The following is a comment post relevant to my early post entitled, "PART 1: TO DEBATE TO GET AT AND TO SHOW TRUTH IS CHRISTIAN."

You may read the whole threaded discussion at [deleted] to place it all within context.

Hello Brother Chris,

Are you saying that I'm substituting God's grace with faith in Jesus? (No harsh tone in that question or anything else in this comment or any of my others on this post) Please clarify. Your wording, "substituted Jesus Christ as your means of salvation for faith" may be clear to other readers, but I do not understand what you are trying to say — Substitute what with what?

You wrote, "...being saved by faith does just that! That is, it substitutes Jesus Christ as the means of salvation for itself." There are two things that would help me here in trying to make sure that I know exactly what you intend. Firstly, when you write that I'm substituting "Jesus Christ as your means of salvation for faith," I'm unclear as to whether or not you intend the reverse. Which am I to hold with in terms of the means to salvation in your view: Jesus Christ or faith? Which is wrong? What becomes the idol to which you refer above, Jesus or faith or what?

I'm not following you at all. I'm drawing a complete blank here. That sort of thing (more that I find Paul confused) happens regularly to a degree with Paul's writings for me but never with Jesus's statements. I have to tell you also that I have never learned one positive thing from Paul's writings that I didn't already know from the Gospels. Also, I have seen clearly things in Paul's writings that do not jibe with Jesus's sayings. I am not alone in this.

Before this upsets you, please bear in mind that Paul rebuked Peter. Paul did not hold Peter to be infallible. I have never come to that conclusion (fallibility) concerning Jesus's expressions. I have not found an error in anything Jesus said or did. I don't hold Paul to have been infallible, just as he embarrassed Peter in his, Paul's, own letter rather than keeping it private between them (he published it to the church, along with many other things to build up Paul in their eyes and yours– it's all there). There's a time and place for private, and there's a time and place for all things coming abroad. Right now, there are many, many wrong secrets and barriers (lies for sake of greed, violence, and other forms of depravity).

For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. (Mark 4:22 KJVR) Yes?

I know you hold that all the Epistles attributed to Paul are canonical and the inspired word of God. Remember though, you also hold with Dan in what he wrote above: "I've often told folk that if our faith is so fragile that we are afraid to have it examined, then it's probably a faith that is not worth having." That is consistent with what I wrote before it: "From my perspective, I figure if my beliefs won't hold up, then I'm wrong and the Holy Spirit isn't giving me what to say." I leave out the "probably."

So, please take everything I've written here in the spirit of "convince me." I'm not closed to learning.

Secondly, rather than use pronouns here, such as "it" and "itself," will you please spell them out with nouns?

To further help clarify, what do Paul and you (or just you if you don't want to speak in Paul's defense) do with the statement that I'm saved by love through grace (which I say that I am)?

Lastly, I look forward to your answers to the direct questions I posed in my earlier comments concerning the Christian Commons.

Thanks, Brother Chris.

Tom Usher

Christian Commons


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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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    • Chris [deleted]

      When you say you are saved by faith you are inadvertently allowing your faith to become the source of salvation when it should only be regarded as a means to the source. Indeed, there is a difference!

      But before I expound more on that thought, let’s look at it from another angle. Let’s look at it from the perspective of you believing that you are saved by love, just as you had mentioned within your comment.

      You can’t be both saved by love and by faith at the same time and in the same sense as this violates the law of non-contradiction. You see, there can only be one source for salvation. Therefore, it must be one or the other, either faith or love. For if you are saved by love and by faith then that suggests that it is both your faith and God who saves you. After all, the Bible says, “God is love.” (1Jn. 4:8)

      But it doesn’t follow to say that you can be saved by both love and faith for the simple fact that if it weren’t for love faith wouldn’t even be an option for you. Tom, keep in mind here that the Bible says, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17) So in essence, faith comes from God; and since God is love, it is safe to say that faith comes from love. Hence, love is greater than faith and can not therefore be equal to it because faith owes its existence to love.

      Therefore, what all of this comes down to is that if you believe that you are saved by faith and by love, then you are inadvertently placing your faith on a level of equality with love as the source of salvation. But again, this isn’t possible as faith wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for love. So faith and love are not equal and can not therefore save you equally. Only one can save you; and that is obviously love!

      So it makes perfect sense then to use ‘through’ rather than ‘by’ when referring to faith within the context of salvation. And I am quite sure that that is why Paul was careful to word it thusly in Ephesians 2:8.

      But what’s even worse than saying you are saved by love and by faith is to say that you are saved by faith. For when you say you are saved by faith you are allowing faith to become the source of salvation rather than simply seeing it as a means to the source which saves you: that is, God.

      And if you really want to get technical about it, since James said, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20), to say that you are saved by faith is to essentially suggest that you are saved by works!

      I hope you are beginning to see the problem with this now…
      Listen, the bottom line is this: whether you like what Paul said or not, Paul was logically correct in wording it as he did in Ephesians 2:8, as you and I are saved by grace. Period. Thus God gets all the Glory!

      But when you say you are saved by faith you give yourself the glory for believing in God when in fact you wouldn’t know that God existed if it weren’t for Him telling you so! So the only correct option that you have is to say that you are saved by grace through faith as that gives God the glory that He deserves.

      Now keep in mind here that I am not saying that you are intentionally substituting God’s grace as the source of salvation with faith, as in saying that you are knowingly allowing your faith to take precedence over God’s grace in this way. I am just simply telling you that when you take the idea that you are saved by faith to its logical conclusion that is what happens: that is, it then becomes the source of salvation. But that can not be true because only God can save you! Hence, He is the source of salvation! Not faith!

      In other words, the idea of being saved by faith is not consistent with reason; nor is it consistent with the Bible as it suggests that faith is the source of salvation. And that just can’t be correct because if it weren’t for God’s grace you wouldn’t even have faith to believe in grace (and now we enter into the realm of free will).

      Tom, I think I have given you quite a bit to chew on here, and will therefore refrain from addressing your other issues at this time.

      Blessings to you…
      Chris [deleted]