Archive for the 'faith and works' Category

Martin Luther (a.d. 1483-1546) was an extremist. He believed all deeds were inherently corrupt and that only by an act of God’s sovereign grace could one be saved. Thus, ultimate salvation has nothing at all to do with works, it was entirely granted on the basis of faith alone in the words of God alone. Furthermore, the faith one has is itself a gift from God bequeathed to those he has predestined for salvation. Although Luther has now been dead for 465 years, he continues to cast a long shadow. All one has to do is listen to Christian radio, watch TV preachers, or peruse the local Christian bookstore to find virtual unanimous agreement on this issue (unless one happens to tune in to a Catholic program). It seems that non-Catholics universally condemn “works righteousness” and “salvation by works” as if the worst action would be to actually do something other than merely believe. Somehow, faith is good and works are bad. Those who strive to be holy are misguided while those who humbly confess they are incapable of doing good are virtuous. For some reason, I never see the bumper sticker “striving to obey God”, but frequently see the one that says “not perfect, only forgiven.”