Does true salvation result in good works?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by IfbReformer, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    Hello,

    My wife and I were having a discussion this morning before I went to work. We were talking about good works in relationship to the Christian walk.

    I would say it is safe to say in a Baptist Forum we all agree that salvation is by grace through faith alone.(Ephesians 2:8&9)

    Although some of our charismatic and Catholic brethren would say we do nothing to merit our intial salvation but out works maintain our faith and our salvation.

    Ephesians 2:8-10(NIV)
    "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

    James 2:14 & 18-20 & 24 & 26(NIV)
    "14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?...18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
    19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.
    20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?...24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone...26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."

    What my wife and gathered from Ephesians 2 and James 2 is that salvation is by grace through faith - we can do nothing to merit or maintain our salvation - but God has prepared good works for us to do in advance. James elaborated on these works God has prepared for us to do and says that works or deeds are an evidence of our salvation - that believing in the one God is not enough - that true saving faith - not just said faith - will result in good deeds.

    I heard Hank Hanagraf on the radio say that this means that a true believer will want to baptized, and will want to unite with a local body, he will want to read his Bible and grow closer to God, he will exibit a new and changed attitude. He said simply assenting to the facts is easy belivism.

    If he simply assents to facts of the Gospel and believes Jesus died for his sins this not enough -his deeds and his life are an evidence of true salvation.

    So the practical implications of this are:

    People who get saved and don't get baptized are not have a 'true saving faith'.

    People who get saved and don't join a local do not have a 'true saving faith'.

    People who do not read there Bible or seek to grow closer to God in their daily walk do not have a 'true saving faith'.

    Do these all have a 'dead faith' as James speaks of?

    What do you wise men think?

    Thanks
    IFBReformer
     
  2. donnA

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    We are saved without good works, our salvation is maintained by Jesus without our works, and if we never did good works we'd still be saved. We do good works becasue we are saved, becasue of the new man, we are a new creation. We were saved for good works, not becasue of them, nor are we kept by them.
     
  3. Johnv

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    Yes. Works does not result in true salvation, but true salvation results in good works. Faith without works is dead. It is also through our works that our faith is seen.

    When Jesus' analogies of his followers being "light of the world" and "salt of the earth" are indicative of works resulting from salvation.

    On top of that, the epistles consistently tell us that, when it comes to matters of the Word, to be not just hearers, but doers.
     
  4. Artimaeus

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    I guess Jesus was wrong about the thief on the cross when he said the thief would be with him in paradise. The thief was not baptized, did not join a church, and did not read his Bible. What did he do AFTER his salvation...nothing, I think that is why his example is there.

    Salvation is an eternal accomplished fact prior to ANY works being performed. Salvation WILL result in works given certain parameters such as time, training, teaching, descipling, etc. If a person says they have faith but has no works (to my knowledge) then I will have ZERO confidence in their salvation. How many works are necessary to qualify someone for "true saving faith"? What kind, and how often? Works are not the deciding factor. God's granting of salvation to that person is the deciding factor. He sees the heart and knows what kind of "faith" a person has. All we can do is make an evaluation as to the degree of response we see in that person. James makes it clear that faith will result in works. Paul makes it clear that salvation is apart from works. These are not contradictory. If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Paul says God decides your "guilt" and James says that if you are "guilty" then the court of public opinion WILL have sufficient grounds to convict you.
     
  5. Ben W

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    It is logical to suggest that if a person has had the experience of accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior, then they will be keen to do good works, simply on the basis of the new person they now are who seeks to be like the example set by Jesus.

    However the Salvation comes first as a free gift. cant be earnt.
     
  6. IfbReformer

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    Artimaeus, I just want to clearify with you and the others here that I do not think works have anything to do with one's salvation.

    What I am asking is, is it right to look at someone who claims they accepted Christ years ago but could care less about church or the things of God - there philosphy of life is nothing like a Christian should have - and believe they probably are not saved?

    The thief on the cross is a good example that baptism, church membership and bible reading are not required for salvation - but then ask yourself this question, if the the thief was taken down off the cross and did not die - would he have followed the Lord in believer's baptism and would he have joined a local church?

    You are right that these do not save you, but are they not evidences of a regenerated heart?

    Just a thought.

    IFBReformer
     
  7. USN2Pulpit

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  8. Daniel David

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    Um... he didn't do anything because in just a short bit of time and being unable to move, he died. That might have something to do with it.
     
  9. Daniel David

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    To answer the original question, good works must follow belief in Christ.

    Kate and Johnv, I think what you said echoes more of the popular preaching and things you read on message boards than actual truth. Bear with me. Good works are part of God's saving plan with a person.

    Person believes in Christ. He is eternally saved. He didn't earn it and he cannot work to keep it.

    Now, this person does good works (by faith) and God is using it to sanctify him.

    The good works that a Christian does are God's means of (final) salvation.

    People are initially but not totally saved at the point of repentance and faith. If you still sin, you are not finally saved. Good works is used by God to sanctify a person and grow more Christ-like.
     
  10. Artimaeus

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    Yes. They have everything to do with my confidence level in their salvation. It is easy to compare a mature Christian with an unsaved person and see that their is a big difference and that the mature Christian is following in the Lord's footsteps. The difficulty comes when we look at the wide range of immature Christians. Some are 99% what they ought to be (nobody is 100%). 90% is prety easy, 60% a little harder and so forth. The tricky part is when we get down to the low %'s and someone is only 10%, or 1% and for all intents and purposes we can't tell that they are or aren't. The bible is crystal clear that salvation results in works but how many and how often and how strong makes it difficult for us to judge and that is why I am glad that only God can make the real decision on salvation and I am just limited to an opinion.
     
  11. Dr. Bob

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    My confidence level in someone else's salvation is of no consequence. Salvation is God's work alone. I cannot always discern with my mind and senses the inner working of God and spiritual condition of a person.

    Around my neck of the woods, the BEST CHRISTIANS from all outward evidence, good works, and impeccable character are Mormons.

    And I for one am thankful and try hard NOT to judge.
     
  12. IfbReformer

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    Preach the Word,

    Could you clearify this statement of yours above. It seems to me you are saying that if a person does not do good works they are not "totally saved". Does this mean they go to hell even though they accepted Christ as their Savior?

    Does this mean someone can loose their salvation if they don't do enough good works or if they fall out fellowship with God due to a sin in their life?

    I would agree that generally goods works follow true conversion. But how many goods works count - how long must they continue, can a person be converted go to church and do good works and then fall out of fellowship - or does he loose his salvation?

    I look forward to you clearifacation on this.

    Thanks

    IFBReformer
     
  13. Daniel David

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    What I mean is that final salvation (glorification) does not happen at the moment when salvation begins (justification).

    Saved. Being saved. Will be saved.

    Good works fit into God's means of salvation for the "being saved" category. It is part of sanctification.

    No amount of works can accomplish any of the three. All three are done by faith.

    By faith you are saved.
    By faith you are sanctified.
    By faith you are glorified.

    The reason I say works are included in the sanctification aspect is that the kind of faith that saves leads to good works. These good works are the opposite of sin. Btw, good works are not merely outward works. They include changes in attitudes and false ideas.

    For a more thorough explanation, see "The race set before us: a biblical understanding of perseverance".

    Remember, only those who compete according to the rules win the prize.

    Finally, I totally reject charismania and catholic ideas on salvation.
     
  14. Artimaeus

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    PTW, are you saying that true salvation (the topic of this thread) does NOT result in good works? Since according to your explanation true (final) salvation does not take place until after a person dies. If salvation does not mean "I ain't goin' to hell", then, what in the world am I saved from? I am saved in order to do good works, because I can't do any before I am saved. All my righteousness is as filthy rags. I am not "going" to be saved (from Hell), I am not in the process of being saved (from Hell), the Bible says I am saved right now and then I can do good works. I am not saved from sin (not in this lifetime), I am not saved from the power of sin (not in this lifetime). I am save from the punishment of sin (in this lifetime) because that is what Jesus took on Himself, on the cross was my punishment. The thief on the cross was our example of immediate, final, definite, guaranteed avoidance of Hell, a guaranteed place in paradise in this lifetime (short as it was).
     
  15. Pete

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    The thief did nothing?

    Matthew 27:44 says those who were crucified with Jesus abused Him.

    I believe Luke 23:39-43 refers to later in the day, when we see one thief still mocking Jesus, while the other realising he deserves his punishment and Jesus does not. He obviously recognises Christ's innocence "He has done nothing wrong", and His position as King as we see his last recorded words "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

    The "what", "where", and "when" of that man's statement show that faith had already produced fruit. "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." What: He acknowledges Jesus as King. Even before the resurrection, it seems he knows that Christ will defeat death and come into His Kingdom. Where: This man spoke on the cross, now if that is not a work, nothing is. Speaking on the cross took a tremendous effort, even breathing was hard enough as suffocation was one way crucifixion claimed it's victims. When: As mentioned, obviously before the resurrection, yet seeming to be aware of the fact. Look at that man exercising the faith God gave him in the last hours of his life. We have 20/20 hindsight, we know Christ rose from the dead, yet here was this man seeing Jesus broken on the cross, and still knowing He will be the coming King.

    I pray that God gives all His people the faith to work as that man did.

    Pete
     
  16. Pete Richert

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    Preach,

    "Saved, Being Saved, Will be Saved "

    Sounds like you have been reading some Schreiner, Piper, and Hafemann. I don't think such things are terribly popular around these forums, where we like to see things in simpler equations. But it seems to me that Paul speaks of all three, with statements alluding to before the foundation of the world, the present, and being spared from future wrath and finnally receiving future glorification (can't wait myself). This to say, I agree with you. Of course, we are both Calvinists so we don't have to worry about confusing are present santification with our own doing or good works. It begins, is sustained, and will be completed by God and I will take 0.00000% credit for it at the end of the day! To God be the glory!
     
  17. 4given777

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    Ok, you all are starting to scare me. When I got saved at 19 (22 now). I changed totally. I wanted to go to church, and I wanted to get baptised. I was doing great with my fellowship with the Lord. Then about a year later I lost my fellowship with him and fell back in my old ways. Well now I am having a spiritual battle in my head. This sunday is the first day I will be back in church in a long time, but i'm excited and can't wait. Since I lost my fellowship, does that mean I was never truly saved in the first place, is that what everyone is saying?
     
  18. IfbReformer

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    4given777,

    Without trying to speak for the others I do not think that is what anybody is saying.

    Phillipians 1:4-6(NIV)
    "In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

    Ephesians 4:30(NIV)
    "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

    2 Corinthians 1:21-22(NIV)
    "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."

    When we are saved we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not only our guide but he is also our deposit and guarentee of our salvation.

    Is is possible to fall out of fellowship with God after salvation? Absolutely! Much of the Pauline epistles are written toward backslidden Christians encourage them to get right and live right for God.

    In fact in the passages above Paul makes it clear that is possible for someone to grieve the Holy Spirit by there lifestyle - but this same person is "sealed for the day of redemption." by the Holy Spirit.

    It was God who began the good work in you,it is God that makes you stand firm and it is God that will finish the good work in you.

    I encourage you to get in church and stay in church, a Christian who is not in church is like a fish out of water - its not very healthy for you spiritually.

    IFBReformer
     
  19. IfbReformer

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    Pete Richert and Preach,

    I have read some of Pipers works and I agree with him. But I am not comfortable with some terminology(while I am a calvinist as well) I don't like the terminology "Saved, Being Saved, Will be Saved".

    Personally, I think a better way to say it is "Saved, Progressively Sanctified, Glorified". That way there is no confusion. The other way does not seem to give the finality to intial point of salvation.

    I have greatly enjoyed the different responses on this thread after reading them and mediating on this subject a bit I will simply refer to
    II Timothy 2:19(NIV) "Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his..."

    I don't know for sure if some people are saved and only God knows for sure. As far as people being false teachers - thats another subject. I know a false teacher by what he teaches - I may not know if he is saved - but I know he is a false teacher.


    IFBReformer
     
  20. Daniel David

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    The concepts are totally biblical. The solution is not to disguise correct terminology so that others feel more comfortable. The solution is through proper instruction and usage.

    Consider Col. 1:22-23. Who are the saved people in that passage?
     

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