Are we justified by faith when we have faith?

Matt Slick

CARM President
Staff member
"But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness," (Romans 4:5).


Notice that the verse says when a person believes, his faith is credited as righteousness. If baptism is necessary for salvation then this verse cannot be true.

We are either justified by faith when we have faith, or we are not justified by faith when we have faith.

If we are justified at baptism, then we are not justified by faith when we have faith.
 

Redeemed

Active member
Oh this should be really good! I'm to burnout right now to get into this but tomorrow I will be on it armed and loaded. This topic has been an enormous point of contention for a long time, so I know we are going to have a good time with this. Roman Catholic view versus the Protestant view. I know that I'm going to learn a lot.
 

Redeemed

Active member
I believe in justification by faith alone and that if I added any sacraments such as baptism I would be adding works to my salvation.

I've always heard that baptism was an outward sign of an inward conversion. That always made sense to me but it may be a bit overly simplified, that's the reason why I'm studying this out today.
  • Romans 3:28 For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent of and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). [The observance of the Law has nothing to do with justification.]
  • Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed in (trusted in) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness (right living and right standing with God). [Gen. 15:6.]
  • Romans 4:5 But to one who, not working [by the Law], trusts (believes fully) in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (the standing acceptable to God).
  • Romans 4:13 For the promise to Abraham or his posterity, that he should inherit the world, did not come through [observing the commands of] the Law but through the righteousness of faith. [Gen. 17:4-6; 22:16-18.]
  • Romans 5:1 THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
  • Romans 5:9 Therefore, since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God.
  • Romans 10:9 Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]
 

Redeemed

Active member
What does baptism actually accomplish in the lives of those who receive it? Inquiring minds want to know.

What exactly is baptisms role in our salvation. Do you have to be baptized to experience the new birth? Just from doing little bit of study it's obvious this question has ruffled a few feathers in the history of the church, I'm hoping to find some clarity right here. I know what you're thinking "that redeemed guy is quite the optimist isn't he".

Justification by faith in Christ should be a humbling experience for it leaves one person no more or less justified than another. The minute you add something to that it's very easy to get prideful. The apostle Paul warns of that in 1Corinthians 10:1-17.

This is why I believe we are justified by faith that results in righteousness, not by faith and being baptized by some certain denomination or person in that denomination or some ritual that someone has come up with.
 

UncleAbee

Member
"But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness," (Romans 4:5)
Notice that the verse says when a person believes, his faith is credited as righteousness. If baptism is necessary for salvation then this verse cannot be true.

We are either justified by faith when we have faith, or we are not justified by faith when we have faith.

If we are justified at baptism, then we are not justified by faith when we have faith
Here we go again. I do believe that Paul thought faith was all that is needed to justify but that's not the end of it. I think this can clearly be seen in Phil 3:1-16. In vs 9 Paul says his righteousness comes through faith. Even though he has been justified in vs 9 he says in vs 13 that he has not attained salvation yet. In vs 14 Paul says he is pressing on to the goal (salvation). Paul clearly is saying that he is not saved "yet" even though he has been found righteous by God through faith.

Baptism was necessary to Paul but not for the forgiveness of sins. This was accomplished by faith. You have to understand what Paul thought about sin. Paul was an apocalyptacist. Sin was not just choosing not do what God commanded. Sin to this group was a power in the world that compelled you to do the wrong thing. We can see this in passages from Paul such as:
1) Rom 7:14-20 - Sin is controlling him and forcing him to do the wrong thing.
2) Rom 5:21 - Sin rules us.
3) Gal 3:22 - We are confined by it.

To Paul we do wrong because there is a force controlling us and compelling us to do the wrong thing.

Sin was a power in the world that needed to be broken. How did this happen? This happened through baptism. It is explained in detail in Rom 6:1-7. When Paul says we are freed from sin he doesn't mean our sins are forgiven. That happened by faith as described in Rom ch 3. What Paul is describing in Rom ch 6 is that through participation in baptism the power of sin over you is removed. You are no longer a slave to it. It can no longer destroy you permanently. So to Paul faith was needed for justification but baptism was needed to defeat sin's power over you.
 

UncleAbee

Member
I believe in justification by faith alone and that if I added any sacraments such as baptism I would be adding works to my salvation.

I've always heard that baptism was an outward sign of an inward conversion. That always made sense to me but it may be a bit overly simplified, that's the reason why I'm studying this out today.
There is no place in the bible where baptism is described this way. This is an interpretation of select passages created by men.
 

Redeemed

Active member
There is no place in the bible where baptism is described this way. This is an interpretation of select passages created by men.
Thank you that's exactly why I'm studying this out today and I'm finding out how ignorant I R on this topic.
 

balshan

Well-known member
"But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness," (Romans 4:5).


Notice that the verse says when a person believes, his faith is credited as righteousness. If baptism is necessary for salvation then this verse cannot be true.

We are either justified by faith when we have faith, or we are not justified by faith when we have faith.

If we are justified at baptism, then we are not justified by faith when we have faith.
I don't think you can earn salvation, but, I believe the confusion comes from the fact that once saved there should be a change. If you are a believer then you are transformed by the Spirit. This change means you want to do good not evil.

2 Cor 5:17

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come
 

balshan

Well-known member
What does baptism actually accomplish in the lives of those who receive it? Inquiring minds want to know.

What exactly is baptisms role in our salvation. Do you have to be baptized to experience the new birth? Just from doing little bit of study it's obvious this question has ruffled a few feathers in the history of the church, I'm hoping to find some clarity right here. I know what you're thinking "that redeemed guy is quite the optimist isn't he".

Justification by faith in Christ should be a humbling experience for it leaves one person no more or less justified than another. The minute you add something to that it's very easy to get prideful. The apostle Paul warns of that in 1Corinthians 10:1-17.

This is why I believe we are justified by faith that results in righteousness, not by faith and being baptized by some certain denomination or person in that denomination or some ritual that someone has come up with.
I always think of the verse where Paul says he is thankful he had not baptised some people. 1 Cor 1:14, 15, 16. Even if a person is baptized does that make them a believer or are they blindly following a person. One must be a follower of Jesus, He is the one who makes a person righteous.

There is no indelible mark conferred when a person is baptised. The RCC believes in an indelible mark is as follows:

incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. 83 Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.

The quote comes from the catechism. I am just putting this point in because you mentioned in one of your post the different point of views.
 

Redeemed

Active member
I always think of the verse where Paul says he is thankful he had not baptised some people. 1 Cor 1:14, 15, 16. Even if a person is baptized does that make them a believer or are they blindly following a person. One must be a follower of Jesus, He is the one who makes a person righteous.

There is no indelible mark conferred when a person is baptised. The RCC believes in an indelible mark is as follows:

incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. 83 Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.

The quote comes from the catechism. I am just putting this point in because you mentioned in one of your post the different point of views.
I hear you and I wholeheartedly agree! Thanks for the link, I'll check it out right now.
 

UncleAbee

Member
What does baptism actually accomplish in the lives of those who receive it? Inquiring minds want to know.

What exactly is baptisms role in our salvation. Do you have to be baptized to experience the new birth? Just from doing little bit of study it's obvious this question has ruffled a few feathers in the history of the church, I'm hoping to find some clarity right here. I know what you're thinking "that redeemed guy is quite the optimist isn't he".
Exactly. This question of baptism's role in salvation has been debated for centuries and will be debated until Jesus comes. I personally believe that all people who faithfully follow Christ will be saved regardless of their stance on baptism. I don't think interpretational issues will keep you out of Heaven. Interpretation issues have existed since the beginning of the scriptures. The main point is that we emulate Christ. I do have issues with the "faith alone" doctrine and its devaluation of works. I think James had the same issue as well.
 

brightfame52

Well-known member
We are justified prior to having faith by the blood of Christ Rom 5 9 then God gives faith to the blood justified one so they come into the Spiritual knowledge of it.
 

Redeemed

Active member
Exactly. This question of baptism's role in salvation has been debated for centuries and will be debated until Jesus comes. I personally believe that all people who faithfully follow Christ will be saved regardless of their stance on baptism. I don't think interpretational issues will keep you out of Heaven. Interpretation issues have existed since the beginning of the scriptures. The main point is that we emulate Christ. I do have issues with the "faith alone" doctrine and its devaluation of works. I think James had the same issue as well.
While I have a lot more studying to do on this, here's a thought. Does baptism and faith always have to compete with one another or could they work together? What if baptism is really God’s action, not a human work. God is the Baptizer, ultimately. He may use the minister and the water as his agents, but it is his Spirit who does the work not the person being baptized.

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 1 Cor. 12:13.

Anyway I like the way you think.
 

UncleAbee

Member
While I have a lot more studying to do on this, here's a thought. Does baptism and faith always have to compete with one another or could they work together? What if baptism is really God’s action, not a human work. God is the Baptizer, ultimately. He may use the minister and the water as his agents, but it is his Spirit who does the work not the person being baptized.

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 1 Cor. 12:13.

Anyway I like the way you think.
What you explained is my thought as well but there are many who disagree. I believe that God performs a work during baptism.
 

UncleAbee

Member
We are justified prior to having faith by the blood of Christ Rom 5 9 then God gives faith to the blood justified one so they come into the Spiritual knowledge of it.
Sounds like you are saying that all men are justified at the moment of Christ's death. Is that what you are saying? This is counter to what Paul is saying in Rom ch 3. Can you elaborate on who the "We" are?
 

Newbirth

Member
"But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness," (Romans 4:5).
Firstly the work mentioned in the verse is speaking of the law, the law does not justify anyone. Faith in Jesus Christ Justifies the ungodly. Faith in Jesus Christ is evidenced by obedience to Jesus Christ...
Mark 16:16
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Matthew 3:15
And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
Clearly, Jesus is referring to baptism as a part of fulfilling all righteousness.
Notice that the verse says when a person believes, his faith is credited as righteousness. If baptism is necessary for salvation then this verse cannot be true.
The question is, what does the person believe. Does the person believe Mark 16:16? If devils believe and tremble and people believe and do nothing which of them proved that they believed?
We are either justified by faith when we have faith, or we are not justified by faith when we have faith.
Faith without works is dead. Saying you have faith without obeying Jesus is dead faith, that faith does not justify anyone.
If we are justified at baptism, then we are not justified by faith when we have faith.
Baptism is the action that proves you have faith in Jesus by obedience to the word of God. We believe baptism clears our conscience from sin by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is not washing filth off the flesh.
1 Peter 3:21
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
 

Newbirth

Member
Exactly. This question of baptism's role in salvation has been debated for centuries and will be debated until Jesus comes.
and that is sad
I personally believe that all people who faithfully follow Christ will be saved regardless of their stance on baptism.
The thing is our personal belief does not supersede the word of God.
Acts 2
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
I don't think interpretational issues will keep you out of Heaven. Interpretation issues have existed since the beginning of the scriptures.
I am not sure I would encourage anyone to take that chance. Ignorance is not an excuse for disobedience.
The main point is that we emulate Christ.
In which case I suggest Matt 3
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
I do have issues with the "faith alone" doctrine and its devaluation of works. I think James had the same issue as well.
Yep faith without works is dead.
 

Redeemed

Active member
What you explained is my thought as well but there are many who disagree. I believe that God performs a work during baptism.
I believe an important part of apologetics is to understand both sides. So during my course of study on baptism I found this from my go to guy RC Sproul On the importance of baptism and I quote:

We have seen that it is a sign of the new covenant, but what specifically is it a sign of? What is its significance? I once drove from Atlanta to Gainesville, Florida, in a driving rain. I went from city to city—Macon, Tifton, Valdosta, Lake City, Gainesville—so I was eagerly looking for the signs along the road that would tell me the mileage to the next place. At one point, I saw a sign that said, “Valdosta, 74 miles.” That was a sign for Valdosta, but that sign was not Valdosta. A sign points beyond itself to something else. In the same way, baptism is not salvation and all that it entails. It is the sign that points us to the benefits of Christ that we receive by faith.

Most churches that I've been to don't bum rush you at the door and ask you if you have been baptized or tell you you need to be baptized and you need to be baptized by them in the way they do it or you are not saved. Now there are some I know like oneness Pentecostals. But I think most churches wait until they're ready to have a baptism collectively for whoever needs it or wants it then that person signs up for for it.

At any rate I know I'm going to have fun studying this out today, it's actually moved me into studying The Tabernacle and the instruments that were made holy to be used in The Tabernacle that is some interesting stuff also. One thing I've learned is that the instruments that were made holy never lost their holiness they only had to make them holy once even if they broke and they had to make new ones the new ones were holy without any kind of a ceremony. I thought that was pretty interesting.

Have a blessed day and enjoy it!
 
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brightfame52

Well-known member
uncleab

Sounds like you are saying that all men are justified at the moment of Christ's death.

No sir, only those men Christ died for, I believe in limited atonement ! Now those people He died for are Justified by His death Isa 53:11

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
for he shall bear their iniquities.
 

Newbirth

Member
I believe an important part of apologetics is to understand both sides. So during my course of study on baptism I found this from my go to guy RC Sproul On the importance of baptism and I quote:
Jesus was not an apologetic was he? Don't recall ever reading that. I have a problem with your go-to guy he is not Jesus.
Most churches that I've been to don't bum rush you at the door and ask you if you have been baptized or tell you you need to be baptized and you need to be baptized by them in the way they do it or you are not saved. Now there are some I know like oneness Pentecostals. But I think most churches wait until they're ready to have a baptism collectively for whoever needs it or wants it then that person signs up for for it.
Since you put it that way the first person to bum rush people to baptize was John. Why didn't Philip wait for a collection of people to baptize the eunuch?
At any rate I know I'm going to have fun studying this out today, it's actually moved me into studying The Tabernacle and the instruments that were made holy to be used in The Tabernacle that is some interesting stuff also. One thing I've learned is that the instruments that were made holy never lost their holiness they only had to make them holy once even if they broke and they had to make new ones the new ones were holy without any kind of a ceremony. I thought that was pretty interesting.
What if they were touched by an unclean person?
 
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