Skip to comments.Good Works and Prayer
Posted on 01/14/2012 7:24:12 PM PST by rzman21
V. GOOD WORKS AND PRAYER 1. We believe that faith in Jesus Christ always leads a believer to produce works that are pleasing to God. "Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:17). As a branch in Christ the vine, a Christian produces good fruit (John 15:5).
2. We believe that works pleasing to God are works of love, for "love is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:10). Faith, however, does not set up its own standards to determine what is loving (Matthew 15:9). True faith delights to do only what agrees with God's holy will. That will of God is revealed in the Bible, particularly in the Ten Commandments as their content is repeated in the New Testament. In wrestling with current moral problems, the Christian will therefore seek answers from God's law.
3. We believe, for example, that the Fifth Commandment teaches that all human life is a gift from God. This commandment speaks against abortion, suicide, and euthanasia ("mercy killing").
4. We believe that the Sixth Commandment regulates marriage and the family. God instituted marriage as a lifelong union of one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6). It is the only proper context for sexual intimacy and the procreation of children. A marriage can be ended without sin only when God ends the marriage through the death of one of the spouses. Nevertheless, a Christian may obtain a divorce if his or her spouse has broken the marriage through adultery (Matthew 19:9) or malicious desertion (1 Corinthians 7:15). The Sixth Commandment forbids all sexual intimacy apart from marriage, including homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9,10).
5. We believe that individuals are free to make their own decisions concerning matters that are neither forbidden nor commanded by God's Word (adiaphora). People must be careful, however, that their use of this freedom does not cause others to sin.
6. We believe that good works, which are fruits of faith, must be distinguished from works of civic righteousness performed by unbelievers. Although unbelievers may do much that appears to be good and upright, these works are not good in God's sight, for "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6). While we recognize the value of such works for human society, we know that unbelievers cannot do their duty to God through works of civic righteousness.
7. We believe that in this world even the best works of Christians are tainted with sin. A sinful nature still afflicts every Christian. Therefore Christians often fail to do the good they want to do but keep on doing the evil they do not want to do (Romans 7:18-21). They must confess that all their righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Because of Christ's redemption, however, these imperfect efforts of Christians are considered holy and acceptable by their heavenly Father.
8. We believe that the Holy Spirit enables every believer to produce good works as fruits of faith (Galatians 5:22-25). The Holy Spirit gives every believer a new nature, or "new man," that cooperates with the Holy Spirit in doing good works. The Holy Spirit uses the gospel to motivate believers to do good works.
9. The Holy Spirit also equips the church with all the spiritual gifts it needs for its well-being (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). During the beginning of the New Testament era, special charismatic gifts were given to the church, such as signs, miracles, and speaking in tongues. These gifts were connected with the ministry of the apostles (2 Corinthians 12:12). There is no evidence in Scripture that we today should expect the continuation of such charismatic gifts.
10. We believe that a life of prayer is a fruit of faith. Confidently, through faith in their Savior, Christians address their heavenly Father with petitions and praise. They present their needs and the needs of others, and they give thanks (1 Timothy 2:1). Such prayers are a delight to God, and he grants their requests according to his wisdom (Matthew 7:7,8; 1 John 5:14).
11. We reject every thought that the good works of Christians in any way earn or contribute toward establishing a right relationship with God and gaining salvation in heaven.
12. We reject every attempt to abolish the unchanging moral law of God as revealed in the Bible as the absolute standard of what is right and wrong.
13. We reject the view that people may decide for themselves what is right and wrong apart from God's Word. We reject any misuse of the term love to condone behavior contrary to God's Word. We recognize these arguments as schemes of Satan to obscure the knowledge of God's holy will and to undermine the consciousness of sin.
14. We reject any view that considers the act of praying a means of grace. Although God certainly gives good gifts to believers in answer to their prayers, he conveys his forgiving grace and strengthens faith only through the Word and sacraments. Furthermore, we reject any view that looks upon prayer as beneficial only because it helps the one who prays feel better.
15. We reject the view that all prayers are acceptable to God, and we hold that the prayers of all who do not have faith in Christ are vain babbling addressed to false gods (Matthew 6:7).
This is what Scripture teaches about good works and prayer. This we believe, teach, and confess.
Here’s a good piece I found.
What did you want to do with this "piece" you found about the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod? Is this another target to shoot at or do you actually agree with them for a change?
Peace! Here and in The Middle East!!
Or We are the Christian world of Love!
Whether you shoot or not at WELS is your choice.
I agree with most of what they say here in this piece at least how they have written it.
I posted it because I liked the article.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.
A big Amen to that, johngrace.
Amen back! I do not understand why it can’t be more intelligent converse on these threads with theology. We all can get so dumb with each other.
In this week of prayer for Christian unity, that is a very good article.
It makes me wonder, why all the fighting on some of these threads over this or that on pasages from the Bible?
I was touched last night, watching the Patriots/Broncos game, there was an add from the “Focus on the Family” group showing a group of little children explaining what John 3:16 was and why Tim Tebow cited that passage. Very sweet.
#11 seems to be contrary to Trent.
Like I said, I saw more in this article that I agreed with than I disagreed with.
I’d say that #11 contains flawed logic that seems to contradict everything else because an active faith requires following the commandments.
The main issue between Catholics/Orthodox and Protestants isn’t faith vs. works, but whether or not human beings have free-will.
The real question I see is whether or not salvation is monergistic as most Protestants believe or synergistic as Catholics, Orthodox, and Arminian Protestants believe.
You can’t get out of Protestant Sunday School without memorizing John 3:16.
It’s definitely a popular verse.
I know; it is primarily inconsistent with itself. Some items are written, it seems, in order to be able to say “no, we are not Catholics!” rather than for any rational reason.
I, too think that there may still be a possibility that the more conservative Lutheran Synods come back to Catholicism, although it is diminishing.
Absolute denial of free will is only occurring among the Calvinists. It is not a distinguishing characteristic of Protestantism as a whole. The majority of Protestants are arminian.
I am a friend of a Baptist minister of Calvinist persuasion and he once stayed in our home in Sacramento. I was giving him a ride to the church he was going to give a sermon at, and we drove right past a “Free-will Baptist Church”. Remembering our scripture discussion in the morning, he said, “—now, that is a contradiction in terms”. But the fact is, the church is there, free will and Baptist, and he has learned to bridle his Calvinism in order to preach to baptists.
The whole faith alone bit presumes that free-will when it comes to co-operating with God’s grace does not exist.
That at least was Luther’s position in his book “The Bondage of the Will”.
Ah, OK. True.
I was going to post a quote from St. Augustine approaching Luther’s view, but I don’t seem to remember exactly where I saw it.