A Brick in the Valley

Salvation is by Works (True)
March 14, 2008, 9:38 am
Filed under: Soteriology

True or False: Salvation is by works, by doing good things?

True, of course. 

22 Words (the title isn’t part of the word count) asked this question:

Is it in our nature to think we can earn salvation? Or maybe I’m just failing as a teacher?

Yesterday, after reading about Jesus’ death, I asked Orison, “What do you have to do to be forgiven?”

He answered, “Good things.”

It’s a cute story for the parent of a young child.  But, it’s downright depressing as a pastor.  On several occasions someone in my congregation has told me in one way or another that their confidence is in their doing good things.

Why is it that people, even young children,  instinctively say that we have to do good things in order to be forgiven?

Part of the reason is that good things do have to be done in order for us to be forgiven.  After all, the book of Romans says that it is “doers of the law that are justified (Romans 2:13).”

We know that righteousness matters without even being taught it.  All of us, even young children, have the law written on our hearts (Romans 2:14-15).  And, because we know that God is “almighty and alrighty”, when asked about the basis for salvation, we answer in one way or another that we have to do good things.

The trouble is, none of us do good things, “no not one (Romans 3:10).”

Still, righteousness must be done.

Which is where the righteousness of Christ enters the dicussion.  Those who have saving faith are forgiven based on works: those of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was tempted in every way just as we are without sin (Heb 4:15).  It is by the one man’s obedience that the many are made righteous (Romans 5:19).

So, salvation is by works: the work of Christ.


3 Comments so far
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Makes some of us baptists a believer in the old Reformed “covenant of works.” It really does make sense on a lot of levels…

Comment by brianmcl

I am currently having debates with a friend over this, but mainly because he thinks I am saying that “Salvation is by works”, implying that salvation is ONLY by works. Instead, I believe that salvation is given to us by grace because salvation is only one moment in the history of time when Jesus died and was resurrected. Therefore, salvation is by the works of Jesus Christ.

The true argument I am trying to relay to him is that FAITH is by works AND by the acknowledgement of Jesus’ own works (i.e. that we believe in what he did and preached to us). In order to have true faith, you need to exhibit works that display it, not as to show evidence of it to us here on Earth, but as evidence of your commitment to your faith to God.

Comment by jdhatt

Thanks for commenting. It does get confusing, doesn’t it.

Salvation is works only so far as it is the work of Christ. Our works do not save us on any level. We only receive the gift of eternal life.

Our works that accompany salvation are not part of what save us, but rather the fruit that the saved bear.

“We’re saved by faith alone, but not faith that’s alone.”

Comment by Chris Brauns

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