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Baptists believe that faith alone is what establishes your salvation. How do they resolve:

Titus 1:16

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

While I understand that they don't directly recommend doing abominable, disobedient and reprobating good work - it also doesn't mention that you could lose salvation which this passage implies.

What are the doctorinal lessons towards this passage?

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Evangelical is not a denomination. –  Flimzy Apr 2 at 20:06
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@yes,that's why I VTCed. The question is far too broad. The evangelical view on this question has countless answers. It needs to be narrowed drastically. –  Flimzy Apr 2 at 22:30
    
I disagree that it is too broad as I am specifically asking about the evangelical segment of the Protestant denomination which believes in salvation by faith alone. But we will let the community decide. –  The Freemason Apr 2 at 22:35
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1) Protestant is not a denomination, either. 2) The evangelical segment of Protestantism is far too broad to answer this question. You need to be more specific. You might as well ask about all of Christianity. –  Flimzy Apr 2 at 22:36
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Baptist is far from the majority of Protestants, but it is a much more narrow scope, yes. –  Flimzy Apr 2 at 23:08

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The Transformation of Salvation

It is important to note that, according to the Bible, the following things occur at the moment of salvation by faith alone:

  • We, who were once dead, are **made alive in Christ -

    "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our* transgressions" Colossians 2:13 NASB*

  • We, who were once in the dominion of darkness, are brought into the kingdom of Jesus:

    "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13-14 NASB

  • We, who were once alienated from God, hostile to God (or enemies of God) have now become the children of God by virtue of a new birth:

    "And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds" Colossians 1:21 NASB

    "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12-13 NASB

  • We, who were one sinful, are now a holy nation, made righteous and renewed in our spirits.

    "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 NASB

    *"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified [declared righteous] as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 NASB

    "Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old [h]self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being [i]renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. Colossians 3:9-10 NASB

The Impact of the Transformation

So, at the moment of salvation, a very significant transformation has occurred. We are changed at the very core of our beings so that our desires have changed and our spirits are now alive. Indeed, we have the Holy Spirit Himself indwelling us.

*> "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who

is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" 1 Corinthians 6:19 NASB*

What this results in is a drastic change in desires. Someone who has truly put their faith in Christ should have new desires, and their salvation should naturally result in a change in their actions.

So, you should see the impact of their faith in the works that they do, but it is not a salvation by works. Put another way, we believe that salvation is by faith alone, but a genuine faith will inevitably result in a change in actions and behavior. If you observe no change in desires or actions, then it is cause to doubt the genuineness of the faith.

1 Timothy 1:16

From an evangelical perspective, the verse you cited is not speaking about those who truly believe in Christ, but whose actions have failed to change. Rather, it is speaking of those whose faith is not genuine and whose actions reveal this to be true. Jesus Himself indicated that "by their fruits you will know them" in Matthew 7:16.

Conclusion

So, if you observe someone professing faith in Christ who is doing abominable things without shame or repentance, we should not conclude that this is someone who has truly put his or her faith in Christ, been brought out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, made a new creation, forgiven, cleansed, made righteous, made alive and indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, but who is failing to reflect in any way the life of a Christian. Rather we should conclude that no change has really taken place and, as a result, no true faith has been exercised.

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While most "Evangelical" denominations would give the answer in your last paragraph, there are indeed some (particularly among Baptists) that teach a version of Once Saved Always Saved that says these people are saved and can basically do anything and will never lose their salvation, only lose rewards. –  david brainerd Apr 2 at 21:31
    
@davidbrainerd I agree that they can do anything they want, but my position is that a true believer will have different "wants". Thus, their fruit will reveal whether or not they are truly following Christ. –  Narnian Apr 3 at 12:05
    
An undue emphasis on faith alone that makes it sound like faith can ever actually be alone, however, has a tendency to produce those who are not truly following Christ but just looking for a quick fix, which I think was the point of the OP. –  david brainerd Apr 8 at 3:17

Everyone who wants to believe they can work their way into God's grace always ends up quoting Scripture from the book of James without any context. Religious cults operate this way as well, in order to make their followers believe that they need to conform to a solid program of 'biblical' works - which ALWAYS fosters an attitude of division and elitism - rather than love, acceptance, or a strong conviction against judging ones neighbors.

So when you ask the REAL question of where God weighs in on this issue, remember that Jesus gave us only TWO commands:

1) Love God

2) Love your Neighbor

There is no third command about works, nor is it 'implied' in the previous two. Love is NOT a work - it is a heart condition ;) No matter how many bouquets of flowers I get my wife, it will not make a lick of difference in 'proving' my love for her. If that were the case, the FTD guys would be model citizens of the kingdom - regardless of their faith.

Paul wrote his letters to the churches in Ephesus, Corinth, and Galatia all to straighten them out on this very issue - chastising each of them in turn for believing in the power of works. None of them understood the fact that our works are NOTHING in the sight of God but filthy rags we hold up to say, "See how holy I am?"

I am not saying works are pointless - it is obvious that good trees bear good fruit, but blackberry bushes are full of thorns. So if you are a blackberry bush to your neighbor, and you leave him cut and bleeding while you obsess over your deliciously plump works, you might want to think about their REAL value in light of true faith and what the word 'grace' actually means. Is it not apparent that the word 'grace' tends to be mentioned throughout the entire New Testament in a generally positive light, while 'works', and 'the law' and 'bondage' and 'burdens' are generally mentioned in a negative light?

Stop ignoring the overwhelming majority of evidence in favor of cherry-picking individual Scriptures out of the book of James to suit your own point of view. Instead, read whole books - or at least whole chapters - and try to understand a more COMPLETE context of what is being said. Look at Galatians if you have a short attention span, or are continually pressed for time - as too many of us often are. At least there you have the issue discussed in context, and in condensed form across only two chapters - two and three.

After you read that much, distill what Paul is saying down into two or three main points, and try to abstain from reading into select single Scriptures to discern some 'hidden meaning' that does not follow along with the main flow of what he is talking about. No human being writes in bullet-proof text that is completely free of stray wording that could fall prey to misinterpretation when taken out of context of their main point.

This is where 'evangelicals' so desperately try to reason with denominations, only to run up against the brick walls of denominational doctrine, which INHERENTLY subscribe to their own doctrine first, while placing the Word of God second. If you don't believe that, try forming a Methodist church which does not adhere to "The Articles of Religion" or "The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline".

Did Christ really come into this world to die and rise again from the dead so that we would not get tattoos? That's how ridiculous this whole 'faith vs works' debate becomes when you unwind it from all of our sophisticated Christianity-speak.

Stop making it complicated, and start reading your Bible - in context. Stop using it as a book of clever quotes to support your own personal point of view. Scripture should dictate your beliefs - not the other way around.

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I find your answer assertive and argumentative. It appears as though you're standing on a soap box. Your answer is more about how works alone cannot help someone obtain salvation, where as, that is not the question being asked. Great research (unfortunately unquoted) and very passionate. I enjoyed the read. –  The Freemason Apr 8 at 18:18

If you stop sinning and believe in Jesus, you will be saved. There is that only way. If you keep sinning, the death is the punishment. Jesus said everything that one needs to understand, he said to keep the law, and that anybody who would change the law will be taken apart from the Kingdom of God. He also said that if you are angry at your neighbour, it's as you actually sinned. Jesus pointed out love. And love knows no sin, love hates sin and stays away from the sin. You shall not commit adultery in any meaning:

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

That are not jokes. If you are serious about your eternal life, you must understand, that if you dont listen to every Jesus word as it is written then there is no salvation for you.

And if you keep lying to yourself, it will not change anything. The distinction between when Jesus was talking directly and in metaphores is clear.

If you don't keep sabath - you are condemned, if you eat pigs, you are a sinner, disgusting sinner. If you play games, where you kill, or being killed, you're a sinner. If you lust against a woman, you are committing fornication - you are condemned.

If you are not willing to give away what's your's - you have no part in salvation. If you pay evil for evil and you dont love your enemies - you are not worthy If you don't take the cross of Jesus, you are not worthy. Because you can't serve two lords.

Jesus didn't changed the law, he fullfilled it. The daily sacrifices, which were done daily at the Temple in Jerusalem, and the blood which was for the redemption of Israel has been all ended and replaced by Jesus, and his own sacrifice on the cross, and his own blood. And now, he is the priest in the Holiest of Holy.

Now God is praised in hearts of those who believe him and left their sins.

You must love God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength, and love your neighbour as yourself, else there is no hope for you.

That are the works of love, and truth, which are fruits of faith.

That's who Jesus is - he is the truth, the way and the life. And there is no other way to God instead of by Himself. You must understand this words and believe, so the truth will set you free, as for now you are slave - slave to the sin, which has power over you.

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Your answer is artful and passionate, however it doesn't exactly answer how Baptists who believe in salvation by faith alone explain that specific passage. Your answer does the exact opposite, which is to explain why faith and works are needed for salvation. –  The Freemason Apr 4 at 20:56

James 1;22

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

James 2;19,20,21,22,23,26

a. 19 Thou believest that there is one God, thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble.

b. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

c. 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the alter?

d. 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

e. 23 And the scripture was ful-filled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

f. 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Salvation is conditional!

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How do you mean salvation is conditional exsactly? Because you did not sight salvation scriptures and also in relation to at least John 3. –  rob Apr 3 at 4:24
    
Matthew 22;39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. –  V. Rollins Apr 3 at 4:43
    
Was that suppose to answer my question? –  rob Apr 3 at 7:10
    
Matther 22;39 is one half of the great commandment Jesus gave the disciples. It is incomplete, as is Titus 1;16 A careful examination of Titus 1 should reveal your answer. –  V. Rollins Apr 3 at 20:36
    
Our faith has to be manifested in action; submission of our will, turn from our ways, and follow the examples of Jesus. Not only hearers and thinkers, but doers. –  V. Rollins Apr 7 at 17:17

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