Thursday: Does Faith Promote Sin?
avatar

One of the main accusations against Paul was that his gospel of justification by faith alone encouraged people to sin (see Rom. 3:8,6:1). No doubt the accusers reasoned that if people do not have to keep the law to be accepted by God, why should they be concerned with how they live?

How does Paul respond to the accusation that a doctrine of justification by faith alone encourages sinful behavior? Gal. 2:17, 18



Paul responds to his opponents’ charges in the strongest terms possible: “God forbid!” While it is possible that a person might fall into sin after coming to Christ, the responsibility would certainly not belong to Christ. If we break the law, we ourselves are the lawbreakers.

How does Paul describe his union with Jesus Christ? In what way does this answer refute the objections raised by his opponents? Gal. 2:19–21.  



Paul finds the reasoning of his opponents simply preposterous. Accepting Christ by faith is not something trivial; it is not a game of heavenly make-believe, where God counts a person as righteous while there is no real change in how that person lives. On the contrary, to accept Christ by faith is extremely radical. It involves a complete union with Christ—a union in both His death and resurrection. Spiritually speaking, Paul says we are crucified with Christ, and our old sinful ways rooted in selfishness are finished(Rom. 6:5–14). We have made a radical break with the past. Everything is new (2 Cor. 5:17). We have also been raised to a new life in Christ. The resurrected Christ lives within us, daily making us more and more like Himself. Faith in Christ, therefore, is not a pretext for sin but a call to a much deeper, richer relationship with Christ than could ever be found in a law-based religion.

How do you relate to the concept of salvation by faith alone without the deeds of the law? Does it, perhaps, scare you a little, making you think that it can be an excuse for sin—or do you rejoice in it? What does your answer say about your understanding of salvation?

Share Button

Comments

Thursday: Does Faith Promote Sin? — 10 Comments

  1. We are saved by grace not works least any man should boast. Thank God! But is there is greater importance to accepting by grace versus following his law? Is it a matter of order or mindset?

    Galatians 2:19-21 (NIV)

    19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”[a]

    Like(0)
    • Jason, you ask a perceptive question regarding "mindset."

      I also like to call it "focus." If we focus on keeping the law, we will likely become self-focused legalists.

      If we focus on Christ's great love and sacrifice for us, our hearts will be drawn to Him, so He can continually renew our hearts into hearts that want to obey Him.

      The fruit of love is obedience, after all. (John 14:15 NASB)

      Like(0)
  2. How do you relate to the concept of salvation by faith alone without the deeds of the law?

    I do not relate to this concept. Without the law there would be no guide for me to follow in the footsteps of my Savior. With the law I am able to see how far away I am from my “Christ like” goal.

    Does it, perhaps, scare you a little, making you think that it can be an excuse for sin—or do you rejoice in it?

    I am not scared of the concept of faith in Christ. I do not use it as an excuse for sin, but find myself ashamed that I have fallen yet again. I rejoice in the fact that because of my faith in my Savior, I know I will find forgiveness, and help in overcoming my temptations only through faith.

    What does your answer say about your understanding of salvation?

    My salvation is solely based on my faith in my Redeemer, and through Christ I shall endeavor to live my life according to His law as best as I am able to do. I can only pray that one day my temptations will fade away……..

    Like(0)
    • Fix your eyes upon Jesus...and the things of earth will grow extrangely dim in the light of his glory & grace, is TRUE. Daily surrendering to Him who won the battle for us is the only hope. Mariae

      Like(0)
  3. Even so faith,if it hath not works,is dead,being alone. Yea a man may say,thou hast faith,and i have works:show me thy faith without works,and i will show thee my faith by my works"James 2:17-18

    Like(0)
  4. "One of the main accusations against Paul was that his gospel of justification by faith alone encouraged people to sin (see Rom. 3:8,6:1). No doubt the accusers reasoned that if people do not have to keep the law to be accepted by God, why should they be concerned with how they live?"The author

    .....and theirs was a good question; and an indication that they totally misunderstood this new doctrine of faith being introduced by Paul. Those "accusers" had been falsely taught that they were justified by the works commanded by God of them...if they were now free to not obey those commands[ie those commands; now that they are replaced by faith]..they would be now free to sin.

    This misunderstanding is highlighted by James....James is quite clear that not only are we justified by faith; but we are as well equally justified by the works of the law. James 2:24 James uses as the basis for his conclusion, the example of Abraham, who first believed God[faith] and confirmed his belief in God by obeying God's commands[works!] In short James says: We are justified by faith and works; because we have to believe God-[faith];before we would have any desire to obey His Commands-[all of them!]works!..and all of them; including the ones in which He commands us not to sin.

    Paul continues on this theme in Gal.2:16-21: A man says Paul is not justified by the works of the law [if] he excludes faith in Christ...he is , however, justified by the works of the law, if he includes faith in Christ...

    ...even "we", Paul continues, ie we Jews wo keep the law, have believed in Jesus Christ, and we still keep the law concurrently with believing in Jesus Christ; and now we are justifed by our faith in Jesus; and as should have been the case all along; as it was the case for Abraham. We had been falsely taught all along that we were justified by the works of the law; but now we have the truth. We need both; but our justification for salvation, comes only as a result that we accept our Saviour's death as our only hope of being forgiven; and not how much we try to not sin, or when we sin. We now know that all the time we offered sacrifices for our sins; it wasn't the spilled blood of the animals that occasioned our forgiveness, it was really Jesus' spilled blood; but represnted by the blood of the animals....that is why we ow place our faith in Jesus who spilled His blood for our sin..and that is why we are justified by our faith alone in His Grace...and in the assurance of the forgiveness of our sins.

    V.18....because we now know that we are justified by faith in Jesus, and in His spilled blood for our sins, do we then use this occasion to sin..and use this belief to disobey the works of the law!...if we do; doesn't that make Jesus, an instrument or promoter/Prime minister of sinful behaviour!
    ....let us reason! How can I before having Jesus, in faith, forgive me of my sin, try my hardest to not commit sin, by doing ardently the works of the law...if I now commit sin because of my faith in Jesus...doesn't that make me as much a transgressor as when I do not keep the works of the law!

    V.19...In order to find favor with God; I now do not need to practice the deeds/works of the law anymore! This, I did before because I did not know that all I had to do was to believe in faith that it was God who was forgiving me, as Abraham did...and not because I was faithful to the deeds of the law. Believing as Abraham did, I now practice the deeds of the law, also as Abraham did; and I follow, willingly and lovingly all of God's commands to me to preach the gospel before kings and before the children of Israel; and his command to suffer for his sake. Now; the law is not anymore my concentration...for my part the law is dead; because faith in Jesus has replaced my subjugation to the law....Jesus is now my total concentration..my total focus...not the law. I am now dead to the law...that I might live totally unto God and not to the law as I did before.

    V.20...I can declare that I am now crucified with Christ; and I now live totally by faith in Christ Jesus; and not by the law as I used to live---My righteousness is now totally through Christ, just as Abraham was; and not through the law as we have been falsely taught by our leaders.

    The belief that we are justified by our works is one of the doctrines Jesus referred to as "doctrines of men"-Mark 7:7
    ....I now know that rightousness can only be attained by having faith in Jesus Christ as dying for my sins. I have now accepted the Grace of God in forgiving me of my sins...V.21 How can I then frustrate the Grace of God by believing my works still justify me in His sight! If I believe my works still justify me as I was taught, then the death of Christ has been in vain!

    Courtney

    Like(0)
  5. From my understanding there is a great mis-understanding of the meaning of the word "faith". Heb chapter 11 puts the word faith in it's proper context of how it was understood, that being trust, by those that reacted to their calling. Although the gift of the Holy Spirit was not given until NT times, as recorded in the book of Acts, there were acts of trust from Able, the second son of Adam, through-out the OT up to the present time. If someone has faith "trust" one should have it personally with their "patron". Many examples of trusting God are related through the stories in the Bible from which the people involved witnesed. The personnel failing of good deeds were and/or are not the fault of the patron, but of the person or persons because of their lack of trust and loyalty. Understanding faith as loyalty and unbelief as disobedience one should come to the conclusion that it is their lack of prayer, communaction with God through Yeshua, for the failing of a goodwork. We have ourselves only to blame because of our lack of trust and loyalty to our patron through prayer to Yeshua. The question than becomes "When He returns will He find faith"? If your lamp is running low on oil pray to Yeshua, Jesus Christ, to fill it.

    Like(0)
  6. Paul's teachings do not promote sin if people understand what he is saying.

    Paul makes it clear that justification is being made FREE FROM SIN, if we are freed from sin, are we going to continue IN Sin? NO, that part of us we are to reckon as dead, crucified with Christ. And with Him we are to rise to newness of life.

    Texts:
    Romans 6
    6:3 Don't you know, that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
    6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
    6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
    6:11 Likewise reckon (account) yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    6:18 Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness.

    Like(0)
  7. How do you relate to the concept of salvation by faith alone without the deeds of the law?

    First of all I apologise for the long post, but I have to drive this important point home... (Please stick with me)

    1. “… the just shall live by FAITH…” (Heb 10:38)
    2. Eph 2:8 – “For by GRACE are ye saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (KJV):
    3. Eph 2:9 – “Not of WORKS, lest any man should boast” (KJV).
    It does not get better than this! I think the Bible does an excellent job explaining.

    Does it, perhaps, scare you a little, making you think that it can be an excuse for sin—or do you rejoice in it?

    Not at all! Having free ticket to salvation does not mean we will not be judged. For we must all appear before the judgment seat at some point. “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (Jm2:12, KJV). So we are saved by GRACE through FAITH but judged by the LAW.

    This is one of those “chicken and egg situations” – Both “faith” and “works” are important (but should be put in their proper perspective)!

    Texts:
    Jm 2:14 – “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?”

    Jm 2:17 – “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

    Jm 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.”

    Jm 2: 22 – “Seest thou how faith wrought with works, and by works was faith made perfect?”

    Works: – “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (Jm 2:24)
    When a rich young ruler asked Jesus what he could do to inherit eternal life (Mk 10:17), Jesus could have responded, “Do not worry my son, just have faith!” But notice His response to this young rich ruler in Mk 10:19 “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill and etc…” (KJV). When Jesus was done spelling out the commandments, the rich young ruler pointed out that he had every single one of them to the dot.

    Qn. Was Jesus upset that this young-man was being “self-righteous” or “legalist”?

    Ans. MK 10:21 “Then Jesus beholding him loved him …” Jesus however went on to request of him more “works” He added, “One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor…” When it turned out that the rich young ruler was displeased by this additional request, Jesus commented how hard it was going to be for some people to enter the kingdom of God because of hesitation in doing some WORKS. So do WORKS count? Please stick with me!
    Faith: It is important to note that faith without works is dead(Jm 2:20) but…

    1. Eph 2:8 – “For by GRACE are ye saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (KJV):

    2. Eph 2:9 – “Not of WORKS, lest any man should boast” (KJV).

    So, is faith an excuse for sin?

    Again, if put in proper perspective, there will be no excuse for sin.

    The law (mirror) tells me that I am sinful and ashamed before God (dirty and naked). Hopefully by keeping the law (WORKS), my sinful nature will is reveled to me and thus my need for a SAVIOR.

    When my wretchedness is revealed, I have two options;
    (i) Try to do my best to polish up/keep the commandments with all my strength (probably with a checklist to help me keep track of how I am doing). This response (self-righteousness) is an indication of lack of faith that God’s grace is sufficient to cover my sins. It is not only filthy rugs (Is 64:6) but the Bible says, “… without faith is it impossible to please Him…”(Heb 11:6).
    All my efforts to keep the commandments will make my spiritual walk burdensome and cumbersome.

    (ii) Confess my sins because He is faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness( 1 Jn 1:9). Jesus calls all we who labor with WORKS and are heavy laden, to come unto Him and rest. For His yoke is easy, and His burden light (Mt 11:28 & 30). This option is God’s desire for all His children. To be able to choose this option (ii) however, I need to have FAITH in order to believe that, all burdens (of WORKS) have been lifted at Calvary. Otherwise, without FAITH, I will continue to lift my burdens(WORKS) that have already been taken care of.

    What does your answer say about your understanding of salvation?

    I did not have to do anything in order for Christ to die for me. It was out of unconditional love, (while I was yet a sinner) that this gift of salvation was delivered to me. As a result of this unconditional love, I owe my life to HIM. There is nothing I can humanly do to pay back my savior for redeeming me than to love Him back. So, if I ask my Jesus, How do I love you back? His response will be, “If ye love me, keep my commandments”(Jn 14:15).
    So, because I am exceedingly grateful for what Christ has done, I will be obviously be moved to give my whole life to Him. By this surrendering to Him, I give Him permission to take control of my life and do whatever He wants with it. Of couse, He will then be more than pleased to write His love letters (the commandments of love) in my heart. When this task is complete, keeping His commandments will be so natural; No need cram or to keep a checklist of LAWS!

    So what comes first, an egg or a chicken; FAITH or WORKS?

    Like(0)

What do you think? If you like a comment, just [Like] it or post a thoughtful reply. Please provide a working email address and your real first AND last name to have your comment published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.