Friday, December 2, 2016
How was Abraham justified?
I am having a lot of fun with these videos, keep it coming! I just came across the above, in which at 19:33 minutes into the video R.C. Sproul asks one of the panellists the leading question: “What was the basis of Abraham’s salvation? How was Abraham justified?” To this the respondent (sheepishly) replies: “By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone!” R.C. then retorts: “He is exhibit A!” And the respondent affirms: “Yea! And Paul says that. He is exhibit A!”.
Well, I have got bad news for them. That is not the right answer to that question. The real answer to that question is, It depends on whom you ask! If you ask Paul, that might appear to be the right answer; but if you ask God in the Old Testament, or James in the New Testament, you get a different answer. God’s answer to that question in the Old Testament is as follows:
15 And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
And James’ answer is as follows:
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Here we have the testimony of two against one! God and James are saying one thing, and Paul another. If I have to choose between the two, I would rather chose James and God. This of course does not mean that faith is not important, or that we do not need to have faith. Nor does it mean that we are saved “by our own works”. Nobody is saying that. But there is something fundamentally wrong with the words “faith alone”. It is not “faith alone”. It is faith followed by repentance, baptism, and keeping God’s commandments (and endure to the end). “Faith alone” is the doctrine of the devil. It is the antithesis of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It goes against the very essence of it. It negates the very words used in James 2:17. The “gospel” that the Reformed theologians teach is the gospel of damnation, not the gospel of salvation. It damns anybody who touches it with a barge pole.