How is faith plus works biblical?

I understand everyone is going to run to James to support their stance. I'm familiar with those verses and I believe they are being used out of context. My question is, if one sin is enough to damn you to hell without the sacrifice of Jesus, using the logic of faith plus works, shouldn't it be enough to sin once and lose salvation? Of course, we should be prompted to do good works for our savior, but if we are trusting in our own merits, that is not trusting in His finished work on the cross. If one does not trust in the cross, how can they call themselves saved? I'm curious on this stance. Also, if you hold this stance, what denomination or church do you belong to?

29 Answers

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Hofmeister = Follow the bear

    Christian = Follow the Master

    We know what has been written about arguing over words. This has to be a tangential argument to the main event. Do the children that Jesus referred to understand the concepts you are discussing here?

    This is the exact reason why Jesus spoke in parables and gave only two commandments.

    If you cannot follow just two commandments that really is a poor show, is it not?

  • 2 months ago

    I am not running to James.  I am running to the record of God's mercy.

    Over and over again, the Bible gives evidence of the mercy of the one true God. Each time, he looks at the heart of each person rather than what they SAY they believe, or even what they have done wrong.

    Adam and Eve had no reason to believe that the God who gave them paradise was lying to them about what would happen if they ate that fruit. But not only did they disobey, but they each blamed someone else for their bad choice.  So their works reflected a bad choice from the heart.

    After God gave the nation of Israel the ten commandments, they promised to obey them, and then when Moses went up to the mountain, and they turned around and broke the first two commandments.  Because of their rebellion, many eventually lost their lives, and their opportunity to live in the promised land. They SAID, but did not ACT.

    On the other hand, centuries later, Manasseh, a king of Judah, became a bloodthirsty ruler, who made the streets of Jerusalem flow with blood.  He was put in prison, where eventually he came to his senses and begged God to forgive him. God saw in his heart that he really was repentant, and he was released, and kept his promise to his God for the rest of his life.

    Ananias and Sapphira sinned in that they hypocritically lied, trying to deceive the Christian congregation and thus ‘play false to the holy spirit and to God.’ That turned out to be evidence of a wicked heart. Hence, they were judged more severely- they paid with their lives.

    A thousand years before this, King Solomon's life did not end well. Pagan wives turned his heart away from the true God.

    But beforehand, he wrote a statement under inspiration that has a profound truth that is repeated over and over in the scriptures:  

    The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the true God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole obligation of man. For the true God will judge every deed, including every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

    The point? We will be judged fairly and mercifully by the One who sees our heart inclinations.  Now it is up to us to prepare our minds, and attitude, and faith, through Jesus Christ.

  • 2 months ago

    There are multiple parts to answering you question as completely as possible.

    Starting with "Faith Plus Works" here are a few scriptures:

    James 2:18

    Nevertheless, someone will say: “You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

    James 2:22

    You see that his faith was active along with his works and his faith was perfected by his works,

    James 2:17

    So, too, faith by itself, without works, is dead.

    Galatians 2:16

    recognize that a man is declared righteous, not by works of law, but only through faith in Jesus Christ. So we have put our faith in Christ Jesus, so that we may be declared righteous by faith in Christ and not by works of law, for no one will be declared righteous by works of law.

    James 2:24

    You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works and not by faith alone.

    Matthew 13:58

    And he did not perform many powerful works there on account of their lack of faith.

    Romans 3:28

    For we consider that a man is declared righteous by faith apart from works of law.

    Romans 9:32

    For what reason? Because they pursued it, not by faith, but as by works. They stumbled over the “stone of stumbling”;

    Psalm 78:32

    Despite this they sinned even more And did not put faith in his wonderful works.

    Romans 3:27

    Where, then, is the boasting? There is no place for it. Through what law? That of works? No indeed, but through the law of faith.

    James 2:20

    But do you care to know, O empty man, that faith without works is useless?

    Romans 4:5

    On the other hand, to the man who does not work but puts faith in the One who declares the ungodly one righteous, his faith is counted as righteousness.

    James 2:14

    Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it?

    James 2:26

    Indeed, just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

    John 6:29

    In answer Jesus said to them: “This is the work of God, that you exercise faith in the one whom he sent.”

    Galatians 3:5

    Therefore, does the one who supplies you the spirit and performs powerful works among you do it because of your works of law or because of your faith in what you heard?

    John 14:12

    Most truly I say to you, whoever exercises faith in me will also do the works that I do; and he will do works greater than these, because I am going my way to the Father.

    Galatians 3:2

    This one thing I want to ask you: Did you receive the spirit through works of law or because of faith in what you heard?

    Galatians 6:10

    So, then, as long as we have the opportunity, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.

    1 Thessalonians 1:3

    for we continually remember your faithful work, your loving labor, and your endurance because of your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.

    1 Timothy 4:10

    This is why we are working hard and exerting ourselves, because we have rested our hope on a living God, who is a Savior of all sorts of men, especially of faithful ones.

    Hebrews 6:1

    Therefore, now that we have moved beyond the primary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying a foundation again, namely, repentance from dead works and faith in God,

    2 Thessalonians 1:11

    To that very end we always pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling and with his power perform completely all the good that he pleases and every work of faith.

    Colossians 2:12

    For you were buried with him in his baptism, and by your relationship with him you were also raised up together through your faith in the powerful work of God, who raised him up from the dead.

    Hebrews 4:3

    For we who have exercised faith do enter into the rest, just as he has said: “So I swore in my anger, ‘They will not enter into my rest,’” although his works were finished from the founding of the world.

    Romans 3:3

    What, then, is the case? If some lacked faith, will their lack of faith invalidate the faithfulness of God?

    Romans 1:17

    For in it God’s righteousness is being revealed by faith and for faith, just as it is written: “But the righteous one will live by reason of faith.”

    Psalm 107:24

    They have seen the works of Jehovah And his wonderful works in the deep;

    Romans 3:22

    yes, God’s righteousness through the faith in Jesus Christ, for all those having faith. For there is no distinction.

    Romans 11:20

    That is true! For their lack of faith, they were broken off, but you are standing by faith. Do not be haughty, but be in fear.

    1 Timothy 1:19

    holding faith and a good conscience, which some have thrust aside, resulting in the shipwreck of their faith.

    John 14:1

    “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God; exercise faith also in me.

    Galatians 3:9

    So those who adhere to faith are being blessed together with Abraham, who had faith.

    1 Timothy 6:18

    Tell them to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be generous, ready to share,

    2 Corinthians 4:13

    Now because we have the same spirit of faith as that of which it is written: “I exercised faith, therefore I spoke”; we too exercise faith and therefore we speak,

  • 2 months ago

    Ask yourself what it means to say we are saved 'by faith'? Does it actually mean that one moment of faith establishes our salvation for ever, or does it mean that an ongoing faith in Jesus maintains us in a relationship with Him so that we can benefit from His merits? I believe it is the latter, and that sin can break that relationship. Consider Hebrews 10:26 "If we deliberately go on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins remains"

    An ongoing faith in Jesus has to be an obedient faith, because believing 'Jesus is Lord' has to entail an acceptance of His lordship and willingness to follow His commands. If we do not believe in His teaching, if we do not accept the duty He places on us, then do we really believe in Him as He is?

    One of the ways we can fall away from Jesus is to neglect to serve Him by works. Consider the places in His parables where where people are damned specifically for neglecting their duties. The unprofitable servant in the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30) is cast into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, and in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus it is strongly implied that the rich man is damned for his lack of charity to the poor (Luke 16:19-31).

    If we do fall away from Jesus by sin, we need to return to Him by repentance and confession. Forgiveness is not an automatic process that wipes away all sins the second they are committed - if it was, then it would have made no sense for Jesus to give His apostles authority both to forgive and to retain sins (John 20:23).

    As an aside, some of the confusion about faith vs works can be cleared up by recognising that 'works', in the Bible often means 'works of the law' - the ritual practices that the Jews observed under the old covenant. Generally the passages which speak against works do so in the context of St Paul urging believers not to cling to the old covenant and to Jewish practices. It would make no sense for Paul to be condemning all works whatsoever given that elsewhere he reports on works which Jesus had explicitly commanded his followers to do (eg 1Cor 11:24 - "when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me”).

    Source(s): Catholic
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  • Rjgmh
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    Lets set things straight. In order to go to heaven there is only faith. If you try to get in by works you fail. because you cannot. However after you trust in Christ for your salvation you start to live for Him. Those works will not get you saved. But they show the people around you that you changed and what God has done in you. So you will see works, but these will not save you.

    2 timothy 1:9

    Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

  • 2 months ago

    It merely comes down to the fact that it's ALWAYS excellent to do good works and love your neighbour and help everyone, whether you are saved or not - isn't that what nurses and doctors do every day of their lives, yet they are not necessarily saved and certainly won't be by their kindness and good works if they don't believe in Christ the only Saviour of the world?

    God has told us in His Word that it's no good saying to someone be warmed and healed when they are hungry and cold if you  - having heard their plight, are not willing to do what they need to be fed and housed or clothed.

    Our actual salvation has only been accomplished by Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world, - there is no other - He is the only name under heaven by which we may be saved (Acts 4:12) and that's because He - being God, came to earth in sinful flesh (John  1:14) and bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live unto righteousness - by whose stripes we were healed (1 Peter 2:24) 

     - WE NEED CHRIST'S SALVATION because we were like sheep, going astray and everyone was turning to his own way, and the Lord has laid upon Him - that's Jesus Christ - the iniquity of us all. 

    It's not a matter of trying to be saved by good works - it will never happen that way if our heart and motives are wrong, but as I said earlier, there's nothing wrong with folks living a decent life helping others in this world.  JUST DON'T THINK FOR ONE MOMENT THAT CAN SAVE YOU - IT CAN'T for if we could be saved by good works, then Christ died for nothing didn't he?  Think about it - if we could get to heaven with or by our own efforts what was the point of Jesus dying for us?

    No, we HAVE TO TRUST IN THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST FOR US, and that's very often the problem with people who are "good" people in this world - they tend to think they have never sinned and that they are not sinners.  They ARE.  WE ALL ARE. God resists the proud and scatters them.  Only the humble does He exalt.

    That's why we MUST admit our fallen state because we are descendants of Adam and we possess inherently in us - his rebellion, his sins, his iniquity and we are born spiritually DEAD in those trespasses and sins and ONLY CHRIST CAN MAKE US ALIVE (Ephesians 2: 1 & 5).

    Once we are saved, then we will LOVE God and Jesus our Saviour SO MUCH FROM OUR INNER HEART, that we will ONLY DESIRE TO HELP OTHERS AND DO GOOD THINGS TO ADVANCE CHRIST'S KINGDOM and show His unending love to the poor and cast out.

    That's why God looks at the heart.  If our motives are wrong, then, of course, we can be rejected but God has a plan for every one of us and IT BEGINS WITH SUBMITTING TO CHRIST WHO DIED FOR US, THAT WE MIGHT BE FORGIVEN.  We know this is the case because the Bible tells us that IT'S NOT GOD'S WILL THAT ANYONE PERISH BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE. 2 Peter 3:9

    I don't know what else to say, except that there is far too much arguing about these things.  God has told us to all speak the same things, and stop disputing about WORDS to no profit.

    The Bible is written to born again believers, so it applies only to the body of Christ.  God would love that to be EVERYONE but obviously, it's not and won't be either because there are so many naysayers.

    I am just thankful in my deepest heart for what Christ has done for me on the cross and that's why I have such a desire to help others to see the truth.  I am often accused by others that I am not saved because I think I have accomplished it by works, but only the Devil - the ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN would say such a thing to me - not a true believer in Christ with a loving heart and a desire to encourage his brother.  I just do what Jesus said and pray for my enemies etc (Matthew 5:44).  I KNOW in my innermost 'knower' that God is my personal loving heavenly Father and Jesus Christ saved me from my sins when I was a wicked sinner, so there's no struggle - it's a pleasure for me to obey God, and if anyone got to know Him as I do, they would never struggle again with this controversy between faith and works.  We're either saved or we're not.  Works show the outworking of our faith in the One who died for us because if anyone be IN CHRIST, he is a NEW CREATURE - old things are passed away and behold all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

    The solid foundation of God stands, having this seal - the Lord knows those who are His and so let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity (2 Timothy 2:19)

  • 2 months ago

    The biblical balance is NOT "faith plus works", but "faith and works" - which go together like the two blades joined to make scissors. Or, like the two parallel tracks for a railway line. In both instances, one will not serve the purpose. Both are complementary and if a person has SAVING faith in Christ alone, they WILL do the good works God foreordained that they would do after being saved, for His glory.

    That's why the belief of the demons won't save them. They know there is only one God - and shudder. It's not enough to 'just' believe. That belief has to become faith that saves. And faith that saves causes a person to get down on their knees before God, repentantly expressing trust only in Jesus, and not in anything they have done or could do, to be saved. Once a person is saved by the grace of God, then the Holy Spirit continues to lead them the rest of their lives on Earth, to become more Christ-like and people will see that they do, indeed, do good works. But that Christian cannot boast or trust in those good works! None of that will contribute to their salvation.

    Only after God has justified a repentant sinner do they become a Christian, and then live to speak, and show forth, the loveliness of their Saviour, Jesus Christ. That's the biblical balance with faith AND works - it's never faith PLUS works! Never that!

  • 2 months ago

    Every man has an interpretation of "faith plus works" and "trusting in His finished work on the cross."  What is yours?

    Before one can answer the question, they'd have to know 

    What is your interpretation of James and how do you believe those verses are being used out of context?

    We must be on the same page before one can answer

    If one doesn't trust in the cross, how can they call themselves saved?

    Besides, we don't know your definition of "saved"

    Most today's Christians believe because they were water baptized and read the Bible following what Jesus said when He walked the face of the earth they are saved as they throw a little misinterpretation of the Epistles stealing grace since the Epistles don't apply to "DEAD spirits" (Romans 5:12-14; I Corinthians 15:21-22) until "they all have been baptized into One Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13).  Therefore MOST today's Christians are still DEAD spirits and are living the biggest lie ever.

    To give an answer without knowing what you believe,

    First must one have "the faith" of God that is "AFTERWARDS REVEALED" (Galatians 3:23) as a "Spiritual gift" received (I Corinthians 12:9) (((AFTER))) Holy Spirit baptism (I Corinthians 12:13) before they can ever have "faith plus works" or "trust in the finished works of the cross."

    Seeing we are born "DEAD spirits" 

    "Even so [your] faith, if it hath not [God's] works, is DEAD being alone" (James 2:17) that comes from a "DEAD spirit"

    "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath [his] faith, and have not [God's] works?  can [his] faith save him?" (James 2:14) being "DEAD?"

    "Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2) but He won't authorize anything to a "DEAD spirit" not until one is "QUICKENED" (I Corinthians 15:45) "back to life" (Ephesians 2:1) by His "POWER that comes upon us" (Acts 1:8) with Holy Spirit baptism (Acts 1:5) and is resurrected from their "DEAD spirit."

    "Without [the Spiritual gift of] faith, It is impossible to please GOD" (Hebrews 11:16).

    Consequently "our good works" are motivated by GOD as "Jesus gives commandments through the Holy Ghost to those He's chosen" (Acts 1:2) "putting His law in our hearts and minds" (Jeremiah 31:33-34; Hebrews 8:10-12; 10:16-17)!

    You see how God commanded Abraham to GO "sacrifice your son" and Abraham (((DID GOOD WORKS))) that were MOTIVATED BY GOD when GOD commanded Abraham to "GO"

    It is [God's] faith (((PLUS))) [God's motivated] works "Working in us" (Philippians 2:13) that saves us.

    (((EVERYTHING))) comes from GOD (Romans 11:36)!

    God's grace is only to those who don't "willfully sin" (Hebrews 10:26-27).

    "What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? GOD FORBID!  How shall we, that are dead to sin [Holy Spirit baptized] live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1-2).

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    You either ignore or reject outright Gods word.

    James 2:21-26 — Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Probably the most pointed story about works on Judgment Day, (Matthew 25:31-46) where Jesus separates the sheep from the goats, the only questions that Jesus asks the multitude concern works:


    1. Did you feed the hungry?

    2. Did you clothe the naked?

    3. Did you give a drink to the thirsty, etc.


    If they answered “no” to these works in Matthew 25, then Jesus said that they were going to hell.

    Just as it's not enough to tell your wife that you love her, and never do anything for her, it's also true of your faith relationship with Jesus. If believing in Jesus is only lip service then we will not make it

    Works do not save us, works from faith is what can

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