Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Salvation Series: Faith in Christ Alone vs. Works Pt. 1

As I iterated in my last post, I will begin to resolve the final two points of the man's false argument. Faith and grace in Christ alone does not save you, but works and Christ does---- in accordance with his argument. Now, I will use a reference passage as a means to refer to the grace alone through faith in Christ in Ephesians 2:1-10 (click on the Scriptural reference to read the passage), but I will use the book of Colossians as the primary source of my argument. Colossians is a fascinating book. If you have never studied it, I advise you to at least catch a glimpse of this Pauline epistle by reading it many times through. The primary theme of Colossians is the supremacy (preeminence) of Christ over all things (Col. 1:15-20, Col. 2:2-3, Col. 2:9-10, Col. 2:13-15, Col. 2:17-19, Col. 3:11). He is the eternal God and no one is like Him. All false philosophies will completely fall by the wayside when we gain a correct view of Christ. As a matter of fact, false philosophies was the exact problem that the Colossian church was facing. Gnosticism was invading the church, asceticism was inching its way through the church doors, and a form of Jewish tradition was seeping into the walls of this church. How was Paul going to help accomplish the task of saving the church at Colossae? The answer, based on what I have said thus far, is to help them discern truth from error, to help them selectively ascertain the truth about Christ from anything (any false doctrine) other than the truth about Christ. This is a brief synopsis of the book of Colossians.

So, what does this have to do with works based salvation? It has everything to do with works based salvation. If Christ is not everything to you and you need something else to complete your salvation, something other than the truth begins to invade your thinking. The false doctrine of Gnosticism, which was invading the Colossian church at the time of the apostolic age, contained a salvation based forum that said you needed Christ plus something else to obtain salvation. This could not be more further from the truth. Catholicism is the exact same way, which was the exact religion that the guy was advocating for. You need works plus Christ in order to gain entrance into heaven. When you begin advocating a salvation type mantra posed in the last sentence, a pivotal question develops in the underlying webbing of a works based salvation. What is that question? .......... End Pt. 1


Dakota said...

Perhaps it is best said that we must do more than just believe in Christ, but also put that faith into action. James argued in chapter two of his epistle, "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." (v. 14-18)

In the same way that helping a person in need requires more than a simple, "God bless you.", being saved requires more than a mere belief in Christ. It necessitates that we put such belief into action by repenting of our sins (i.e. confessing and forsaking them), and trusting in the blood sacrifice of the Lord Jesus to be sufficient payment for our sins.

James went on to say in verse 19, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." A "belief" apart from a resulting action is as useless as having a car but not driving it anywhere. Unless it takes us somewhere, it is of no value.

It is so difficult to talk about this topic without coming across as if we believe salvation comes by good works. If it could be attained in such a way, then "Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:21) God would not have allowed His Son to be murdered by sinners if all that was necessary was that we do some good need! The fact is, the only "work" necessary in order to attain salvation is that of proving our faith in Christ through true repentance, and allowing Him to transform us into what He wants us to be. (Romans 12:2).

Dakota said...
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