April 1, 2016 Brethren Letter
Most who preach that Jesus is the Christ today also preach that God’s commandments were abolished — done away — “nailed to the cross.” They preach their tradition of men instead. They preach a different Jesus — one who “did away with His Father’s commandments… (Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, Brethren and Co-Worker Letter, January 22, 1982)
Many years ago my dad and I were talking to a man who knew we were members of a Church that believed the Ten Commandments were still valid and that Christ had not “nailed them to the cross,” as he believed. He made it a point to tell us that we were living our lives under a “yoke of bondage,” and that Jesus had released Christians from that bondage when they accepted Christ as their Savior. According to HIS view, he lived by FAITH, and my dad and I lived by “WORKS” instead of faith. Of course, we didn’t try to convince him of anything. He wouldn’t have understood.
Over the years, I’ve found that people who believe that the Ten Commandments have no validity today, tend to avoid looking at the book of James where it reveals… “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:17-18).
Christ’s own words showed that He NEVER intended that His Father’s LAWS would be abolished by the shedding of His own blood. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10).
God’s commandments are STILL valid for Christians today!
For the rest of tonight’s letter, I’ll include a portion of Mr. Armstrong’s booklet, What Kind of Faith is Required for Salvation? This booklet addresses the subject of tonight’s letter.
Have a wonderful Sabbath!
Your Brother in Christ,
“It is quite popular to quote Romans 3:20: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight,” and from this passage alone assume that salvation comes by faith in disobedience to God’s law! Those who thus interpret this passage never tell you that in Romans 2:13 the same Apostle Paul was inspired to write: “Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the DOERS of the law shall be justified.”
Is there contradiction here? If the one Scripture is intended to reveal that we do not have to make an effort to obey God’s Law to be justified and then saved — but that we are saved by faith without obedience to God’s Law, then, indeed, God contradicts Himself in His Word! And if you wish to make Romans 3:20 say that, you must consistently acknowledge there is contradiction in the Scriptures; and if this be true, you have no basis for your faith!
Again, Ephesians 2:8-9: “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” But those who quote this text so freely to teach the doctrine of “no works,” never tell you that the same inspired Scriptures say also:
“What death it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? … Even so FAITH, if it hath not works, IS DEAD, being alone … I will show thee my faith BY my works. Thou BELIEVEST that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, AND tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works IS DEAD?” (James 2:14-20.)
There is no contradiction here!
Rather, by putting all the Scriptures on the subject of “Saving Faith” together, we learn that there are TWO KINDS of faith. And the kind so blindly trusted in by the majority of this day is nothing but a DEAD faith — and a DEAD faith never will save one soul! Notice! James 2:20: “Faith without works is DEAD — just a DEAD faith.
James continues: “Was not Abraham our father JUSTIFIED by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how FAITH wrought with his works, and BY WORKS was faith made perfect? … You see then how that BY WORKS A MAN IS JUSTIFIED, and not by faith only” (James 2:21-24). Then are we saved by works instead of faith? No, Never! We are saved by FAITH! But faith wrought with our works and BY WORKS our FAITH is MADE PERFECT! That is LIVING FAITH!
Why do we even need salvation? Because we have SINNED, and the penalty of sin is DEATH!
But how have we sinned? What IS sin, anyhow? Sin is the transgression of THE LAW, is God’s answer (I John 3:4).
“Yes,” answers the victim of modern fables, “But we are not under the law today, but UNDER GRACE!” Why certainly! “What then?” asks the inspired Paul, “shall we SIN” — transgress the LAW — “because we are not under the law, but under grace?” And Paul’s answer is, “GOD FORBID”! (Rom. 6:15.) And again, “Shall we continue in SIN, “transgressing the law — “that grace may abound? GOD FORBID! How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2.)
The law has a penalty — DEATH. It claims the life of the one who transgresses it. The law has power to take the life of the transgressor. It therefore is more powerful than the sinner — and is OVER the sinner, holding a claim on his life. It is the SINNER who is UNDER the law. But when the sinner REPENTS of his transgression, and accepts the sacrifice of Christ as payment of the penalty of the law, then he is PARDONED — UNDER GRACE — the law no longer stands OVER him, claiming his life. It is those who are sinning that are UNDER the law! And those who, thru repentance, obedience and FAITH have turned from disobedience and are, thru faith, KEEPING the law, are the only ones who are UNDER GRACE!”