The Book Of Romans And Works

Many see a conflict between the book of Romans teaching we are saved by faith (5:1), and the book of James teaching works are also instrumental in our salvation. I am told Martin Luther once called the book of James an “epistle of straw,” because he imagined such a conflict between Romans and James 2:24 which says “by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

But the careful student of the Bible will see that the book of Romans is filled with passages teaching salvation is conditioned upon our faith and works – there is no conflict with James. Let’s examine one clear example – Romans 2:6-10. Romans 2:6 reads “Who (speaking of God) will render to every man according to his deeds.” The word “deeds” here is translated from the same Greek word (“ergon”, Strong’s #2041) from which the word “works” is translated in James 2:24. Do you see then how Romans 2:6 teaches exactly the same thing as James 2:24? Both teach God will judge us by our deeds/works. Faith only salvation is refuted by both James and Romans.

Next let’s notice that the context of Romans 2:6 shows Paul is saying our eternal destiny is determined by our deeds – it is not just a matter of receiving different rewards in heaven (as some argue). Verse 7 shows “continuance in well doing” results in “eternal life.” On the flip side, verse 8 says those who “do not obey the truth” receive just the opposite – “indignation and wrath.” Read and see that verse 9 continues this thought by saying “every soul … that doeth evil” will receive “tribulation and anguish” from God. Verse 10 concludes the point by saying “every man that worketh good” will receive “glory, honour, and peace.”

Conclusion: The book of Romans (for example, chapter 2 verses 6-10) teaches our deeds/works will determine whether we go to heaven or eternal punishment. “Obedience to the faith” is required from one end of the book (1:5) to the other (16:26).

Question: Do you see how Romans 2:6-10 also proves the doctrine of “Once Saved Always Saved” is false, because it shows a Christian (just like anybody else) will be judged by his deeds, and if his deeds are evil he will be lost?

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