Works and Salvation

Those that believe in works salvation often refer to James 2:20 (faith without works is dead) as a rebuttal to the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone.

  This verse in James doesn’t change the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone, not at all (Ephesians 2:8&9).  James is saying that if anyone has saving faith there will be evidence of it.  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (II Corinthians 5:17).  James is also saying that anyone who claims to have faith without any evidence or fruit of it, his/her faith is dead.  Works are evidence of salvation, not the cause of it.

Saving faith trusts the merits of Christ alone.  His perfect life fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law, which we could not do.  His substitutionary death on the cross paid our sin penalty, a debt we cannot pay.  The Lord’s declaration from the cross; It is finished….and His resurrection from the dead completed the work of salvation. 

God offers to us the righteousness of Christ, which is the perfect gift of salvation, to all those who accept the sacrifice of His Son as God’s provision for our sin.  This gift includes forgiveness and eternal life which is received by grace through faith.

Grace is God’s enabling.  No man can come to Christ unless the Father draws him.  Faith is a firm persuasion or conviction based on hearing the word of God.

And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and he (God) counted it to him for righteousness.  Genesis 15:6

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, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.  Romans 4:4-8

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.  For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Galatians 5:1-5

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.  For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Hebrews 10:10-14

 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18

 Are you a debtor to the law or are you a recipient of His grace?

Note:  But what about all the verses that mention judgment according to works?  There are two things to understand here.  In Scripture there are two judgments.  The Bema Seat is for believers.  Believers will be rewarded in heaven according to their works on earth which include faithfulness and stewardship.

The Great White Throne Judgment is for unbelievers.  They will receive degrees of punishment in hell based on their works on earth which include consideration for the amount of truth rejected and  opposition to the truth.

The difference between believers and unbelievers is that believers have accepted God’s provision for their sin; Jesus Christ, our only hope of salvation.   Unbelievers have not.

…let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…

The Disciple’s Prayer

What is commonly referred to as the Lord’s prayer is actually the disciple’s prayer.  Jesus is instructing His disciples on how to pray in Matthew 6.  The Lord’s prayer, His intercession for His disciples and for us, is found in John 17.

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven,

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.      John 1:12&13

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.  Galatians 4:6

Hallowed be thy name.

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.  Exodus 20:7  (Jesus is God.)

 Thy kingdom come. 

God’s kingdom is His rule in the hearts of men now and the eventual earthly rule of Christ in the Millennial Kingdom.  He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. AmenEven so, come, Lord Jesus.  Revelation 22:20

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.     Psalm 40:8   What are we praying for?   How is it in heaven?  In heaven there is no sin.  In heaven there is perfect submission to God.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:30-33

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Matthew 6:16&17

And lead us not into temptation, 

          …the believer’s desire to avoid the dangers of sin altogether…*       Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.  Psalms 27:11   

but deliver us from evil:

…to drag out of danger, to rescue, to save…**

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever.

Amen!  Matthew  6:5-13

*NKJV MacArthur Study Bible – See note on Matthew 6:13.

**Zondervon’s Analytical Greek Lexicon, pg 360 – rhuomai

In Pursuit of Happiness

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom (the fear of the Lord)*, and the man that getteth understanding (departs from evil)*.

For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

She (wisdom) is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.

Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth (holds fast to) her.

Proverbs 3:13-18

*Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

…let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…

Ye Must Needs Be Subject

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Romans 13:1-7

…let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…