Romans 4:5New International Version (NIV)
5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
I need help to understand this scripture. What does it mean?
Does this make the JW interpretation of all people being destroyed wrong..Since god counts faith as righteousness?
It is Paul’s word, not God’s word (1 Cor 7:10, 40); hence there is no benefit trying to understand it.
I think it is useful to know the possibilities - if only to point out the inconsistencies of a high control religion/cult.
In this scripture, Paul explains the difference between Faith and Works.
If you read the surrounding scriptures, you will see it. When a slave receives wages for his work, the wage is not a gift, but an amount that is due to him by his master.
However, salvation and grace is a gift, not a wage that we receive due to our works. So even though a person may work to back up his faith, the credit for his saving goes to his faith and not the works that he did.
Abraham did lot of works in obedience to God and because of his love for him, like leaving his home and personal luxuries behind, circumcising the male members of his family, readiness to sacrifice Isaac, etc. However, the credit for his righteousness did not go to this works, but to his Faith - Genesis 15:6.
To understand this, take the example of a husband and wife who are celebrating their 50th marriage anniversary. When the husband gifts something expensive to his loving wife, he is not paying her for all the dishes and clothes that she washed, the food that she cooked for the last 50 years, etc. She is not a maid. He gifts her for being faithful and loving throughout the years. Similarly, God gifts us with salvation not because we have worked for him, but because we showed love and faith while doing those works.
Yep JWs got this wrong too. It is belief not faith that saves. Proof- conversation between Jesus and the thief when both were being crucified. Jesus assumes the thief that he will be in heaven. In other words a deathbed conversion, there are many of these. If salvation was just through works these wouldn't count.
This doctrine allows WTS to have a band of unpaid willing workers flogging their literature.
Spot on Drearyweather ( you must be a fellow Brit ) and SummerAngel . The WT teaching of salvation through works allows the attitude of never being good enough to permeate the r&f and the insistence of complete obedience to the GB .
Drearyweather wrote: Abraham did lot of works in obedience to God and because of his love for him, like leaving his home and personal luxuries behind, circumcising the male members of his family, readiness to sacrifice Isaac, etc. However, the credit for his righteousness did not go to this works, but to his Faith - Genesis 15:6.
I like Drearyeathers illustration very much. However, I think Abrham could not even present works but in contrary he had only little faith and he only barely believed. It was the spark of faith that counted. Circumsicion is not a work, how the baptism is not a work but a sign, a testimony.
Dont let us forget that Abraham was - even after the covenant - a tricky person, a liar, a disputable person, he betrayed his wife, and created many family problems, only after 100 years God allowed that he procreated a son. For more than 100 years God - according to the story - God forgave him and corrected his mistakes and had to intervent to correct his mistakes. And only after 100 he latetly understood Gods will a little bit indeed, his faith had grown though and therefore it was time for God to test him, he shoud sacrifce his son and kill him with a knife, what he again did not understand, but he tried hard to do it, he had faith, trust, confidence.
He was not a hero of "good deeds", "works", or "theocraticve achievements", but only had one thing - a little bit trust, he barely believed - and now after 100 years he didnt understand why he should gilden his faith by killing his son, what he did not in fact (it was only a story) and also fortunately, because otherwise the divine promise could not come true.
Although he was apart from that an example of a sinner, a slow and weak person, a godless rapscallion in his heart, this situation must have been really difficult for him after he had found finally a little faith in God, then suddenly such a final examination/test!
The story only expresses with the mean of such a crucial test using the ancient "human sacrifice" as pattern, (although for our sense it might be unloving) that only entire devition to God is what - also accompanied by awful endurance test - leads to the "true life" and the fullfillment of the promise.
However it was neither this "test" nor the circumcision, nor the convenant, nor his 100 years of divine education, intervention and correction (what made him ancestor of a promise) what would have been the requirement to be loved by God. It was Abrahams however the original tiny seed of faith, that ingenious faith, which took roots, that was credited as righteousness.
From this perspective - taken Abraham as example of a man who BARELY believed and barely passed those tests of faith, however had a spark of faith - not only a little flock, but billions of people, "ungodly" people, liars with a spark of faith, should indeed not fear that their little faith would not be credited as righteousness.
BTW: Charles Taze Russel, Joseph F. Rutherford are only a few examples in the organsation that followed his example, they were tricky and liars and created many problem in the bethel family that even today leads to suffering of thousand of honest Christians. They had a spark of faith. But even after 100 years God has not yet enough intervened to correct the manmade rules. However these two might even be also heirs of the promise, not because of deeds, works, service hours in pioneering, donations, but because of Gods love. The crucial test however for the GB as for anyone could yet stand before them anytime. For them the test will be certainly much severe. Would they really bring such a "human" sacrifice, let their children or parents die without blood e.g. which they await from others? Whatfor actually if a spark of faith is enough?
Thanks all for your help, I understand the meaning behind the scripture much better now. :)