Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 4 Study # 2
July 26, 2005
Lincolnton, N.C.

<144> Thesis: "Faith" is not a "work" but an "intrinsic necessity" within the context of relationship. Introduction: In our opening study of this 4th paragraph in Romans 3 last week we focused upon the distinctions between the "principles" of "Works" and "Faith" as the foundation for Paul's attack upon "boasting" as an expression of, perhaps, the most heinous of sins. Boasting is a primary tool in the tool kit of those who wish to be independent of God, and superior to God, and still be regarded as "worthy of recognition and reward". That study skirted around a significant puzzle in most people's minds: how is "faith" really any different from "works"? Isn't it true that many, if not most, believers, having theoretically been delivered from the need for "boasting", are yet "boastful"? And, is it not the majority opinion of most who call themselves "believers" that whether a person obtains God's salvation, or not, boils down to the often stated claim, "Well, everyone has a free will and each one must make his own choice as to whether he will accept God's gift of salvation, or not". And does not this claim of "free will", being the bottom line in the determination of whether one obtains salvation, or not, automatically re-establish what Paul has so determinedly destroyed...a basis for boasting? If, when it is all said and done, the difference between the believer and the unbeliever is that the believer used his "free will" to choose God and the unbeliever used his "free will" to reject God, there is no escape from the conclusion that "believers" are "more responsible" in the exercise of their "free wills" than are "unbelievers". And, if they are "more responsible", they are morally superior; and if morally superior, "boasting" has been resurrected. So, this evening we are going to look again at Paul's doctrine of justification by faith as the basis for the elimination of "boasting". We are going to attempt to come to a clearer grasp of the difference in the "principles" of "works" and "faith".