I thought the following was an exceptional dialogue for anyone who is serious about their walk with the Lord and excited about being an effective disciple. But I’d like to offer a word of caution. Our works, although absolutely vital to the maturing of our faith, are NOT dependable evidence of faith. It’s clear that God chisels those He has adopted as sons, but the workmanship begins only after entering into Jesus’ eternal Sabbath rest.Please do NOT make the mistake I did, and unintentionally trivialize or subjectify your faith decision, if for a season, your works or acts of piety are not consistent with your calling. Matter of fact, if we are honest, we’ll readily admit that our post-conversion efforts will ALWAYS fall far shy of God’s amazing grace.
Consider the following texts that on the surface appear paradoxical. Are they?
James 2:21 (NASB) Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
Galatians 3:6 (NASB) Even so Abraham believed God , and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
This is an apparent contradiction…a paradox. In my view, a Paradox is NOT an acceptable hermeneutical principle. Too often, because two passages (such as ones quoted above), appear to be in diametric opposition, we throw our hands in the air, willingly submit to both and chalk the problem up to “God’s ways are not our ways.” In my opinion, this is not a tenable solution and one that must be vigorously rejected.
Trying to mesh the inspired verses above, has driven many to form what I believe are errant conclusions, of which cause severe chinks in the perceptions of our eternal security. I believe the solution must NOT, in my view, include a synthesis of these two opposing statements.
Someone cannot be saved by works but also be saved by faith. Therefore this should drive us us to reevaluate James 2. Interpret the unclear with what is clear. Many, instead choose to embrace the paradox and make both statements true. I won’t castigate those who, just like I did, embrace this kind of logic… However, I must not be silent either. Unfortunately, in our haste to reconcile this paradox, “Belief” has been relegated to a 2nd class subjective status. We hear things like, “He didn’t really believe.” Or based upon her behavior, we say, “She obviously has head knowledge but not real faith.”
I don’t have the inclination here to solve what many consider a mystery, but suffice it to say, salvation is by grace through faith alone. It’s a gift of God. So let’s not act like we can DO anything to either merit the gift or prove that our faith is real.