Bad Works, God’s Work, and Good Works
BAD WORKS, GOD’S WORK, AND GOOD WORKS
Why should we do good works if we are not saved by our good works but by God’s sovereign work?
- Because of what we were saved from (v. 3)
- Because of who we are saved by (v. 4-7)
The source of salvation (v. 4)
The basis of salvation (v. 5a)
The means of salvation (v. 5b-6)
The goal of salvation (v. 7)
- Because of what we are saved for (v. 8)
What is the difference between the Roman Catholic view of faith and works and the Protestant Christian view (which is what we believe)?
“The debate over justification [the truth that we are declared righteous by God on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done] often suffers from a crass caricature (or misunderstanding] by which the Reformed position is characterized as ‘justification by faith’ and the Roman Catholic position is characterized as ‘justification by works.’ Popular sentiment tends to conclude that [Roman Catholicism] is not concerned with faith and that the Reformers were not concerned about works.”
…[But] this characterization…represents a false dilemma…Rome gives an important—indeed necessary—place to faith, and…the Reformers saw saving faith as necessarily, inevitably, and immediately yielding the fruit of works. Martin Luther insisted that the faith that justifies is a fides viva, a vital and living faith that yields the fruit of works. Justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. [Let me read that again: justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone]. Saving faith is not a ‘lonely’ faith, having no works following as a companion.
[We can use] two formulas…to distinguish the two views. The three terms faith, works, and justification are present in both formulas. The difference in the order of these terms in the equations, however, points to the radical difference between the two positions. In the Roman formula works are a necessary precondition for justification [i.e. they come BEFORE justification]. In the Reformed view works are a necessary fruit of justification [i.e. they FOLLOW AFTER justification]” (Faith Alone, 155-6).
As a mathematical formula which is it?
Faith + Good works = Justification (being forgiven)
Faith alone = Justification + Good works
Verse 8: FAITH alone in Jesus Christ alone results in JUSTIFICATION which leads to the pursuit of GOOD WORKS (the second equation).
Conclusion: We do good works (even though we are not saved by them) because of WHAT we were saved from (our bad works); because of WHO we are saved by (God through Jesus Christ by the renewing of the Holy Spirit); and because of WHAT we are saved for (good works which are the fruit of faith).