articles of chapter 6

Salvation by Grace – Through Fire

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8)

If his work is burned up, he will suffer loss. However, he himself will be saved, but it will be like going through fire. (1 Cor 3:15)

Then we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. (Rom 3:28)

Barnes’ Notes: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. … no righteousness of their own will be the ground of their justification. They are sinners; and as such can have no claim to he treated as righteous. God has devised a plan by which, they may be pardoned and saved; and that is by faith alone. .. Luther often called this doctrine of justification by faith the article upon which the church stood or fell. .. If this doctrine is held entire, all others will be held with it. If this is abandoned, all others will fall also. It may be remarked here, however, that this doctrine by no means interferes with the doctrine that good works are to be performed by Christians. Paul urges this as much as any other writer in the New Testament. His doctrine is, that they are not to be relied on as a ground of justification; but that he did not mean to teach that they are not to be performed by Christians is apparent from the connection,

Rom 4:5 But to someone who does not work, but simply believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.

Now it is obvious that no one is justified in the sight of God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith. (Gal 3:11)

In the Old Covenant (of law) there were more than 600 orders for the people of Israel . Who was able to observe all of these? The New Covenant of Christ changes everything: Ellicott’s Commentary says, “For we hold that a man is justified by faith, independently of any work prescribed by law.” Even though deeds of the law are no longer solving the salvation (becoming righteous, i.e. proclamation of sinless) we are to, because of faith, strive to continue to do good deeds in life. With the new covenant, the human part has been facilitated; no longer a modern person needs to think about how to treat bulls or how to observe other over 600 orders. Yet, man has a lot to do in his endeavor to carry out the double commandment of Christ – loving God and neighbor.

Foundation of faith. 1 Cor 3:11 After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that is Jesus Christ.
12 And if anyone builds on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw,
13 the work of each will be revealed; for the Day [of judgment] will make it known, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire will prove the work of each, what sort it is.
14 If what a person has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. [or receive wages]
15 If his work is burned up, he will suffer loss. However, he himself will be saved, but it will be like going through fire. (Read more of this consuming and cleansing fires in the last chapter)

One can only build faith on Jesus. The foundation of my faith can be good (gold, silver, etc.) or it may be weaker, but if your faith (i.e. building) is lasting, you will be paid. If the faith (your ‘building’) is poorly constructed of wood or straw and cannot withstand, but burns, the builder must suffer the damage and perhaps he will be destroyed in the last days of the tribulation. This ‘builder’, whose house (faith) has some real elements, will, however, be saved even though he does not receive wages [a leading position in the kingdom or the crown of righteousness] but as if (note: as if) through the fire. This point that speaks of salvation through fire refers in the opinion of Catholics to the Purgatory, in which man is saved after a shorter or longer-lasting, cleansing fire. I would not be so sure that it is a question of Purgatory, anyway not the kind of thing you that you can relieve with money.

In Romans 12:3 it is disclosed that God has given faith to each one of a certain amount: For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Also Eph 4:7 Now to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.– God’s spirit distributes faith and grace to each one as he pleases: 1 Cor 12:11 But one and the same Spirit produces all these results and gives what he wants to each person. – Could it be that the builder of a ‘poor house’ has had less faith than others, and yet in the final judgment he would be forcibly cleansed and saved as if through the fire?