Q33: Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works, or anywhere else?
A: No, they should not, as everything necessary to salvation is found in Christ. To seek salvation through good works is a denial that Christ is the only Redeemer and Savior.
Galatians 2:16 “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
One of the most difficult things for us to wrap our minds around is the fact that we don’t have to do anything for God to love and accept us. He has already paid all of the debt that we owe to him for our disobedience through Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Why would he do that? The scripture says that God did this for us, “for his good pleasure”. What an amazing truth! He just wanted me in his life…he just wanted YOU in his life FOREVER…because it makes him happy. We don’t have to work for it because the work has already been done.
- Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
- Hebrews 10:11-14 “And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
With the full understanding of God’s love for us we will have no room left in our hearts for hurting others. Instead we will want them to know the amazing grace that God has bestowed on us. Now, no one is perfect, and we will not have this mindset continually, but as we ask for the Holy Spirit to move in us, we will have it more and more. As someone who understands Christ’s death and resurrection, we have a moral obligation to empty ourselves for one another and become servants, in love, for Christ.
- Philippians 2:3-8 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
The outside world is watching and waiting for us to make a mistake, to argue with them in a way that isn’t beneficial for anyone, or worse, to argue with one another. All other religions practice that the way to salvation is through being good and doing good for others. Protestant Christianity is different. Our salvation comes through faith alone, by God’s grace alone – and that is a gift from God. We don’t work for it; he gives it to us. We don’t have to go to confession to make sure we are still ok with God; he has covered our sin (yesterday, today, and tomorrow) with his one act of sacrifice. All we have to do is acknowledge the truth that Christ is who the Bible says he is. And when we acknowledge that truth, our lives begin to look more like Christ. The word Christian means, “to follow Christ.” As a Christ follower then, we should be looking to him, by reading scripture, to understand how to live out a life of love for God, and love for others so that we don’t appear to the world like this is our permanent home… after all, we will be with Him forever… in paradise.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.