Salvation by Grace, NOT by Works!!!

Ever feel you are in a rat race?

At James 2:26, James tells us “faith without works is dead.” Some misuse this scripture attempting to prove that “works” save the believer.

But, what is James really telling us?  He was saying that Christians work because we are saved.  It really makes no sense for a born-again spirit filled child of God to be “fruitless” (Jn. 15:16).  Jesus said, “I appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.”

At Acts 1:8 Jesus’ last words before ascending to heaven were, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be witnesses of me…”  Again, if someone receives the Holy Spirit and is powerless and does not witness or tell out the gospel, it really makes no sense.  True followers and believers in Jesus Christ are not ashamed of the gospel (Rom. 1:16).

Jesus was asked, “What are the works that God requires?”  In Jn. 6:30 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.” 

Paul said that salvation is a free gift, not by works, “For it is by grace you have been saved.”  When we are saved “we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works,” we are God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:8-10).

Paul said it again in Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

The gospel that Paul preached declared that we are justified, redeemed, sanctified, and saved by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, not by works.

…treading water?

Paul’s letter to the Galatians describes his astonishment and disappointment that some in that church were deserting the one who called them by the grace of Christ and were turning to a gospel of “works saves.”  He said this was a perversion of the true gospel and really “no gospel at all” (Gal. 1:6-9).

At Rom. 11:6 Paul writes about grace and works saying, “…and if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”  Salvation by grace plus works is an impossibility!

Believing and receiving Christ, means that we are no longer condemned but we have passed from death to life (Jn. 5:24; 3:18)We believers have become children of God, born of God (Jn. 1:12, 13).

Some groups teach that salvation comes through obedience to their organization and then not for sure.

…out on a limb?

This is very sad and also untrue!  Paul and Silas were in prison when the doors miraculously flew open and the chains dropped off their body.  The jailer realized that their God was God and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.”

Salvation or eternal life is a free gift given to believers in Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8).  Our righteousness is as filthy rags, but we are declared righteous by God through faith in Jesus Christ.  We have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory and are justified freely by His grace (Rom. 3:22-25).

Peter wrote it clearly and beautifully under God’s inspiration at 1 Pet. 2:24:  “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.”

So, how do we get saved? 

Peter said that in Christ’s great mercy, “He has given us new birth and a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you who though faith are shielded by God’s power” (1 Pet. 1:3-5).  He said that we are given a new birth, an inheritance that can never perish.  This is why Christians sing “Blessed Assurance!”

Paul said that we who believe are marked with “a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” (Eph. 1:13, 14).

The assurance and confidence is found throughout  God’s word.  At Jn. 10:28 Jesus assures believers by saying, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.”

Know that you can be safe in God’s hand!

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn. 14:6).  Worthy is the Lamb “because you were slain and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

So when the word of God speaks of good works, who is really working?  Believers are God’s temple and God’s Spirit lives in us (1 Cor. 3:16).  The following scriptures show us clearly that what we accomplish is through God’s power, that He is the one who strengthens us.

Eph. 2:10 – We are God’s workmanship.

Eph. 3:16 – He strengthens us with power through His spirit.

Eph. 3:20 – Our works are according to His power that is at work within us.

Eph. 6:10 – Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

Phil. 1:6 – He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.

Phil. 4:13 – I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Col. 1:23 – For this purpose I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

Phil. 2:13 – For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work His good pleasure.

Know this, just as a Labrador retriever retrieves, we Christians witness, make disciples, and proclaim the gospel – not to get saved but because we are saved and are the temple of the living God.  God lives in us!!!

Set free from sin in Christ Jesus!

 

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