Letters From Lucy Question #3 Answered
Question #3 Saved Through Works
I have a hard time grasping that you can be saved even if you don’t bear good fruits or live your life trying to follow Jesus, you can still be saved by simply accepting him as your Savior.
I think probably because I was raised to believe that there are certain things or “works” you have to do to get to heaven or the celestial kingdom.
Lucy, you have just stepped on the landmine that separates RELIGION from RELATIONSHIP.
Manmade Religion says “Look what I have done for God”
Christian Relationship says “Look what God has done for me’’
Every man made religion jumps to James 2:17- 20 to justify their organizations continual treadmill of “works.”
“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 they faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well, the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (King James Bible)
James is not saying that our works make us righteous before God but that real saving faith is demonstrated by good works. Works are not the cause of salvation; works are the evidence of salvation. Faith in Christ always results in good works. The person who claims to be a Christian but lives in willful disobedience to Christ has a false or dead faith and is not saved. Paul basically says the same thing in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. James contrasts two different types of faith—true faith that saves and false faith that is dead.
If a Jehovah’s Witness, you are talking with, insists that you must gain Jehovah’s approval by doing good works, or if a Mormon says “you must keep the laws and ordinances of the gospel” I would urge the individual to also read James 2:10 which says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
In other words – embarking on a quest to “be perfect” by keeping the WHOLE LAW is also known as MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.
Romans 3:23 tells us that none of us are perfect and all of us come short of the glory of God.
Romans 4:5 also says “To him whodoes not workbut believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”
Lucy, as a Latter-day Saint you heard that you “MUST keep the laws & ordinances of the Gospel.”
OK a couple of things to consider.
The Gospel is described in 1Corinthians 15:1-4 and NOWHERE do you see the words “laws & ordinances.”
To go even further – In the King James Bible Colossians 2:14 reads “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”
Also in Colossians 2:20 it reads “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances.”
Also in Ephesians 2:15 it says “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances;”
Lucy, these three scriptures alone show that Jesus blotted out, abolished, and nailed to his cross “ordinances.” So why does the Mormon Church remove the laws and ordinances, nailed to the cross, and apply them to Latter-day Saints. Jesus said “It is finished.” That should be the end of the discussion.
Ephesians 2:8-9 is very important. “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.” This argument can stand alone by itself but verse 10 clarifies things even further.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Lucy, this verse is the icing on the cake. You FIRST have to be God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus BEFORE you can perform the good works he has designed for you.
In verse 8 it says that our salvation is a GIFT FROM GOD. How do you work for a gift? If you have to work for a gift then it is not a gift, it is something that you earned but more appalling is you are disgracing and embarrassing the gift giver. Jesus died on the cross for all of mankind.
The Father gave His Son to mankind as a free gift to be received in faith. The Son freely and in obedience went to the cross to shed his blood to atone for our sins. The Holy Spirit indwells the believer at the point of salvation and guides, directs and convicts us of sin. All three persons of the Trinity are involved in our walk of faith as a Christian.
Lucy, do you want a challenge? Please read Romans 8:9-11 and try to figure out who dwells in you as a believer.
Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarded of them that diligently seek him.” Lucy, notice there is no mention of works here. Without FAITH it is impossible to please God.
So for the persistent person who thinks they must do something to gain favor with God I urge them to consider (John 6:29). “Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
(John 6:40) says “And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
So both the WILL & WORK of God is to believe on Jesus.
One final thought Lucy: Does a sheep go baa baa to become a sheep or does a sheep go baa baa because it is already a sheep.
You do good works because you are a Christian, you do not do good works to become a Christian – Jesus looked after that on the cross.
God Bless You. Don