Archive

Author Archive

Is Salvation Really Free?

I saw a post on Facebook just the other night that read “Noah wasn’t saved by grace, he was saved because he obeyed.”  The author of that statement went on to say that we must trust Christ as Saviour AND work to say saved.  He then went on to dust off the old familiar chestnut, “faith without works is dead.”  Well, is salvation by faith or is it by works?  Is it by a combination of the two?  Just what is really meant by the oft repeated, yet seldom understood, “faith without works is dead?”  We will try to gain some insight into these questions below.

First, let’s look at the statement, “Noah wasn’t saved by grace, he was saved because he obeyed.”  What type of salvation are we talking about specifically?  Genesis 6:8 reads, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”  So scripturally speaking, this post has already found contradiction.  If the writer was referring to soul salvation, he was most definitely wrong.  God only saves sinners on the basis of grace.  Regardless of dispensation, salvation is by grace through faith.  If, and this is a big if, because most posters of this meme use it to support a works based salvation, he was referring to temporal salvation, then he could be correct.  Had Noah disobeyed God and not built an ark, he would have been washed away in the flood; hence, he would not have been saved (physically).  Often times in the life of a Christian when we do not obey God we are not saved from the consequences of the sinful choices that we make.  This does not mean that we are not saved (soul-salvation, saved from hell, etc.).  Saved and salvation can refer to a physical or temporal salvation, and it can also refer to the standing of our eternal soul when we trust Christ as Saviour.  We must look for context.  The people of Nineveh who believed Jonah’s message were saved eternally and by the king’s decree the entire city repented, and changed their wicked ways and were saved physically (Jonah 3:10  And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.).

The next question to answer is the charge that we are saved by grace and works, or by grace and then we work to stay saved. Romans 11:6 says, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”  This means that it is one or the other; grace and works are mutually exclusive.  An old friend of mine used to say this verse is akin to saying that if it is nighttime outside your window, then it can’t also be daytime outside your window.  If you are saved by grace then you CANNOT be saved by works, works cannot play any part in the salvation.  The inverse is true also:  if you are saved by works then grace cannot play any part in the salvation.  So, since Scripture plainly says that it has to be one or the other, which is it?  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  There will not be one person in Heaven who deserves to be there, or who will be able to say that they helped God out in any way, shape, or form in their getting to Heaven.  Someone out there, right now, is saying, “Ooh, ooh, but what about Ephesians 2:10?  What about that?  It says you have to do good works.  What about that?”  Let’s take a look at what it says.  Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:8-10 is a progression.  Verses 8 and 9 deal with us getting saved and then verse 10 is after we are saved.  Notice this is talking about Christians as Paul says we and includes himself in the group.  Christians are God’s workmanship and are made to do good works.

Finally, we will look at the statement, “faith without works is dead.”  James 2:17 reads, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”  James 2:14 says, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?”  We have to ask the question, “save him from what?”  If a person has faith in Christ as Saviour, can that faith save him from going to hell, then the answer is yes.  If a person has no good works and is trusting in his faith alone to earn him rewards in Heaven, will his faith save him from chastisement, then the answer is no.  Remember, James was written to believers.  The context of James shows us that he is speaking of believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Notice James 2:12, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.”  This could only be referring to the judgment of believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  In James 2:14 we find no believer will be saved (exempted) from the believer’s judgment of works.  No works will bring about no reward (profit).  James speaks of justification by works before men.  Paul speaks of justification by faith before God.  Dr. C. I. Scofield makes the following observation in the Scofield Bible:   “These are two aspects of one truth. Paul speaks of that which justifies man before God, namely: faith alone, wholly apart from works; James of the proof before men, that he who professes to have justifying faith really has it. Paul speaks of what God sees — faith; James of what men see — works, as the visible evidence of faith. Paul draws his illustration from (Gen_15:6) James from (Gen_22:1-19). James’ key phrase is “ye see” (Jam_2:24) for men cannot see faith except as manifested through works.”  James himself teaches salvation by faith when he says in chapter 2 and verse 23 “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”  James goes on to teach that years later he demonstrated that faith by obeying God in offering up Isaac.

Jesus finished the work of salvation on the cross.  We can be saved only by trusting His finished work.  Why not trust Christ as your only hope of Heaven?  Then, once that is settled, choose to serve Him and receive blessings, rewards, treasures in Heaven, profit for eternity.

Categories: Misc
%d bloggers like this: