Faith, Love, Works and other such requirements
You pointed out that according to the Bible, Jesus, Paul and James didn't agree on what was needed to enter Heaven. Hang on tight, because you started it, and though this will definitely get preachy, but you started it.
A pair of the most opposed scripture references you mentioned were:
Romans 3:28 and James 2:24
(Fumbling for a Bible, I locate King James Version, sorry…)
Therefore, we can conclude that a man is justified without the deeds of the law.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
I can see where you might be slightly confused.
I said that faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, is the only real requirement. So, how do works measure up? Let me give you a minor analogy.
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that I'm getting married. Found the
right guy, got him to love me, paid for the license, go through the
ceremony, the priest eventually says, "You may kiss the bride." This
perfect guy puckers up, and I…
Recoil and avoid kissing him.
Technically, the kiss has nothing to do with my legal status. I can kiss someone and mean nothing by it (such as the peck on the cheek, ever-so-common at family gatherings) or I could do as I described in the scene above. It has nothing to do with anything. But, I think that from the perspective of the families in the pews, it doesn't look healthy. It looks like the affection is absent, dead or dormant.
The kiss represents works, love represents faith and the marriage represents a relationship with God. (Seriously, prayer was never meant to be a memory test.)
God's not going just decide that he wants to save someone who doesn't believe in him the way I can't tell someone a secret if they aren't listening. This is part of free will.
Try to live for/live like/ communicate with God, you can't have sin in the way. Call it underage in the analogy or what have you, it just doesn't work. So, I decide I want to live for God. Get my sins forgiven by the blood of Christ by accepting his sacrifice. If I mean it, I obviously believe that this isn't hocus-pocus. That's faith. If later, I don't _do_ anything about it, no works, I'm still justified, but it doesn't look like it. Read James 2:20 to verify. In fact, if you wanted to be efficient, you'd learn that chapters are better than verses. For those of you who don't have the time, the chapter pretty much says, "All you need is faith, but we can't see faith. You show me your faith without works, I'll show you my faith by my works."
By the way, the Hermit asked me what flaws I saw in other religions. When I
first began reading stuff from this list, I saw a little bit of Christian
bashing. (Or more precisely, Xtian bashing) This was one of the things
that provoked me to speak up. You inadvertently taught me a thing about
etiquette. So, let me just say that I will not oppose any specific belief
1) There is someone present on this list who is a member of that belief system to correct me from the inside
2) The consent of that person to ask questions/ make statements against something that is theirs. (I don't want to intrude) 3) Someone neutral to objectively referee logic
I'd ask one week to dig up the information I had… at one time… in the black hole I call closet… so that I can share it.
I really don't want to fight an individual. It feels like crud. On this list, I can take a good stab at you NOTHING-worshippers, with full knowledge that there are enough atheists to respond with a decent answer. If, for example, someone was to defend Islam, but (s)he don't have sufficient language skills, that doesn't make their belief any less true (or less false). I do feel like the *only* soldier on the battlefield defending Christianity (me and the rest of the Snow Leopard pack), but I love to debate. I pray every night that I'm saying all of this right, sometimes I can't quite connect it. Sometimes the logic is there, the English isn't. For that, I apologize, and realize that if I am debating against another individual, that person probably won't have all of the answers either. That's what some of you here on the list don't quite realize.