How should we respond in the trials God sends us? Does true faith always persevere and end in victory? Part 2: Hope Questions 18—30 How is hope commonly understood? What is Christian hope? What gives rise to Christian hope? Is hope necessary for the Christian? To whom is Christian hope given?
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How does hope relate to death? What is the supreme object of Christian hope? How does Christian hope relate to our future vision of Christ? In what destination do we long to live forever? Of what use is hope in times of suffering? What hope do we have regarding the salvation of our children? May we have hope regarding the death of infants? What duty flows out of Christian hope? What is love? What is the guide to loving God and our neighbor? How do we fail to show love for God? How do we show our love for God?
What makes our obedience acceptable to God? How does faith work through love? What is the context for our love? What is the chief end of our love to others? How can we keep ourselves from idolatry, which manifests hatred toward God? What guards the church from false worship? Does God offer us a particular day in which we may rest and stir up our love for him and others?
How do we love those who are in a higher or lower position than ourselves? The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification Romans He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world John , and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all Isaiah All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood Romans This is necessary to believe.
This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls Mark Traditionally, Lutherans have taught forensic or legal justification, a divine verdict of acquittal pronounced on the believing sinner. God declares the sinner to be "not guilty" because Christ has taken his place, living a perfect life according to God's law and suffering for his sins.
For Lutherans, justification is in no way dependent upon the thoughts, words, and deeds of those justified through faith alone in Christ. The new obedience that the justified sinner renders to God through sanctification follows justification as a consequence, but is not part of justification. Lutherans believe that individuals receive this gift of salvation through faith alone.
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For Lutherans, justification provides the power by which Christians can grow in holiness. Such improvement comes about in the believer only after he has become a new creation in Christ through Holy Baptism.
This improvement is not completed in this life: Christians are always "saint and sinner at the same time" simul iustus et peccator  —saints because they are holy in God's eyes, for Christ's sake, and do works that please him; sinners because they continue to sin until death. Martin Luther elevated sola fide to the principal cause of the Protestant Reformation , the rallying cry of the Lutheran cause, and the chief distinction of the Lutheran and Reformed branches of Christianity from Roman Catholicism.
John Calvin , also a proponent of this doctrine, taught that "every one who would obtain the righteousness of Christ must renounce his own. The "faith alone" expression also appears in at least nine English Bible translations :. Luther added the word allein "alone" in German to Romans controversially so that it read: "So now we hold, that man is justified without the help of the works of the law, alone through faith". I knew very well that the word solum ["alone" in Latin] is not in the Greek or Latin text … It is a fact that these four letters S O L A are not there … At the same time … it belongs there if the translation is to be clear and vigorous.
I wanted to speak German, not Latin or Greek, since it was German I had undertaken to speak in the translation. But it is the nature of our German language that in speaking of two things, one of which is affirmed and the other denied, we use the word solum allein along with the word nicht [not] or kein [no]. Luther further stated that sola was used in theological traditions before him and this adverb makes Paul's intended meaning clearer:. I am not the only one, nor the first, to say that faith alone makes one righteous. There was Ambrose, Augustine and many others who said it before me.
And if a man is going to read and understand St. Paul, he will have to say the same thing, and he can say nothing else. Paul's words are too strong — they allow no works, none at all! Now if it is not works, it must be faith alone. Other Catholic authorities also used "alone" in their translation of Romans or exegesis of salvation by faith passages. Paul was not antinomian.
While salvation cannot be achieved through works Titus , faith being a unity with Christ in the Spirit naturally issues in love Galatian In relation to Sola Fide , the place of works is found in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians : Justification is by grace through faith, " not from yourselves " and " not by works ".
In other words, it is by faith alone since all human efforts are excluded here. These works, however, are not a cause of forgiveness but a result of forgiveness. Faith alone justifies but faith is never alone. It is followed by works. According to the Defense of the Augsburg Confession of Philipp Melanchthon , the Epistle of James clearly teaches that the recipients of the letter have been justified by God through the saving Gospel James :. Thirdly, James has spoken shortly before concerning regeneration, namely, that it occurs through the Gospel.
For thus he says James Of His own will begat He us with the Word of Truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures. When he says that we have been born again by the Gospel, he teaches that we have been born again and justified by faith.
For the promise concerning Christ is apprehended only by faith, when we set it against the terrors of sin and of death. James does not, therefore, think that we are born again by our works. In answer to a question on James "you see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone" the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod has written, "In James 2, the author was dealing with errorists who said that if they had faith they didn't need to show their love by a life of faith James countered this error by teaching that true, saving faith is alive, showing itself to be so by deeds of love James , The author of James taught that justification is by faith alone and also that faith is never alone but shows itself to be alive by good deeds that express a believer's thanks to God for the free gift of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.
James, therefore, did not believe that by good works we merit the remission of sins and grace. For he speaks of the works of those who have been justified, who have already been reconciled and accepted, and have obtained remission of sins. It is only by faith that forgiveness of sins is apprehended . Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! Faith works itself out through love Gal. And Faith without works is dead James No one has entrusted himself to Christ for deliverance from the guilt of sin who has not also entrusted himself to him for deliverance from the power of sin.
Contemporary evangelical theologian R. Sproul writes,. The relationship of faith and good works is one that may be distinguished but never separated Michael Horton concurs by saying,. This debate, therefore, is not over the question of whether God renews us and initiates a process of gradual growth in holiness throughout the course of our lives.
We confess together that good works — a Christian life lived in faith, hope and love — follow justification and are its fruits. When the justified live in Christ and act in the grace they receive, they bring forth, in biblical terms, good fruit. Since Christians struggle against sin their entire lives, this consequence of justification is also for them an obligation they must fulfill.
Thus both Jesus and the apostolic Scriptures admonish Christians to bring forth the works of love. Many Catholics see the exclusion of "works of the law" as only referring to works done for salvation under the Mosaic law, versus works of faith which are held as meritorious for salvation. Adherents of sola fide respond that Jesus was not instituting keeping a higher moral code as means of salvation, and tend to see the exclusion of "works of the law" as the means of obtaining justification as referring to any works of the Mosaic law, and by implication, any "works of righteousness which we have done" Titus or any system in which one earns eternal life on the basis of the merit of works.
However, most understand that the "righteousness of the law" is to be fulfilled by those who are justified by faith Romans The Mosaic law and the principles of the Gospel such as the Sermon on the Mount and the Last Judgment of Matthew 25 are seen as being in correspondence, with the latter fulfilling, clarifying, and expanding on the former, centering on God's love for us, and love to others.
Thus a Lutheran or Reformed believer can claim that "the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good," Romans harmonizing the two principles of the same Bible. Chapter 2 of the Epistle of James , verses , discusses faith and works, starting with verse 14, "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?
He who has faith and good works is righteous, not indeed, on account of the works, but for Christ's sake, through faith. And as a good tree should bring forth good fruit, and yet the fruit does not make the tree good, so good works must follow the new birth, although they do not make man accepted before God; but as the tree must first be good, so also must man be first accepted before God by faith for Christ's sake. The works are too insignificant to render God gracious to us for their sake, if He were not gracious to us for Christ's sake. Therefore James does not contradict St.
Paul, and does not say that by our works we merit, etc. In answer to another question on James as well as Romans , the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod replied:. Paul is writing to people who said that faith in Jesus alone does not save a person, but one has to also obey God's law in order to be justified Gal , To counter the false idea that what we do in keeping the law must be added to faith in what Christ did for us.
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