ABC:Romans 3

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Verse 10[edit | hide | hide all]

TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage in the section "Can Man Be Righteous?", and makes the following comments:[1]

The simple answer is that there are two kinds of righteousness, Biblically, and Paul himself makes this plain. In fact, the entire book of Romans has as perhaps its major theme the contrast between the righteousness of the Law which noone measures up to, and the righteousness through faith which comes by trusting Jesus. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a self-centered righteousness based on our works by which none will be justified because none are good enough in themselves, and a God-centered righteousness based on trusting Jesus to save us where it is God's righteousness that is credited to our accounts.

There is no contradiction here. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a righteousness according to the Law of works that nobody but Jesus measures up to, and a righteousness of faith where God credits righteousness based on trust in Jesus.

Verse 20: Saved by Works? (FFRF)[edit | hide]

Dan Barker of FFRF claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[2]

This is one of the most well-known claims of a contradiction in the Bible, and has been excellently debunked by the Scofield Study Bible III.

As mentioned by the Scofield Study Bible III, Ephesians 2:8-10 is the passage which brings both views together:

In other words, we are saved by faith, not works, it's God's gift not man's doing, lest anyone should boast. However, we are created by Jesus to do good works and it is God's will that we do them. The works themselves do not save, but are the outward evidence to others, and to ourselves, that we have indeed undergone an inward redemptive process of salvation.

True saving faith will ultimately produce good works as the result of a changed heart and a new spirit. Thus if a person shows no interest in doing good works once becoming a Christian, and for years lives without any change, then as James points out, that faith without works is a dead faith and no faith indeed.

Verse 23 (Do Christians Sin?)[edit | hide]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and asks the question, "Christians sin, just like everyone (or do they?)"[4]

There are two kinds of righteousness, Biblically, and Paul himself makes this plain. In fact, the entire book of Romans has as perhaps its major theme the contrast between the righteousness of the Law which noone measures up to, and the righteousness through faith which comes by trusting Jesus. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a self-centered righteousness based on our works by which none will be justified because none are good enough in themselves, and a God-centered righteousness based on trusting Jesus to save us where it is God's righteousness that is credited to our accounts. (Romans 10:3-11; 3:19-28) There is no contradiction here. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a righteousness according to the Law of works that nobody but Jesus measures up to, and a righteousness of faith where God credits righteousness based on trust in Jesus. (Romans 4:1-8)

God allowed Satan to test Job to justify greater rewards for him, both in this life and eternally (which he ultimately received--Job 42:10-12) while refining his character and making certain he was faithful to God. (Zechariah 13:9; 1 Peter 1:6-7; Daniel 12:10; James 1:12) God allowed Satan to persecute him; but God ultimately blessed him and showed favor to him, blessing him with twice as much as what he had lost. (Job 42:10-12) God used Job's trials to refine him, making him even stronger as a warrior for God, and justify even greater rewards for him. (Zechariah 13:9) God uses trials to refine His servants, the way that fire is used to refine metals and make them stronger. (Malachi 3:3; Proverbs 17:3; 27:21; Jeremiah 9:7; Isaiah 1:25; 13:12, 48:10; Psalms 66:10) Jesus Himself was purified and refined through sufferings, to make Him the perfect leader for all time. (Hebrews 2:10; 5:8-9) God's chastening is used to make us stronger warriors for His kingdom. Christians are thus encouraged to endure suffering as faithful soldiers of Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3; Hebrews 12:5-11) Although Job is repeatedly praised for his righteousness and endurance through trials, he ultimately sinned in speaking ignorantly of things he did not know about, and rashly condemning God. (Job 38:2; 40:2) Job himself acknowledged that he had spoken incorrectly about things he did not understand. (Job 42:3-6; 40:3-5) Job's primary error lay in justifying himself rather than God, and accusing God of punishing him without just grounds. (Job 32:2; 33:9-13; 34:5,9; 35:2-3; 40:8)

And no, Romans 5:19 does not say that everyone was made righteous by Jesus. It just says "by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." It says many, not everyone; and not even most. The verse, in and of itself, does not specify how they are made righteous. The surrounding verses show that such righteousness does not occur without condition; Romans 4:24 states that it is imputed 'IF' we believe. Romans 5:1-2 specifically says we are justified through faith. Romans 6:13-16 emphasizes that as Christians we must still deliberately make the choice not to sin.

Finally, 1 John 5 is referring to a perpetual pattern of deliberate, willful sin. As observed by the Scofield Study Bible III's note for 1 John 3:4: "3:4 committeth. Here and in similar places in this Epistle the Greek verb has the force of a continuous present tense (compare 3:5,9; 5:18) and thus denotes a person's habitual attitude toward sin as expressed in his practice or non-practice of it. John is not speaking of a state of perfection in which it is impossible for a Christian ever to sin; but he is stressing the fact that a Christian cannot keep on practicing sin, because he is born of God."

Verse 28 (Faith or Works)[edit | hide]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[4]

As mentioned by the Scofield Study Bible III, Ephesians 2:8-10 is the passage which brings both views together.[5] We are saved by faith, not works, it's God's gift not man's doing, lest anyone should boast.

However, we are created by Jesus to do good works and it is God's will that we do them. The works themselves do not save, but are the outward evidence to others, and to ourselves, that we have indeed undergone an inward redemptive process of salvation.

True saving faith will ultimately produce good works as the result of a changed heart and a new spirit. Thus if a person shows no interest in doing good works once becoming a Christian, and for years lives without any change, then as James points out, that faith without works is a dead faith and no faith indeed.

Most of the verses quoted by Patheos in support of works, including Proverbs 24:12, Matthew 16:27, and Revelation 20:12 all relate to how people will be judged at the Final Judgment. Even Christians receive rewards based upon their works. However, the ultimate standard for whether one is saved is faith in Jesus Christ, no other foundation for works will be accepted. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15) Works only make a difference for rewards if one first has faith in Jesus.

John the Baptist came preaching repentance before Jesus came for a reason. (Matthew 3:2) To trust in Jesus to save us from our sins (i.e. faith) we must first accept that we are sinners, and desire to change and stop doing evil; i.e. repentance. Repentance must precede faith; one cannot trust in Jesus to save us from our sins if one does not first acknowledge one has done anything wrong. One cannot call on Jesus to save them unless they desire to change with all their heart.

As for baptism, it is not the physical action which is involved in the salvation process, but baptism of the Holy Spirit, the cleansing of one's conscience. (Acts 1:25; 11:16) As Peter says, "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." (1 Peter 3:21) Baptism serves as a public declaration of faith in Christ, and in countries like ancient Rome which outlawed Christianity, was to take a dangerous step in openly proclaiming a belief in Jesus.

Sources[edit | hide]

  1. TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-contradictions.
  2. Barker, D. (2019). "Bible Contradictions." FFRF.
  3. Scofield, Cyrus I. (2003). The Scofield Study Bible III. pg. 1625. Oxford University Press.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.
  5. Scofield, Cyrus I. (2003). The Scofield Study Bible III. pg. 1625. Oxford University Press.