Study the Bible
Published: Saturday, January 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Study the Bible
Regarding Bruce Braden's reply letter (“Christmas not that unique,” Dec. 30) to my letter about Christmas (“Jesus' birthday,” Dec. 16): It's evident he has not studied the Bible and lacks the Holy Spirit within to enable him to discern the truth.
If works can take people to heaven, then why did Jesus die on the cross to pay in full for our sins and has risen from the dead? Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me!”
We are first reborn spiritually by grace and faith in Jesus, then enabled to serve the Lord by our works.
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us we are saved by grace, which means undeserved favor and merit through faith and not of works, lest any man should boast.
Martin Luther started the Reformation by breaking from the Roman Catholic Church's bondage by reading God's word in Romans 1:17 — the just shall live by faith.
No amount of personal effort, good works or religious deeds can earn a place in heaven for people.
The thief on the cross did no works and was saved by faith in the words of Jesus alone.
I rest my case.
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Oh, but I have studied the Bible, Maris Sanner (Jan. 19), read it cover to cover several times! Most people haven't. That's why I cited the quotes I did which contradict the quotes you cited or now cite. Like it or not, Matt. 25 and Apoc. 20 both describe Last Judgement accounts which cite only works, not faith, as the deciding qualifications for heaven or hell. It is not I who created the contradictions. The contradictions are self-contained within the Bible. James disputes Paul over faith vs. works. Cite what you want. My counters remain. To save others the time of reading the whole Bible cover to cover to find the contradictions, I recommend two books among many to help pinpoint and view what the Bible and the spirit shows those with eyes to see: First William Henry Burr's "Self-Contradictions of the Bible." Second, C. Dennis McKinsey's "The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy." Many years ago, I did not set out to find error or contradiction in the Bible. I simply wanted to know what it said, and as an aid in understanding works of literature which reference Biblical material. Hemingway, for instance, entitled a novel, "The Sun Also Rises," a quote found in Ecclesiastes and in Matthew. The Catholic religion of Jesus in my youth supposedly told me to seek and value truth. I have found the truth, albeit it was not what I nor others of a particular faith expected or wanted me to find or reveal. But, as Martin Luther, said when confronted by the Catholic Church for his challenges to faith: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise." There was a security in my childhood faith. I miss that. But, the God I know expects me to have faith in the gifts of reason and to use the talents he has given me.........even if I, too, am just a poor carpenter's son. As to the salvation of "good thief" on the cross with Jesus, in the gospel alluded to (Luke), his good work was in speaking well of Jesus when the other thief reviled Jesus. That is what saved him. But, in Mark and Matthew, both of those crucified with Jesus "reviled him." In those gospels, therefore, there was no thief saved! Bruce Braden MA, Personality Theory & Religion