KomradRed wrote:I disagree with mitch over works, faith, and how exactly we achieve salvation. Mitch comes from the Protestant camp of Christianity and adheres to Justification by Faith, or Sola Fide. He believes that we are saved by our faith in God and His sacrifice alone. X number of good works will not save you, however, he also believes Faith without works is essentially dead. I come from the Catholic tradition which believes that justification is through both faith and works. A man will be measured up to his works, to show who among us is truly righteous and faithful. Ultimately I reject Mitch's interpretation because if Peasant Bob in 4th century India had never heard of Christianity, he would not be able to be saved by an act of faith, and according to several sects, would be doomed to hellfire and such, although I am pretty sure Mitch does not believe anything like that. As I stated previously, I believe all human beings can achieve salvation through altruistic actions/works. After all, a good work done for selfish or evil reasons isn't necessarily a good work.
I do not believe that we are saved by our faith in God. That is incorrect. We are saved by the work of God. Period. I hold that "saved through faith" does not mean this at all. We are not saved by anything we do whether it is an act of faith or anything else. "Saved through faith", as I understand it, instead basically means that knowledge of our salvation can only be by an act of faith and that a choice we make plays the determining role of whether we are saved or not. The choice to accept salvation however does not save us. We can make this choice only because God enables us. We must make this choice because God demands it (which is just another way of saying that our salvation demands it). But all this choice does is decide whether we will go our own way or submit to continued work of God for our salvation. From this it should also be obvious that I also do not believe as KomradRed claims that we are saved by Jesus' sacrifice alone. I don't believe in magic and I certainly don't believe in any magical power of human sacrifice. Salvation is about a very real transformation of human character, values and awareness, so it in the impact that the cross has on these things that its efficacy is found and not in any kind of payment or magical power.
So KomradRed's impression that I do not conclude that Peasant Bob is doomed to hellfire by the lack of knowledge of Christianity is 100% correct. In this complete rejection of the Gnostic idea of salvation by some special belief or knowledge, KomradRed and I are in complete agreement.
Anyway here is a previous statement of my position on this subject quoted from a previous thread.
mitchellmckain wrote:Salvation is by the grace of God alone -- 100% a work of God. But salvation is not a ticket to heaven but a transformation of self into goodness - a realization of our true potential and so salvation is not independent of works and thoughts and beliefs. We are not saved by works but we are saved to works. And no there is no condition on this that God only works for your salvation if you are a Christian or if you believe in Him.
Salvation is through faith. This is not a contradiction because this is not about what accomplishes our salvation, but about the process by which God accomplishes it. But no, faith is not some sort of magical power or belief that God bestows upon us so that by this power or belief we can save ourselves! First and foremost this salvation through faith stuff means that God is not operating on an inanimate object with will and choice that either doesn't exist or doesn't matter, so part of the process of salvation is that however much God may have to work to liberate our free will so that we can do so, God requires us to make a choice. Either we can go the way of our own desire, OR understanding that God's desire for us is so much better, to choose that instead. This is NOT a surrender of our free will but an excercise our free will to choose the direction in which God would lead, and the fact of the matter is that the direction that God would lead us is to the increase of our free will. Life does not suddenly become simpler for the person that follows God's lead, because it is not about God telling him what to do all the time. It becomes more complicated because God makes him aware of choices he would never have imagined otherwise.
But there is a second part to the salvation through faith business. And that is in answer to the quesion in the General Discussion section, how do we know? The answer is through faith. We make a choice and we put our trust in God and that really is all there is to it. So do I "know that I know that I am saved"? Give me a break! You can keep such invitations to self brainwashing. How can it be salvation through faith to buy into this promise that I never need have faith again because "I know". Just like love, this is well within the realm where belief creates reality. If we don't believe in it then it cannot be, for there comes a point where you have to understand that life is not just about objective observation but also about subjective participation.
For completion sake, the rest of the solas were discussed later in the same thread that this was taken from. I also answered questions about what is quoted above in the same thread.