Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saved By Grace or By Works?

Saved By Grace or By Works?

I believe grace and works go hand in hand even from the passages quoted and emphasis from James cited below.
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (Gal 2:16).
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).

Annotations from the above passages.
The law does not save.
What saves is grace via faith.
What is the embodiment of faith that saves?

The faith that saves is faith with works (James 2:17-18).
Take note that works brought back into the salvific plate. That means the emphasis was not on works as redundant but works as insufficient without faith in the Person of Jesus Christ that does it.
The next thing now is to find out what types of works the Bible is talking about. We are not saved by the works of righteousness (Titus 3:5) because we have none but by works of faith which is obedience to the commandments.
Application: If you are an adulterer and you do not believe in Jesus you will go to hell. If you are a liar and do not believe in Jesus you will go to hell. But for your sins to be forgiven and you obtain salvation you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the death. Then we may go back again to consider what embodies the belief that saves. The belief that saves is the one where the works that showcase the fruit of the Spirit of God which reveal his nature are exhibited. That means if you are a thief and keep confessing and apologizing without abandoning your thievery you will not obtain mercy. If you are a serial killer and merely confess but refuse to stop killing people with the hope that simply because you have confessed you will obtain mercy is false. Proverbs states that: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov 28:13).
Yet one question may arise. How do I know that I am saved already since I believe faith and works intertwine to give salvation? That is why I have faith. My belief in God assures me of the salvation. This belief and assurance come from looking at the words of God and knowing that they do not change because his nature too does not change. For example, he says that: “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” (Jn 1:12). Because I have received Him I am now a child of God and must now work on my salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). Why would I have to work on my salvation with fear and trembling if merely believing is good enough to save me from the power of hell? “If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Heb 10:26) because grace does not abound eternally if continue to sin (Rom 6:1-2).
Contenders may quote Romans 10:17 “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God”. Here is what Romans 10:17 is saying. Faith is the gasoline and the word of God is the vehicle. The word of God is the vehicle that carries the gasoline of faith. That means I am faith (gasoline and I want to come to your house in Texas. I will need a car and that car is called the word of God. It does not say that faith is the word of God. That is why I earlier told you that I know I am saved and will go to heaven because of my faith in Christ.
Those quoting that verse make me chuckle a bit because they conclude that “James, in its context states that you can see his faith because of the fruit his faith produces – works”. If works is not a component of saving faith why then does the believer have to even put works in their faith? Belief would have been enough! On the contrary, belief is not enough; it would be dead faith because it lacks works.
Therefore, failing to realize that faith and the word of God are two distinct entities is really where their error emanates.
Once you understand that in the gift of salvation that is taken to Man, there is a vehicle (the word of God) that carries the two elements: faith and works like water is made of two elements hydrogen and oxygen. Just like the molecular ration is disproportionate in the compound of water so is the proportion in the savific compound of salvation different because grace outweighs works. But it does not annul the presence of works. That is the basic presentation of the salvation of man.

Therefore, we are saved by grace through faith with works of faith.

Until then, enjoy your New Year

Prince and PA Hamilton Ayuk.

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