Importance of Works in Salvation?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by drfuss, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. drfuss

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    Ephesians 2: 8-10
    "8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

    The theology of all major Protestant denominations in the United States says that we are not saved by works, but by faith. I do not know about the SDA and some smaller denominations. Based on a debate a few years ago between a Catholic Priest and a Baptist minister on the John Angleburger (sp?) show, the Catholic church believes that some works are required for our faith to be effective (At least that is what I got out of the debate; if that is wrong, please correct me.). However, that is not the intent of this thread to discuss Catholic beliefs concerning works.

    My question is since we live in a predominantly Protestant nation, why do so many unsaved people believe works is a requirement for salvation? Many believe that God grades on a good works curve concerning salvation. Is the church responsible for this?

    It seems that all of our evangelical methods (EE, F.A.I.T.H., Roman Roads, etc.) are geared at reaching those who assume works are required for salvation. I assume that these methods would be geared to reach the majority of unsaved people; so the majority of unsaved people must believe works are required for salvation.

    Salvation is a gift from God. Why do so many unsaved people assume that some works are required for salvation?
     
  2. targus

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    Because they feel convicted by their sin and think that sinners don't go to heaven.
     
  3. annsni

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    Because of all of the rules that we have placed on being a Christian.

    * don't drink
    * don't smoke
    * don't listen to music unless it's from 100 years ago and only played on piano or organ
    * don't wear shorts
    * don't wear bathing suits
    * don't be friends with the world
    * don't watch TV
    * don't have long hair on guys or short hair on girls
    * don't sin
    * don't divorce
    * don't be sad
    * don't work on Sundays

    You get my drift. Being a Christian is a real drag on life!
     
  4. Dr. Walter

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    The root of all sin is pride. Pride refuses to deny self-worth. True salvation begins with true repentance and true repentance begins with a re-evaluation of self and total destruction of any basis for pride, thus, self-denial.

    This is why the writer of Hebews describes evangelical repentance as "repentance from dead works" (Heb. 6:1) as the essence of salvation begins with a change of mind about who you are and what you can attribute to God which is the whole basis for pride.

    Therefore, "works" are the essential fabric of pride and substance of self-worth. However, the Scriptures evaluation of fallen man is that they are spiritual scumbags and thus all their works as filfthy menstruation rags (Isa. 64:6).

    Hence, salvation can only occur with the death of self-worth and only through death can one live. Natural man resists, refuses, and fights self-death (Rom. 8:7) and therefore religious reformation and the belief that all men have intrinsic goodness is part and parcel of the religion of the natural man.

    It is also the religion of the doctrine of justification by works held by the vast majority of Christendom in the United States and throughout the world. They simply redefine "works" to be the product of grace and call it justification by grace without self-produced works.

    However, it is simply the rejection of the sinless standard of God and the only provision that God has provided - the sinless Person and works of Christ as the object of faith that justifies the "ungodly" (Rom. 3:24-36; 4:5-6).

    This why spiritual scumbags must experience recreation (regeneration) and find their righteousness in the Person and work of Christ for justification, thus a new creation and position "in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:8-10a) BEFORE they are capable of producing "UNTO good works (Eph. 2:10b). They must first be saved before they can attribute anything that will glorify God and everything that does glorify God is produced through them by God's grace. However, what has been produced through them is not to justify them before God but rather because they have been justified before God so that God can work through them to glorify His name.
     
    #4 Dr. Walter, Sep 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2010
  5. Zenas

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    Maybe it's because of passages like Galatians 5:19-21.
     
  6. drfuss

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    Dr. Walter writes"
    "It is also the religion of the doctrine of justification by works held by the vast majority of Christendom in the United States and throughout the world. They simply redefine "works" to be the product of grace and call it justification by grace without self-produced works."

    Please explain the above. Who is this vast majority of Christendom in the United States who hold to the doctrine of justification by works ? Is it certain denominations? Is it just some laymen who don't understand their theology?

    I don't understand "and call it justification by grace without self-produced works."

    Thanks.
     
  7. Andre

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    Simple. Because works are required for salvation. Paul says so in a number of places, not least Romans 2.

    In any event, I would to squarely address this famous text from Ephesians - one of the most misunderstood texts in all scripture.

    Here is Ephesians 2:8-9 from the NASB:

    For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

    In verse 9, Paul is denying the salvific power of doing the works of Law of Moses, and not the more general category of “good works”.

    A point of method: It simply will not do to declare up front that Paul is talking about good works here – that begs the question. No, the fair-minded reader needs to ask which of the following views makes more sense given both the local context and the broader context of the whole letter:

    1. The salvific power of doinggood works is being denied;


    2. The salvific power of doing the works of the Law of Moses is being denied.

    Explanation 2 is the one that makes sense in light of what Paul goes on to say in verse 11 and following as well as what he says in Romans 3, where he makes it clear that, in respect to good works, the Jew and the Gentile are in the same boat.


    Proceeding to an examination of Ephesians 2:11 and following, Paul uses the "therefore" to show us that he is now going to fill out the implications of his denial of salvation by “works”

    Therefore remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.


    Paul is clearly now talking about the Jew-Gentile divide, and how the actions of Jesus have brought Jew and Gentile together. Doing the works of Law of Moses, of course, is what demarcates Jew from Gentile in terms of covenant membership and shuts the Gentile out of citizenship in Israel. Paul continues:

    14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations

    How much more clear could Paul be? What has divided the Jew from the Gentile and been the barrier? Good works? Obviously not, both Jew and Gentile are on “the same side” of any good works barrier (first 20 or so verses of Romans 3). It is doing the works of Law of Moses, of course, that is the very thing that the Jew might otherwise boast in and which is now being declared to not be salvific.
     
  8. drfuss

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    Good point. But shouldn't the clergy of churches make it clear that obtaining salvation does not depend on good works and that good works should follow being a believer, not a qualification for being a Christian?

    Are the clergy doing their job?

    Thanks.
     
    #8 drfuss, Sep 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2010
  9. annsni

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    I know in our church we are. :)

    In light of the cross, what more can we do than to be obedient to God and work to bring glory to His Name?

    We don't do works to earn merit points or to gain anything. We do it in response to what God has done for us. THAT is proper works.
     
  10. Zenas

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    Annsni probably got the root of the problem in her first post on this thread. It's a cultural thing, a hold over from Calvinist colonial America and to a much lesser extent Catholic influence. There is a popular song from the 1960's in which the refrain goes:
    This is the popular mindset that continues today.
     
    #10 Zenas, Sep 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2010
  11. drfuss

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    This brings up a good point or issue. In the past, many churches certainly have presented a negative image of Christianity.

    Should we consider the "don'ts" to be good works?

    I was assuming the good works to be something good that we do, not the bad that we don't do. But I can see that the "don'ts" can be considered good works too. Perhaps the unsaved consider good works to be the things that they don't do that can get them into heaven.
     
  12. Dr. Walter

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    Every single denomination that beleives a true child of God can end up in hell believes in justification by works (Methodists, Nazerines, Pentecostals, Assembly of God, Lutheran's, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Seventh Day Adventists, Churches of Christ, Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, Church of God holiness, Seventh Day Church of God, Congregational, etc., etc.)

    Those who define justification before God to include works produced through a Christian are among those who believe in works for salvation.
     
  13. Eric B

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    Inasmuch as avoiding all of those things (whether genuine biblical prohibitions or not) does require an exertion of effort (to go against our natural drive to do those things), then, even negative commands are a form of good works. The legalists in NT times had a large number of negative commands (many of them exaggerated interpretations of the Law), and that was still considered "works of the Law", and somethign they could "boast" about.
     
  14. drfuss

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    The above simply is not true. While I have not personnally checked the statements of faith of all the denominations listed, I have checked on the Methodists, Assemblies of God, and Lutherans.

    It sounds like you think those who don't believe in eternal security believe that works are a part of retaining a Christian's salvation. That is false. I know that this false misinformation has been floating around eternal security circles for years.

    The Lutherans, Assemblies of God and Free-Will Baptist are Classic Arminians and believe that a Christian's salvation can be forfeited only by stopping believing in Christ as Savior. The Methodist are Wesleyan Arminians who believe that a Christain's salvation can only be affected by stop believing or lost by refusing the conviction of the Holy Spirit over a long period of time, concerning repenting and being remorseful for known sins.

    Works or sins have nothing to do with obtaining or retaining a Christian's salvation for both Classic and Wesleyan Arminians. I suggest that you go to the websites of the denominations that you listed and see if works has anything to do with either obtaining or retaining a Christian's salvation.

    Getting back to the importance of works, I attended Assemblies of God churches for 25 years and a SBC Baptist church for the past 18 years. The SBC church and SBC literature put much emphasis on works to demonstrate that one is a True Christian. I don't remember the AOG churches ever mentioning works in relation to retaining one's salvation.
     
  15. Dr. Walter

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    I think you misunderstand their theological explanations in the use of common terminology. For example, is justifying faith a gift of God or is it a work of man. This was the issue between Satan and God in regard to Job. Satan believed that He could make job stop believing in God if God would give him over to Satan's power. God gave him the green light to do his best because God knew what neither Job or Satan knew. God knew that saving Faith is the work of God not the work of man and that He is both the author, the maintainer and the finisher of that work (Philip. 1:6,19; 2:13; Heb. 12:2; Jn. 6:29-65).

    However, ask the Assembly of God theologion is it possible for a true child of God to lose his salvation and go to hell and he will tell you yes. The Lutheran and the Methodist will say the same thing. Ask them next whose fault is it? God's fault or the child of God's fault? They will respond it is the child of God's fault. How can he be faulted unless it is something he is able to DO or failure to DO? Remember, Jesus defined sin as originating in the heart, from the heart come thefts, murder, etc. The attitudes of the heart are inseparable from bad or good works.

    The issue here is that such institutions fundementally do not define "works" in keeping with how the Bible defines works and that is precisely why they as well as their parishners can claim they do not believe in justification by works.
     
  16. drfuss

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    I see the point you are trying to make saying that the "not by works" means "not by the works of the law". However, he was talking to gentiles who were not involved in the workings of the Jewish law. Had the scripture meant only the Jewish laws, It would have said so. Since it is written to the gentiles, it applies to any good work, I take it to mean what it says, any good work.
     
  17. Dr. Walter

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    Fundemental Biblical definition of "works"

    The real issue between those who believing in justificaiton by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone without works is the definition of the terms involved.

    This is especially true with the term "works"! What is a "work"? Jesus defines evil works or what the Bible calls "sin" to include the motives and thoughts of man. His outward actions are simply the extension of those motives and thoughts. Negatively, bad or evil works or what the Bible calls sin begins in the heart and that is exactly why Christ can say that if a man even casts a look of lust he has violated the commandment not to commit adultery already IN HIS HEART. The same is true with every other commandment of God. God looketh upon the heart.

    Therefore WORKS both good and evil are inclusive of motives, attitudes and thoughts. What is faith or the lack thereof?

    Most justification by works denominations define justification by faith to be equal with faithfulness, thus inclusive not only of the attitude of the heart but the actions manifesting that attitude. James chapter two is their favorite text to reinforce this definition. Therefore, where there is no works there is no faith. However, this interpretation is exactly what the Bible defines as justification by "works."

    The truth is that justification by faith has to do solely with the proper object of faith rather than the actions of faith. The actions of faith are consequential but not causative (Eph. 2:10). Justifying faith is always described by the prepositions rather than by verbs of personal actions (Rom. 3:24-26). What justifies is faith IN the person and work of Christ as it is Christ's works rather than ours that justifies before God.

    Furthermore, justification by faith in Christ is a completed action that stands completed because it is sustained by the power of God (Rom. 4:11, 5:1-2).

    James is speaking about the evidential proof of justification before the court of human observation (James 2:14-18) rather than before God (Rom. 4:1). James says "show ME....I will show YOU" by my works. Abraham demonstrated his faith before his son and servants. Rahab demonstrated her faith before the two spies, her family and all of Israel with the red cord hanging from the window.

    The issue is where does the sustaining power of justifying faith reside? With the believer or with the Holy Spirit? John says those that went out from us were really not of us for if they had been of us "THEY WOULD NO DOUBT HAVE CONTINUED WITH US." He is speaking in the context of antichrists or those who turn against Christ. The sustaining power of faith is grace (Rom. 5:2) or the power of God (Heb. 12:2; 1 Pet. 1:5) of faith is "kept by the power of God."

    Everything that we either do or fail to do is called "works" in the Bible. This is precisely why justification by faith is "of grace" (Rom. 4:16; Eph. 2:8) and not of works and why salvation is "sure to all the seed" (Rom. 4:16).
     
    #17 Dr. Walter, Sep 8, 2010
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  18. drfuss

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    You really should check these things out before continuing the hearsay in eternal security circles.
     
  19. Jon-Marc

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    "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8,9

    We are saved or kept saved by our works. We do good works because we ARE saved.
     
  20. Dr. Walter

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    Andre's position and interpretation is fundementally flawed. There is a common ground between the law as given by God to Moses and the law written in the hearts of gentiles by God (Rom. 2:14-15). Both originate from God and there is no inconsistency in God and both reflect the same moral standard which is grounded in the righteousness of God Himself.

    This is precisely why Paul can include both Jew and Gentile "under sin" (Rom. 3:9) and quote scriptures that define that common ground (Rom. 3:10-18) and use universal language ("all the world", "no flesh" and "every mouth") as condemned by the law of God and incapable of being justified by works (Rom. 3:19-20).

    This is precisely why there is but one standard of righteousness and that is the righteousness of God that is reflected in both the Law of Moses and in the law written upon conscience (Rom. 1:19-20; 2:14-15).

    Furthermore, that is precisely why Paul in Romans 3:27-28 uses the term "law" to contrast to contrary principles in regard to justification of either Jew or Gentile. There is the principle of "works" versus the principle of "faith". The law of works is precisely stated in Romans 2:6 - "according to his deeds" where as the law of faith is precisely stated in Romans 3:24-26 as faith "IN" the negative and postive provisions by Christ. Romans 2:6 is inclusive of your works whereas Romans 3:24-26 is exclusive of all works but the works and death of Christ as the "propitiation" or full satisfaction of God's Law.

    This is precisely why both Jews and Gentiles can be justified equally on the same basis of faith as this faith is in the Person and works of Christ that has fully satisfied the Law's demands in behalf of the believer and thus the law is vindicated and validated by faith as the object of faith - Jesus Christ vindicated and validated the law by satisfiying its demands in our place (Rom. 3:29-31) thus making God both "just" and the "justifier" of him that "believeth IN Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). "Just" because God does not justify any sinner at the expense of the Law's penalty and demand for righteousness both provided by Christ in their behalf. "Justifier" because Christ's satisfaction provides the basis for God to justify "the ungodly" through faith alone without works (Rom. 4:5-6).

    Andre simply misinterprets and misapplies the scriptures in order to defend his position. However, he openly defends justification by works whereas most deny it when in actuality that is exactly what they are teaching but hiding it under redefinition of terms.
     

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