Sunday, September 17, 2006

License Plates are the new spiritual message medium

Here is yet another attempt at proselytizing by license plate. This license plate, BYGRACE, references an important protestant Christian philosophy called sola fide. Sola fide or faith alone asserts that it is solely on the basis of God's grace through the believer's faith alone that believers are forgiven their transgressions of the Law of God.

I have always thought that the problem with this is that you could have faith and do nothing and supposedly you are saved and going to heaven. Logically and philosophically the issue is how do you know that someone has faith, and how can it have any impact on our lives.

Today's second reading at church was from James letter, and has one of the best lines in scripture: "What good is it...if someone says he has faith but does not have works". Some concrete advice for people of faith, go do some works! I like that better because then your works, because you have faith, provide some evidence of goodness. Even better, some actual good works occur and the world is a better place.

For some reason the bible needs to contain these two almost completely opposite phrases: faith without works is empty, saved by grace alone and not by works. It is certainly a more interesting apparent contradiction than the tired Old Testament harshness vs. New Testament peacefulness controversies.

So don't take your confidence in works too far, you can't buy your way into heaven with good works either. As in all things, moderation between the positions is the appropriate route. Good works show faith, faith causes us to do good works, and around and around again.

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1 comment:

The Virtual Ranger said...

You sure do have some entertaining licence plates. Over here we call them number plates - a licence is something different, as is road tax. Combinations of numbers and letters are quite strictly controlled. Here on the Isle of Wight we have quite a few people getting number plates ending in 1W or 10W. Not bad, I reckon. Geddit?