and disobey, works good, works evil – are staring at us from every part of Paul's message.

In 2:16 in fact, Paul gives us a sacred secret, that all non-Christians as well as Christians shall be judged on judgment day by the actions they did while alive.  Does Paul address the Law and works of Law? Most certainly, he does! What law is this? It is the Law Covenant! Remember this.

In 3:20, we are told that works of the Law Covenant cannot declare anyone righteous. That is not the same as saying that works are not necessary! However, Paul stresses in 3:24 that we are declared righteous by means of the ransom, by undeserved kindness.  Therefore,  in 3:27 (KJV) Paul shows that the boasting of works has come to an end.  The Law Covenant permitted this boasting of works since eternal life was to be earned by deeds, not faithHowever, the Law of Faith demonstrates that by works alone nobody may be justified.   Faith in the ransom followed by holy works that establishes that faith exists saves.

The point then is made, that instead of abolishing law, we are actually establishing law, the Law of Faith that declares righteous. In regard to the Law Covenant, Paul then instructs (10:4) "For the end of the law is Christ, unto justice to every one that believeth." (DRC) By fulfilling the Law Covenant and the prophecies about him in the OT, we are made to understand that this Law Covenant has been terminated.

Now, does Paul tell us to sit back and relax in faith? No, he does not. Instead we are told, (10:9) "For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

The instruction then is, exercise faith, confess, preach the Good News if you want to get salvation. In I Cor 1:17,23, this same pattern continues. Paul says here, " For Christ sent me . . . to preach the Gospel . . ." and next "we preach Christ impaled
." This is not just having faith, this is exercising faith through works, the preaching of Christ and the Good News. In this we "have the mind of Christ" whose purpose was to glorify God, his name, and the sacred secrets revealed to us.

Is Paul telling us to sit back and do nothing? Once more he says (3:9) " we are labourers together with God.
" (KJV) Does this imply lackadaisicalness? In no way -- rather, the reverse. This point is brought home forcefully 9:16, "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! " Indeed, faithless works of Law are worthless, but works of faith are a must. Paul is sending a clear message. At the end of this letter this message is repeated, (15:58) "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." (KJV)

Christian faith is tied together with the preaching of Christ and the Good News. In II Cor 4:13, this is said, "And having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I have believed, therefore have I spoken; *we* also believe, therefore also we speak." (Darby) Again faith has works!

Galatians, etc

In 2:16b, we read " because on the principle of works of law no flesh shall be justified." (Darby) From the above we know that law refers to the Law Covenant. Confirmation is indirectly given by Paul in 2:7, "when they saw that I was entrusted with the good-news for men of uncircumcision, as Peter for men of circumcision." (ACV) If faith is all that is needed, then why are these disciples so busy preaching?

Paul also affirms that works of the Law Covenant are under a curse. (3:8-10) The reason for that is simple. As a workman receives a wage, the works of the Law Covenant were earned and faithless. Christians recognize that they never can pay God enough to pay for their sinful state. Thus faith in the ransom produces a blessing and the individual is declared righteous by God. Once the Christian is declared righteous, he needs works of faith to prove his faith as Paul repeatedly demonstrate in the above discussion.

God's basic law hasn't changed, but now it is shown to be (5:14) "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in the, Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. " (ACV) – the royal law. That Christians are urged to be active is shown here, (6:10) "So then as we have time, let us work what is good toward all men, and especially toward those belonging to a household of the faith." (ACV)

Ephesians

The point about works is continued here in Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God preordained that we should walk in them." (ACV) At the end of the letter, Paul admonishes us to wear spiritual armor. About our feet, he tells us to ( 6:15 ) "wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace." (NJB) Again, we are urged to do works, to preach!

Philippians

Then in this letter, we read, (2:12) "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. " This is not laissez-faire. It is active faith. As the following verse states, ". 13For it is God who works in you both to desire and to work for approval. (ACV)

Colossians

Fruit!

Christ told Christians to bear fruit or else! (John 15) In 1:10, Paul admonishes, "For you to walk worthily of the Lord for every desire to please, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the knowledge of God."
(ACV) Paul himself was laboring, hard at work, in the preaching of the Gospel.
Colossians 1:28,29, Whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, so that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29For which also I labor, striving according to his working, which works in me with power.

3:23, And all things, anything whatever ye may do, work from soul as to the Lord and not to men, 24knowing that from Lord ye will receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25And he who does wrong will be recompensed what he did wrong, and there is no partiality.

So while Paul speaks about faith, he most certainly also speaks about works of faith, laboring for the Lord, Paul keeps on admonishing others to produce works. What works? The fine Christian work of preaching and other sacred Christian works.
I Timothy 6:18, to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share.
II Timothy 2:15, Be diligent to present thyself approved to God, an irreproachable workman, correctly traversing the word of truth. (ACV)
II Timothy 4:2, preach the word; be earnest in season, out of season, convict, rebuke, exhort, in all long-suffering and teaching, (YTL)
Hebrews 4:11, Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (Webster)
Finally, in Hebrews chapter eleven, Paul speaks volumes about faith. Many men of faith are mentioned, in every case their faith is being accompanied by the works they accomplished. Works that proved their faith to God.
Hebrews 11:7, By faith Noe, having received an answer concerning those things which as yet were not seen, moved with fear, framed the ark for the saving of his house, by the which he condemned the world; and was instituted heir of the justice which is by faith.
Indeed, Paul teaches greatly, voluminously, about faith – In this final testimony of Paul's to faith, he demonstrates without a doubt, obvious for all who can read and think, that faith is accompanied by works that saves by establishing the faith of the believer.


 
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