Faith and Works

I meant to write about this topic back when I was questioning my husband’s salvation – the research I did led to a wealth of information that was so good… but of course other things came up  ((story of my life)) and it got put on the back burner.

Anyhoo, the time has been revealed as ripe – God does that.  He says… “Okay… now.”  The verses from my personal study, the mention in my post yesterday, the topic of our home group lesson, the verses in the novel I read, the comment I reluctantly posted at another site… and the e-mail I skimmed and deleted from a person I banned here all pointed to works and faith.  Anyhow… that’s a LOT of signs pointing to a blog on Faith and Works… so here it is.

Faith alone is the key to salvation.  To say otherwise is to cause scripture to contradict itself and ((sing along with me)) if scripture is God-breathed it cannot contradict itself.  Now where have you heard THAT before?  LoL!!!

For by grace are ye saved thru faith, and yet not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.  – Ephesians 2:8-9

Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not… in Thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then I will profess unto them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that worketh iniquity.’ – Matthew 7:22-23

So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace no longer would be grace.  – Romans 11:5-6

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us… – Titus 3:5

Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.  So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. – Galations 2:16

These verses leave NO ROOM for good deeds or works in salvation.  Not even room for false religion to add law to grace-given salvation in Jesus Christ!  To say otherwise would contradict scripture.  What’s amazing is that so many ministers ((of what, I’m not saying)) accept works into salvation AS LONG AS faith in Jesus Christ is part of the equation, too.  That goes against scripture completely.

But aren’t we supposed to do good, you ask?  Welllll… define ‘we’.  You see, nothing good nonnies do of themselves is counted UNTIL THEY COMMIT TO CHRIST THRU FAITH and FAITH ALONE.  Did you know that God doesn’t even hear the prayers of unbelievers until they commit their lives to Christ?  No kidding – it’s in John 9:31 and Proverbs 15:29 and several other verses.  So if a nonnie says “You’re in my prayers!”… it don’t mean much at all.

You can be Mother Teresa’s clone, and if you don’t make Christ your Lord, what you do doesn’t mean squat.  Works don’t factor in at all – it’s by God’s grace thru faith in Jesus.  That’s why Christ says, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me’ when they came to Him citing all the things they did.  If you don’t serve Christ, who are you doing good for?  Who do you serve?

Now once a person accepts Christ as their Savior, things change.  All works of a believer are credited as righteousness from that point on. And works are an important part of the Christian walk.  Why?  Because Jesus said the Greatest commandment was to ‘Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.‘  Then He later clarified it with ‘If you love Me, you’ll keep My commandments.’

We show our faith in obedience – and obedience is acted out in works.

There was a statement that I liked in our lesson last night:  Faith is belief put into action.  You can believe anything you want, but you don’t have faith in something until you act on it.  That sums the whole thing up entirely!  If you put your faith in Christ, there has to be some outward sign of that faith.  James 2:17 says Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.’  That is not saying that salvation includes works by any means.  Salvation is the turning point, what makes faith turn from worthless effort into God’s glory.

The reason I questioned my husband’s ‘salvation’ was because there was no outward working of his ‘faith’.  Six years, and he still didn’t want to pray, didn’t read the Bible, went to church only because I did, didn’t display any fruits, and held back from helping anyone with anything.  He never talked about Christ, and didn’t care to learn about God or develop a relationship with the Lord.

When I confronted him on this, he admitted that the only reason he ‘said the prayer’ was because he knew I wouldn’t marry him if he didn’t, and because the people at church said it was ‘the thing to do’.  It wasn’t out of desire… and we had to address this as a problem (even though our current pastor blew it off completely).  Sure, Brian believed in God and Jesus and the death/resurrection… He believed… but James says even the demons do that.  He had to search his heart and decide if he wanted to make the commitment or not.  Because ‘belief’ doesn’t equate to ‘putting faith in’.

Now here’s something that’ll prob’ly make the Christ-follower’s heads spin:  Nowhere in scripture do I read that we have to say a confessional prayer to be saved.  Having said that, and what scripture says about faith/works… isn’t requiring a person to say a prayer (which is an action – a work they are to do) unscriptural?  Is this maybe why my husband didn’t change after the ‘prayer’?  Because it’s a works – it wasn’t a submission to Christ, it was a works-based action?  So is telling people to ‘repeat this prayer after me’ really the way to salvation?  Perhaps, if the commitment to serving is there.  We’re told to ‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’, to ‘confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts‘… but I don’t see anything about a Believer’s Prayer.  Hrm!

Anyhow, the bottom line is that works are an after-salvation thang.  Not a requisite to salvation, not a pre-salvation maneuver in your favor… they are simply a manifestation of the love for the Lord that you have – a sign of obedience.  That’s scriptural, doesn’t contradict anything, and is plain in every verse here (and more).

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