Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Why faith isn't a work

A Calvinist complaint against Arminianism is that the latter implies works based salvation. Both sides agree that the Arminian perspective is that a man takes part in the salvation process: that is, a person must agree to God's call to salvation. Arminians claim that salvation itself is still from God, that we are unable to save ourselves.

Calvinists sometimes argue that any involvement of a person in the salvation process makes salvation works based and not faith based. The problem with this claim is that this understanding of works does not line up with Scripture.

Faith is a decision. It is trust placed in someone. Faith is contrasted with works, and works are activities we do. Works are things like obeying the commandments, helping the needy, fasting, giving money to God's work. These are all behaviours.

Faith is related more to the mind, works more to the body (though we must be cautious with this distinction). Now it is true that faith may involve a specific action (ie. a work), but this action is not the faith per se, rather it is the acting out of the faith decision; an action which proves that the faith is real and not just an empty assertion.

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