"Making a Decision For Christ" ... A "Work" of the Intellect and Will?

Catholics believe as James 2 describes, faith is made complete by works or in other words, faith is incomplete without works or “faith without works is dead”. This runs counter to a salvation by “faith alone” belief, not seen in human history until the 16th century. My question is, for non-Catholic Christians who “make a decision for Christ”, are they not also making a “work” … in this case of the intellect and will? So even in their case of “faith alone”, are they not without realizing it, believing in “Faith and Works”?

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?[a] 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is **justified by works and not by faith **alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.



Good question, I await the answers…

You are right.

Our Father is good.
Jesus is good.
All of the other children are good.

Righteous = Good in words and deeds like Christ, the Apostles >>>

Blessings upon you and all else.

[20] Now the God of peace, who brought again, from the dead, our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd, (of Old and New Israel), of the sheep
through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
[21] Make you >> perfect in every good work << do his will,
working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ (our Maker)
to whom be glory (our favorable regards) forever and ever. Amen.

All the best to you and yours,


“Making a decision for Christ” is a work in that it requires one to do something–make a decision. Even Satan believes in Christ. That’s faith. But to ‘make a decision for Christ’ requires one to do something positive, rather than just believe. So yes, it’s a work.

Of course “making a decision for Christ” is a work, and contradictory to good theology, Protestant or otherwise. You’ll find Arminians, Molinists, and free-will Baptists (and other sorts of semi-Pelagians) preaching “decision theology” most often. Even the “decision for Christ” is a work of grace - it is grace that moves one to the faith that results in making a “decision for Christ” - and not a work of the intellect and will.

It is surprising how many “man in the pew” Independent Baptist types (I don’t say “Fundamentalist”, because I am a fundy myself) don’t realize that their views of “making a decision for Christ” involve the works-salvation they rail against, even if the salvation is based off of only one, very easy, work. Then it is defended, “You must believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead”, etc. and the grace-works and “free” will/predestination debates are taken back to commonly-trod ground.

James speaks of being justified in the sight of man (that is, showing men that you are justified in the eyes of God). Paul, with all his salvation-through-grace and justification-by-faith speech, speaks of being justified in the sight of God. (Both “justifications” are done by the efficacious grace of God working in man.) This - the distinction between “justification in the sight of man” and “justification in the sight of God” - is something I picked up from some “old perspective on Paul” Protestant authors, but which seems to hold up the best of all competing theories on the James-Paul relationship in all ways (e.g. theological, grammatical, contextual-exegetical) once the other elements of the Christian faith are accounted for. However, it probably falls afoul of some Tridentine anathema the way I’ve phrased it.

Man is justified (made initially righteous*) in the eyes of God by faith alone. The faith itself does not come from man, but from God: faith is the grace of God. Man is sanctified (made continually more holy) through the working out of that faith, although the faith itself and every work that comes out of it comes from the grace of God and not the will of man. So, don’t believe that just because works must necessarily follow from a saving faith (and therefore it can be reasonably said that works are part of faith, which justifies), that we have any free will or “decision” in the matter, either in having the faith or in doing the works, apart from the Election of God.

In Tridentine Roman terminology, substitute “first justification” for “justification” and “second justification” for “sanctification”. (“Third justification” is repentance for those who believe that falling away is possible, as the Catholic Church believes.)