(Abbreviations for references: Opening statement=OS, First Rebuttal=1R, 2R=2nd Rebuttal).
1]Ronnie didnít like the fact that I framed the debate so that not only must he prove faith alone, but also imputed righteousness(2R,Par. 1-3). The reason for Ronnie faith alone is sufficient, and cooperating with Godís grace is not a necessary cause of salvation, is because in his view Christís righteousness is forensically given by faith alone. We need to be clothed with Christís imputed righteousness, not transformed by his righteousness as a basis for justification (His whole opening statement). When I have called him on this as there is no Scriptural support for this Ronnie didnít like it. I wrote:
Of the passages he refers to, for example in Romans 4, Psalm 143, Galatians 3, 1 Cor. 1, etc. was there one that said or implied, "If you have faith alone in Jesus, you then get credited to your account Christ's imputed righteousness, and not be judged for your sins?
It seems that Matt wants to argue like a JW when they claim, "Show me a passage that says, there is One God revealed in 3 co-equal persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." Of course, since the entire word of God is inspired I'm not obligated to do such a thing.Ronnie conflates and parodies what I asked for. I only asked for a Scripture which at least implied that at justification one gets Christís imputed righteousness credited to his account. His answer (or lack of) is revealing: Silence. I indeed encourage you to examine all his statements. Iíve also asked him for Scriptures which show that in judgment, the separation from sheeps and goats is determined by whether one gets Christís imputed righteousness through faith alone. Answer? Silence and diversion. This crediting of Christís imputed righteousness is an absolute necessity to his faith alone theory. He admits this immensely important premise is not even implicitly found in Scripture!!! No Scriptures even imply this. If this conclusion isnít found implicitly in Scripture as he admits, even if he proved his other steps (which I donít admit), his position falls.
Matt seems to be under the impression that I must provide him with 4000 words all saying we are justified by faith alone, because of the righteousness of Christ alone.Ronnie has had 12,000 words to give one verse which says or implies that we get clothed with Christís righteousness upon justification. We get silence. He admits he canít. There are many steps to arguments, but there must be something that at least implies this position, which serves as the whole basis for faith alone theology. Contrast that to the numerous verses that I presented that donít even imply, but directly prove the necessity of works for salvation. He mentions the Trinity. The parallel - Step one - Bible teaches there is One God. Step two - Bible teaches that there are three co-equal Persons. Scriptures teach both, although the conclusion is only implicit, and the Churchís tradition helps in clarification. Ronnie has two steps in this debate: 1)The Bible must prove faith alone; 2)The basis for that belief is we get Christís imputed righteousness. This is the whole basis for Ronnieís understanding of faith alone. Since faith alone theology is based on this premise, and Scripture doesnít even imply this, his argument falls.
4]Ronnie (1R,par.14-17) attempted to explain why when James wrote that one is justified by works and not by faith alone(James 2:24), he actually meant one is not justified by works but by faith alone. Ronnie writes, with the background of the question of Ďcan that faith save himí in v. 14:
This question presupposes that the right kind of faith could save him. James gives further evidence that he is dealing with a counterfeit of saving faith by the following statements:5]Ronnie writes(1R,Par.16):Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.(2:17)
...faith without works is useless.(2:20)
...faith without works is dead.(2:26)
The God given faith does not need works added to it to become complete, instead it reaches it intended goal because of the works that flow from it....Ronnie argues that James speaks of works bringing Godís vindication (1R,Par. 16) and its purpose is to demonstrate what true faith is. James supposedly has justification as only a past event.
Even the quotations he provides directly contradict his proposition. James writes that if you donít add works to faith, one wonít be saved. The only faith that saves, is when works are added to it!!! On that alone, faith alone is false. Despite Ronnieís obfuscations, case already closed. We have more.
6]In James 2:1, he is writing to Christians who already hold to the faith: James 2:1:"My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory." He calls them true brethren, but warns them what might happen if works are not added to their faith (the whole 2nd chapter!!). He specifically speaks to Christians who do have true faith, that they must add works to faith for justification. The whole warning to his readers is that even though you have true faith, that isnít enough for your salvation. James writes:
21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God. 24You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.7]James' focus isn't that works demonstrate one has true faith or vindicates God. James writes that Abraham is justified (v. 21) when he offers Isaac. If James wanted to say this vindicates God, he would have written Ďvindicationí. Instead he uses the words Ďjustificationí in reference to works. In v. 22, James proves two things: 1)In grace, Faith plus works, cooperation of those two things are necessary for justification: My proposition proven from the Bible; 2)Despite Ronnieís protestations that faith needs not to be completed by works, James explicitly says that works complete faith.
8]Despite Ronnie, v. 23 has James linking both Genesis 15 & 22 together in justification, showing it to be a process. Righteousness has increased and as this is on the heels of James writing that works complete faith (in justification), the work of offering Isaac on the altar completes the faith of Abraham who is again justified, proving this process. These works are done in grace. Grace infused works justifies (vv. 21,24) and thus negates Ronnieís proposition: One isnít justified by faith alone.
9]I have demonstrated in great detail in this debate(OS,Par. 3-7;2R,Par.11-17) that the basis of our justification is adoptive sonship, not Ronnieís forensic scheme. In justification we are made adoptive sons through faith and baptism(Gal. 3:26-27, 4:4-8). Through justification, we avoid Godís just wrath. He makes us adoptive children ontologically righteous, as the basis for our justification(Jn. 1:12;8:34-37). As Father, he molds us into his image, in justification. In justification, we are to cooperate with grace.
10]I have shown numerous times cooperation with grace is essential to achieve salvation, in the context of inheritance. We have seen in Romans 8, that the inheritance of heaven is indeed conditional upon putting to death the deeds of the flesh (vv. 12-13) and as sons (v. 14) we must suffer (v. 17), or else there wonít be an inheritance. Paul demonstrates this in Colossians 3. After saying that Godís wrath will come upon those who sin (Col. 3:5-10), he says we must put on virtues including love (vv 12-17). If we do so we will inherit heaven. Inheritance is a reward for this grace-endowed work. Paul in Colossians 3 writes:
23Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ. 25For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
11]We have seen in the Matthew 25:31-46 judgment scene that heaven is termed an inheritance, where those who went to heaven are there because of works, and those who didnít go to heaven because of a lack of works. Even in judgment, the granting of heaven is based on adoptive sonship and works. Ronnieís response? God is vindicated (1R, Par. 31), but Ronnie refuses to see Jesus making this separation of heaven and hell based on works. As it is sons having inheritance, works are a grace-filled cause of justification. Vindication nowhere mentioned.
12]As God is a truly holy Father, he does punish us for our sins. He disciplines us to conform us to his image. Ronnieís view only feigns discipline: We commit sins, God overlooks everything (Ronnie's 1R:Par. 8,18-19). Scripture says, Heb. 12:
"9Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness."He really disciplines us, for the purpose of us sharing in Godís holiness. Ronnieís idea is in judgment, God overlooks all the sins of those justified(1R, Par. 19). Jesus instead says: Mt.12:36"I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
We have seen Paul in Heb. 12(My 1R, Par. 3) writing to Christians that we should not be like Esau, and throw away our inheritance(Heb. 12:13-16). We can become like Esau.
13]Since God looks at us as children, he doesnít look at us through the strict requirement of the law. If we approach God through law, we will be condemned (Gal. 3:10, Jm. 2:10, Gal. 2:16, Rom. 3:28) through one sin. However, through sonship, we are only disciplined for small sins (Heb. 12). However, mortal sins lead to disinheritance (see Rom. 8:13; Eph. 5:3-7;Gal. 5:19-21;1 Cor. 6:9-11; Mt. 25:31-46). Ronnie has failed to deal with the implication of such passages.
Col. 2:14having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside nailing it to the cross.These Scriptures further explain why 100% perfection is not required to stay in his grace. Christís death released us from the lawís unyielding demands(bond, written code). We are in the Law of the Spirit and Christ (Rom. 8:2;Gal. 6:2). Both in Colossians and Romans, we see that doesnít do away with the law, or works in justification, but we are put in grace (Rom. 6:14). The Law of the Spirit is not unyielding, but can be fulfilled by his adopted sons (Rom. 8:4). Ronnieís argument that it is (2R, Par. 11) fulfilled in us, and not by us, is making a difference that doesnít exist. It is fulfilled in us, and Paul says that we must put to death the deeds of the flesh in order to have salvation. If we donít, we donít have salvation (Rom. 8:13).
Rom. 7:6But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.
15]In Colossians 1:22, Paul writes:
he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, 23provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heardWe can only be presented blameless and irreproachable if we continue in the faith. The past event of being reconciled, will come to its fruition only with perseverance as a cause of salvation. Within grace, Rom. 2:13, the doer of the law (but not the written code which required 100% perfection) will be justified. Works as causative of salvation. The Law is not done away with, but 100% perfection is not required. As Peter says: Acts 10:35 ďbut in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.Ē
16]I have given extensive documentation from Paul which shows that grace-empowered works are not merely a fruit, but a cause of salvation (Rom. 2:4-13, 1 Tim. 6:19, etc.) (OS, Par. 11-13, 24;1R, Par. 11;2R, Par. 24). Not much of a response from Ronnie. I have shown Jesus showing from Matthew that works are a cause of salvation not only in Matthew 25, but 7:16-25, 16:24-27, and in John 5:24-29, 15:5-14. Ronnie Ďprovedí faith alone(1R, Par. 12; 2R, Par. 12-13) by isolating John 5:24 from its context which proves works are necessary (vv. 28-29). I have destroyed his eisegesis, (My 2R, Par. 21-23). I have shown Peter showing that faith must be supplemented with virtues in order to have eternal life 2 Pet. 1:4-10, (OS, Par. 18;2R, Par. 25). No response from Ronnie. I have shown the apostle John showing that we must be righteous and keep the commandments to have eternal life (OS, Par. 20;2R, Par. 23). No response. (With limited space, and I havenít been able to respond to everything that Ronnie has written, I must give leeway, but the absence of response to these items is noted.)
17]Ronnie has also attempted to have Jesus teach faith alone(2R, Par. 10) using Luke 18:13-14 where the tax-collector repents from his sins and is justified. Of course this is his initial justification and works arenít a cause of initial justification. This fully fits with the theology I have presented. Immediately after this episode in Luke, Jesus tells the ruler that in order to have eternal life he must keep the commandments, (Lk. 18:18-26) precluding Ronnieís interpretation. Nowhere is there a hint in Luke 18 that justification was only a one-time past event. After all, Jesus taught in Mt. 10:22:
He who endures to the end will be saved.This justification that he was given was dependent upon his endurance.
18]In the next chapter, Luke shows Jesus correcting any faith alone idea: "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.Ē(Lk 19:9). This is after Zaccheus the tax-collector had not only turned to Christ, but pledged to give half of his goods to the poor and give back to those he defrauded(Lk 19:8). Jesus says salvation had come to him after he said this.
19]We have already touched on this in my statement on Mt. 25:31-46, but I have established that in each judgment scene in the Bible we have seen, each one indicates that obedience and works are the reason for the separation of those going to heaven from those going to hell. (OS, Par. 14-19,2R, Par. 16-18). Ronnie argued(1R, Par. 18-21) that it only shows Godís vindication and just because the judgment scenes show the basis for this separation indicates works are the cause, it actually fits nicely with faith alone. To the contrary, these judgment passages are another deathknell of faith alone theology. See also 1 Pet. 1:13-17; Rev. 20:12-13, 22:11-14; Mt. 7:16-25;16:24-27, Jn. 5:24-29;2 Cor. 5:10. Vindication is not the concern of Jesus and the apostles.
20]I gave many passages from Jesus and the apostles which say we can keep the commandments (OS, Par. 20-23;1R, Par. 4-9). Ronnie first says that we canít keep the commandments sufficiently (OS, Par. 7) then when I say we can keep the commandments sufficiently he cries Ďstraw mení when I point out he said that we canít (2R, Par. 11). Jesus said John 14:15"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." We will do so. John writes: 1 John 2:3"And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4He who says "I know him" but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him;" John writes that one can and must keep the commandments. I have shown through the Old and New Testament, that one can keep the commandments, even if not absolutely perfectly. That is why it is plausible when Jesus says to the rich man, "If you want to enter life, keep the commandments", (Mt. 19:17) he meant it. He said "you will keep my commandments" (Jn 15:14). Ronnie indeed has Jesus lying in Mt. 19:17 and John 15:14 by escalating a possibility into an impossibility.
21]After summarizing the exchange, Ronnie writes(2R, Par. 7, 9):
Here you have Matt affirming that the exchange Jesus had with the young ruler tells how we receive eternal life. If this is not salvation by works I don't know what is. You will notice faith in God and repenting of sins is not even mentioned, yet Matt claims this is how one can inherit eternal life....Jesus was showing how the rich ruler failed miserably at keeping the commandments, because he did not keep the first and foremost commandment. Finally, Jesus is not lying. Anyone who keeps the law perfectly will receive eternal life.22]Notice that Ronnie says if we are saved this way, Jesus is teaching works righteousness and stresses the need to keep the commandments perfectly. Jesus doesnít say so. Ronnie then says, Ďwell, he doesnít give Mattís answer either.í If we see Ronnieís argument, it is though this passage doesnít teach faith alone for salvation, Jesus just leaves the people hanging without a solution.
23]Keeping the commandments include the first three commandments which means to worship the only true God. Ronnie even notes that included is the need to love God with all oneís heart soul and mind. Ronnieís first argument that Jesus is not noting the need to have faith he thus admits is false. It is included in the commandments. If one is to keep the commandments, one must love the Lord God. If one approaches God in this way, he is in his grace. Jesus isnít teaching salvation by works outside grace as Ronnie caricaturizes my analysis.
24]As the disciples saw that the man went away because money was his god, they supposed Ronnieís answer: That none can be saved this way (v.25). Instead, Jesus replies: "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."" Yes, with Godís grace, you can meet the condition that I laid out in Mt. 19:17. He expounds this even further when Peter (who certainly was imperfect and his sins are laid out for us in Scripture) asks what will happen to the disciples who did follow Jesus, even if imperfectly. Jesus then said those who followed him as they did, God will reward with the inheritance (justification as sonship) of eternal life (vv. 26-30). In grace, even imperfectly keeping the commandments, will suffice for salvation. It doesnít mean that the love of God was absolutely perfect, but exceeded love of possessions.
Jesus knows clearly of degrees of sins (Luke 12:47-8; 15:24;31-32; Numbers 15:27-36; Mt. 12:32-33). God deals with people based on that. Ronnieís 100% perfection requirement is true in one sense that in order to see God we must be absolutely pure. That is what purgatory does. However, to stay within his grace, as we are the Fatherís children, he doesnít cast us out over lesser sins, just as he didnít cast out imperfect Peter.
25]John refutes Ronnieís idea that the commandments are too burdensome to keep(1 John 5:3):
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.John knows that we will sin, but still states that keeping the commandments isnít too burdensome. If we had to keep it perfectly as Ronnie insists, it would be too burdensome. Later on, John spells out degrees of sins. Some lead to spiritual death and others donít (1 Jn 5:16-17).
26]Ronnie caricaturizes my agreement with Jesus that says one can keep the commandments. He says that since I believe that we can keep the commandments (like John, Jesus, Paul say), my view is rubbish, as Paul claims in Phil. 3:6 of his former righteousness (2R, Par. 7) .
Phil 3:6...as to the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless. Phil 3:8...I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law.27]Ronnie didnít pay attention to what I wrote in my rebuttal. I was clear in stating that righteousness derived from Law was graceless and any reliance on that would bring condemnation (1R, Par. 11-13). One small sin when one relies on law indeed condemns one (Gal. 2:16; 5:3; Jm. 2:10). That is what is rubbish. But Ronnie claims this is my position. The whole reason I have stressed that justification is based on a Father-Son adoptive relationship is because God looks at us through grace as a Father does a Son, not through strict law. But to say that is rubbish to say that through grace we can do what Jesus, Paul, and John say we can and must do (keep the commandments, 1 Jn 2:3-4, Jn. 15:10,14, Psalm 119:3, 1 Cor. 7:19,Rom. 8:3-4, etc.), itself is rubbish. Ronnie errs greatly here.
28]Ronnie eisegetes the context of Phillippians 3:8. The context destroys his assumptions of faith alone and imputed righteousness (vv. 10-12):
10that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.29]Paul notes that he must share in suffering (a work) in order to attain the resurrection from the dead (like Rom. 8:17). And it is only possible, not guaranteed that he may attain it. If he was guaranteed this, he would have already obtained it. Paul isnít already perfect (v. 12). If through faith alone he already had Christís righteousness imputed, he would be perfect. So much for faith alone. Paul in the previous chapter had already stressed the need to work out salvation with fear and trembling with God giving us the ability to work it out (Phil 2:12-16) which shows the necessity of works to achieve salvation, and is contingent (Especially v. 16).
Psalm 25:10 agrees: All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
30]Ronnie wrote that I never rebutted his Ďproofsí from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Psalm 143 that supposedly teach that we must absolutely be perfect to stay in Godís grace, which is why we need Christís righteousness imputed(2R, Par. 5). Look at the command to Love the Lord with our heart and mind(Deut. 6:4-9). Moses writes, v. 3: ďHear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them; that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord has promised you.Ē Where does it say that if one canít do it absolutely perfectly one will be condemned? He says do them and God will fulfill his promise (see also vv. 16-17;24-25). Never written as an impossibility. Within the realm of an adoptive grace, God looks at the grace-filled effort as sufficient. Jesus says ďDo this and you shall liveĒ(Lk. 10:28), not Ronnieís ďYou canít do it.Ē
31]Ronnie highlighted Psalm 143:2 because it said no man living can be righteous in Godís sight(OS, Par. 6). Ronnie also said since David was in his grace, that even grace-empowwered righteousness doesnít suffice. Yes, according to the strict standard of unyielding law, no one can pass that judgment. David is thanking God that when he does judge, it is not by that unyielding law. David knows that in grace, God does judge according to Davidís own righteousness: Psalm 18:24 Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. In the judgment passages given earlier, it was within grace where the righteous acts done did suffice before God (Mt. 25:31-46, etc).
Romans 2 agrees:
6For he will render to every man according to his works: 7to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;Works are causative of salvation, as all the judgment passages that we have seen indicate. Psalm 143 doesn't eliminate all these passages.
32]The evidence I presented to show in Romans 4 through Abraham and David that justification was ongoing was overwhelming (1R, Par. 15-17,20-21). Ronnie is unfortunately so tied to his theory that he fails to see this. I showed through Hebrews 11 and Genesis 12-14 that Abraham was already justified. Ronnieís response was to dismiss this evidence as nothing(2R, Par. 16-18), and unjustified Jews would do what Abraham did. Abraham leaving his own kin in response to follow Godís call (Gen. 12:4;Heb. 11:8)to who knows where means nothing? Abraham calling on the name of the Lord (Gen. 13:4)means nothing? Paul in Romans 10:13 writes for justification purposes "All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." This applies to Abraham in Genesis 13. Ronnie contradicts Paul yet again. Abraham building on his own initiative altars to sacrifice to God (Gen. 12:7)means nothing? Melchizedek calling God, Abrahamís God(Gen. 14:22) means nothing? Hebrews 11, when speaking of heroes of faith is lauding unjustified individuals? Ronnie dares not name any of the 14 or so individualsí faith lauded in Hebrews 11 as unjustified. Ronnie runs to the people of Israel lauded in Hebrews 11:29 as unjustified (2R, Par. 18) and refers to Hebrews 3:16-4:6 as Ďproofí they were unjustified. Hebrews 3 merely shows that some who enter in faith, can lose their salvation, not Paul lauding unjustified people as people of faith.
33]Ronnie asked what work Abraham did in Genesis 15:6. He believed God would provide a son, but even what he believed shows Abrahamís cooperation necessary to achieve that promise. Sarah didnít have a virgin birth. Abraham had to act on faith to impregnate Sarah to fulfill Godís promise. Literally Ďfaith working in loveí. Once justified, our cooperation with God is an essential cause of our salvation. No hint of Abraham believing in an external imputation of righteousness.
34]Ronnie then on David and Rom. 4:5-8 repeated the same things that I had just refuted without really interacting with my refutation(1R, Par. 21). Even though Paul is drawing from Psalm 32 and Davidís life to show how we are justified, Ronnie incredibly says that it doesnít apply to Davidís own salvation(2R, Par. 21-2)!!! That is because David was justified and termed a man after Godís own heart earlier, but had committed a mortal sin and in Psalm 32 had to repent from his sins to get forgiven. Heíd lost his justification and repentance from mortal sin was necessary to get back in Godís grace. It was through grace, not law, but David had to repent in order to get rejustfied. Ronnie canít have that. The incredible leaps Ronnie does to deny Abrahamís prior justification isnít remotely possible with David, who prior to that was undoubtedly justified. Davidís example shows us that justification is an ongoing process which Ronnie must deny.
35]Finally, we are made righteous in justification. Ronnie argued that being made righteous isnít part of justification, only sanctification, but doesnít take into account that the passage that says that we are made righteous, is spoken of in terms of Justification (Rom. 5:16, 19). Finally, I said Proverbs 17:15 which says to justify the ungodly is an abomination to God would apply to Ronnieís view but not mine. Remember, ontologically, Ronnieís view is that even the good works we do are defiled(Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 16, Section 5). God doesnít look at us but Christís perfect righteousness, and thus takes part in a lie. Ronnie replied that doesnít apply to him because he truly gets Christís righteousness (2R, Par. 20). However, ontologically, the people are still ungodly. My view doesnít have God take part in a lie because ontologically, the justified are truly righteous, even if imperfect.
36]We have seen Ronnieís main premise unproven with an admission that the basis for the faith alone idea (an imputed righteousness) canít even be implied through Scripture. Ronniesí attempts to bring forth Scriptures to prove faith alone havenít withstood scrutiny. We are saved by grace, not Law, but I have shown through Peter, James, Paul, Jesus and John that grace-empowered works are a necessary cause of salvation. Justification isnít Ronnieís forensic scheme but an adoptive relationship with God. He gives grace and makes his adopted sons righteous in justification. Once justified, works are a necessary cause of salvation. The judgment scenes in the Bible have shown works to be a necessary cause. We have seen that keeping the commandments in the context of a Father-Son relationship is a necessary cause. This debate has shown that Faith Alone is unscriptural and false, but as Paul writes, Gal. 6:8-9:
8For 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. 9And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.