Is believing/faith a work ?


Truth Smacker
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I found this article on the internetnad its something I have said for years:

Faith: A gift? A work? Something in Between?​

My last post explained why the Arminian view of salvation ultimately is salvation by works. I explained that a “work” as conceptualized by Paul included the idea of doing something in exchange for a reward. The Arminian idea of justification by faith, therefore, necessarily leads to justification by works. In today’s post I’d like to look at and explore another reason, and a rather simple one, as to why Arminianism constitutes salvation by works: Faith is a work. More specifically, the activity of faith, which is believing, is a work. Hearing such a thing might sound like nails on a chalkboard even to many “Reformed” and “Sovereign Grace” folks. I have seen individuals from these backgrounds spinning their wheels trying to explain why faith somehow is and is not a work, and it seems to me that there is just as much confusion among sovereign grace affirming believers as there is among Arminians on this issue.
Let’s start off by simply looking at the definition of what a “work” is. Here is how a “work” is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition:

Chambers’ is another reputible English Dictionary which gives nearly identical definitions:

Mounce’s Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament gives this as the first definition for the Greek word for “work”:

So a “work” by definition is simply that which someone does, whether physically or mentally. It is really just that simple. Let us now go to the Scriptures to see how faith is categorized:

The Son of God directly, in no uncertain terms, categorizes faith as a work in this verse. It is something that a person does. Let’s look at another text:

Paul was asked directly by the jailor what he must do to be saved. Paul could have said “You don’t have to do anything!”, but that’s not what he said. He said that the jailor needed to do something, namely, believe. A work is something that is done, therefore believing is a work.
Moreover, believing is a commandment which is pleasing to God. If you asked the average free-willer if a person gets to heaven by commandment-keeping, they would emphatically deny this, yet believing is categorized as exactly that:

Now, some will object that faith is a gift of God, and therefore is not a work. This is partially correct. I will explain. Faith is a God-given capacity which is implanted within the elect sinner upon regeneration. Historically theologians have referred to this as the habit or “seed” of faith. Elect, regenerate infants possess the habit or capacity of faith. What they do not possess is the activity of faith, i.e believing. Believing is what the sinner does, and is therefore his/her own, and is a work. This is why historically Arminianism was condemned all around by Reformed, Presbyterian and Particular Baptists as nothing short of works salvation. Because Arminians posited that a man was saved on the basis of his act of believing. Thus while it is true that the habit or capacity of faith is a gift of God, the act of faith is man’s act, not God’s. In other words, man believes, God does not believe for man, and therefore believing is a man’s doing, or work. It is that simple.
Whenever this perspective is brought up, there will inevitably be several texts of scripture that will be brought up contrasting faith with works. I will probably address these in later posts, Lord willing. For now I simply want to point out what should be rather obvious from Scripture. If we are just going by the dictionary definition, believing is a work.

This literally made me laugh!

How is it even possible for anyone to be persuaded by this sort of literal stupidity?!

You don't need the American Heritage dictionary nor a Chamber's dictionary nor Mounce's dictionary!

By the way, cults almost universally point their people to dictionaries. Treat anyone who does doctrine with an English dictionary as suspect!

Paul himself defines what he means by "works" and does so as clear as day and in a manner that any third grader can understand by simply reading it. You don't need ANY dictionary. You don't need to know Greek. You don't even need to know what Arminianism or Calvinism are! All you have to do is read it and take it to mean precisely what it seems to be saying...

Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.​
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:​

Now, take a look at verse five again...

Romans 4:5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:​
Belief is NOT a work by Paul's (and, by extension, God's) own explicit statement!
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