Part IV - In the Words of the Apostles John and Jude

It should come as no surprise that the Apostles John and Jude also are in agreement with the words of Our Lord, Peter, and James. Here are the words of the Apostle John on the matter:

5 And this is the declaration which we have heard from him, and declare unto you: That God is light, and in him there is no darkness. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son CLEANSETH us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. [1]
Strange that the Apostle John mentions us being "cleansed of sin" rather then remaining sinful and being merely "covered over" with Christ's blood. No Christ's blood cleanses us of sin. In short, we are made righteous by Our Lord's blood and not merely declared as such. Also, it is clear that our actions determine if we possess fellowship with God or not.
1 My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have known him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He who saith that he knoweth him and keepeth not his commandments is a liar: and the truth is not in him. 5 But he that keepeth his word, in him in very deed the charity of God is perfected. And by this we know that we are in him. [2]
I do not know how much more straight-forward that John's words can be then he just stated them.
6 He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk, even as he walked. 7 Dearly beloved, I write not a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 Again a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true both in him and in you; because the darkness is passed, and the true light now shineth. 9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loveth his brother, abideth in the light, and there is no scandal in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother, is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth; because the darkness hath blinded his eyes. 12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. [3]
In short, we are justified by faith if we obey the commandments and love one another as John has noted. In short, our salvation is conditioned on our conduct. This is justification by faith working in love.
1 Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and should be the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us, because it knew not him. 2 Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is. 3 And every one that hath this hope in him, sanctifieth himself, as he also is holy. 4 Whosoever committeth sin commmitteth also iniquity; and sin is iniquity. 5 And you know that he appeared to take away our sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: and whosoever sinneth hath not seen him nor known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you. He that doth justice is just, even as he is just. [4]
Imagine that, one who does justice is just!!! Such a Hebrew worldview and utterly opposed to the concept of "imputed righteousness" is that of the Apostle John. Unless of course we preserve the unbiblical "imputed righteousness" theology at the expense of the literal words of the Apostle John also. Since adhering to this unbiblical manmade tradition comes at the expense of the literal words of Our Lord, the Apostle Peter, and the Apostle James, what harm is there in also disregarding the words of John too presumably. (That is what Protestant systematic theology does after all.) The degrees to which many Protestants go to ignore the clear words of the Scriptures simply to cling to their unbiblical traditions of men is simply astounding.
8 He that commmitteth sin is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God appeared, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God, commmitteth not sin: for his seed abideth in him, and he can not sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil. Whosoever is not just is not of God, or he that loveth not his brother. [5]
Since the Apostle John says that everyone commits sin and those who say they are without sin are liars (1 John 1:8); if verse 9 of chapter 3 is taken literally here, then John contradicts his own words from earlier in the epistle. However, Catholic theology teaches that one can through serious sin separate themselves from God. This theology of mortal and venial sins perfectly reconciles the words of the Apostle John without having to explain any of them away. (As it also speaks of how one can be reconciled again to God.) Anyway, here is the Apostle John's words yet again on these matters:
11 For this is the declaration, which you have heard from the beginning, that you should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of the wicked one and killed his brother. And wherefore did he kill him? Because his own works were wicked: and his brother's just. 13 Wonder not, brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not, abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in himself. 16 In this we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 He that hath the substance of this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, nor in tongue, but in deed, and in truth. 19 In this we know that we are of the truth: and in his sight shall persuade our hearts. 20 For if our heart reprehend us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Dearly beloved, if our heart do not reprehend us, we have confidence towards God. 22 And whatsoever we shall ask, we shall receive of him: because we keep his commandments and do those things which are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment: That we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as he hath given commandment unto us. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments abideth in him, and he in him. And in this we know that he abideth in us by the Spirit which he hath given us. [6]
Chapter three contains more instruction by the Apostle John that is perfectly in line with the teaching of Our Lord, St. Peter, and St. James.
6 We are of God. He that knoweth God, heareth us. He that is not of God, heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 7 Dearly beloved, let us love one another, for charity is of God. And every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not, knoweth not God: for God is charity. 9 By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by him. 10 In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins. 11 My dearest, if God hath so loved us; we also ought to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abideth in us: and his charity is perfected in us...
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and have believed the charity which God hath to us. God is charity: and he that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him. 17 In this is the charity of God perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment: because as he is, we also are in this world. 18 Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath sin. And he that feareth, is not perfected in charity. [7]
In other words, charity is perfected in us by the good works that God performs through us to supplement our faith and by which our faith is completed. This is perfectly in harmony with the words of Our Lord, Peter, and James and another example of justification by faith working in love. Let us consider chapter five of the Apostle John's first epistle:
1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. And every one that loveth him who begot, loveth him also who is born of him. 2 In this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the charity of God: That we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not heavy. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world. And this is the victory which overcameth the world: Our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth that Christ is the truth. 7 And there are Three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. 8 And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water and the blood. And these three are one. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. For this is the testimony of God, which is greater, because he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth in the Son of God hath the testimony of God in himself. He that believeth not the Son maketh him a liar: because he believeth not in the testimony which God hath testified of his Son. 11 And this is the testimony that God hath given to us eternal life. And this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life. He that hath not the Son hath not life. 13 These things I write to you that you may know that you have eternal life: you who believe in the name of the Son of God. 14 And this is the confidence which we have towards him: That, whatsoever we shall ask according to his will, he heareth us. 15 And we know that he heareth us whatsoever we ask: we know that we have the petitions which we request of him. [8]
Some of the first parts of the text were bolded because Protestants love to quote 1 John v,13 as a prooftext for eternal security. Considering the context of the previous twelve verses -- not to mention the previous four chapters of the epistle -- this is a leap of illogic that is simply astounding. But there is more
16 He that knoweth his brother to sin a sin which is not to death, let him ask, and life shall be given to him, who sinneth not to death. There is a sin unto death: for that I say not that any man ask. 17 All iniquity is sin. And there is a sin unto death. [9]
There is a "sin unto death" and if there is a sin also which is "not unto death." Catholics (and other Apostolic Christians) call these "mortal" (unto death) and "venial" (not unto death) sins. Protestants tend to do with these verses some version of the Pauline Shuffle. The way it would work with the first epistle of John is like this: "well you see, John was not really saying here that we can actually lose our salvation and besides Paul says yadda yadda yadda, etc." In short, when a problem passage comes up with defending sola fide or any other Protestant distinctive, their solution is to practice a form of "imputation" and cover it over with the words of Paul. This could to some extent be seen as a defacto form of "believe in Paul and your sins are covered". Or more correctly stated "believe in Paul as interpreted by Luther or Calvin over the literal words of Our Lord and the three Apostles whom the Apostle Paul himself referred to as the "pillars of the church": St. Peter, St. James, and St. John".

Of course there is not a Protestant reading this who would affirm explicitly what is noted above.  But by utilizing the Pauline Shuffle, they imply it continually. And if they deny that they place a greater value on the Scriptures as interpreted by Luther and Calvin (or some other Protestant theologian), then they are put in an interesting conundrum. For then they have yet to explain why they constantly explain away large chunks of Scripture's literal import when engaged in dialogue with Catholics. They have yet to explain why Our Lord's words are not receiving of a primacy of place when it comes to any doctrinal or moral issue. They also need to explain why Paul's words are viewed as more important then the words of other NT authors whose writings are just as inspired as those of Paul. No answer can be given to these questions without the Protestant apologist becoming very arbitrary and inconsistent in their replies or attempting to change the subject. And any Apostolic Christian involved in dialogue with Protestants on the subject of justification will notice this trend again and again. However, as the Apostle John has more to say about justification, let us go back to him now:

8 Look to yourselves, that you lose not the things which you have wrought: but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever revolteth and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son.10 If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed you. 11 For he that saith unto him, God speed you, communicateth with his wicked works. [10]
So we can "lose the things which we wrought" it seems. Another death knell for eternal security from Scripture. The final book from the Apostle John to look at is Revelation. Here is what is said in the book about those who enter into the "New Jerusalem" otherwise known as eternal life:
27 There shall not enter into it any thing defiled or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie: but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb. [11]
Now then, Catholic theology teaches "infused" justification and the notion that the Lord actually makes us righteous through the application of the merits of His sacrifice applied by the sacraments of the Church which are channels of His grace. (This is a logical extension of the "Incarnational concept" of the Lord working through His creation to sanctify man which reached its apex when He actually became flesh and blood to redeem us from certain death.) Catholic theology takes the words of Our Lord as written by the Apostle John in Revelations literally first and foremost. All other senses of Scripture be they parabolic, allegorical, or otherwise must be based on the literal sense of the text. And the sense of Revelation 21:27 above is clear: those who are defiled will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (Referred to as "the New Jerusalem".) What does Protestant theology do with this passage??? The same thing they always do: explain away the literal words of Scripture to defend the theologies of Luther and Calvin (or other like-minded people). While they do this, they continue to proclaim themselves as "biblical" and as taking the Bible literally when they quite clearly do not. The next example will be another clear demonstration of this.

Protestant theology is not exactly monolithic on this or any other issue, but for the most part Protestants believe that the Lord will declare the defiled to be undefiled by "covering" them with the blood of Christ (rather then cleansing them through the merits of the Blood of Christ). To Catholics we are actually cleansed and made righteous indeed those in Christ have "washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14). But the Protestant theological outlook is again the theology of making Our Lord out to be a liar, that is the undeniable bottom line here. No personal offense to our Protestant brethren is intended but sometimes these things cannot be said in a manner that is not offensive.

To Protestants we are not "washed" in the blood of the Lamb and made white (akin to infused righteousness and the Catholic paradigm). Instead, we are merely "imputed" or "covered" with the Lord's blood and in essence enter heaven defiled but declared undefiled. It is difficult to see how this is at all biblical when the literal words of Scripture are explained away in such a manner as this. Our Lord says that nothing enters heaven undefiled and imputed righteousness denies this by logical extension. Yet again His literal words are ignored or explained away.

It should be obvious that someone cannot claim to take the Bible literally if they refuse to accept what it actually says and instead seeks to explain it away. Unless we are speaking of a parable or a few possible allegories we should take what is being said literally. Even the parables are in some respect to be taken literally too: but to understand this involves knowing the ancient understanding of signs and symbols which is 180 degrees removed from the way these are understood today by modern man. (See this essay where the ancient understanding of signs and symbols is explained in reasonable detail.) The theme of justification is touched on at the end of Revelation also as there is reference to the final judgment. (Surely no one would claim that the final judgment scenes of Scripture do not pertain to justification.) Note carefully the words of the Lord Jesus on how we shall be judged.

10 And [the Lord Jesus Christ] saith to me: Seal not the words of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11 He that hurteth, let him hurt still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is just, let him be justified still: and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still. 12 Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to every, man according to his works. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. 14 Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. 15 Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols, And every one that loveth and maketh a lie. 16 I Jesus have sent my angel, to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and stock of David, the bright and morning star. 17 And the spirit and the bride say: Come. And he that heareth, let him say: Come. And he that thirsteth, let him come: and he that will, let him take the water of life, freely. 18 For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book. 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from these things that are written in this book. 20 He that giveth testimony of these things, saith, Surely I come quickly: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. [12]
Again we see that we will be judged by our works. The Apostle John is in perfect conformity with Our Lord, Peter, and James on these matters. Before wrapping this url up, let us take a brief look at the short epistle of Jude. This is another epistle which did not meet with the approval of Fr. Martin Luther. Here is what the Augustinian friar had to say on the Epistle of Jude in his preface to the epistle:
Concerning the epistle of St. Jude, no one can deny that it is an extract or copy of St. Peter's second epistle, so very like it are all the words. He also speaks of the apostles like a disciple who comes long after them [Jude 17] and cites sayings and incidents that are found nowhere else in the Scriptures [Jude 9, 14]. This moved the ancient Fathers to exclude this epistle from the main body of the Scriptures. Moreover the Apostle Jude did not go to Greek-speaking lands, but to Persia, as it is said, so that he did not write Greek.Therefore, although I value this book, it is an epistle that need not be counted among the chief books which are supposed to lay the foundations of faith. [13]

While it is true that there are sections of the Epistle of Jude which bear a striking resemblance to 2 Peter, at the same time, that does not mean that the epistle is an extract or copy of the same epistle. It is pointless to refer to the ancient Fathers excluding Jude from NT protocanon because they did the same thing with twelve of the twenty-seven NT books at different periods of the first four centuries. The reference of sayings and incidents which are found "nowhere else in Scriptures" is of course a facile qualification since the Synoptic Gospels themselves each have events or circumstances which are not in the other synoptic Gospels. (And Luther did not downgrade them for this reason.) As far as Persia not being a Greek speaking land, this is almost as inexcusable as his sola fide error.

For Persia comprised part of an empire that was conquered by Alexander the Great over three centuries before the birth of Jude. Indeed as the Encyclopedia Brittanica noted in discussing the subject of languages of the world:

The fairly uniform variety of spoken Greek that gradually replaced the local dialects after the breakdown of old political barriers and the establishment of Alexander's empire in the 4th century BC is known as Koine (he koine dialektos "the common language"), or "Hellenistic Greek." Attic [a dialect of Greek], by virtue of the undiminished cultural and commercial predominance of Athens provided its basis; but as the medium of communication throughout the new urban centres of Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor...Other sources of information for the Koine are the translation of the Septuginet made in the third century BC for the use of the Hellenized Jewish community of Alexndria, the New Testament, and the writings of a few people...who preferred it over Attic. [14]

Such ignorance on the part of Fr. Luther and such facile excuses for diminishing the authority of a book of Sacred Scripture will of course not be tolerated by us in examining what that book has to say on the subject of justification. Note the following:

20 But you, my beloved, building yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto life everlasting. 22 And some indeed reprove, being judged: 23 But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal. 24 Now to him who is able to preserve you without sin and to present you spotless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: [14]
If we can "be preserved from sin" and be "presented spotless before the presence of His glory", then obviously we must be truly cleansed from sins and not merely have righteousness of Christ "imputed" to us. Obviously it is by the merits of Christ that we are so cleansed but Jude here says that we are "presented spotless"; therefore our sins must be more then just "covered" but indeed cleansed (see 2 Pet. 1:9). Jude also speaks of "keeping ourselves in the love of God" which implies that we can fall out of the love of God. In short, we can lose our salvation. These are the literal words of the Apostle Jude, the words of Sacred Scripture. Unless this is another case of the Pauline Shuffle and the Apostle Jude "not really meaning" what he is clearly saying. It seems that most Protestants will say anything to defend the flawed unbiblical theologies of the so-called "reformers". So much for claiming to believe in what the Bible says.

Justification by faith alone (not to mention a mere imputed righteousness) is patently unbiblical. Our Lord did not teach it, the Apostle Peter did not teach it and neither did the Apostle James. In this section, it was further demonstrated that the Apostles John and Jude did not teach it either. Indeed the only way that the Protestant apologist can claim that they did is dismiss without warrant the literal words of Scripture in this and the previous three sections. (Undoubtedly many will do this.) All that is left now is to show that the Old Testament and Apostle Paul is also in conformity and the case for justification by faith working in love (or justificaiton by charitable works) is cinched. Of course to those that place the literal words of Our Lord and Saviour as paramount to the words of anyone else in the Scriptures (which is what all Christians should do), the discussion was over after the first section of this essay.

Most Protestants do not do that though and this is clear in two ways (i) the way they place what Paul says over not only that of the other Apostles but also (ii) the words of Paul are considered more important then those of Paul's Lord and Master (contrary to Matt. 10:24; Luke 6:40; John 13:16). However, even Paul's views are ultimately subordinate to the theologies of the so-called "reformers." But all of this is for nought because it will be demonstrated in the section after the next one that the Apostle Paul's words have indeed been twisted by those who are unlearned and unstable. They have been contorted like wax noses to be employed for the theology of sola fide. Undoubtedly as the Apostle Peter noted, such actions if they are culpable ones will be to the destruction of those who promote such unbiblical novelties (2 Pet. 3:14-17).


[1] 1 John 1:5-10

[2] 1 John 2:1-5

[3] 1 John 2:6-12

[4] 1 John 3:1-7

[5] 1 John 3:8-10

[6] 1 John 3:11-24

[7] 1 John 4:6-12,15-18

[8] 1 John 5:1-15

[9] 1 John 5:16-18

[10] 2 John 8-11

[11] Revelation 21:27

[12] Revelation 22:10ff

[13] 'Matt1618': Luther's Preface to James and Jude (c. 1997)

[14] Encyclopedia Brittanica: From the article "Languages of the World" Volume XXII (c. 1985)

[15] Jude 1:20-24

Other Notes:

The Scripture citations were taken from an online Douay-Rheims Bible that is similar in many ways to the online Douay-Rheims Bible located at the following link:

The citation from Fr. Martin Luther was obtained from an extract "Luther's Preface to James and Jude" compiled by 'Matt1618' and located at the following link:

The citation from the Encyclopedia Brittanica is from Volume XXII (Maecropedia) Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number: 83-83118, Fifteenth Edition, 1985.

©2003, 2000, "Justification by Faith Working in Love", written by I. Shawn McElhinney. 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.

To All Visitors, Grace of Christ to you!

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