Paul, Faith, Works, Obedience, Righteousness, and Salvation...by Matt1618 - Galatians - 1 Corinthians

Paul, Faith, Works, Obedience,
Righteousness, and Salvation
Galatians - 1 Corinthians

By: Matt1618


I will examine some texts that speak of faith, works, obedience, and righteousness, and look at their salvific repercussions. I do not intend to examine all the texts that speak on these issues, but enough important texts to look at the implications.

Galatians 2:16-17
Galatians 3:10-14 - A Separate and detailed study
on the meaning of works of the law

Galatians 4:3-9
Galatians 5:3-6
Galatians 5:16-24
Galatians 6:1-2
Galatians 6:5-9

1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 1:18
1 Corinthians 3:10-17
1 Corinthians 4:3-5
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
1 Corinthians 7:19
1 Corinthians 9:21-10:12
1 Corinthians 13:1-2, 13
1 Corinthians 15:1-2
1 Corinthians 15:10

Galatians 2:16-17

16 yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified. 17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we ourselves were found to be sinners, is Christ then an agent of sin? Certainly not!

The context is about how circumcision does not avail to salvation (2:8-15). Works of the law do not save. I have a detailed study on the matter of the works of the law at: Galatians 3:10-14, Faith, Works, and Works of the Law

We can not work our way to salvation, and we must be put within the system of grace before works can avail to anything. Some try to say that the phrase that one is not justified by works of the law means salvation by faith alone. However, Paul does not exclude grace empowered love or hope from salvation. In fact, later in this letter, Paul does include those factors as necessary for salvation (Gal. 5, 6). Nevertheless, the fact that in the very next verse (v. 17), Paul speaks of himself endeavoring to be justified in Christ, (other translations have one as seeking to be justified.) He puts endeavoring and searching to be justified in a future tense. Thus, Paul sees justification not as a once and for all event, but a process, right in the middle his condemnation of works of the law as a means of justification.


Galatians 4:3-9

3 So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" 7 So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir. 8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to beings that by nature are no gods; 9 but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days, and months, and seasons, and years! 11 I am afraid I have labored over you in vain.

Paul gives us the basis of our justification as sonship. The basis of our justification, is thus not a legal, forensic imputation. The Council of Trent declares on this matter. (Session 6, chapter 4:)

In which words is given a brief description of the justification of the sinner, as being a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Paul thus decrees justification as being divine sonship, reflecting Trent's words. As Trent in the next sentence refers to baptism as being the grounds of the new birth, Paul previously had referred to baptism as the means of putting on Christ (Gal. 3:28).

According to Paul, we are not merely acquitted criminals, but sons called out of the slavery of sin. Sonship makes us his children by transforming us into his image, as the Council of Trent elsewhere declares. We are sons of the Father and no longer slaves of sin. That is what justification does.

Paulís analysis of our sonship is reminiscent of his analysis of Romans 8:1-17. Galatians 4 has similarities to Romans 8:1-17 which include:

1) Our sonship is dependent upon our transformation from the slavery to sin, into obedience and fidelity to God.

2) We become heirs of eternal life, but this inheritance is dependent upon our cooperation. Just as Paul warns in Romans 8 of the danger of losing oneís sonship by being enslaved to sin again (Rom. 8:10-17, and we must put to death the deeds of the flesh (v. 13),) he warns the Galatians here against going back into the sins that would deprive him of his inheritance. This is also shown in Gal. 5:16-24, as we will see below. Justification is taking a person out of slavery to sin, to a live sonship who can obey the Father.
Paul drives home the point in Galatians 4 that we can throw away our inheritance when he writes that he is afraid he labored over the sons in vein. He has already identified the Galatians as sons (v. 6-7). However, this worrrying about how his labor would be in vein obviously mean that the sons could lose their salvation. If their salvation was 100% guaranteed, there is no way that he could worry about his labor being in vein (v.11) in vein. After all, it would not be in vain, if through his efforts, they had won salvation (also see 1 Cor. 9:20-23). If the problem was only that they get less rewards in heaven, Paul could not say that he labored in vain.

3) Our sonship is dependent upon us living not by the law, per se, (Rom. 3:28, Gal. 2:16, etc.), but by his grace (which we saw in Rom. 5:21 rules in righteousness) and by his Spirit, (Rom. 8:2, Gal. 4:6). Attempting salvation by law, outside of Godís grace, will not win anybody salvation. Paul worries here in Galatians 4 for those going back to that which could never provide salvation.

The inheritance of eternal life is not something automatically granted, but is dependent upon our cooperation. Just as Paul wrote in Rom. 8:17, that believers will inherit eternal life provided we suffer with him, (and not go back into the slavery of sin (Rom. 6:16), where sin leads to eternal death (6:16, 6:22), Paul here writes that the believers in Galatia will inherit only if we do not turn back to the slavery of persistent sin (Gal. 4:8-9, 5:19-21).


Galatians 5:3-6

3 I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.

Paul again contrasts law vs. grace. The law which attempts to obligate God to salvation by man performing circumcision or any other thing puts them outside of Godís grace. The law had a written code, which included all the obligations which meant one would have to be 100% perfect. For those who attempt to gain salvation in that way, even one failing condemns them. No one can meet that standard. However, through Christ, we have an adoptive sonship. The context here is justification. Paul contrasts the law that brings condemnation to that grace through which we are justified. He does not write faith alone. He writes that it is through the Spirit that we are justified. In the next chapter he calls it Ďthe law of the Spirit' (6:2). Through the Spirit, we have the hope (not guarantee) of righteousness (Gal. 5:4). How is this played out in the context of justification and salvation, not sanctification? Not only is it faith and hope, but by what Paul writes is faith working through love. Many will relegate this part of Paulís writing in Galatians 5 and 6 to that of mere sanctification. However, the word sanctification is not used in Galatians 5 or 6. Verse 3 shows what Paulís emphasis is - justification. He continues to speak of those who are justified who go back into the works of the law, will not be justified and will fall from grace. One can fall from grace only if one is in that state of grace in the first place. Thus, here Paul shows us the very real possibility of losing oneís salvation. We must have faith, hope, and love, and continue in that in order to remain in that grace. In Gal. 5:6, Paul writes that faith must work through love in the very context of salvation. Paul is not writing that love is merely an effect, but a necessary cause. This reflects Paul's language in 1 Cor. 13:2, that one can have all the faith in the world but if it does not include love, we are nothing. This again reflects the Council of Trent's language on justification, Session 6, Chapter 7:

whence man through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives in that justification, together with the remission of sins, all these infused at the same time, namely, faith, hope and (love) charity. For faith, unless hope and (love) charity be added to it, neither unites man perfectly with Christ nor makes him a living member of His body.


Galatians 5:16-24

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

The Spirit's role in justification continues in this section of Galatians. Just as Paul in Romans 6 and 8 writes how obedience and putting to death the deeds of the flesh are necessary for salvation, which can be accomplished when done within the realm of grace, Paul shows that same necessity here in Galatians 5. The attempt to say that this is only dealing with sanctification, not justification belies the very words of Paul. As in the beginning of the chapter it speaks of justification, in verses 16-24 Paul speaks here of who will enter the kingdom of God, and who will not. Again, not merely effect, but cause.

Paul describes how those who walk in the Holy Spirit will not gratify the desires of the flesh (v. 16). He then speaks of the ongoing battle between the flesh and the Spirit (v. 17). Paul does note, however, that the law in and of itself, does not provide salvation (v. 18). One must be in the system of grace, not the system of law. However, this does not do away with the law. and also in the very next chapter Galatians 6:1-2 . In fact, a few verses later, Paul says how within the realm of grace, the law of Christ can be fulfilled. As a loving father, he will overlook lesser sins, but persistent, serious sins will bring disinheritance.


Even within the realm of grace, if one turns his back on God and practices the sins of idolatry, adultery, etc., that he disinherits himself from eternal life. Paul specifically warns those practicing these sins, as he warned before (and note that he is specifically talking to Christians), that if they practice these mortal sins, they will not go to heaven. Thus, Paul had orally warned them of the consequences of these sins beforehand. He then gives the fruit of the Spirit which will help him to crucify the deeds of the flesh (v. 24). In other words, this crucifixion of the desires of the flesh is necessary for one to inherit the kingdom of heaven. If ones falls into these mortal sins, he disinherits himself.


Galatians 6:1-2

1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Paul had mentioned in v. 18 of chapter 5 that it is not under the law, but by the Spirit that one is justified. He had mentioned as the criteria for entering either heaven or hell the activities of the people, as seen above. Nevertheless, in chapter six, Paul specifically writes here that by bearing another's burdens one fulfills the law of Christ. Thus, just as Paul mentions one can be justified by the law of the Spirit in Romans 8:2 when he fulfills the righteous requirement of the law, one fulfills the law of Christ by bearing the burden of others. Thus, when one is in Christ and living by the Spirit, this law can be fulfilled by the believer. Paul as a matter of fact in Galatians 6:2 writes one can sufficiently fulfill the law of Christ. This is only because one is in the realm of grace, when in the Spirit. Paul thus contrasts a law that can not save (Gal. 2:16, 3:10, 5:3-4) to that where is a realm of grace where God looks through the eyes of grace, where obedience is indeed salvific. The example of bearing one another's burden's is an example of 'faith working through love' (Gal. 5:6).


Galatians 6:5-9

5 For each man will have to bear his own load. 6 Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.

Paul writes that God can not be mocked (v.5). Oneís actions bring eternal consequences. Just as he warned twice (orally and prior to in writing, those in Galatians 5:19 that if one practices these sins, Christians can disinherit themselves from the kingdom of God, he warns that if people donít think that what we do can send us either to heaven or to hell, they are deceived. Thus, Paul seems to be dealing with those who think that since they are in Godís grace, they have it set in mind that they are saved no matter their fruits. Thus, those who think that the fruits of believers only will be how many rewards they get in heaven, are repudiated by Paul. Paul again reports, just as he did in Galatians 4:3-9, and 5:16-24, that if one sows to the flesh, one will reap corruption (i.e. go to hell). If one sows to the Spirit (i.e. does faith working through love, as mentioned in Gal. 5:6, 21-22), the result will be eternal life (v.8). Paul finishes this section up by mentioning that we will reap only if we do not lose heart. Thus, the condition of hope must be maintained in order to reap this. What will one reap as mentioned in v. 9? Eternal life (v. 8). It is obvious that this is conditional. This fits Trent, chapter 7, where it says:

ďFor though no one can be just except he to whom the merits of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet this takes place in that justification of the sinner, when by the merit of the most holy passion, the charity of God is poured forth by the Holy Ghost in the hearts [Rom. 5:5] of those who are justified and inheres in them; whence man through Jesus Christ, in whom he is engrafted, receives in that justification, together with the remission of sins, all these infused at the same time, namely, faith, hope and charity. For faith, unless hope and charity be added to it, neither unites man perfectly with Christ nor makes him a living member of His body. For which reason it is most truly said that faith without works is dead [Jm. 2:17,20] and of no profit, and in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by charity.[Gal. 5:6, 6:15]Ē


1 Corinthians


1 Corinthians 1:18

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Paul here writes that the wisdom of God is much better than the wisdom of man. However, when Paul mentions salvation, he shows that salvation is a process. He includes himself as one who is being saved. This confirms the Catholic view that salvation is indeed a process, not only a past event.


1 Corinthians 3:10-17

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-- 13 each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.

Here Paul shows that our works bring us to three places. First, in v. 14 we see a person with perfect works, (builds it with precious stones) who goes to heaven. His reward is heaven. Then Paul spells out a middle destiny for those whose works are imperfect. He will suffer loss, but he will still be saved. He will eventually receive his reward, but he must suffer loss. In v. 17 the works that he does will bring the result of God destroying him. For a much longer analysis of 1 Corinthians 3:10-17, to show how these verses fit the Catholic view of not only purgatory, but its view of works, mortal and venial sins, click the following: Mortal sins, venial sins, and Purgatory.


1 Corinthians 4:3-5

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.

Paul notes that he himself is not quite ready to proclaim himself destined for heaven. Paul himself testifies that he is not the one to proclaim his eternal destiny. God is. Therefore, there is some uncertainty on the matter. The context is the final judgment, as shown in v. 5. It does not mean he does not have hope, because, as we have seen, hope is central in Pauline theology. The point is, Paul himself, who certainly Ďaccepted Jesus as Lord and Saviorí, and who was quite aware of God's sovereignty, was not absolutely certain of his own destiny. Paul recognizes that he is not God, and it is God who judges him, not Paul himself. Many Evangelicals, who are rock certain that they are infallibly saved, could learn from Paul. Paul states that it is ďthe Lord who judges meĒ (thus presently), and realizes that God will be the one judge him in the future (in the last day). Justification is shown again to be a process. Thus, the judgment is dependent upon Paulís faithfulness or lack of faithfulness not only presently (v. 3-4), but in the future (v. 5).


1 Corinthians 6:9-11

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

In all of Chapter 5, previous to the quotes here, Paul laments sexual immorality happening in the Corinthian, Christian community. In the beginning of chapter six, Paul laments about lawsuits, and speaks to your shame, 6:5. After lambasting the Corinthians for these various sins, in v. 9 above, he notes the consequences for such sins. He says that they will not inherit the kingdom of God. This is put in language of inheritance, noting again the conditionality of heirship. Paul also notes that there must have been some eternal security advocates, perhaps saying, ďwell, if you have to do anything, you are adding to the work of Christ. He addresses this by saying DO NOT BE DECEIVED, NEITHER THE IMMORAL....WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. He is writing to Christians and forcefully shows them that those who practice such things that he has mentioned prior to this section will disinherit themselves.

We must also note the term washing (which is baptism, just as by baptism, Paul had his sins washed away, (Acts 22:16). At his washing, he was sanctified and justified. It is significant that at the same time he was sanctified, he was justified. The normal Protestant idea is that once one is justified, sanctification will follow,. However, here, sanctification is put in such a way that it can not be separated at all. In fact it even precedes the term justification!! Also, although there are some times which show justification to be in past tense (such as Rom. 5:1), there are also times that it is used in present and future tense. Here, sanctification is used in the past tense. Here in 1 Cor. 6:11, sanctified is used in past tense. Would we limit sanctification to only past tense, because here it is past tense? No one would reasonably argue that. Yet, just because in a few instances (such as here and Rom. 5:1), justification is used in the past tense, this past tense use of sanctification, does not mean that sanctification is only a past, one time event. The same with justification. Justification is a process, just as sanctification is. The context, where Paul declares justification to be conditional upon people walking in holiness, and refraining from the sins so mentioned.

Actually, even after these verses (vv. 9-11), Paul continues to lament upon sins that do disinherit people. He puts into flesh an example of what he meant in vv. 9-11. Paul writes of the sin of fornication (vv. 15-18). He who fornicates, sins against and destroys his own body (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit) by this sin (vv.18-19). It is important to note here that Paul is speaking here of Christians committing these sins, which disinherit them from heaven. This example of destroying the temple (which is the Christians's body a temple of the Holy Spirit) reminds us of Paul's mention of destroying the temple of the Holy Spirit (in 1 Cor. 3:10-17), which indeed shows that the section of 1 Cor. 3:10-17 is indeed dealing with the sins that Christians commit.


1 Corinthians 7:19

19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.

Keeping the commandments are possible, according to Paul. Jesus says we must keep the commandments in order to have eternal life (Mt. 19:17), and that it is possible to keep the commandments (Jn 14:15). John writes that it is a requirement to be his child (1 Jn 2:3-5, 3:6-8). Likewise, Paul writes that it is necessary to meet the righteous requirement of the law through the Spirit, (Rom. 8:2-4). Here in 1st Corinthians, Paul as a matter of factly writes that keeping the commandments of God counts for something. If he thought that through the eyes of grace no one could keep the commandments, it would not be possible for him to say that keeping the commandment could count for anything. Within the Jewish Christian community, circumcision was being preached as necessary for salvation (as Paul had emphasized in no uncertain terms as false, Gal. 2:16, cf., Acts 11, 15:2-13). Paul says that the issue of circumcision doesn't matter at all, but keeping the commandments is necessary. We earlier saw that the breaking of the commandments lead to eternal condemnation (1 Cor. 6:9, Gal. 5:19-21, etc.)

This reflects the Catholic, Council of Trent view of the necessity of keeping the commandments (Session 6, Chapter 11):
But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one should use that rash statement, once forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God does not command impossibilities, but by commanding admonishes thee to do what thou canst and to pray for what thou canst not, and aids thee that thou mayest be able.


1 Corinthians 9:21-10:12

21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law--not being without law toward God but under the law of Christ--that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; 27 but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same supernatural food 4 and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless with most of them God was not pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to dance." 8 We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

This shows Paul himself to be in a race. He warns specifically against idea of a guarantee of perseverance for all believers, including himself (9:27). He warns believers not to fall as the idolaters of the time of Moses, which serves as examples to us Christians. He again warns Christians to not fall into the idolatry which causes one to disinherit themselves. Let any one who thinks he stands (which would include all, especially Christians, and those who think a Christian is guaranteed salvation) take heed lest he fall. I have done an in-depth examination of these verses at the following url: Two Biblical Passages that Disprove Eternal Security


1 Corinthians 13:2-3, 13

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 shows that the theory of faith alone, in which only faith is the sole, exclusive and instrumental means of appropriating justification, is false. He pounds home this point when he writes that if one has all the faith in the world and if it excludes love, one is nothing. If faith alone was indeed the sole instrumental means of justification it would not be nothing, but it would bring salvation. Without love, faith is nothing. Thus, something else must be added to faith in order to appropriate salvation. Paul specifically writes that love must be added to faith, in order for this to provide anything (which would obviously include salvation). Love is the paramount gift for Christians, according to Paul. It is also interesting to note that of all the times that Paul wrote that one is justified by faith and not works of the law(Rom. 4:2, 3:28, Gal. 2:16, Eph. 2:8-9, etc.), never did Paul write that one could exclude love. Instead, when Paul mentions the need for salvific faith, it must include love Besides 1 Cor. 13, Rom. 5:1-5, Gal. 5:6).

It is also significant that in the midst of this passage we see the mention of the three greatest gifts. Love is paramount and faith is of a lesser value. If faith is of a lesser value than love, it is absolutely impossible for one to say that faith alone is the sole instrumental means of justification.

The Westminster confession of faith, will not deny, and even insists that for a true believer one will have faith, hope, and love. Nonetheless, it says faith is the exclusive instrument of justification:

II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love. Paul does not make the distinction that the Westminster confession does make.

It is significant that instead of Paul writing of faith as the alone instrment of justification, he combines the three gifts as of necessity (faith, hope, and love). This reflects the Council of Trentís analysis on justification, chapter VII.

For though no one can be just except he to whom the merits of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet this takes place in that justification of the sinner, when by the merit of the most holy passion, the charity of God is poured forth by the Holy Ghost in the hearts[38] of those who are justified and inheres in them; whence man through Jesus Christ, in whom he is engrafted, receives in that justification, together with the remission of sins, all these infused at the same time, namely, faith, hope and charity. For faith, unless hope and charity be added to it, neither unites man perfectly with Christ nor makes him a living member of His body.


1 Corinthians 15:1-2

1 Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, 2 by which you are saved, if you hold it fast--unless you believed in vain.

Here Paul emphasizes the absolute necessity of standing firm in the gospel to achieve salvation. Paul mentions that the only way one can be saved is if one holds fast to the gospel. If one does not hold fast, one would believe in vein. If he believes in vein, de facto, he will not be saved. Thus, effort is necessary for salvation. Not merely a fruit, but a cause of onesís salvation.


1 Corinthians 15:10

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me.

Many posit grace against works, and many quote Paul as saying grace is opposed to works. In fact, when Paul writes that one is saved by grace and not works, (Rom. 11:6) he is not opposing grace to grace empowered works, but grace against works done outside grace. Because of misreading Paulís attacks on works done outside God eyes of grace, Protestants will often limit good works to only the fruit of oneís salvation, never a cause. However, here Paul links grace to good works. Grace indeed is the basis of Paulís good works. In this verse, Paul says that he works hard not instead of grace, but because of grace. This reflects Paulís high linkage between grace and works and purification in the context of salvation (a few verses earlier, as we have seen, Paul spoke of the necessity of standing fast to be saved, also see Phil 2:12-16, Tit. 2:11-14). In any case, in this verse Paul says that the grace is the basis for all his works. Indeed, all of the mention of works noted by Paul in 1 Corinthians must be looked at in light of this. He writes that salvific works are only done by Godís grace.

Earlier Paul had written that in the context of salvation one must have works that lead to either damnation or salvation (1 Cor. 3:10-17, 6:9-11), keeping the commandments (1 Cor. 7:19), run the race of salvation (1 Cor. 9:21-10:12), have love (1 Cor. 13), and hold fast to the gospel in order to achieve salvation (1 Cor. 15:2). With that in the background, Paulís example shows that those earlier verses must be looked at as grace working. This is like Faith working through love (Gal. 5:6). It is only when one is in Godís grace, and God looks through his eyes of grace, that these items can be accomplished. Nevertheless, these can be accomplished, and there is absolutely no mention of an imputed righteousness as having a part in any of this.

To go Paulís 2nd letter to the Corinthians, click here.
To go back to the index Page of Paul on obedience, works, and righteousness, click here

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© 2000 Paul, Faith, Works, Obedience, Righteousness, and Salvation - Galatians - 1 Corinthians...by Matt1618... This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.

Last modified March 24, 2000.