Christianity is the Only World Religion that Does Not Require Works for Eternal Salvation…Not!

What is dead faith? (James 2:14-26)

Christian blog author:

As far as I know, Christianity is the only world view that does not base one’s eternal destiny on a system that weighs an individual’s good actions versus their bad actions. That is an important and profound distinctive of Christian doctrine.

Gary:  

“As far as I know, Christianity is the only world view that does not base one’s eternal destiny on a system that weighs an individual’s good actions versus their bad actions. That is an important and profound distinctive of Christian doctrine.”

This belief may be distinctive of CALVINIST Christianity, but the majority of the world’s Christians believes that ones actions very much play a role in one’s eternal destiny. Not even Martin Luther believed in “once saved, always saved”. Quotes by numerous Early Church Fathers strongly indicate that although faith and belief in Jesus as the Christ was a necessary prerequisite to eternal salvation good deeds were absolutely necessary to KEEP that salvation. Calvinist Protestants love to read the Epistle of Romans but how often do you hear a sermon in a calvinistic church from the Epistle of James?

“Faith without works is dead.”

Calvinists can twist themselves into pretzels to claim that once one believes he has a Get-Into-Heaven-Free Card, but according to the author of James, no one gets into heaven by faith alone.

Christianity is therefore NOT unique among the world’s religions.

 

 

 

End of post.

15 thoughts on “Christianity is the Only World Religion that Does Not Require Works for Eternal Salvation…Not!

  1. re: “As far as I know, Christianity is the only world view that does not base one’s eternal destiny on a system that weighs an individual’s good actions versus their bad actions.”

    Gary – are you trying to comment on what was really said by this commentator, or, on just what you think he said?

    “Salvation” is a GIFT of God. There is not one thing any person can do to “earn” that gift. It is freely given, because of what Jesus accomplished in his death and resurrection.

    HOWEVER – if one says they have “faith” to believe they have received this gift, then that “faith” cannot be merely of the “wishful thinking” variety. It is a faith that should be evidenced by a life of repentance and actions. Otherwise, it is just “wishful thinking”.

    But make no mistake about it: If “salvation” is a GIFT (as is made clear in the NT), then there is nothing anyone can do to “earn” it. And, in this respect, what the commentator said is correct: “Christianity is the only world view that does not base one’s eternal destiny on a system that weighs an individual’s good actions versus their bad actions.”

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    1. Actually, Paul’s view of attaining righteousness (and eternal life) was very different from that of Jesus of Nazareth:

      “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter,[c] not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks[d] one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

      –Jesus of Nazareth, Gospel of Matthew

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The fact that the teaching of Jesus in the gospels, compared with the Christianity derived from Paul, are so different tells me one of two things:
        1. The gospels are not accurate reflections of the teaching of Jesus
        2. Paul was a false prophet.

        Either way, it doesn’t bode well for Christianity.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Herald/Gary,

          You both make excellent, highly plausible points when someone equitably curious wishes to fully understand the entire historical context of Yeshua bar Yosef’s life, education, teaching, and reforms firmly entrenched within Second Temple Sectarianism Judaism/Messianism. When Yeshua/Jesus is properly placed inside his Torah-loving Jewishness, not the Hellenistic Apotheosis the Gentile Church Fathers put him in, THEN the real, authentic, historical Rabbi Jesus/Yeshua appears. Much/Most of the later ambiguity of the Gospels and Epistles drops away as insignificant. 🙂

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  2. Christianity is therefore NOT unique among the world’s religions.

    You are spot-on precise and correct Gary! No matter how fancy or glitzy their Whack-a-Mole smoke-n-mirrors games and magic tricks are with their own 4th-century CE Canonical Scriptures, their own Bible, God, Christ, disciples/Apostles, and followed by the earliest anointed “Church Fathers” contradict themselves repeatedly, e.g. James 2:14-26; Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 5:16; Titus 1:16; Galatians 5:25; Colossians 3:23-24; and Matthew 16:27 to name only seven passages.

    If Christians would truly and equitably study their own Greco-Roman canonical Bibles (vs. the Jewish contexts & meanings) exhaustively regarding Faith or Works or both, they’d clearly recognize the rampant contradictions and ambiguities over the 300-400 years their New Testament was compiled by Greco-Roman men.

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  3. Again,not sure how much you engaged with your doctrines.

    The New Testament teaches again and again that good works are expressions of the faith that has saved us. If no good works manifest, like fruit on a tree, then the question of whether you were saved at all is a big question.

    Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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    1. It depends on which part of the New Testament one reads, Liam. What Calvinist Christians like yourself want to believe is that Jesus taught that good works are EVIDENCE of true faith. That is not what Jesus taught (see the quote from Matthew above) nor what the author of the Epistle of James believed. In the theology of Jesus and “James”, faith AND good works were both required to attain eternal salvation:

      “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is [c]dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made [d]perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was [e]accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

      25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” -Epistle of James, chapter 2

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Read this passage from the Muslim Koran about how one attains righteousness in Islam. To me it doesn’t sound much different from what Jesus (allegedly said) in the Gospel of Matthew above about how one attains eternal life.

    “Righteousness is not that you turn your faces to the east and the west [in prayer]. But righteous is the one who believes in God, the Last Day, the Angels, the Scripture and the Prophets; who gives his wealth in spite of love for it to kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the wayfarer, to those who ask and to set slaves free. And (righteous are) those who pray, pay alms, honor their agreements, and are patient in (times of) poverty, ailment and during conflict. Such are the people of truth. And they are the God-Fearing.”

    — Quran Surah 2: Verse 177

    Gary: So in Islam, belief (faith) and good works are necessary to attain righteousness. Historic Christianity teaches the exact same principle! Christianity is NOT unique among world religions!

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    1. And Yeshua/Jesus CERTAINLY had very close ties/relations with Syrio-Palestinian-Nabatean Arabian sects/Diaspora. He spoke Semitic Aramaic along with his native Hebrew, then also basic Greek. But Yeshua/Jesus had by no means any Greco-Roman in his beliefs and practices as portrayed in the Gospels written 4 – 7.5 decades later! The Dead Sea Scrolls give us ample evidence of what Homeland Judaism existed during this time-period.

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  5. “As far as I know, Christianity is the only world view that does not base one’s eternal destiny on a system that weighs an individual’s good actions versus their bad actions. That is an important and profound distinctive of Christian doctrine.”

    Whether a doctrine is distinctive doesn’t say anything about whether that doctrine is true, or even whether it is beneficial. I keep hearing christians try to explain how their religion is “unique” because of reasons a, b, and c, but every religion could show that they are also “unique” in some way or other. That doesn’t give me a reason to follow them.

    Plus, this christian is bragging that their religion doesn’t condemn bad actions? That’s a strong reason to avoid it right there, because it ensures that their churches will be full of self-righteous assholes who don’t care about being good people because they don’t have to.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Matthew 25.31-46 (the famous separating sheep from goats passage) has Jesus teach that those who will ‘inherit eternal life’ are those who have made themselves righteous by feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, clothing the naked etc. Those who don’t do these things will go to eternal punishment. No mention here of a magic salvation formula a la Paul; Matthew’s Jesus preaches an unequivocal salvation-through-works. It’s nonsense of course: good works no more lead to eternal life than magical incantations or anything else.

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