= WORDPOCKET MOBILE =
Q: Faith vs. works [rituals, ceremonies]- which one saves?
A: Someone once said there are only two religions in the world: Works and Faith. Some may say that there is only one religion in the world: works. Faith is the end of religion. 'for by grace are ye saved through faith and that is not of yourselves, it is a gift of God'.[Ephesians 2:8.9]. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [Hebrews 11;1]. A man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law' [Romans 3:28; 4:5-8; Galatians 2:16; 3:10-13, 5:2-4]. God freely justifies those who do not rely on their works and efforts, but wholly trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the above biblical verses in Romans and Galatians, Paul is asking: How can a guilty sinner be justified by God? Essentially Paul answers that a sinner is justified by faith in Christ, and not by the merit of his works.
Now, some claim that the book of James brings out a different concept. James 2:24:
'Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only'. Is this a contradiction?
James is making a distinction between two kinds of faith. One that is real, and one that is a counterfeit. How do we know the difference, how do we distinguish one from the other 'Show me your faith without your works; and I will show you my faith by my works.' [James 2:18]
However, it is by faith in Christ alone (and not by the merits of our works) [Titus 3:5] that we are saved (justified before God); yet the faith that justifies is never alone, (unfruitful, barren) if it is genuine.
Mere mental assent to the gospel truths is not enough. One must have living faith, and that is always manifest by good works. Good works prove that he and his faith are genuine.
Real faith is alive, manifests itself in good works; counterfeit faith is dead, barren, the mere assent to doctrine. Good works [love, charity] are the fruit of faith and not a replace for faith.
However, many religious works are performed as a substitution, a replacement , for faith: rituals, like lighting candles, prayers for the dead, ceremonies, traditions of all kinds, which are a manifestation of religious fervor. That is where faith and works clash. Works of that kind are like trying to build a ladder to reach up to God... while faith is to believe that God has descended to us, to save us, in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ.
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