TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage in the section "Can Man Be Righteous?", and makes the following comments:
|“||Genesis 7:1 ¶ And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
Noah was righteous.
Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
Job was righteous.
Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Some men are righteous, and their prayers are effective.
1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
Christians become righteous.
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
No one is righteous.
The simple answer is that there are two kinds of righteousness, Biblically, and Paul himself makes this plain. In fact, the entire book of Romans has as perhaps its major theme the contrast between the righteousness of the Law which noone measures up to, and the righteousness through faith which comes by trusting Jesus. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a self-centered righteousness based on our works by which none will be justified because none are good enough in themselves, and a God-centered righteousness based on trusting Jesus to save us where it is God's righteousness that is credited to our accounts.
|“||Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 3:19 ¶ Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 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.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
There is no contradiction here. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a righteousness according to the Law of works that nobody but Jesus measures up to, and a righteousness of faith where God credits righteousness based on trust in Jesus.
|“||Romans 4:1 ¶ What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Verse 23 (Do Christians Sin?)
|“||Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
This is standard Christian dogma, but things get confusing when you read the opening verse of Job, which says of Job, “This man was blameless and upright.” Even as his life was going to hell because of Satan and God’s little experiment, Job was vindicated in his belief that he had nothing to apologize for.
Job 1:1 ¶ There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
We see another example in Noah, who was also “blameless” (Genesis 6:9).
Genesis 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
But the sinless net goes a lot wider than that, because (plot twist!) ordinary Christians don’t sin.
1 John 5:18 ¶ We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
1 John 3:6-9 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
So which is it--are all people sinners, or are Christians the exception? Addendum: But why worry about sin? Every one of us is already saved. Paul draws a parallel between the man who got us into this mess (Adam, who ate the forbidden fruit and gave mankind Original Sin) and the one who got us out (Jesus, whose perfect sacrifice saved us all).
Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
We didn’t opt in to get the sin of Adam, and we needn’t opt in to get the salvation of Jesus. No belief is necessary. Paul assures us we’re good.
There are two kinds of righteousness, Biblically, and Paul himself makes this plain. In fact, the entire book of Romans has as perhaps its major theme the contrast between the righteousness of the Law which noone measures up to, and the righteousness through faith which comes by trusting Jesus. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a self-centered righteousness based on our works by which none will be justified because none are good enough in themselves, and a God-centered righteousness based on trusting Jesus to save us where it is God's righteousness that is credited to our accounts. (Romans 10:3-11; 3:19-28) There is no contradiction here. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a righteousness according to the Law of works that nobody but Jesus measures up to, and a righteousness of faith where God credits righteousness based on trust in Jesus. (Romans 4:1-8)
God allowed Satan to test Job to justify greater rewards for him, both in this life and eternally (which he ultimately received--Job 42:10-12) while refining his character and making certain he was faithful to God. (Zechariah 13:9; 1 Peter 1:6-7; Daniel 12:10; James 1:12) God allowed Satan to persecute him; but God ultimately blessed him and showed favor to him, blessing him with twice as much as what he had lost. (Job 42:10-12) God used Job's trials to refine him, making him even stronger as a warrior for God, and justify even greater rewards for him. (Zechariah 13:9) God uses trials to refine His servants, the way that fire is used to refine metals and make them stronger. (Malachi 3:3; Proverbs 17:3; 27:21; Jeremiah 9:7; Isaiah 1:25; 13:12, 48:10; Psalms 66:10) Jesus Himself was purified and refined through sufferings, to make Him the perfect leader for all time. (Hebrews 2:10; 5:8-9) God's chastening is used to make us stronger warriors for His kingdom. Christians are thus encouraged to endure suffering as faithful soldiers of Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3; Hebrews 12:5-11) Although Job is repeatedly praised for his righteousness and endurance through trials, he ultimately sinned in speaking ignorantly of things he did not know about, and rashly condemning God. (Job 38:2; 40:2) Job himself acknowledged that he had spoken incorrectly about things he did not understand. (Job 42:3-6; 40:3-5) Job's primary error lay in justifying himself rather than God, and accusing God of punishing him without just grounds. (Job 32:2; 33:9-13; 34:5,9; 35:2-3; 40:8)
And no, Romans 5:19 does not say that everyone was made righteous by Jesus. It just says "by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." It says many, not everyone; and not even most. The verse, in and of itself, does not specify how they are made righteous. The surrounding verses show that such righteousness does not occur without condition; Romans 4:24 states that it is imputed 'IF' we believe. Romans 5:1-2 specifically says we are justified through faith. Romans 6:13-16 emphasizes that as Christians we must still deliberately make the choice not to sin.
Finally, 1 John 5 is referring to a perpetual pattern of deliberate, willful sin. As observed by the Scofield Study Bible III's note for 1 John 3:4: "3:4 committeth. Here and in similar places in this Epistle the Greek verb has the force of a continuous present tense (compare 3:5,9; 5:18) and thus denotes a person's habitual attitude toward sin as expressed in his practice or non-practice of it. John is not speaking of a state of perfection in which it is impossible for a Christian ever to sin; but he is stressing the fact that a Christian cannot keep on practicing sin, because he is born of God."
Verse 28 (Faith or Works)
|“||Faith saves (or do works save?)
Protestant Christianity often emphasizes that faith alone (sola fide) justifies God’s forgiveness. Many verses support this.
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 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
That seems clear enough until we find the opposite claim elsewhere in the Bible. The clearest example to me is the Parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25, but there’s more.
Proverbs 24:12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
James 2:14 ¶ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
For something so important as getting into heaven and avoiding hell, the New Testament is surprisingly unclear. Addendum: Or maybe it’s repentance that saves . . . or maybe baptism? What if it’s repentance?
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Or baptism? It was so essential a ritual that Jesus did it.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
As mentioned by the Scofield Study Bible III, Ephesians 2:8-10 is the passage which brings both views together. 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.
Most of the verses quoted by Patheos in support of works, including Proverbs 24:12, Matthew 16:27, and Revelation 20:12 all relate to how people will be judged at the Final Judgment. Even Christians receive rewards based upon their works. However, the ultimate standard for whether one is saved is faith in Jesus Christ, no other foundation for works will be accepted. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15) Works only make a difference for rewards if one first has faith in Jesus.
John the Baptist came preaching repentance before Jesus came for a reason. (Matthew 3:2) To trust in Jesus to save us from our sins (i.e. faith) we must first accept that we are sinners, and desire to change and stop doing evil; i.e. repentance. Repentance must precede faith; one cannot trust in Jesus to save us from our sins if one does not first acknowledge one has done anything wrong. One cannot call on Jesus to save them unless they desire to change with all their heart.
As for baptism, it is not the physical action which is involved in the salvation process, but baptism of the Holy Spirit, the cleansing of one's conscience. (Acts 1:25; 11:16) As Peter says, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 3:21) Baptism serves as a public declaration of faith in Christ, and in countries like ancient Rome which outlawed Christianity, was to take a dangerous step in openly proclaiming a belief in Jesus.
- TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-contradictions.
- Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.
- Scofield, Cyrus I. (2003). The Scofield Study Bible III. pg. 1625. Oxford University Press.