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« on: October 27, 2010, 02:19:38 PM »

Quote from: Ephesians 2:8-9 (RSV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God -- not because of works, lest any man should boast.
Quote from: Ephesians 2:8-9
τη γαρ χαριτι εστε σεσωσμενοι δια της πιστεως και τουτο ουκ εξ υμων θεου το δωρον
ουκ εξ εργων ινα μη τις καυχησηται

The usual Protestant understanding of this verse is that salvation is
1) by grace alone (sola gratia),
2) through faith alone (solo fide), where "faith" is understood as
    a) the subjective trust/belief of the individual, which
    b) excludes all "works", so that
3) the entire work of salvation is, from start to finish, God's alone, without any human contribution, (soli Dei gloria).

It seems to me this understanding is based in part on a misreading of the Greek. Can anyone please help me understand these verses properly?

τουτο ουκ εξ υμων - doesn't this phrase refer specifically to της πιστεως (faith/the faith)?

The phrases
ουκ εξ υμων      θεου το δωρον
and
ουκ εξ εργων      ινα μη τις καυχησηται
seem clearly parallel. The RSV destroys this parallelism. The KJV is better with εξ translated "of" in both places, but "that" instead of "this" for τουτο seems to imply "saved" as its antecedent, which I'm pretty sure is wrong.

I read in a RC commentary that δια της πιστεως (της is not in all manuscripts) should be understood as
Quote
"through the faith,"that is, "through the Christian faith," or the Christian religion. One thing is absolutely certain: this cannot mean the subjective trust/faith of sinners.
however, St. John Chrysostom seems to support a reading of της πιστεως as something subjective:
Quote
Neither is faith, he means, of ourselves. Because had He not come, had He not called us, how had we been able to believe? For how, says he, shall they believe, unless they hear? Romans 10:14 So that the work of faith itself is not our own.

It is the gift, said he, of God, it is not of works.

Was faith then, you will say, enough to save us? No; but God, says he, has required this, lest He should save us, barren and without work at all. His expression is, that faith saves, but it is because God so wills, that faith saves. Since, how, tell me, does faith save, without works? This itself is the gift of God.
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2010, 03:16:16 PM »

"τουτο ουκ εξ υμων - doesn't this phrase refer specifically to της πιστεως (faith/the faith)?"

No, it cannot.  If it were referring to "της πιστεως" it would have been, "Αύτη" instead of "τούτο."
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 03:46:17 PM »

"τουτο ουκ εξ υμων - doesn't this phrase refer specifically to της πιστεως (faith/the faith)?"

No, it cannot.  If it were referring to "της πιστεως" it would have been, "Αύτη" instead of "τούτο."

I don't know Greek but it is my impression that the Bulgarian translations are pretty close. The Bulgarian Bible says roughly "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God -- not through works, lest any man should boast." Is that close?

I should add that it really dos not matter how exact the wording is in this instance. We all believe that we are saved by God even though we do not deserve it. The problem is when these and other verses are taken out of context or are singled out. Sola gratia/sole fide as opposed to works is an artificial and false opposition; this is the kind of straw horse that is easy to knock down. And, I should say poor exegesis.
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2010, 03:55:23 PM »

Well are not other factors in play that were overlooked by the Protestants such as works of circumcision vs. works of the heart and that St. Paul was addressing the external dead works of things like circumcision and that we are saved for the "good works" is meant in vs. 10? Also the Protestants stress justification but St. Paul stresses the word hope much more often than justification in his epistles and while there is confidence in salvation, justification is the final fulfillment in God's plan of salvation but not to be assumed by us as we live on earth?
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2010, 04:31:56 PM »

"τουτο ουκ εξ υμων - doesn't this phrase refer specifically to της πιστεως (faith/the faith)?"

No, it cannot.  If it were referring to "της πιστεως" it would have been, "Αύτη" instead of "τούτο."

Not if the entire phrase τουτο ουκ εξ υμων is adverbial. There is no need for τουτο to agree in gender with πιστεως. It's not like there is anything else in what comes before that is neuter nominative singular lol

In the homily cited, ISTM Chrysostom treats τουτο ουκ εξ υμων as referring to πιστεως.
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2010, 05:00:56 PM »

"τουτο ουκ εξ υμων - doesn't this phrase refer specifically to της πιστεως (faith/the faith)?"

No, it cannot.  If it were referring to "της πιστεως" it would have been, "Αύτη" instead of "τούτο."

Not if the entire phrase τουτο ουκ εξ υμων is adverbial. There is no need for τουτο to agree in gender with πιστεως. It's not like there is anything else in what comes before that is neuter nominative singular lol

Um, adverbs modify verbs or adjectives - so which is "της πιστεως?" Wink  As to your, "it's not like there is anything else..." comment - no, but there is a "το δωρον" that comes after, and we know how little word order matters to clause agreement in Ancient / Biblical / Patristic Greek.  I actually think that "τουτο" is referring to Salvation.

In the homily cited, ISTM Chrysostom treats τουτο ουκ εξ υμων as referring to πιστεως.

I partly agree with you on this.
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2010, 05:04:02 PM »

Quote:
From my post as seen from Ancient Christian Defense:

Ephesians 2:8 and "The Gift of God"


Calvinists tend to use Eph 2:8 to prove that faith is the gift of God. I believe Faith to be a gift, I just know that one can't use this passage to prove it. I also believe that one has the ability to accept or reject gifts. For some reason some feel as if gifts can't be rejected. But anyway, the error that Eph 2:8 is talking about faith as being the gift of God first came from Augustine when he said:


    "And he says that a man is justified by faith and not by works, because
    faith itself is first given, from which may be obtained other things which are
    specially characterized as works, in which a man may live righteously. For he
    himself also says, "By grace you are saved through faith; and this not of
    yourselves; but it is the gift of God," Ephesians 2:8 —that is to say, "And in
    saying 'through faith,' even faith itself is not of yourselves, but is God's
    gift." "Not of works," he says, "lest any man should be lifted up.""


    chapter 12 of (Book I) "On the Predestination of the Saints"
    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/15121.htm




I thought it was interesting that John Calvin disagreed with this interpretation when he said:



    ""But it is still more absurd to overlook the apostle's inference, lest any
    man should boast. Some room must always remain for man's boasting, so long as,
    independently of grace, merits are of any avail. Paul's doctrine is overthrown,
    unless the whole praise is rendered to God alone and to his mercy. And here we
    must advert to a very common error in the interpretation of this passage. Many
    persons restrict the word gift to faith alone. But Paul is only repeating in
    other words the former sentiment. His meaning is, not that faith is the gift of
    God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift
    of God."

    From John Calvin's Commentary on the book of Ephesians.
    http://www.biblestudyguide.org/comment/calvin/comm_vol41/htm/iv.iii.iii.htm








This is what Norman Geisler had to say about Eph 2:8



    "In addition, however plausible this interpretation may seem in English, it is
    very clear from the Greek that Ephesians 2:8-9 is not referring to faith as a
    gift from God. For the "that" (touto) is neuter in form and cannot refer to
    "faith" (pistis), which is feminine. The antecedent of "it is the gift of God"
    is the salvation by grace through faith (v.9). Commenting on this passage, the
    great New Testament Greek scholar A. T. Robertson noted: "Grace' is God's part,
    'faith' ours. And that [it] (kai touto) is neuter, not feminine taute, and so
    refers not to pistis [faith] or to charis [grace] (feminine also), but to the
    act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part."

    While
    some have argued that a pronoun may agree in sense, but not in form, with its
    antecedent, this view is refuted by Gregory Sapaugh, who notes that "if Paul
    wanted to refer to pistis ('faith'), he could have written the feminine taute,
    instead of the neuter, touto, and his meaning would have been clear." But he did
    not. Rather, by the "that" (touto) Paul refers to the whole process of
    "salvation by grace through faith." Sapaugh notes that "this position is further
    supported by the parallelism between ouk hymon ('and this not of yourself') in
    2:8 and and ouk ex ergon ('not of works') in 2:9. The latter phrase would not be
    meaningful if it referred to pisteos ('faith'). Instead, it clearly means
    salvation is 'not of works.'"

    From the book "Chosen but free: second
    edition" by Norman Geisler pages 189-190








This is what Joseph Dongell had to say about Eph 2:8



    "If faith is not our doing but God's gift, then the well-known features of
    calvinism fall into place. Those who "have faith" have been given faith by God,
    and those who don't have not given faith by God. By this view, faith becomes a
    function of divine causation operating according to the individual electing will
    of God.

    But the terms (faith, this, it) that seem so clearly linked in
    English are not so neatly connected in Greek. The English ear depends largely on
    word order for making sense of language, and so automatically presumes that this
    (which "is not from yourselves") must obviously refer back to faith, since faith
    immediately precedes this in the word order of the text. But Greek, being an
    inflected language, actually depends on "tags" that are attached to words for
    guiding the reader. If our writer had desired readers to connect faith directly
    to this, these two words should have matched each other as grammatically
    feminine. We find, however, that this, being neuter in gender, likely points us
    back several words earlier- to the idea of salvation expressed by the verb.
    Accordingly, we should read the text with a different line of connections as
    follows: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this
    [salvation is] not from yourself, [this salvation] is the gift of God."

    Many Calvinists fear that any retreat from the conviction that God
    causes faith will make salvation a human accomplishment. If faith is something
    we do, then salvation rests on our deeds and no longer on God's grace. If faith
    is viewed as our part in the process of salvation, then salvation must be viewed
    as a cooperative affair, and we should then describe ourselves as self-saviors
    in part.
    But the flaw in this Calvinist fear lies in its improper
    understanding of the nature of faith itself. The Bible itself does not describe
    faith as a work that accomplishes a taske, or as a deed that establishes merit,
    or as a lever that forces God to act. Instead, we find that genuine faith is
    something quite different. As Paul's treatment of Abraham shows, the patriarch's
    faith had no power over God, earned no merit before God and stood as the polar
    opposite to honorific deeds. Abraham believed God, and righteousness was
    "credited" to him, not paid to him. God alone justified Abraham freely on the
    basis of Abraham's faith (Rom 4:1-6). Since by its very nature faith confesses
    the complete lack of human merit and human power, it subtracts nothing from the
    Savior's grace or glory. By its very nature, faith points away from all human
    status and looks to God alone for rescue and restoration."


    From the
    book "Why I am not a Calvinist" by Jerry L. Walls & Joseph R. Dongell pages
    77 & 78





Adam Clark said:

    "Verse 8. For by grace are ye saved, through faith] As ye are now brought into a
    state of salvation, your sins being all blotted out, and you made partakers of
    the Holy Spirit; and, having a hope full of immortality, you must not attribute
    this to any works or merit of yours; for when this Gospel reached you, you were
    all found dead in trespasses and dead in sins; therefore it was God's free mercy
    to you, manifested through Christ, in whom ye were commanded to believe; and,
    having believed by the power of the Holy Spirit, ye received, and were sealed
    by, the Holy Spirit of promise; so that this salvation is in no sense of
    yourselves, but is the free gift of God; and not of any kind of works; so that
    no man can boast as having wrought out his own salvation, or even contributed
    any thing towards it. By grace arc ye saved, through faith in Christ. This is a
    true doctrine, and continues to be essential to the salvation of man to the end
    of the world.

    But whether are we to understand, faith or salvation as
    being the gift of God? This question is answered by the Greek text: th gar
    cariti este seswsmenoi dia thv pistewv? kai touto ouk ex umwn? qeou to dwron,
    ouk ex ergwn? ina mh tiv kauchshtai? "By this grace ye are saved through faith;
    and THIS (touto, this salvation) not of you; it is the gift of God, not of
    works: so that no one can boast."The relative touto, this, which is in the
    neuter gender, cannot stand for pistiv, faith, which is the feminine; but it has
    the whole sentence that goes before for its antecedent." But it may be asked: Is
    not faith the gift of God? Yes, as to the grace by which it is produced; but the
    grace or power to believe, and the act of believing, are two different things.
    Without the grace or power to believe no man ever did or can believe; but with
    that power the act of faith is a man's own. God never believes for any man, no
    more than he repents for him: the penitent, through this grace enabling him,
    believes for himself: nor does he believe necessarily, or impulsively when he
    has that power; the power to believe may be present long before it is exercised,
    else, why the solemn warnings with which we meet every where in the word of God,
    and threatenings against those who do not believe? Is not this a proof that such
    persons have the power but do not use it? They believe not, and therefore are
    not established. This, therefore, is the true state of the case: God gives the
    power, man uses the power thus given, and brings glory to God: without the power
    no man can believe; with it, any man may."

    Adam Clark's Commentary to
    the Ephesians
    http://www.godrules.net/library/clarke/clarkeeph2.htm





This is what Saint John Chrysostom had to say about Eph chapter 2


    "Again Christ is introduced, and it is a matter well worthy of our belief,
    because if the firstfruits live, so do we also. He has quickened both Him and
    us. Do you see that all this is said of Christ incarnate?......Those who were
    dead, those who were children of wrath, those He has quickened. Do you behold
    'the hope of his calling? ....Do you behold the glory of his inheritance?.....As
    yet not one is actually raised, excepting that inasmuch as the Head has risen,
    we also are raised....Truly there is need of the Spirit and of revelation, in
    order to understand the depth of these mysteries. And then so you may have no
    distrust about the matter, observe what he adds further....was faith then, you
    will say, enough to save us? No, but God he says, has required this, lest He
    should save us, barren and without work at all. His expression is that faith
    saves, but it is because God so wills it that faith saves....'We are His
    workmanship.' He here alludes to the regeneration which is in reality a second
    creation. We have been brought from non-existence into being. As to what we were
    before, that is, the old man, we are dead."


    From the Eastern
    Orthodox Lectionary & Commentary called "The Bible and the Holy Fathers"
    compiled and Edited by Johanna Manley & Foreword by Bishop Kallistos Ware,
    pages 489-490






It should be clear that the gift spoken of in Eph 2:8 is mainly talking about the word "Salvation". It is talking about "yee are saved". It is talking about being a New Creation or Regeneration itself. In some scholarly circles they claim that the gift is talking about everything in the preceding clause.
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2010, 06:36:29 PM »



I don't know Greek but it is my impression that the Bulgarian translations are pretty close. The Bulgarian Bible says roughly "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God -- not through works, lest any man should boast." Is that close?


That is what I get as well.
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2010, 07:14:39 PM »

"τουτο ουκ εξ υμων - doesn't this phrase refer specifically to της πιστεως (faith/the faith)?"

No, it cannot.  If it were referring to "της πιστεως" it would have been, "Αύτη" instead of "τούτο."

Not if the entire phrase τουτο ουκ εξ υμων is adverbial. There is no need for τουτο to agree in gender with πιστεως. It's not like there is anything else in what comes before that is neuter nominative singular lol

Um, adverbs modify verbs or adjectives - so which is "της πιστεως?" Wink
Adverbs can also modify other adverbs. The phrase δια της πιστεως is adverbial, modifying εστε σεσωσμενοι.
As to your, "it's not like there is anything else..." comment - no, but there is a "το δωρον" that comes after, and we know how little word order matters to clause agreement in Ancient / Biblical / Patristic Greek.  I actually think that "τουτο" is referring to Salvation.
The commentary I cited is convinced otherwise:
And that not of yourselves ...
The placement of this modifying clause applies it to faith, no matter whether the word for "that" is rendered as here, or "this" as it should be rendered Both the Nestle Greek Interlinear Greek-English Testament and the Emphatic Diaglott translate the word "this" making it absolutely mandatory to understand "the faith" as being that which is "not of yourselves." Those who have already interpreted "faith" here as sinner's faith, however, are under the necessity of removing the meaning of this qualifier which so effectively denies their interpretation; and they have labored prodigiously in a losing cause:

MacKnight injected a word foreign to the Greek text, mistranslating the verse thus, "By grace are ye saved through faith, and this affair is not of yourselves, etc." He added, "I have supplied this affair (making it mean)your salvation through faith is not of yourselves!" F27 Well, that's one way to deal with a troublesome text! Others have sought to base their objections to the obvious meaning upon grammatical considerations.
Robertson made faith in this passage sinner's faith, saying, "Grace is God's part, faith is ours," basing his conclusion on the fact of the adverb, this (mistranslated that in the English Revised Version (1885)) being of neuter gender, and thus not corresponding to the word faith which is feminine gender, flatly affirming that there is no reference at all in this place to faith as used in that same clause, but referring to salvation as used in the clause before! F28 Lenski called this "careless," and then used the same argument himself! The simple truth is that no rule of grammar requires an adverbial phrase to agree in gender with its antecedent. This writer has long insisted that it is grammar, not Greek, that foils the work of many interpreters. F. F. Bruce exposed the poverty of this argument from grammar thus:
The fact that the Greek word for faith ([pistis]) is feminine, while the pronoun that is neuter here, is no barrier to regarding faith as the gift of God. The phrase "and that" is really adverbial! A similar usage by Paul is in Philp. 1:28 thus:

A token ... of your salvation, and that from God; and in that reference that is similarly neuter, while both token ([Greek: endeixis]) and salvation ([Greek: soteria]) are feminine. F29
Hendriksen and others, being aware of the total failure of the argument from grammar to sustain their thesis, support still another theory, credited to A. Kuyper, St., which makes "faith" in this verse to mean "faith exercised by the sinner" (which is the essential error in all of these theories) "is not of yourselves but is God's gift." F30 This, of course, is the prize winner, being, without doubt, the most unbelievable of all these false explanations. If allowed, it would make the New Testament say that people are saved by faith, but there is no need really for them to believe, since God himself gives the faith he requires! The human theories would then have to be revised to teach that people are saved by faith only; but people do not even have to believe, for God gives them faith! This to be sure would remove all conditions without exception, making salvation of all men to depend utterly upon the action of God. The conception that "faith" in this place means some kind of subjective (inward) faith exercised by a person must really be dear to its adherents who will subscribe to any theory as ridiculous, unscriptural and unbelievable as this.
There is only one possible way of understanding "faith" as the subjective response of a person (in this passage), and that is by referring it to the faith of Jesus Christ. If this is done, of course, then the availability of Christ's faith as the basis of human redemption is indeed the gift of God. Such an interpretation would have the grace of not contradicting the Scriptures; but, in all likelihood, the simple meaning here is "the Christian faith," which carne about as a gift of God to mankind, and not as a result of any human contribution whatever. See more on "faith of Christ" under Gal. 2:16,20.
In the homily cited, ISTM Chrysostom treats τουτο ουκ εξ υμων as referring to πιστεως.

I partly agree with you on this.
Suffice it to say the Greek is not entirely clear in and of itself. What I'm actually more curious about is can you or anyone else point me to some other Patristic commentaries on this besides Chrysostom?

As for Chrysostom,
Quote
Ver. 8. For by grace, says he have you been saved.
In order then that the greatness of the benefits bestowed may not raise you too high, observe how he brings you down: by grace you have been saved, says he,

Through faith;

Then, that, on the other hand, our free-will be not impaired, he adds also our part in the work, and yet again cancels it, and adds,

And that not of ourselves. [τουτο ουκ εξ υμων]

Neither is faith, he means, of ourselves. Because had He not come, had He not called us, how had we been able to believe? For how, says he, shall they believe, unless they hear? Romans 10:14 So that the work of faith itself is not our own.
it seems clear he takes τουτο ουκ εξ υμων to refer to πιστεως. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean he's right, which is why I'd like to weigh what he says against other Fathers, but I don't have access to a good library right now - I'm stuck with the Internet.
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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2010, 02:26:56 AM »

Some online resources you might like.

They don't have everyone from the 19th century 38 volume set, but they got most of it.
http://www.searchgodsword.org/his/ad/ecf/ (Writings of the Early Church Fathers)

This only covers the first five centuries, but it's a good resource. They have both the greek and latin along with the English. The only downside is you can't cut and paste from it.
http://www.earlychurchtexts.com/main/homepage/homepage.shtml (EarlyChurch Texts)


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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2010, 02:36:44 AM »

SOME QUOTES FOR THOSE WHO DENY WORKS

Revelation 14:13 (King James Version)
 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them

Titus 1:16
"They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him"

Titus 3:8
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

James 2:14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

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

James 2:18
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

SO... given the idea that works is not the antithesis of faith but something that is a part of faith...  then you can just point at the end result.  The sanctification of the Saints.

 

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JLatimer
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2010, 10:57:31 AM »

SO... given the idea that works is not the antithesis of faith but something that is a part of faith...  then you can just point at the end result.  The sanctification of the Saints.

Exactly. One reason I'm partial to reading ουκ εξ υμων as modifying της πιστεως is that then it seems ουκ εξ εργων would also be modifying της πιστεως, so we avoid the idea that works are the antithesis of faith, but rather as you said are part of faith.
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1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2010, 11:29:24 AM »

There is another juxtaposition of "salvation" and "works" in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15:

"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

I do not think that this passage negates the others that Father Ambrose has posted. I am guessing that Apostle Paul is saying here that all those who are saved at the end will have had both faith and works, but he differentiates between the quality of one's works.
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2010, 11:36:07 AM »

Fwiw, if I remember correctly, in his homily on that passage (1 Cor. 3) St. John Chrysostom said that by "saved" Paul meant that the people would be saved from annihilation.
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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2010, 04:24:58 PM »

SOME QUOTES FOR THOSE WHO DENY WORKS

Revelation 14:13 (King James Version)
 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them

Titus 1:16
"They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him"

Titus 3:8
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

James 2:14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

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

James 2:18
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

SO... given the idea that works is not the antithesis of faith but something that is a part of faith...  then you can just point at the end result.  The sanctification of the Saints.

 


"See how a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." Jame 2:24
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Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
Tags: Ephesians 2:8-9 grace faith works salvation Ephesians Scripture New Testament 
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