Christians are saved by faith. Are works important?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Faith and Works

The Bible teaches that Christians are saved by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8) for there is nothing anyone can do to earn salvation (Isaiah 64:6). It is grace on God’s part and faith on man’s part. Faith accepts the gift of God. It is through the act of entrusting ourselves to Him that we are saved. Only the blood of Christ can cover the sinner. To our holy God, our good deeds are as “filthy rages” (Isaiah 64:6).

But the Bible also teaches that Christians don’t do good works to be saved but because they are saved. Works are not a cause but an effect of salvation (Matthew 5:16). So. “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). The law is a revelation of the character and will of God and of the eternal principles of morality.

Jesus came to this earth to magnify the law (Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:17) and to show by His life of perfect obedience that believers can, through the grace of God, obey the law. The plan of justification by faith shows God’s regard for His law in asking and providing the atoning sacrifice. If justification by faith cancels the law, then there was no need for the sacrificial death of Christ to free the sinner from his sins, and thus give him peace with the Lord.

Jesus taught, “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” (Matthew 7:21). So, faith in the Lord must produce good works through His enabling grace. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10).

It is true that “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17), but it is equally true that good deeds unaccompanied by a sincere and living faith are also “dead” (Hebrews 11:6). Those who didn’t get the chance to know the will of God are not held accountable for it (Luke 12:47, 48), but those who have heard God’s voice speaking to their hearts and yet persist in ways of their own choosing “have no cloke for their sin” (John 15:22).

And Jesus added, “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?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:22,23). Even though some may perform miracles in Jesus’ name, they are declared “lawless” and sinful (“sin is the transgression of the law” – 1 John 3:4) in God’s eyes because they failed to allow the Lord to produce the good works in their lives – the works that are in harmony with His law (Philippians 2:13).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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