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Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:28 KJV)

According to Paul is one justified by faith alone both in Rom 3:28 and also mentioned in Gal 2:16.

The question is, are we saved merely by faith alone just as Paul writes, as also so many I talk to claim.

Scriptures below emphasizes each a different aspect e.g endurance, obedience, by doings and also one verse seems to faith without works while another says with works.

By faith

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8)

By obedience

And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him (Hebrews 5:9)

By endurance

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13)

By doings

For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. (Romans 2:13)

By faith alone

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16)

Not by faith alone

You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. (James 2:24)

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    These are all correct - none is correct alone.
    – Dottard
    Jun 22 at 10:59
  • 2
    This question, also asked of Jesus by the rich young ruler, is the most important question anyone could ever ask. It is crucial to have a correct understanding on this point. This site is obviously not "Christian," or at least the moderators are not, to deem such a question unworthy of being asked or answered here, and therefore must be closed. Jesus answered the question, and He is the Christian's example. Unfortunately, I did not see this one till after it had been closed. I'm voting to reopen.
    – Polyhat
    Jul 10 at 2:13
  • With all of the verses that you quote, it looks like you're after a systematic theology answer, not an exegetical answer. Feel free to ask systematic theology questions at the Christianity site, but here on this site questions must be strictly of an exegetical nature.
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 11 at 8:15
  • @curiousdannii Thanks I have joined Christianity. Is it possibly to move the question over there? Jul 11 at 9:31
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The best explanation is given in Eph 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.

The quotes in the OP's question each concern a different part of the process of salvation.

  • God's love and Grace are the motivation for God to save us, 1 John 4:8, 16, Eph 2:8-10.
  • We accept this external gift of grace by faith/trust in Jesus, Gal 2:16, Rom 3:20.
  • Having been saved, we are transformed into His likeness (1 John 3:2) and image (2 Cor 3:18) and do good works. If these works do not follow, we have not been saved in the first place, Heb 5:9, Rom 2:13, James 2:24.
  • This is accomplished by a steadfast look at Jesus (Heb 12:2, 3), which if we continue to trust to the end will keep our connection to God and His saving grace. Matt 24:13.

Simple!

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  • Amen, real faith produce good works! Jun 22 at 11:32
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We are justified vertically by faith evidenced horizontally by works. People cannot observe one's faith directly. People can only see the fruits of his faith which are his works.

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God

Grace and faith belong to the spiritual realm.

James focuses on the physical reality in 2:24

You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

Paul emphasizes that works alone cannot justify a man in Galatians 2:16

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

The vertical faith in Christ has to come first before horizontal works are valued.

How is one saved?

We are saved vertically by faith evidenced horizontally by works. Both are important but faith has to come first before works are produced.

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You have to keep the Law - clearly explained in James 2:20-24. Jesus never came to change the law. Faith only - that means you can do anything you want as long as you have faith (murder, rape, steal etc...). Many examples but will be brief and to the point.

James 2:20-24 - 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

Acts 21:25-26 - 25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” 26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

(clearly following the law as does Paul when he is told to do so. Albeit being a Jew you would think that he has already been circumcised, maybe a different Paul)

Luke 16:17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.

Matthew 5:17-20 – 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.

Jesus and the disciples followed the OT - Jesus never stated that he came to change anything and the only source they had and relied on was the OT. The NT came couple of hundred years later by arguably unknown authors.

You have to follow Jesus.

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  • The law was not done away with. Paul explained what it really was for : to conclude everyone under sin and show them that they are sinners and need to repent. It still works for that today. Also it is still valid without one jot or tittle changed. However, Paul tells us that it is to be read spiritually not by the letter. This difference in reading changes death into life. Which means victory over death.
    – user38152
    Jul 13 at 11:47
  • @user38152 - no evidence to what you say from Jesus or what came before. Paul changed many things - Eph 2:8-10 - For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life. These are all Pauls gospels as he says; “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” – Romans 2:16 Jul 13 at 12:58
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Faith in Christ is merely the mode of entering the religious covenant, the new grace covenant of God, that replaced the Mosaic law/covenant. Paul never taught anything like "faith alone", it was a wrong translation and interpretation by Martin Luther who was clearly influenced by the agenda to justify sin by creating a lawless licentious theology, by twisting Paul as the early heretics did (2 Pet 3:16-17). Faith without the law, does not mean faith alone, as Luther believed. The NT consistently teaches, that Faith or religion without works are dead.

Endurance, perseverance to the end, works, holiness, commandments are all works that can be summed up in obedience to God. Even Paul consistently taught that the final judgment of every man is according to works, not religion; and only the obedience to God, that is the righteous works or love trumps faith. So none of those concepts or instructions should be seen as confusing and contradictory, as all of them, including Faith in Christ, are part of obedience to God.

[NASB 1 Cor 7:19-20] Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but [what matters is] the keeping of the commandments of God. Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.
[NASB Gal 5:6] For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

[ESV Matt 7:21-27] ​“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. ​On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ ​And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ ​“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”


addendum

I have been asked to provide more citation to substantiate my answer. If someone objects to lack of citation for a particular statement, then let me know in the comments. I believe as Paul wrote extensively, that the culmination & termination of the Mosaic law covenant does not mean that God has abandoned his justice and there is no law binding upon man (Romans 6-8), but that we are to live as servants of God, and believers ought to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12), and consecrate themselves as a drink offering, running the race to the end in order to win it, (1 Cor 9:24). Everyone will be judged impartially. Religion or genealogy makes no difference, for this was the whole essence of Jesus ministry, as he taught that those who killed the prophets and who were going to kill him were the very people of faith (Luke 3:8, John 8:33, Luke 10:25-37). The parables of Jesus are the best & unequivocal sources to determine who will inherit the kingdom of heaven, see for example, Matthew 25, parable of Talents.

Following is a quote from the founder of Faith alone doctrine, which I believe cannot logically include works, it is inherently lawless or antinomian. It is a logical impossibility to include any work in faith-alone dogma. Works of righteousness are mutually exclusive as a married bachelor or a square circle with the faith-alone doctrine of Luther.

"Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides... No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day" ['Let Your Sins Be Strong, from 'The Wittenberg Project;' 'The Wartburg Segment', translated by Erika Flores, from Dr. Martin Luther's Saemmtliche Schriften, Letter No. 99, 1 Aug. 1521. - Cf. Also Denifle’s Luther et Lutheranisme, Etude Faite d’apres les sources. Translation by J. Paquier (Paris, A. Picard, 1912-13), VOl. II, pg. 404].

A few passages from the New Testament:

[Mat 5:20 ASV] For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.

[Mat 5:46-48 ASV] For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others?] do not even the Gentiles the same? Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

[Mat 16:27 ASV] For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then shall he render unto every man according to his deeds.

[Mat 18:3 ASV] and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.

[Act 10:34-36 ASV] And Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him. The word which he sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)--

[Rom 2:6-16 ASV] who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, [shall be] wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing [them]); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.

[Rom 6:16 ASV] Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves [as] servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

[1Co 7:19 ASV] Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but the keeping of the commandments of God.

[2Co 5:10 ASV] For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things [done] in the body, according to what he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.

[1Pe 1:15-17 ASV] but like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to each man's work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear:

[Rev 20:12 ASV] And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.

[Rev 22:11-12 ASV] He that is unrighteous, let him do unrighteousness still: and he that is filthy, let him be made filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him do righteousness still: and he that is holy, let him be made holy still. Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is.

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    Amen good answer+1 Jun 22 at 11:39
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    "Faith in Christ is merely the mode of entering the religious covenant, the new grace covenant of God, that replaced the Mosaic law/covenant." This is what Faith Alone means. There is no "lawless licentious theology" in Luther or Protestantism.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 23 at 3:10
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    @curiousdannii if thats what faith alone is then Catholics are also faith alone coz they reject the law too. I should have added that the Lutheran faith alone implies works as any efforts rather than law works. You need to study the basics of Lutheran protestant theology.
    – Michael16
    Jun 23 at 8:34
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    @Michael16 No, Catholics don't teach that. christianity.stackexchange.com/a/74977/6071 Catholicism teaches that "we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life."
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 23 at 8:39
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    @curiousdannii you think faith alone is without mosaic law. Do you think Catholics mandate and observe mosaic law? Luther also taught works as beneficial when countered and cornered about his lawless theology; it does nothing to change his faith alone doctrine, which is lawless. If you admit and know the true faith alone doctrine, then you shouldn't inconsistently say that it is faith without mosaic law. Maintain the original definition and meaning of it, that is only one- faith without any and every effort/works; NOT the law works.
    – Michael16
    Jun 23 at 8:43

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