Jump to content

Saved By Faith Or Works?

Recommended Posts

On Februrary 15th, I was looking at my favorite Christian programming and the topic of " The faith of Jesus" was explained and I found it to be quite a good exposition on faith and works.



Revelation 14:12 says: Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. That verse is describing the people who are saved.



Some people believe that we can be saved by works without faith but what does the bible say about that?


The presenter then went to Matthew19:17-22The Rich Young Ruler


Matthew 19:17-22 (New King James Version)

17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good?[a] No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’[c] and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”[d]

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth.[e] What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.



The rich young ruler believed that he was keeping the commandments;

Q.Will EXTERNAL commandment keeping give a person eternal life?

A. No



The rich young ruler will not receive eternal life because he did not love his neighbor as himself. Externally he seemingly kept the commandments but those commandments were not kept from a motivation of faith in the heart.


Some illustrations of where one CANNOT be saved by works:


1) Luke 18:9-14The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector


9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”



2)Luke 15:29-30 The Prodigal son


29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’


N. B. the "faithful" son was obviously jealous when he said " ... this son of yours ..." . He was clearly trying to justify himself by works.




3)Matthew 20:10-16 The parable of the workers in the vineyard

Note vvs 10-16 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”[c]




Object Lesson: Working in God's vineyard does not earn more for some than for others. All are paid salvation by God's GRACE.


Matthew 6:1,2,5 shows the motivations that led the Pharisees to obey God's law. The Pharisees religion was based on legalism. They kept the law because they wanted to be seen by men and they wanted to be saved because of it.


But, Matthew 5:16 says "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.


Is this contradictory? No. In Matthew 6 people wanted to glorify themselves but in Matthew 5 instructs believers to glorify God. Matthew 23:25-28 shows Jesus exposing Pharisees who had no love or faith, they wanted to glorify themselves.





Some people believe that we are saved by grace and can keep on sinning, this is called antinomianism.


Antinomians cite verses such as Galatians 2:6to support their view. In that text, Paul was saying you CANNOT be justified by those good works; he was not saying that those good works are not necessary. He's NOT talking about works that come as a RESULT of salvation, he's talking about works that are performed with the intention of God saving us.



They also cite Galatians 5:4in order to say that no works are necessary. The text is taken out of context, as one continues reading the chapter ( Gal 5:16-26) Taking special note of verse 18 of Gal 5 "18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."; which means that the law does not condemn those who are led by the HS. Verse 21 says that those who practice the works of the flesh will NOT inherit the kingdom of God. Therefore, does God expect a change in the life, does He expect us to forsake those sins? Yes. Paul is BALANCED in his view. In verses 22-23 Paul lists the fruit of the spirit and he says there is no law against them and in verses 24-25 Paul says that the believer has crucified the flesh and WALKS in the spirit. Did Paul believe in good works and keeping the law? Yes, but as the FRUIT of salvation NOT as the cause of salvation.



Antinominians also cite Rom 3:28 -30to support their view but they NEED to read verse 31 ----> "Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law."



Another text cited by antinominians is Romans 5:20 "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more," in order to say people can sin a lot but they NEED to CONTINUE reading and they will eventually read Romans 6:1,2 "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" When one knows the truth about sin one should not deliberately continue committing it.




They also cite Romans 6:14 but they need to read the next two verses!


Romans 6:15,16 "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?



Paul BALANCED his controversial statements!



Other texts that refute the doctrine that works are not necessary are:


1) Titus1:16 "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." is describing individuals who claim to know God.


2) 1 John 2:3,4 "3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."



3)Matthew 7:21-23 "21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’" describes those who are lost because they practiced lawlessness or commandment breaking.


4) John 15:8 says one needs to bear much fruit; ----> "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."


Antinomians also use Ephesians 2:8 to support their view that keeping the ten commandments is not necessary. The verse says:

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.


However they need to CONTINUE reading to Ephesians 2:10

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.


N.B. It says we are created FOR good works.








James 2:14-26 shows a balance between faith in Jesus and keeping the commandments. The summary of it is, faith without works is dead. It also mentions that even the devils believe and tremble and that Abraham was justified by faith. Please note Abraham was justified by faith THAT works; works are a fruit of salvation. Rahab too had a faith THAT worked.


An analogy of this is, what is more important, the wheels of a car or the engine? The answer is they are both necessary for the car to operate efficiently.






James and Paul were/are fighting against two different enemies. Paul was/is fighting against people who say "I'm saved by works!" and James was/is fighting fighting against people who say "We don't need to perform works!" Paul is showing how we are saved and James is showing how saved people live. Paul is talking about the root of our salvation while James is talking about the fruit of our salvation. The people of Paul's day needed to hear about grace, those of James day needed to hear about the Law. There were false teaches teaching heresies during that time.






In Galatians 5:6 it says faith is working through love.




Faith and works are like two sides of a coin or like two oars of a boat one needs both for a balanced, progressive Christian experience. Works are the visible manifestation of faith and faith is an inward motivation for works.




Titus 2:11-15 (New King James Version) describes faith THAT works.



Trained by Saving Grace


11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.




So we see that Paul had a very high concept of good works and the fruit of the spirit.


Titus 3:5-8 says we are JUSTIFIED by God's grace:


Titus 3:5-8 (New King James Version)

5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.


In Revelation 2;3 God does not say 'I know your faith' He says " I know your works."




The bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith and as a result of that we do good works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neither, because there is nothing to be saved from and no BibleGod to save us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Uhhhh.... tl;dr


You do realize this is EX-Christian.net right?


First of all, you'd have to prove to me that this "faith" is worth having in the first place. And if you respond, please do so without a wall of bible verses, because those don't prove anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

The bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith and as a result of that we do good works.

That was my understanding when I was a Christian. There are many Christians who will argue the point, however.


Who is to say . . . faith, works, tongues, Trinity, Divinity, etc., etc.? I thought I got it right, but so did the Catholics, Pentecostals, Baptists, Snake Handlers, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, Shakers, Quakers, Mennonites, Branch Davidians and Jehova's Witnesses.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The difference between Paul's method of salvation vs. Jesus/James etc. was something I noticed and started a topic about this awhile back.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

The difference between Paul's method of salvation vs. Jesus/James etc. was something I noticed and started a topic about this awhile back.




Thank you for the link :), if I had known it was there I would have posted there instead of starting a new topic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator




Sorry Thum - too long for me to read - keep it simple hon!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith and as a result of that we do good works[/b].

Is this what all that mess supposedly sums up to?


And "good works" is defined as? From what I can see it's keeping them there commandments.


So all that the bible says is if you believe some nonsense some sort of magic happens and you'll be able to keep all those rules that you couldn't keep before...then...heaven. Tada.





Link to comment
Share on other sites



You must be posting to multiple forums all at the same time.


This is the ex-christian forum. I'm sure you meant that post for one of your christian forums.


If you didn't, you can consider yourself to be trolling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No one really believes that works alone will save them. Catholics believe that faith + works = salvation. Fundamentalists have nuanced it a bit where faith leads to works which = salvation. The Bible displays different soteriologies depending on which author you read so trying to reconcile them is foolish. James is obviously arguing against Paul by the sheer fact that he quotes the same verse and then comes to a DIFFERENT conclusion. Even Paul disagrees with Paul. It's a ridiculous attempt to preach a unified message when there isn't one. It's even more ridiculous to chastise others who come to a different conclusion than you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First of all, salvation assumes that we need to be saved, saved from what? Hell?


Hell is a word conjured up describing;


Sheol/Hades - Realm of the dead aka the grave thus salvation from this hell infers that believers will not physically die.


Gehenna - was a rubbish dump outside Jerusalem and continuously burned to consume garbage. Corpses were dumped there of those less fortunate or John and Jane Doe's. That rubbish dump is now a grassy park with trees. Furthermore, all references to this hell was aimed at the scribes and pharisees.


Tartarus - a special hell designed for the devil and his angels, neither the devil nor demons exist ergo this hell does not exist.


Lake of Fire the fundie woodie wet dream hell come from the ramblings of a hallucinated dork that has no semblance on reality. Amazing that the "visions" of this ancient fellow are taken as truth when the very book he wrote has many interpretations. Of course death and hell and hades/sheol are cast into the LoF so where is the fear?


Get this - you are gonna die and that is it. Fade to black then nothing. Scary huh? Boo.


I sure as hell do not want to be in your heaven with your ilk, that alone would be eternal torture. Your god is a fucktard and not worthy of my intellectual time.


No one including your fictitious jeezuz has come back from the dead. No body knows what waits for us after death. There is no soul, you are not immortal - learn this and get over it.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How can I know that the bible is reliable? Why should I care about this book?


Your entire argument is worthless, because it does not help people to know if they are "true" christians. How do you know, that the "good works" are based upon the holy whatsoever and not upon peergroup pressure or the fact that you "really want to try it"? It is a cruel way to prove ones salvation, because you will never know if someone is saved or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By the Covenant, we are saved by faith alone.


Yet what is "faith"? To be more specific, what is the faith specified in the Covenant which qualifies our salvation. James it is not the kind of faith the devils possessed, it is rather the kind of faith supported and reflected by your good deeds. That is, if your faith is not the correct kind of faith specified in the Covenant, it will be reflected by your behavior. If on the other hand, you faith is the correct kind of faith, it also will be reflected by your behavior. That's why James said that faith without work is dead.


Now what is "good deeds" actually are then?


For the sake of easier understanding, it is easy, just to make Jesus Christ satisfactory about you. He's satisfied, then you are saved. He's not satisfied, then you are done. Simple as that. This is His right gained through His self-sacrifice. Putting in His own words, He has conquered death. Law will be used to judge non-Christians only. Law has no effect on Christians (those satisfied by Jesus Christ and God). So to Christians, Jesus Christ is the Law. When He said "yes" then you are saved. When He said, "I don't know you, depart from me", then you are done (you'll be handed over to the Law to judge).


Theologically it is so. Whether you'd like to believe is none of my business.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But faith is one of the 9 gifts? So you have to swallow all the BS before you can get faith.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Putting in His own words, He has conquered death. (...)

Theologically it is so. Whether you'd like to believe is none of my business.

We do not have his "own" words. We don't have any eyewitness accounts of his words, only collections of the things he "might" have said. The bible is not reliable. If god is not able to preserve his word and he is not able to bring his 30.000 different types of followers to an agreement about the "REAL MEANING" of his words, how should I know anything about god or his nature? If he could not prevent, that scribes and translators changed his word or added their own ideas about jesus, then I can not trust any word of the bible. Just take the wonderful story of jesus and the adulteress. When I was a christian, it was one of my favorites. This story, including the famous "go and sin no more" or "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" was added later by a scribe or translator. You will not find it in the early scripts.


And how do you personally KNOW that you are saved and that your deeds are not the result of peergroup effects, guilt or pure work mania? And how can you know what the right behavior is, if the bible is not trustworthy?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trying to find coherent idea in the Bible about salvation is downright impossible. Take a look at this parable (my favorite):


The Sheep and the Goats

Matthew 25:31-46


31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’


37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’


40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’


41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’


44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’


45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’


46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


This is the most detailed and most clear description of final judgment in the Bible. Now, if we take this parable literary, that obviously means that your salvation is solely dependent on your works. Of course that makes all those verses about salvation by grace downright wrong. So, if you believe the Bible is inerrant what can you do? You can either interpret away verses that say you have to accept Jesus, or to interpret away this parable. Which one is to be taken literally? Why, it's the one that demands least effort, of course! Since Matthew 25:31-46 demands you to get off your lazy arse and do something, it clearly cannot be saying what it is plain that it is saying.


I have seen about hundred bajilion explanations (that all contradict each other) of why Sheep and Goats parable doesn't mean we have to help least fortunate to get to heaven. One could just as easily create another hundred bajilion explanations why are salvation by grace verses wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've found myself as I've opened to the various Faiths, that "grace" - in infinite ways - is at the heart of many Faiths. Christianity speaks of us being "chosen before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians), and chosen by Love. "Perfect love drives out fear" as it is said, and to be honest, for me much religion seems more concerned with driving fear IN........or as the words of Amazing Grace go..............."Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved". So first the fear is created, then it is "relieved". Relieved so long as one can accept certain propositions, some quite questionable. The sad thing is that many end upbelieving just enough to create the fear, but feel unable to

go any further, for a multitude of reasons.


I wonder sometimes just why "grace" needs to teach us to fear? To be chosen by love before the foundation of the world seems to suggest otherwise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm more interested in the question "Do hobbits have appendixes?" It's much more relevant to real life than mythologically based theological discussions based on pet interpretations of dogmatic texts.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm more interested in the question "Do hobbits have appendixes?" It's much more relevant to real life than mythologically based theological discussions based on pet interpretations of dogmatic texts.





Though I can see your words are basically lighthearted, you are nevertheless making a claim. I would disagree.


"Real life" is about our capacity for empathy towards others, it is about genuine self-knowledge. There is nothing "mythological" about considering the ideas of "grace" and "works" and how our consideration of such concepts affect our life. And no one needs to consider any text - whatever its origin - to be "dogmatic". Dogmatism need not be the sole preserve of texts, nor of any particular faith.


From a Buddhist perspective, words are only "fingers that point at the moon", not the moon itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thumbelina: thank you for showing us clearly how to be saved. Unfortunately, an equally committed christian can list a different set of bible verses and come to an entirely different conclusion. If you could disconnect from your christian mindset for just a few minutes you could see that the bible is not a perfect book authored by a perfect being. It's a convoluted compilation of various author's attempts to sway their fellow human beings to their varying points of view.




The concept of being "saved" is quite silly to a person who understands that human beings do not have souls. Let alone souls that exist for all eternity.


All of the pretentious religions in the world cannot change the fact that our individual consciousness and existence is finite.


Make the most of it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I'll have to spend th e rest of the day in deep contemplation of this complex and erstwhile question.


Or burn one and ponder my belly button.


Belly button it is.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thumbelina must've done something right!!! She got Mythra back. Good to see you again. :)


On another note, faith or works to be saved? What the hell?


Thumbelina, you seriously thought that we would care? :shrug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Hans, my old friend. Nice to see you too. Hope all is well with you and yours.



We're doing well.


I'm back in school because I got tired of my profession. Right now, I have to memorize all bones in the human body and correctly side and position them. Yah... :twitch:


Kids are great. Two oldest moved out (You've been gone for quite some time.)


Other than that, not much happening.






I was looking into maybe buying a disarticulated skeleton for my studies, and stumbled across this review on Amazon for one "bone bag": "Not only was the final product terrible, but when I went to throw them away, one of the pointier ribs tore a hole through the bag, spilling tibulae and fibulae onto the sidewalk. This led to a very awkward conversation with my neighbor, and subsequently, the police. In short, I cannot recommend these bones, nor can I recommend Target store-brand trash bags (kitchen size)."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.