I never met a "works salvationist".
You have and you don't even realize it. Look all around you at church and look in the mirror. A "works salvationist" is any one who "trusts in works to save them" (regardless of what type of works you label them and even if it's just works in part) and NOT IN CHRIST ALONE
Good works are acts of love we do by the grace of Christ. I agree with most of what you say, but faith and love (or works) are inseparable.
is the root
and good works
are the fruit
of salvation. No fruit demonstrates that there is no root. Good works are the fruit, by product and demonstrative evidence of genuine faith, but not the essence of faith and not the means of our salvation. Do you believe that BOTH faith AND good works are the root of salvation and that we are saved by BOTH faith AND good works? After reading your entire post, obviously you do. So do Mormons.
Francis Beckwith has the best explanation I have seen.
Francis Beckwith resigned on May 5 as president of the Evangelical Theological Society. One week earlier the Baylor University philosophy professor rejoined the Roman Catholic Church, his home until age 14. He spoke with Christianity Today editor David Neff about the reaction to his decision, theological misconceptions, and evangelical strengths and weaknesses.
What good things from the evangelical community will you take back with you to Roman Catholicism?
There is NO chance of me ever going back to Roman Catholicism. I will NEVER trade in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ for legalistic religious bondage to Roman Catholicism. I will NEVER "withdraw" my faith in Christ as the ALL-sufficient means of my salvation and place it in the oppressive works system of Roman Catholicism. I grew up in the Roman Catholic church and NEVER ONCE heard a clear gospel presentation preached in the Roman Catholic church. I did hear all about salvation by works though.
Now there's a kind of theological framework, and it doesn't say my salvation depends on me, but it says my virtue counts for something. It's important to allow the grace of God to be exercised through your actions. The evangelical emphasis on the moral life forms my Catholic practice with an added incentive. That was liberating to me.
Catholic church teaches that, along with faith in Christ (their version of faith), salvation is by personal works also. "If any one saith, that the justice [righteousness] received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification). A Roman Catholic author plainly admits, "It is a universally accepted dogma of the Catholic Church that man, in union with the grace of the Holy Spirit must merit heaven by his good works"
(Dogmatic Theology for the Laity, 1977).
Some of the people who have been critical say, "You've gone into the oppressive works system of Catholicism." That's not the way I look at it at all. I look at it as a chance to do good. My own work apart from God's grace doesn't matter for my salvation; what matters is the sort of person I become by allowing God's grace to work through my obeying his commandments and taking the sacraments. Unfortunately, the view of justification is sometimes presented clumsily by some Catholic laypeople...Q&A: Francis Beckwith | Christianity Today
Do you believe that salvation is through obeying His commandments (have you perfectly obeyed His commandments 100% of the time?) and taking the sacraments? OR through FAITH? Do you understand the difference between placing faith in Christ for salvation and obeying His commandments and taking the sacraments?
I agree that faith is the ROOT of justification, but good works are the FRUIT, NOT THE ROOT of justification. Did Paul say that we are saved through faith AND good works but not "works of the law" in Ephesians 2:8,9? NO. Paul nowhere says that we are saved by "these" works, but just not "those" works. Paul goes on to say in verse 10 -
Eph. 2:8-9 – Paul teaches us that faith is the root of justification, and that faith excludes “works of law.” But Paul does not teach that faith excludes other kinds of works, as we will see below.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus FOR
good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Works of the law do not exclude the moral aspect of the law, which covers good works. Also, Paul said that we are saved FOR
good works, NOT BY
In James 2:15-16, the example of a "work"
that James gives is: "If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?" To give a brother or sister these things needed for the body would certainly be a "good work"
yet to neglect such a brother or sister and not give them the things needed for the body is to break the second great commandment "love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39) as found written in the law of Moses (Leviticus 19:18).
In Matthew 22:37-40, we read: Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
Please tell me, which good works could a Christian do that are "completely detached" from these two great commandments which are found in the law of Moses? (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18).
Are there any genuine good works that Christians do which fall outside of loving God and our neighbor as ourself?
The verse also does not say we are justified by “faith alone.” It only indicates that faith comes first.
The Bible clearly teaches in many many passages of Scripture that we are saved (justified in a legal sense) through BELIEF/FAITH
"apart from additions or modifications." (Luke 8:12; John 1:12; 3:15,16,18; 6:40,47; 11:25,26; Acts 10:43; 13:39; 16:31; Romans 1:16; 3:22-28; 4:5-6,9,11,13; 5:1; 10:4; Galatians 2:16; 3:14,22,26; Philippians 3:9; 2 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 10:39; 1 John 5:13 etc..). You don't need to add the word "alone" next to BELIEF/FAITH
in each of these passages of Scripture to figure out that the words BELIEF/FAITH "stand alone"
in these many many passages of Scripture in connection with receiving eternal life/salvation.
Do these passages say faith "plus something else?" NO! So then it's faith (rightly understood) IN CHRIST ALONE.
You just described unbelievers. Even though they may be "religious" and play church, they are not right with God apart from saving faith in Christ.
This, of course, must be true, because those who do works outside of faith are in a system of debt, not of grace (more on that later).
Where you error here is that James is not talking about genuine faith but an empty profession of faith/a dead faith. As I already previously explained to you -
But faith alone does not justify. A man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. James 2:24.
In James 2:14, we read of one who says-claims
he has faith but has no
works (to back up his claim). This is not
genuine faith, but a bare profession of faith.
So when James asks, "Can that
faith save him?" He is saying nothing against genuine faith, but only against an empty profession of faith/dead faith.
So James does not teach that we are saved by works. His concern is to show
the reality of the faith professed by the individual (James 2:18) and demonstrate that the faith claimed (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine. Simple!
Paul said -
2 Cor. 13:5 – Paul also admonishes us to examine ourselves, to see whether we are holding to our faith. This examination of conscience is a pious Catholic practice. Our faith, which is a gift from God, must be nurtured. Faith is not a one-time event that God bestows upon us.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith
(either we are in the faith or else we are not). Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? (either Christ is in us or else He is not)--unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
There are many deceived "religious but not right with God" people in the world who think they are saved but are deceived - Matthew 7:22-23. Justification is a one time event. Progressive Sanctification is ongoing. Works salvationists usually mix up justification with ongoing sanctification.
Faith works through love after we have been saved through faith. Paul did not say saved through faith AND love or saved through faith AND good works in Ephesians 2:8,9. We are saved through FAITH IN CHRIST ALONE (NOT BY WORKS). 1 John 4:19 - We love because He first loved us. Romans 5:5 -
Gal. 5:6 – thus, the faith that justifies us is “faith working through love,” not faith alone.
and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
We are saved through faith, then we receive the Holy Spirit, then as a born again Christian, our faith works through love BECAUSE we are saved, NOT to become saved.
You basically take faith, love and good works, wrap them in a package and simply stamp faith on the package, making no distinction between faith, love and good works. So salvation through faith in Roman Catholicism becomes salvation through faith + acts of love/good works. This is salvation by works and you don't even realize it. Prior to my conversion, before I received Christ through faith, I was confused about faith and good works as well as a Roman Catholic. I basically defined faith as "obedience" and could not make the distinction between faith "and multiple acts of obedience/good works" which follow and are produced "out of faith." I simply defined faith "as obedience/good works." It sounds like you remain in this state of confusion.
This is one of the best summaries of Catholic teaching. Faith and love (manifested by works) are always connected. Faith (a process of thought) and love (an action) are never separated in the Scriptures. Cf. Eph. 3:17; 1 Thess. 3:6,12-13; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 John 3:23; Rev. 2:4-5,19. Further, all faith (initial and perfected) are gratuitous gifts from God, and not earned or merited by any human action. God effects everything, both the willing and the achievement. But God also requires human action, which is necessary to perfect our faith.
Dead faith is not genuine faith but an empty profession of faith - James 2:14. This empty profession of faith is by itself (barren of works) because it's dead. Something that is dead cannot produce anything. If faith is alive in Christ then it will produce works and not remain barren of works. James is looking for proof of faith. I will SHOW you my faith by my works.
James 2:17,26 - James clearly teaches that faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
If works are a cause, then Paul would have clearly stated that we are saved through faith AND WORKS in Ephesians 2:8,9 and that we are justified by faith AND WORKS in Romans 5:1, but that is clearly NOT what Paul said. Once again -
Works are a cause, not just an effect, of our justification because good works achieve and increase our justification before God.
In James 2:21, notice closely that James does not say that Abraham's work of offering up Isaac resulted in God accounting Abraham as righteous. The accounting of Abraham's faith as righteousness was made in Genesis 15:6, many years before his work of offering up Isaac recorded in Genesis 22.
The work of Abraham was essential, not because it had some kind of intrinsic merit to save him, but because it proved or manifested the genuineness of his faith.
This is the sense in which Abraham was justified by works - "shown to be righteous."
Romans 4:2 - "For if Abraham was justified by works,
he has something to boast about, but not before God" 4 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed
God, and it (faith, not works) was accounted to him for righteousness."
Paul and James do not contradict each other. They are just explaining saving faith from two different perspectives. The harmony of Romans 4:2-3 and James 2:21,24 is seen in the differing ways that Paul and James use the term "justified." Paul, when he uses the term, refers to the legal (judicial) act of God by which He accounts the sinner as righteous.
James, however is using the term to describe those who would prove the genuineness of their faith by the works that they do.