Verse 16: Saved by Works? (FFRF)
|“||Are We Saved Through Works?
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Romans 3:20,28 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Matthew 19:16-21 ¶ And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
This is one of the most well-known claims of a contradiction in the Bible, and has been excellently debunked by the Scofield Study Bible III.
|“||"James in this passage uses the word 'faith' in the sense of intellectual orthodoxy (compare v. 19); Paul, when he uses faith in a personal sense, means trust in the atoning work of Christ to the extent of full commitment to Him.
For James the word 'works' means the believer's works, the outward evidence of a saved life. On the other hand, Paul sometimes employs works to denote the deeds of the unsaved person whereby he vainly hopes to gain acceptance with God, while at other times he speaks of 'good works,' by which he means the fruit that the justified man must produce...
Thus in their views of justification Paul and James complement one another (2:23); Paul stresses acceptance with God wholly by grace through faith, whereas James presents the continual evidence before men of the initial transaction. For the definitive N.T. statement on faith and works in which both views are brought together, see Eph. 2:8-10."
-Scofield Study Bible III
As mentioned by the Scofield Study Bible III, Ephesians 2:8-10 is the passage which brings both views together:
|“||Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
In other words, we are saved by faith, not works, it's God's gift not man's doing, lest anyone should boast. However, we are created by Jesus to do good works and it is God's will that we do them. The works themselves do not save, but are the outward evidence to others, and to ourselves, that we have indeed undergone an inward redemptive process of salvation.
True saving faith will ultimately produce good works as the result of a changed heart and a new spirit. Thus if a person shows no interest in doing good works once becoming a Christian, and for years lives without any change, then as James points out, that faith without works is a dead faith and no faith indeed.
TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments: 
|“||Psalms 112:1 ¶ Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.
Riches are good.
Matthew 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Riches are a hindrance.
Ultimately the critic makes a very simple mistake in failing to distinguish between this life and the next. Psalms 112 in context is speaking of future rewards, eternal rewards, as evidenced by the phrase "righteousness endureth for ever" (which the 'ThinkingAtheist' dishonestly did not quote). Another verse in the chapter shows that this is referring to eternal riches, not in this life:
|“||Psalms 112:6 ¶ Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.||”|
The Bible does say that riches in this life are deceitful and can deter people from the kingdom of God in which lies the true riches.
|“||Luke 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.||”|
A general principle of the Bible seems to be that those who have good things in this life will be appointed evil things in the next, and vice versa, though there are presumably exceptions (such as David). As a general rule it seems to be the evil who advance in wealth in this world, however.
|“||Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
Proverbs 13:7 ¶ There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
Psalms 73:12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
James 5:1 ¶ Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
It is ultimately not riches themselves that are evil, however, but the love of them, trusting in them, rather than in God and the eternal riches which He gives to the righteous.
|“||1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Proverbs 11:28 ¶ He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.
Ultimately, neither great wealth or great poverty are to be desired in this life, Biblically.
|“||Proverbs 30:8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
Proverbs 23:4 ¶ Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
Proverbs 28:20 ¶ A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
21 ¶ To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.
22 ¶ He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
Riches, like wisdom, are a snare that leads to self-reliance rather than reliance upon God.
|“||Jeremiah 9:23 ¶ Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
|“||God is all powerful
Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
God is not all powerful
Judges 1:19 And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
The context of the chapter shows that the subject was Judah, not God; and thus it was Judah's weakness that was being discussed, not God's. The verse in context is saying that Judah was allowed by God to drive out the mountain inhabitants but not those in the valley.
|“||Judges 1:17 And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah.
18 Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof.
19 And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
So, why would God allow Judah to drive out one but not the other? God did not want to let Israel conquer too quickly so the lands being conquered wouldn't fall into disrepair and chaos. As such it was deliberate on God's part to let Judah win one major battle but not conquer everything in sight. The Israelites wanted God to drive out their enemies quickly, but this would not have been in keeping with what God said He would do. God had earlier told them He would deliberately not drive out their enemies in one year, lest the land become desolate without enough people to tend it so that wild animals like bears and lions became hazardous.
|“||Exodus 23:28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
As a result, God allowed Judah to drive out the inhabitants of the mountains, but not to overtake the entire land. God could have given them victory over those with chariots of iron, but allowed them to be stopped by a formidable military presence, as He had earlier said He would, for their own good. It may be that God warned them not to face the armies of the valley and the Israelites attempted to win on their own anyway, as the Bible records elsewhere. (cp. Num. 14:41-45; 1 Ki. 22:28-29)
- Barker, D. (2019). "Bible Contradictions." FFRF.
- Scofield, Cyrus I. (2003). The Scofield Study Bible III. pg. 1625. Oxford University Press.
- TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-contradictions.
- Thiefe, Chris. Biblical Contradictions. EvilBible.com.
- N.a. (2019). "Biblical Contradictions? American Atheists.