Faith and Works: A Brief Summary

This was an email response:

I suppose that “faith alone then after than you’ll need works” is a good summation of what I believe. On the other hand, you have to know something else about what I believe to really understand. We can do nothing without Jesus (Jn. 15:5). We fulfill the righteousness of the law by walking by the Spirit (Rom. 8:1-14). God has supplied us with grace so that sin has no power over us (Rom. 6:14) and to teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts so that we can live righteously, sensibly, and godly in this present age (Tit. 2:11-12). Jesus died to purchase out of slavery to sin and to make us zealous for good works (Tit. 2:13-14). He has provided the Scriptures to thoroughly equip us for those good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17). When we were saved by faith alone it was because faith brings grace (Eph. 2:8-9), and God re-creates us in Christ Jesus to do good works (Eph. 2:10). It is because of these things that God’s people are to be careful to maintain good works (Tit. 3:8). He has also provided the assemblies of our brothers and sisters so that we can help each other and provoke one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24–25). Of course, that should be happening more than every Sunday (Heb. 3:13).

We will be judged by our works (Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 3:4-5), so it is good that he has given us so much so that we can do them. We also have that wonderful promise that as followers of Jesus, he will not impute sin to us (Rom. 4:1-8). Of course, this is assuming that we are walking in the light (1 Jn. 1:7), confessing our sin (1 Jn. 1:8-9), walking in the faith of Abraham (Rom. 4:1-8), and practicing righteousness on an ongoing basis (1 Jn. 3:7; cf. 1 Jn. 2:3-4).

One last promise is that God is well able to uphold us along the way, which is stated all over the New Testament (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:8; Php. 1:6; Jude 1:24). This does not happen without our effort. Again, we need to help each other along the way (1 Thes. 5:14), or else we may not make it (Acts 20:31; Rom. 11:19-22; 1 Cor. 9:27; 10:12; Eph. 5:3-8; 2 Pet. 1: 9; 2:20).

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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6 Responses to Faith and Works: A Brief Summary

  1. Paul Pavao says:

    I asked God how we would respond to you, and I believe he said, “It is enough that a man be found faithful.” I was also reminded of Jesus’ words to Thomas in John 20: “Blessed are those who have not seen, but has believed.” I think God wants to encourage you, not correct you.

  2. Thanks Paul. I may well take you up on your kind offer of another chat soon.

    I’m muddling through, but still find it hard to get an accurate view of the character of God, though I pray for grace daily. For example, I couldn’t read that latest post you put up on works Lorship without imagining a stern, exacting and angry god.

    • Paul Pavao says:

      Father, grant Jon the joy of the Holy Spirit. Give him a revelation of your love. According to Ephesians 1, that knowledge of your love comes by revelation. Only you can give revelation, Lord. Let him know the height, depth, width, and breadth of the love you have shown us through Christ.

  3. Paul Pavao says:

    I do need to remember you in my prayers, Jon. That is the best thing I can do for you. I think our assurance comes from fellowship with God, and the Holy Spirit’s side of our fellowship is an individual matter. We are different, so he speaks to us in different ways. Our God is a good Father, and he must make his Word and his life known to us. In Acts 17, Paul told the Athenians that they ought to “feel” for God because we live, move, and have our being in him.

    You should keep commenting and communicating with me (and others) because clear communication, rather than the general bursts to the public that my blogs are, definitely help you. I don’t mind occasionally repeating that Skype session we had.

  4. Hi Paul, it’s your old friend Jon again.

    I am finding my theological questions these days are increasingly practical – trying to understand what truths look like in everyday life. I know I’ve read everything you wrote here before elsewhere, but perhaps it now provokes some slightly different questions.

    You wrote:

    “We can do nothing without Jesus (Jn. 15:5). We fulfill the righteousness of the law by walking by the Spirit (Rom. 8:1-14). God has supplied us with grace so that sin has no power over us (Rom. 6:14) ”

    Do you have any comment (maybe a previous post) on exactly how we rely o Jesus and walk by the Spirit, rather than our own strength? I know personally that find his hard to discern the difference in experience.

    You wrote:

    “We also have that wonderful promise that as followers of Jesus, he will not impute sin to us (Rom. 4:1-8). Of course, this is assuming that we are walking in the light (1 Jn. 1:7), confessing our sin (1 Jn. 1:8-9), walking in the faith of Abraham (Rom. 4:1-8), and practicing righteousness on an ongoing basis (1 Jn. 3:7; cf. 1 Jn. 2:3-4).”

    How can I be confident of God’s forgiveness? How does that specifically relate to walking in the faith of Abraham?

    If you have a moment, please do remember me in your prayers. I feel I have made a measure of progress in the last several months, and I have perceived some small changes for the better in my spiritual life.

    The same old matters still dog me though, particularly in the form of having a cold heart towards God, doubting His love and trying to perceive the work of the Holy Spirit

    Many thanks and warm regards

    Jon

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