By Steven Merten
All biblical quotes are from the New American Bible.
All bolding, color and underlining of scriptural quotes have been added.
Jesus' words are in red. Bible Abbreviations
We Christians all agree that the only way to enter heaven is through the blood of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Where we Christians do not all agree is what Jesus will be looking for in a person when He judges who will enter into heaven through the mercy of His blood and who will go to hell.
St. Paul, Jesus, St. James, St. Peter and the Old Testament all give us teachings to obey God if we wish to enter into heaven through the Messiah, Jesus. St. Paul also gives us writings, which seem to teach the opposite. St. Paul seems to contradict even himself. This conflict is what we see today as the faith alone vs. faith through works conflict. This is a huge conflict.
The faith alone vs. faith through works conflict is even seen as a conflict within scriptures. Both St. Peter and St. James directly go into conflict with the writings of St. Paul over this issue (2PE 3:14) (James 2:14). St. Peter warns us that this issue is an end of times issue (2 Peter 3:8-18). Even Jesus directly deals with the, faith alone vs. faith through works, conflict (MAT 7:21) (LUK 6:43).
St. Paul says,
NAB2 GAL 2:15We, who are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles, (yet) who know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.,
Jesus says,Jesus tells us that those who have faith great enough to move mountains, prophesize or exorcise demons, but do not have love through obedience, He will damn to hell. To love Jesus is to obey Jesus (JOHN 14:15). St. Paul tells us that to possess faith great enough to move mountains is nothing if you do not love. Love is greater than a faith, a faith even great enough to move mountains, if that faith does not express itself through love and love for Jesus equals obedience to Jesus.
NAB MAT 19:16"Teacher, what good must I do to possess everlasting life?" He answered, "Why do you question me about what is good? There is One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." "Which ones?" he asked. Jesus replied "You shall not kill"; 'You shall not commit adultery'; 'You shall not steal'; 'You shall not bear false witness'; 'Honor your father and mother'; and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
NAB JOH 5:27"The Father has given over to him power to pass judgment because he is Son of Man; no need for you to be surprised at this, for an hour is coming in which all those in their tombs shall hear his voice and come forth. Those who have done right shall rise to live; the evildoers shall rise to be damned."
NAB MAT 16:27The Son of Man will come with his angels. When He does, he will repay each man according to his conduct.
NAB JOH 15:10"You will live in my love if you keep my commandments, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and live in his love."
NAB MAT 25:31"And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'...
...Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'...
...'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
NAB JOH 12:44Jesus proclaimed aloud: "Whoever puts faith in me believes not so much in me as in him who sent me; and whoever looks on me is seeing him who sent me. I have come to the world as its light, to keep anyone who believes in me from remaining in the dark. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I am not the one to condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save it. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words already has his judge, namely, the word I have spoken it is that which will condemn him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own; no, the Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to speak. Since I know that his commandment means eternal life, whatever I say is spoken just as he instructed me."St. Paul teaches us to obey God's commandments if we wish to enter into eternal life through Jesus (Romans 2:6) (Romans 2:13) (1 Corinthians 7:19). St. Paul tells us that the "law" of circumcision is not needed for salvation. St. Paul alines faith as obedience to Jesus and the Father. St Paul tells us to throw the, "law" on circumcision, in the garbage.
NAB MAT 7:21"None of those who cry out, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of God but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. When that day comes, many will plead with me, 'Lord, Lord,' have we not prophesied in your name? have we not exorcized demons by its power? Did we not do many miracles in your name as well? Then I will declare to them solemnly, I never knew you. Out of my sight, you evildoers!"
NAB MAT 17:20"I assure you, if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you would be able to say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible for you."
NAB 1CO 13:1-13 Excellence of the gift of love.Now I will show you the way which surpasses all the others. If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
NAB2 JOH 14:15If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
NAB JAM 2:14My brothers, what good is it to profess faith without practicing it? Such faith has no power to save one, has it? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and no food for the day, and you say to them, "Good-bye and good luck! Keep warm and well fed," but do not meet their bodily needs, what good is that? so it is with the faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless.
To such a person one might say, You have faith and I have works is that it? Show me your faith without works, and I will show you the faith that underlies my works! Do you believe that God is one? you are quite right. The demons believe that, and shudder.Whenever reading St. Paul's letters remember St. Peter's warning about St. Paul's letters. St. Peter strongly warns us that St. Paul’s letters can be confusing and the wicked distort them to their own eternal ruin. Do not let someone use St. Paul's letters to lead you astray from Jesus' teaching to obey God's commandments if you wish to enter into eternal life through His blood. If, in your mind, you cannot get St. Paul's letters to fit into Jesus' many teachings to obey God if you wish to enter into life through Him, then focus on Jesus' teachings over St. Paul’s. Do not throw out Jesus teachings for what one seems to think St. Paul is saying. It is Jesus' Word we must believe in and be true to for salvation.
NAB ACT 15:1Some men came down to Antioch from Judea and began to teach the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved." This created dissension and much controversy between them and Paul and Barnabas.
NAB PHI 3:5(St. Paul is speaking.)I was circumcised on the eighth day, being of the stock of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrew origins; in legal observance I was a Pharisee, and so zealous that I persecuted the church. I was above reproach when it came to justice based on the law. (GAL 6:13)
NAB ACT 21:20(St. Paul is speaking)"You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have come to believe, all of them staunch defenders of the law. Yet they have been informed that you teach the Jews who live among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, to give up the circumcision of their children, and to renounce their customs."
NAB GAL 5:6(St. Paul is speaking.)In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor the lack of it counts for anything; only faith, which expresses itself through love.
NAB2 1JO 5:3(John is speaking)For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,
NAB 1CO 7:19(St. Paul is speaking.)Circumcision counts for nothing, and its lack makes no difference either. What matters is keeping God's commandments.
NAB 1TI 1:19(St. Paul is speaking.)hold fast to faith and a good conscience. Some men, by rejecting the guidance of conscience, have made a shipwreck of their faith,
NAB ROM 2:13(St. Paul is speaking.)For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; it is those who keep it who will be declared just.
NAB ROM 2:6(St. Paul is speaking). . . when he will repay every man for what he has done: eternal life to those who strive for glory, honor, and immortality by patiently doing right; wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. Yes, affliction and anguish will come upon every man who has done evil, the Jew first then the Greek. But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who has done good, likewise the Jew first, then the Greek.
NAB 2PE 3:14 Preparation for the Coming.(St. Peter is speaking)Consider that our Lord's patience is directed toward salvation. Paul, our beloved brother, wrote you this in the spirit of wisdom that is his, dealing with these matters as he does in all his letters. There are certain passages in them hard to understand. The ignorant and the unstable distort them (just as they do the rest of Scripture) to their own ruin. You are forewarned, beloved brothers. Be on your guard lest you be led astray by the error of the wicked, and forfeit the security you enjoy.
NAB MAT 24:9Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.
St. Paul was a Pharisee before his conversion to Christianity (PHI 3:5). The Pharisees instigated the murder of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Pharisees had Jesus murdered, allegedly, in compliance to the 'law' of God. St. Paul had complete knowledge and understanding on how the Jewish Hierarchy distorted God's Law and replaced it with their own traditions. The Jewish Hierarchy had manipulated God's Law away from God's will and made 'God's Law' obey their own fleshly desires. St. Paul converted to Christianity and turned to go up against the full force of the big guns of the Jewish Hierarchy in their corruption of God's Law. St. Paul never opposed Jesus and the Father's teaching to obey God's Commandments in order to go to heaven through Jesus. St. Paul went up against the distortion of God's Law by Jewish Hierarchy in his letters and epistles to the early Church. St. Paul also ended the Jewish Mosaic law on salvation only through Jewish circumcision. St. Paul stands behind Jesus teaching to obey the commandments of God if you wish to enter into life through the mercy of Christ's blood. Do not let St. Paul's conflict with the Jewish Hierarchy on salvation through the Jewish law 'only', confuse you on Jesus teaching to obey God's Ten Commandments in order to go to heaven through the mercy of Christ's blood. To put faith in Jesus is to obey Jesus; those who have faith/obey Jesus are separated out by Jesus on Judgment day to go to heaven through the mercy of His blood.
Jesus shows us how the Pharisees distorted God's Law in Mark 7:9.
NAB MAR 7:9He went on to say: "You have made a fine art of setting aside God's commandment in the interests of keeping your traditions! For example, Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and in another place, 'Whoever curses father or mother shall be put to death.' Yet you declare, If a person says to his father or mother, Any support you might have had from me is korban' (that is, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. That is the way you nullify God's word in favor of the traditions you have handed on."
When Jesus talks of Christians, 'from John the Baptists time forward', who are forcing their way into heaven, He does not mean that people are actually physically breaking down the door to heaven and walking in. Jesus is referring to, baptized by John, Christians of His day who were verbally force their way into heaven. It seems that there were many 'faith alone', baptized, converts, who were throwing out Jesus' concept of living your whole life loving God, through obedience to God, to enter into heaven through His blood. Instead these, Baptized by John, Christians were verbally forcing their way into heaven through baptism alone. Jesus corrects the 'faith alone' baptized Christian followers of His own day. Jesus clarifies that simply accepting John the Baptist's 'Good News of God's kingdom', and converting, through John's Baptism, does not 'alone' put you in possession of heaven. Loving God through obeying His Commandments, to go to heaven through Jesus' blood, is still in place, according to Jesus. Jesus is strong on this.
To hold on to everlasting life, St. Paul 'charges' us to keep God's commandments. St. Paul compares our 'fight of faith' to Jesus' 'noble profession' of faith in His obedience to death on the cross before Pontius Pilate. Jesus refuses to make a verbal 'noble profession' to Pilate that JESUS IS LORD, Jesus is King or Jesus is Salvation (MAT 27:11) (MAR 15:2)(LUK 23:3) (JOH 18:33). Nor does Jesus preach to, or speak to, Pontius Pilate. It is through Jesus verbally silent, obedience to the will of the Father, in obediently going to His death on the cross, that Jesus screams His 'noble profession' 'of faith' before Pontius Pilate, according to St. Paul.
NAB LUK 16:17"The law and the prophets were in force until John. From his time on, the good news of God's kingdom has been proclaimed, and people of every sort are forcing their way in. It is easier for the heavens and the earth to pass away than for a single stroke of a letter of the law to pass. Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. The man who marries a woman divorced from her husband likewise commits adultery."
NAB MAT 3:8They were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. When he saw that many of the Pharisees and Sadducees were stepping forward for this bath, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who told you to flee from the wrath to come? Give some evidence that you mean to reform. Do not pride yourselves on the claim, 'Abraham is our father.' I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these very stones."
NAB MAT 19:16"Teacher, what good must I do to possess everlasting life?" He answered, "Why do you question me about what is good? There is One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." "Which ones?" he asked. Jesus replied "You shall not kill"; 'You shall not commit adultery';
NAB MAT 5:17 The Old Law and the New."Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets. I have come, not to abolish them, but to fulfill them. Of this much I assure you: until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter of the law, not the smallest part of a letter, shall be done away with until it all comes true. that is why whoever breaks the least significant of these commands and teaches others to do so shall be called least in the kingdom of God. Whoever fulfills and teaches these commands shall be great in the kingdom of God."
NAB 1TI 6:11(St. Paul is speaking)Instead, seek after integrity, piety, faith, love, steadfastness, and a gentle spirit. Fight the good fight of faith. Take firm hold on the everlasting life to which you were called when, in the presence of many witnesses, you make your noble profession of faith. Before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who in bearing witness made his noble profession before Pontius Pilate, I charge you to keep God's command without blame or reproach until our Lord Jesus Christ shall appear.
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author Steven Merten