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How Can You Possibly Believe in Faith Alone?

by Ian on November 23, 2008

After listening to the Gospel on the Feast of Christ the King (Matthew 25: 31-46) about the separation of the goats from the sheep based on the performance of works and the casting into hell the goats for failing to do good works, how can anyone believe that faith alone is sufficient for salvation?

I'm at a loss on this one.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Baron Korf November 24, 2008 at 11:18 am

I asked that of my mother once who was raised in a mixed protestant household, and then converted to marry my dad. Basically it comes down to those who have faith will do these things, and those who don’t never really had faith to begin with. If you follow their logic (or lack there of) you hit one of two heretical conclusions. One is that faith is within our control and that by having faith in God he is able to work through us in ways we would not or could not on our own. The other is the Calvinist position of double predestination and irresistible Grace.

Either way it doesn’t make sense, but that’s the Reformation for ya.

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john wilson November 24, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Ian,

It depends on the deffinition of ‘faith.’ If your deffinition is mental assent, then no. If your deffinition of faith is more than mental acknowlegement, then perhaps. Remember, the church has never completely denied justification by ‘faith alone,’ though it has denied some deffinitions of it. See Trent session 9.

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Michelle November 25, 2008 at 10:29 pm

In the Protestant household I grew up in, this was explained as those who followed Jesus would do good works because that showed that we were doing right by being kind/generous/etc., but that you didn’t have to do any good works to get to heaven, because of Jesus’ death for us on the cross. There was no requirement to do these things, because what God had given was a gift that required no payment.

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