"What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about - but not before God. What does the scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. (Gen 15:6)
"What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works," Romans 4:1-6
"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." Eph 2:8,9
"This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John3 :10
John helps to resolve what some see as a contradiction here by pointing out that it is inevitable that those who truly believe will have works of faith which accompany their belief. This principle is so dependable that John proposes it as means to distinguish real Christians.
Furthermore, what "good" work did Abraham do which demonstrated his righteousness? He attempted to murder his son. Hardly a good work by today's standards. Yet Abraham had been promised that through Isaac he shall become a great nation. Despite the fact the God had commanded him to kill his son, Abraham believed that God was still able to carry out his promise even if he had to raise Isaac from the dead. (Hebrews 11:19) This therefore was a work of faith, which justified him, not in the eyes of God, since God had already declared him righteous, but it justified him in the eyes of other people, just as we are recognized as being born of God by our performance.
ANOTHER APPARENT CONTRADICTION:
The Final Judgment: Matthew 25:31-46 In summary:
This is completely consistent with 1John. Notice that they were separated into two categorizes, just as John says, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."1John 5:12 There is no third category or gray area between these two. And there is no purgatory as some Catholics believe. Furthermore, they were separated according to what they were, sheep or goats, not according to what they did. Just as we will be separated according to whether we have been born of God or not. What they did characterized what they were. A goat cannot produce a sheep's wool, nor can a sheep produce goat's milk. And what was it that the sheep did? They loved other Christians. Which is just what John emphasized as being characteristic of those who are truly saved.
Consider the Perfect Tense. The Perfect Tense is used to indicate an action which occurred in the past and has continued on till the present. The quotes are taken from the NIV. The italics are mine for emphasis.
1John 3:6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has (at any time in the past up the the present) either seen him or known him.
1John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
1John 3:9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
2Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Jer 31:33,34 "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
Christ's commands are not burdensome to those who have been born of God
Romans 8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
1John 5:3-5 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God (perfect tense: "has in the past been born of God") overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.Being born itself is an event that occurs at a point in time. The perfect is used to refer to this past event which, just like physical birth, is a continuous state from the point of birth to the present. This verse answers objections to the concept of Eternal Security from verses dealing with "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.", such as in Revelations 2:7
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.Along with Rev 2:11,17,26; 3:5,12,21; 21:7. It is inevitable that those who have been born of God will overcome. If they don't then they hadn't been born of God.
The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources