For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.--Ephesians 2:8-9
Salvation: By Works?
"I'll go to heaven, I've lived a pretty good life. I'm not nearly as bad as some other people!"
Some, or many, hold the belief that salvation and getting to heaven is accomplished because someone has done something very good, or has led a good life. However, we need to look at the Word of God to see a few things it has to say about Salvation.John 3:16-18 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 6:47 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life."
John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Romans 3:30 "Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith."
Romans 5:1-2 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
Galatians 2:16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
Galatians 2:21 "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Reading the above verses, we are told clearly that Salvation, getting to heaven, justification/forgiveness of our sins, is all done in faith. Salvation is called a gift, and is by the grace of God, is it not? If we did indeed get to go to heaven by being good, or having good works, then it no longer would be a gift, nor grace. It would become a reward, and God would give us Salvation because He OWES it to us, by debt. This is shown by the following scripture:Romans 4:4 "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt."
We also should look at something else. If works could get you to heaven, could you really possibly get there? Let's use a good example. If we are going to deal with works, let's take the Ten Commandments, and ask some questions:Have you ever worked on the Sabbath Day? A Saturday, or Sunday (Depending on your culture's starting day of the week)? Ever played a game on Saturday or Sunday?
This is not remembering the Sabbath nor keeping it holy.
Have you ever disobeyed your parents? Have you yelled at them? Have you ever become angry with them because they wouldn't let you do something as a child, and said hateful things to them, then even decided to do that thing they said not to do?
This is going against the commandment to honour your father and mother.
Have you ever committed adultery? Had sex outside of your marriage? Here's another question: Have you ever thought or looked at another person and thought of impure things like "Wow, she's/he's HOT!"
All this is committing adultery. Yes, even the thinking and LOOKING at another person like that: Matthew 5:27-28 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." and this goes for women looking at men too, or any person looking at another person in that manner.
Have you ever stolen anything? Even as a child taking some candy without permission? Even if you did bring it back?
This is stealing, and we are told "Thou shalt not steal."
Have you ever LIED? Even a small, little, white lie? Even to make someone "feel better" or to get yourself or someone else out of trouble?
This is also breaking one of the Ten Commandments.
Have you ever wanted something that someone else had? Saying, or just thinking, "Wow, I want one of those things so badly!"
Whether small or large, when you were young or old . . . This is coveting something belonging to another person, even if you weren't considering stealing it or anything. Wanting it badly like that, is coveting after it.
Answer those questions honestly. Myself? Well, according to JUST those questions, I am found to have not kept the Sabbath day Holy, been disobedient to my parents, I'm an adulterer, a thief, and a liar, and have coveted many others' things that I did not have. My, I am not a good person at all, and this is just considering a few things, not even all the Ten Commandments! And you? Be honest with yourself.
"But I've only done those things a few times! It's not like I've lived my whole life doing them! I'm not as bad as most other people!" Ah, but you are still at least a liar nonetheless, right? And "Where do liars go?" To Hell, not heaven.
James 2:10-11 "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law."
If you sin one little sin, even just ONCE in your entire life, then you have sinned nonetheless and are guilty of all sins just the same. The thief will be paired with the liar; the liar with the murderer; the murderer with the hateful; the hateful with the blasphemer; the blasphemer with the adulterer. Sin is sin, it is all the same in the eyes of God. The person who lied once, is just the same as the person who has been convicted of serial murder.
Not fair? Yes, it is fair! By whose standard or degree of wrong should God go by? The Serial murderer may not think what he did was that bad, but he may believe that stealing is a very bad thing. The Thief believes the direct opposite! While still another believes neither one is that bad at all! With God, all sin is the same. This is just, and righteous. This way people cannot excuse themselves for sinning, by pointing to another person!
"I'm not that bad, the good things I've done in my life outweigh the bad things."
Isaiah 64:6 ". . .all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. . ."
Romans 3:10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"
How can our righteousness and the "good deeds" we do in life, measure up with God Himself? To Him, our righteousnesses are as filthy rags!
There is no way, if Salvation came by being good, that anyone could possibly get to heaven! This is why Salvation is given to us by FAITH! If God told us we had to be good to get to heaven, then He really would be saying to us "Good Luck! You're NEVER getting to heaven!" So therefore because God knew we can't make it by good works, because we really cannot live a good life, He has made it to where we CAN get to heaven: by faith in Christ Jesus!
All we have to do to receive Salvation, and get to heaven, is to believe on the name of the Only Begotten Son of God! We need only to believe that Christ Jesus is the true, begotten Son of God, and that He died on the cross for our sins, to be raised from the dead Three Days Later, physically alive and well, being seen by multitudes before He rose up to heaven to sit on the right hand of God, Glorified once again! Knowing that, and having faith to KNOW it is true, we obtain Salvation!Back to the Top