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We have been warned that in the end days .... legalism vs salvation by faith will be the main division in our church. And we see it prevalent now. There is much division on this subject in our churches. But we must be tolerant and love those steeped in legalism. We must love even those with wrong theology.

 

Our prophet puts it so well. I just love the way she expressed it in this quote:

 

"All legalism, all the sorrow and woe by which you may encompass yourself, will not give you one moment of relief. You cannot rightly estimate sin. You must accept God's estimate, and it is heavy indeed. If you bore the guilt of your sin, it would crush you; but the sinless One has taken your place, and, though, undeserving, he has borne your guilt. By accepting the provision God has made, you may stand free before God in the merit and virtue of your Substitute." Ellen White ST 4-9-1894

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Praise God. He will continue to guide us each step of the way.
Thank you for your contribution.
MsMS

We agree, however, I would like to enlarge on a misquote that you quoted. Oh, you quoted it in the way that it is shared, it is those who use it who misquote what the Bible says.

That is this:

"faith without works is dead"!

That comes from this passage in James.

"Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?" James 2:20 (ESV)

The idea is that faith that does not work is a dead faith. Any faith that does not have works associated with it is a dead faith.

I am reminded of a story, yes, another story. G

We had purchased a brand new 3/4 ton pickup to move back to the Seminary in MIchigan, from Oregon, a trip of about 3,000 miles. This was over several mountain ranges and across a desert. We were moving everything we had so, we were pulling a 20' van trailer and it was loaded to its maximum and then some. But, we made it OK, even if just barely. G

Well, one day, some months later, my wife called me from the hospital where she worked. She was driving back and forth with the pickup, because is was closer then the distance to the Seminary and it was our newest vehicle. Also, I had started a used car lot to make some extra money on the side while in school, which left me with a rotating selection of cars to drive.

This morning she called to tell me that the "transmission had gone out." Being a mechanic and having driven it not too long before, I had not noticed any distress signals from the transmission. So, I questioned her diagnosis. "Well," she replied,"it is sitting out in the middle of the parking lot and won't run!" So, I told her not to worry, I'd take care of it.

When I got there, indeed it was sitting in the middle of the parking lot. I started it and indeed it would not move, BUT, the transmission was fine. It was the differential that had failed. It has a 1 year, 12,000 mile warrantee on it and when I looked at the odometer, we had driven 11,999.4 miles. So, I called the dealer and told them to "come and get it." (It turned out that someone at the factory had failed to put any lubricant in it. It was only a miracle that it made it across the USA without any oil in the differential. Another miracle of God.)

This is like "faith without works." The engine and transmission were fine. However, the power was not getting to the rear wheels, where the power meets the road. There was one worn bearing and the entire truck was "dead" sitting in the middle of the parking lot. So too, we may claim all of the faith in the universe, but, unless that faith is driving our works, and we all work, (some more then others G), unless that faith is controling our works, it is dead. And we will be dead too.

So, it is a faith that works that we need. A faith that does not work, is what is dead.

While on the subject, allow me to share something else that will be valuable in this area. Paul says:

"For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law." Romans 3:28 (ESV)

Here is the same verse in another translation.
 "therefore do we reckon a man to be declared righteous by faith, apart from works of law." Romans 3:28 BBE

And yet another:
"therefore do we reckon a man to be declared righteous by faith, apart from works of law.." Romans 3:28 YLT

Notice that the last two translations do not have the article "the" before the word "law." So, why is this important? Consider this.

A lawyer practices "law."

What kind of law? That is not revealed in the above statment. It can mean two things.
1. He practices a certain discipline of law, such as legal law, marriage law, criminal law, etc. OR it can mean:
2. He keeps the law.

So too in the writtings of Paul. Many times, not all, the context determines that, when he does not include the article, he is not refering to any given code, or statute, but to legalism, or the attempt to make oneself good in their own strenght by keeping the law, i.e. an Old Covenant arrangement.

What creates a problem is that it is not always good grammar to leave the article out, so the translators added that word, as in the above translation from the ESV. In some translations it will be in italiacs, but not all. When a word is in italiacs, it means that the translators supplied the word for readability.

So, in the above passage, Paul is actually saying:

"therefore do we reckon a man to be declared righteous by faith, apart from works of law.."

Or, we do not consider a man to be rightous, if the promises God has made to the New Coveant Christian are not being seen working in their life.

Example. If a man claims to be a Christian and they hate the seventh-day Sabbath. This hatred of the Sabbath of the Lord shows that they are not really a Christain. See Exodus 31:13 and Ezekiel 20:12, 20.

Or, if a person practices or teaches any of the other things that God has forbidden and placed a death sentence on, or they fail to show agape love in their life, -

"Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:18 (ESV)

"And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. " 1 John 3:23 (ESV)

"Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8 (ESV)

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." 1 John 4:11 (ESV)

"If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." 1 John 4:20 (ESV)

- it shows that in fact, their claim of being a Christian is a false one. SO, we must have a faith that works, not a faith that is a claim only.

Maranatha :)
Ray
Hi pastor Ray,

Thank you for demonstrating that faith that works is the Living Faith.

By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Roman 27-31

Would you like to comment on what Law is Paul talking about?

More than two thousand years have passed since Ezra "prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it" (Ezra 7:10), yet the lapse of time has not lessened the influence of his pious example. Through the centuries the record of his life of consecration has inspired many with the determination "to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it." {PK 623.2}

In this age of the world, when Satan is seeking, through manifold agencies, to blind the eyes of men and women to the binding claims of the law of God, there is need of men who can cause many to "tremble at the commandment of our God." Ezra 10:3. There is need of true reformers, who will point transgressors to the great Lawgiver and teach them that "the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19:7. There is need of men mighty in the Scriptures, men whose every word and act exalts the statutes of Jehovah, men who seek to strengthen faith. Teachers are needed, oh, so much, who will inspire hearts with reverence and love for the Scriptures. {PK 623.4}

Can you comment on EGW, when she refer to this day and age, that there is a need of men of faith to point sinners to the Lawgiver, to the perfect Law of the Lord, to tremble at the Commandment of the Lord, the statutes of Jehovah? What is the perfect Law of the Lord and does it apply to today time?
Hi MsMS, thanks for the nice post, and seeing the balance.

By the way, God has answered my prayer, we will soon get to read someone else dreams (someone you won't be opposed to :-) ) Despise not prophesy.
McCoy

You have wadded into a deep one here. G You asked:
"By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Roman 27-31

Would you like to comment on what Law is Paul talking about?"


Actually, I answered this in another post, I forget which thread. The clue is in the little article: "the." The translators article many times have added this, in order to get it to read more easily. However, it really does not belong in some places. Let's look at an example.

If I say that a lawyer practices law.
You really do not know much from that statement. After all everyone practices law in one way or another. To know what is meant, a kind of law must be revealed. I.e. does the lawyer practice civil law, criminal law, marriage law, corporate law, etc.

Or it can also mean that they practice, i.e. keep the laws of the land. So, without more explaination, one is really in the dark.

Now in the quote you asked about, we have this same phenomena in operation. Here is the text again.

"Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. [28] For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. [29] Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, [30] since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. [31] Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law." Romans 3:27-31 (ESV)

It is noteworthy that in this selection that the article "the" is supplied in these places. To make it easier, I'll just requote the passage while crossing out the supplied articles.

"Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the a law of faith. [28] For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. [29] Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, [30] since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. [31] Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law."

Now, just what is Paul referring to by referring to "law" and not a specific "law?" Turn to Romans 7 and this will be more clear.

"Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? [2] Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage." Romans 7:1-2 (ESV)

All of these articals are in the original Greek here. So, we can concentrate on what Paul is saying. He is speaking to those who have a knoweldge or "the law" or as we would say it today, of "legal issues." In other words people who are acquainted with how legal things work.

When a couple become married, they are bound to each other by the marriage law. However, when one of them dies, the other one no longer had any obligation to that marriage law. (Not quite true today, but the idea is correct.) Becasue we are only bound by the promises to keep ourself to them alone only as long as they are alive. For the promise only extends "until death do us part."

Now, lets follow on with Paul's line of thinking.

"Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God." Romans 7:4 (ESV)

Now we can legitimatly ask: "Which law?" It is the ONLY law that can apply, i.e. the Ten Commandments.

As I have explained before, when God offered to Israel, to enter into the New Covenant, they substituted another covenant, which we call the Old Covenant today. They made a promise that all that the Lord had said, they would do, See Exodus 19:8.

In response to this claim, God pointed out what they had to do, if they were to do all that they had claimed that they would do. In essence, they passed a national law that they would do all that God had said. However, see Deuteronomy 5, they were not able to fulfill that promise, that law they had imposed on themselves to do all that God had said He would do.

So, Paul is saying that when Jesus came, He released them from that promise that had become a law to them. They no longer were under the legalistic requirment, but under the New Covenant, where God would do for them what they could not do for themselves. This now is the law of love.

Now, which is most binding?
What a law says that you have to do whether you want to or not?
OR
A "law"/promise that you make to someone you love deeply?

While it is true that there is no Ten Commandments for a Christian, they become Ten Promises, made between two beings who are bound by the bands of divine love. As such, those principles are even more binding then any enacted law could be.

But, this is only one point Paul is making. Let's move on.

"What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." Romans 7:7 (ESV)

The purpose of the Ten Commandments in particular, all of God's instructions, in general, inform us as to what is right and what is wrong. We would not have known right and wrong if it were not for God's instructions, i.e. torah. The name given to the entier Old Testament by the Jews.

This is not limited to just the Ten Commandments, which is why Paul does not limit it. Anything God asks or instructs us to do is just as binding as the ten principles of God's character presented in the Ten Commandments.

Obedience is obedience, no matter whether it is codified into a law or just requested of us. When the law says that I should not hold back on my income taxes, or when my wife says that I should not hold back on my love for her. Both are at least equally as binding. However, if I love my wife, that request she makes on me is even more binding then the codification of my oblication to pay my taxes.

"But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law, sin lies dead. [9] I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died." Romans 7:8-9 (ESV)

Paul goes on to reveal a problem we all have, until we come to Jesus. The attitude of rebellion,i.e. sin, that is in all of us and acts in the same way. When we are told we have to do something, then this attitude of: "I will do what I want to do and no one can tell me otherwise" raises up, and we desire all sorts of things that otherwise would not even be attractive to us.

Take two little children playing. There is a toy laying there that neither is playing with. One child picks it up and suddenly, the other child wants that toy. WHY? Not becauses they really wants the toy, but because it has been taken out of their field of options. They may not even like the toy, but they want the option to play with it or not. When someone else has it, then the option to play with it has been removed and sin raises up in their heart and now they want it.

This only applies to children from about the ages of 1 until they reach about 900 years of age. I suspect that all of us children who are reading this are within that age span. G

Paul continues by saying that when the law came along, telling me that I had to do or not do something, that this sin in my life raised up it's ugly head and demanded that the option that had been removed be returned as an option.

Going back to the two children. How often has it been that when the child who is demanding something the other one has, is given the exact same thing, that they do not want it. They want what the other person has. This is the sin problem.

Then Paul goes on with:

"I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. [16] Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. [17] So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. [18] For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out." Romans 7:15-18 (ESV)

Can you see these two children in the above? Can you see yourself in the above?

Now lets return to Romans 3:27-31. I'll requote the marked up version here for ease of following the discussion.

"Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the a law of faith. [28] For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. [29] Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, [30] since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. [31] Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law."

See, Paul is not referring to any specific law here, he is referring to the fact that any law will cause the man of sin to rise up in rebellion, this can even include human laws. For sin is best understood as "rebellion," or "the deire to do things my way."

God does not insist on our doing things His way, just because it is His way, but becasue it is the way we were desinged to work.

Take the issue of diet, as an example. God designed that the human digestive system should work in a certain manner. Some articles that people had attempted to use as food items were not ones that the human digestive system could gain benefit from, proporitonate to the effort to gain it and digest it, i.e. the unclean meats. So, these God told us we should not use. WHY? Because we are wasting our time and efforts and not getting a proportionate return. In some cases it is poisionous to the human system. In other cases, it introduces many diseases.

As for the "clean" meat, He allowed them to be use, but only if modified by the removal of the blood and fat and properly prepared. Which, I am told, makes them tastless and unappitizing. It is the blood and urine in the blood and the fat when it is fried or cooked that makes the meat tasty. So, again, God is only telling us how we were designed to operate and how we can get the best for our efforts.

The most efficient food is the original diet of fruits, grains and nuts. There can not be any imporovment on this diet. However, when humans are told that they cannot eat/have something, they rebell and want which is not good for them.

This is why the final test for everyone is: "Will we follow God's instructions, even when they make no sense to us at all?"

Hopefully this answers your question.

Maranatha :)
Ray
McCoy

You asked:
"Can you comment on EGW, when she refer to this day and age, that there is a need of men of faith to point sinners to the Lawgiver, to the perfect Law of the Lord, to tremble at the Commandment of the Lord, the statutes of Jehovah? What is the perfect Law of the Lord and does it apply to today time?"

Since you did not give a reference, I will respond to this quote, as it seems to be something like what you mentioned.

"Solemn Warnings Stir Thousands.--Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of Spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power,--all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven."--The Great Controversy, pp. 606, 607. (1888) {Ev 43.4}

As was mentioned in an earlier post, the way we prepare for the time of trouble and the Lord's returning is to share with others what we beleive. I have just prepared one such tract for my own use. I'll upload the file for consideration. Feel free to use the information is you find it valuable for distribution. My name does not need to appear.

It is men of faith, i.e. who trust that God meant what He has said about coming back, who will be willing to use their time, talents and means to spread that word. This is what EGW seems to be driving at in that statment.

Maranatha :)
Ray
Attachments:
There is alot of confusion salvation, and the relationship with works. Here is where I believe much of the confusion comes from. When the Bible talks about salvation, it unanimously speaks of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. However, when the Bible speaks of judgment, It speaks of a judgment according to works. At first glance the whole process of salvation seems to conflict. Here are some texts:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9.

"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" Romans 3:24

"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." Romans 6:14 (of course we all know what the next verse says the law is not done away with).

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."Rev 20:12

"So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." James 2:12

"When the righteous turneth from hi righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby... O ye house of isreal, I will judge you every one after his ways" Ezekiel 33 18-20.

Those are just a few verses to show my point. We are clearly saved by grace through faith in Jesus, but we are clearly judged by our works. Jesus' analogy of the fruit tree's and the vine and the branches show how these concepts are in beautiful harmony.

Matthew 7 beginning in verse 16 tells us "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do mean gather grapes of thorns, ore figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by there fruits ye shall know them. Mat 7:16-21.

Jesus here tells us that we are known to be good or evil based on our fruit (our works). But how can we have good fruit? Our righteousness is as filthy rags... we are of our own ability just thistles. But Jesus tells us the answer, John 15:4 - 5 "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

When we accept Jesus through faith and repent of our sinfulness, we become attached to the True Vine through his grace. Romans 11:16 "... and if the root be holy, so are the branches". By being connected to Him we will bring forth good fruit, and because of our fruit we are known to be attached to the True Vine. So we are judged on our works, which reveals if we were attached to the true vine.

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