It began when Lucian made this interesting (and, uncharacteristically, not off-the-wall) comment:
I think it highly unwise to try to understand the Biblical concept of redemption, save through the prism of the Person of the Redeemer Himself: the God-Man Jesus Christ. ...I think there are at least 4 (possible options for a salvation concept) 1) 100% God, 0% man. 2) 100% man, 0% God. 3) X% God, (100-X)% man. 4) 100% God, 100% man.
A little later on, I wrote a post that ended up in 120+ comments where I contended that Ephesians 2:8-10's use of the two "works" provides unequivocal support for the idea of Sola Fide.
CrimsonCatholic stopped by and offered his thoughts, repeated in a recent post at his blog.
Here is what he said:
You once said that you rejected the idea that works could be both 100% God's and 100% man's, one of four options, because that option pertained to Christology and not justification.
In light of v. 2:10 and the rest of the book of Ephesians (espec. vv. 1:9-10, 22-23 and ch. 3), do you truly believe that Paul's doctrine of justification and Christian works is not Christological? And if the dichotomy between divine works and human works is false in Christ, why is it not false for those in whom Christ is working as well? Moreover, in the work of Christ, what cause do we have to boast of ourselves? (Compare Rom. 3:27 with Rom. 15:17-18, Gal. 2:20, Phlp. 2:13.)
So, leaving aside the fact that I also dealt with his question about boasting (which went unanswered), the central statement seems to be that, since Christ Himself is 100% God and 100% man, so must we regard our justification as 100% by the grace of God and 100% by the works of man.
This is interesting on several levels, really. My answers at the time were here and then here as a reiteration.
Eph 2:10 tells us that Christ created us for good works. Eph 2:8-9 tell us that it's apart from works that we are saved by grace thru faith. These works are the same works; the ones in v. 10 that don't save us in v.9 are what we do after we're created in Christ Jesus. Any distinction I make is what is made in the text; indeed, I'm forced into it. Nobody has yet dealt with that here.Just a sidenote - we don't find our doctrine in "linkages" that could be seen in between biblical passages when obvious statements are made about the same, such as Eph 2:8-10 and Rom 4:6-8. This is a hallmark of Roman Catholic apologetics, as the way they go about defending the Assumption of Mary demonstrate.
What I hear you saying seems to me to be similar to the common RC argument about the Assumption of the BV Mary, that it "would be fitting" for Christ to show the honor shown to Enoch and Elijah to His mother as well. Ergo, she was assumed. Game, set, match.
Here, you seem to be saying that since Christ was 100% God and 100% man, it is fitting that our salvation might be 100% God and 100% man as well. But how can we justify that connection biblically? It's a just-so story, b/c *you* think it would be fitting that it be that way. But God apparently disagrees.
CrimsonCatholic's argument would seem to require that Christ working in us is like God working in Christ and hence the works are the same. To make his argument work it would need to be modified to 100% God + 100% (perfect) man. We do not qualify for the second half and hence we are unable to contribute to our justification. Only Jesus fills that holy place. But the Roman Catholic may object that it is Christ's work in us, so it is still God's work. But how can you meaningfully say that it is not our works when we used our hands and mouths to do the works even if they were from God's work in us? The works Jesus does in us are our works too, just as the works God did in Christ were Christ's works too.
Also, that response fails miserably in taking into account just how bad the human is. He doesn't seek to do good. He doesn't want to. He hates the light. This "100% man" thing would lead to our utter damnation, by logical consequence.
Now, CC's argument seems to me to be similar to:
- Since Jesus is the High Priest, then we are also co-high priests because we are in him.
- Since Jesus is the Mediator, then we are co-mediators in him.
- Since Jesus is at the Right Hand of the Father, we are also at his right hand.
- Since Jesus is the King of Kings, we too are king of kings.
- Since Jesus worked for our salvation, we too work for our salvation in him.
It is taking Jesus' uniqueness and distributing it inappropriately to the redeemed. I think it is a tighter argument if you say that it is appropriate to use the God-man as a prism to interpret salvation but CC's approach fails because it generalizes from the unique God-man to humanity, which is a major problem.
But I want to ask a different question as well: Why choose Christology as the link to justification?
Here's an example: Why not link justification to the Trinity? Is not the Trinity a direct consideration in the justification of the sinner?
Instead of justification being 100% by grace (from God) and 100% by works (from men) (as Christ), why not 100% from God the Father, 100% from Jesus Christ, and 100% from the Holy Spirit?
Another example: Why not link justification to the resurrection of Lazarus? It was 100% of Jesus.
Another example: Why not link justification to the resurrection of Jesus Christ? It was Trinitarian as well.
So I'd ask CrimsonCatholic and anyone else who is so inclined to defend that linkage in preference to the other examples posted.
Posted for Christ's Glory,