How do you respond to the argument that, ultimately, Christian salvation is based on deeds, not grace?
2. Why is the Bible not able to give a definitive and logical answer to the most essential matters of Christianity? For example, how could it be logical that blood remove the sins? Blood is a physical matter, but sin is something unseen and non-physical and what does it mean blood remove the sins or the holy blood is required for the remission of sins?
3. How should we understand that in Christianity God is one he is a triune God and it is mostly said by the people who defends bible and Christianity that Trinity is in the Bible and nobody can really understand it. Trinity being one of the most essential doctrine of the bible and Christianity, why it is not clearly understood by human?
You are asking the big three–arguably the three hardest questions about Christianity. The first question has plagued Christian groups from the first century. Yet, I believe that the answer is fairly simple. On the one hand the Bible says in the strongest of terms that we are not saved by deeds. What could be a more fundamental truth to the New Testament that we are saved by grace, not works? The most famous passage along this line is Ephesians 2:10. What I learn from this passage is that we are saved by grace, through faith, not by “works” or deeds, as you say. No work we do could ever possibly result in producing salvation. If we did ten thousand amazing good deeds, we would be no more saved than if we had not done them at all. Our salvation is by grace, and our deeds do nothing to make us more saved than we would have been otherwise. The entire book of Galatians is a repudiation of the idea that works of the law are connected with our salvation. Paul tells us that if we are seeking salvation by works are under a curse (Gal 3:10)
But then there is James 2:14-26, which is perhaps the most famous passage in the New Testament which tells us that faith without deeds will not save us. James tells us that “faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26). In other words, the kind of “faith” which is not accompanied by deeds is not the kind of faith which leads to salvation. So, at first glance we have a conundrum. But in fact, we do not have a contradiction. On the one hand, the most fundamental truth is that we are saved by grace. Keeping commands and doing good deeds does not undo our sin problem. Only the grace of God–through faith in his blood–can remove the stain of sin. Our deeds have no effect in that area. Yet, we are not saved apart from works. Even our very salvation is completed by works. When asked what are the work of God required for salvation, Jesus said that “The work [required] of God is this: to believe in in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29). It is us who put our faith in Jesus. We are also required to repent in order to be saved. If we do not repent we will not be saved (Acts 2:38, Luke 13:1-5). Repenting is something we do. But our repentance does not save us. Like Paul said in Ephesians 2:10, we are saved by grace. Add to that the hundreds of passages in the New Testament which connect our deeds with our salvation. The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats clearly connects our good deeds with our salvation. It is our help to the poor and needy which makes us “sheep” in this passage. And then there is the entire Book of Hebrews which connects our continued life of faith with our remaining saved. Our works may not save us, but a complete lack of “works” can result in our losing our salvation. There are literally hundreds of warnings, both from Jesus and the other New Testament writers, of what we must do in order to remain faithful and to remain in the faith.
Here is the bottom line. None of these things that we do as a response to the grace of God, and none of the things we do because of our faith, without which we will lose our salvation, do anything to save us. Only the grace of God allows us to be forgiven of our sins and to receive the Holy Spirit. However, God does ask us to respond to his grace, and without that response, that grace will not be ultimately given. Deedless faith is not saving faith.
On the saving power of the blood of Jesus, this, too, is a difficult question. Is it really the actual blood that saves us? Well, yes and no. Sorry for a confusing answer, but this is a difficult question. On the one hand, in Hebrews 9:22 tells us that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:11-22 is an entire section on the relationship between blood and forgiveness. But here is the question. Is it the actual blood itself with produces forgiveness, or is it what the blood represents that produces the forgiveness. Is blood merely a metaphor? I think that is going too far, given Hebrews 9:22 and other passages. However, more fundamentally, it is the death which the blood is a very physical reminder of which activated the forgiveness of God. In fact, we can interchange the death of Jesus and the blood of Jesus in any particular sentence in the New Testament. We are buried with him in baptism and raised with him as well. (Romans 6:1-7). Is it the death, burial and resurrection that saves us or is it the blood of Jesus that saves us, or is it the “cross” that saves us? All of these are used pretty much equivalently in the New Testament. It is the message of the cross that has the power to save (1 Cor 1:18). All of these are true. In the end, it is the grace of God which saves us, but that grace is activated by the death/sacrifice of Jesus, by his blood and by the gospel message of the cross. These truths are not contradictory. No, it is not the actual physical blood that saves us. It is the sacrifice of Jesus that saves us. And what is a “sacrifice”? Is it a physical thing. When I sacrifice my time or my effort to God is that a physical thing? God is not a physical being, and it is not physical things that save us, but God uses physical things to explain to us and to demonstrate to us the means of our salvation.
I have answered questions about the Trinity many times at the web site. Please do a word search for Trinity at the site and get back to me if those are not sufficient. A quick one is copied and pasted below.
Can you please explain the Trinity to me? Are there 3 Gods or 3 personalities in a God? I understand that there are 3 different persons. Is that wrong? If it is right, God says he won’t give his glory to anyone and we should never worship anybody other than God. But I pray to Jesus to and worship him. I was taught that they are all one. Later when I grew up I had many confusions. Please help me
I suggest you spend some time at my web site doing a search for the word trinity. I have literally dozens of articles, power points and audios on this topic. I would particularly ask you to consider looking at the power point and outline of the lesson titled “Answering the Hard Questions” or another lesson titled “A Defense of Christian Theology.”
Let me give an extremely brief summary of how I see the biblical answer to your question.
One thing which is abundantly clear, from literally hundreds of passages, both in the Old and the New Testament, is that there is only one God. Christianity is a religion of monotheism, not tritheism. In the lesson on Answering the Hard Questions you will find a list of perhaps fifty of these. Paul tells us that there is one God. I will let Deuteronomy 6:4 stand for the hundreds of passages which absolutely affirm that there is one God. “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one God.”
Yet, in what as first glance what can seem to be a logical impossibility, Jesus, a man born in human flesh, is described by the Bible as being God. John 1:1 tells us about Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God.” Later we are told that the Word of God became flesh and lived among us, and that we beheld the glory of God in Jesus Christ. There is no doubt at all that the New Testament identifies Jesus as God/deity. I could cite dozens of passages on that as well. John 8:58 and John 10:33 as samples of this. We, as Christians, seem to be in a logical conundrum, in that Jesus is “with God” and yet Jesus “is God.” Add to this the fact that the Holy Spirit is identified as God as well.
Words used to describe this Christian teaching are many. Some describe the godhead. Others use the word trinity. In any case, surely this God of the Bible is a mystery. Some describe the Father, the Son and the Spirit as three persons in one God. This may be accurate, but any human description appears to be inadequate. Certainly, words used for personhood are used of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, so this description of three “persons” seems to be a reasonably good one.
Personally, I would not say that there are three “different persons.” I am not even sure I would say that there are three separate persons. I would prefer to say what the Bible says, and leave it at that. Jesus is God, yet Jesus speaks to his Father who is also God, and yet there is only one God. This is the nature of Jesus as the Bible describes it. It is not strictly “logical” according to human logic, yet it is true.
God is about relationship from the beginning to the middle to the end, and even God himself exists in a kind of relationship between Father, Son and Spirit, and we are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Spirit–the one God of the Bible.
This is a mystery and I am afraid I must leave it as a mystery. It can be a stumbling block to those who think they are wise (1 Corinthians 1:18f), but it is true nevertheless.
I hope this helps.