Monday, August 22, 2016

Is it by Faith alone that we are saved?


My next few Monday posts may be slightly controversial, and I don't mean them to be. Believe me, I'm a highly non-confrontational person. I hate arguments and disagreements, but I feel strongly led to post on this topic, so here goes.

This is the age-old Faith vs. Works debate that has been going on for centuries within the church. Which are we saved by, Faith or Works?  Many of you are shouting right now "Faith! Faith!"  (I see you out there!)  And yes, I agree.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8

if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

These are just a few of the verses that speak of being saved by our faith. So, yes, we are, indeed, saved by God's grace alone and by our faith in Jesus. This is what Scripture says and what we've been taught since we were in Sunday School.

So, what's the problem? I've read through the entire Bible countless times now and I always end up scratching my head. Why? Because I see all the grace/faith verses, but I also see a ton of other Scriptures that seem to contradict them.

The reason I've spent months researching this is because I fear most Christians have been taught only one side of the coin, and because of that, they are in danger.... of what, I'm not sure. Of losing their salvation? Maybe. (And yes, you can lose your salvation. Read Hebrews 6)  Or maybe they are in danger of losing rewards or in danger of not making it in the rapture. But, that they are in danger, I have no doubt.  Why? Because it's obvious from the Bible that there is more to salvation than simply faith. And that if we aren't paying attention to what the Lord says, we and our loved ones could be in a big heap of trouble.

For years I've been hearing from pastors here in America that all you need to do is say a prayer to "receive Jesus" and you're saved. Grace, grace, grace. God loves you and has forgiven all your sins, past, present and future. We can't earn our way to heaven and there's nothing more we need to do. (note: I do believe we can NEVER earn our way to heaven)

However, please glance over these Scriptures.  And believe me, these are just a few of the ones I've found. I will list more next week when I will discuss this in more detail and will welcome your opinions.

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“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men."  Matt 5:13


And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell  Matt 5:30

But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matt 6:15

“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. 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 7:20-23

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.  He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Matt 10:38-39 

The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matt 13:41-42 

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire. Matt 18:9

Matthew 25 :1-30. The parable of the 10 Virgins and parable of the Talents. In both cases, believers neglected to do something and were cast away from God's presence. 

God who “will render to each one according to his deeds” eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;  but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil,  Romans 2: 6-9

Luke 12: 42-46  The disobedient servant who did evil and did not watch for his Lord's return. This is what the Lord will do to him in verse 46  ...will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers

 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead  James 2:14-17 

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.  Hebrews 10:26-27 

I hope you'll ponder these Scriptures and take time to ask God about them.  I will continue this next week with more Scriptures and thoughts on this topic.

I know this may cause some angst with some of you who are clinging to the hope that your loved ones are saved because they once received Jesus. Believe me, I've got some loved ones in the same condition. The last thing I want is to cause fear or sorrow. But I do want to speak the truth. I hope to also address this issue next week from my personal experience. 


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8 comments:

  1. How dare you speak the truth....hahahaha! That's what I admire about you, my friend, even if it means getting some backlash from readers, you step up and speak up for God and truth. Naysayers will hate, but God knows the heart and will judge accordingly. What's upsetting to me, is that no matter how much your loved ones tell you that they are saved, only God and that person know the truth. If those who proclaim to be saved don't live according to God's will, how can others see the 'Light" in them? The outside reflects the inside....breaks my heart when loved ones continue to wallow in their sinful ways, even after 'proclaiming' to be saved. And I'm not talking about days or weeks after, I'm talking years....breaks my heart. Great post!

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  2. Yes, Chappy... I have those loved ones too. It's so heartbreaking. Thank you for your comment and encouragement !

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  3. Dear MaryLu
    I have loved ones who once walked with our Lord and drifted down that same path . And all though they know where I stand and that I serve a mighty God, I pray for them. We sometimes think we have it all wrapped up with a pretty pink ribbon and the evil one throws a snare at us. The snare that tried to trip me up was my sudden scary illness. Sunday night my body was doing weird things. My heart was racing and thumping off and on all night. I thought it was the Chinese food I ate and too much sodium. Monday it was doing the same thing and was thumping worse towards the early part of the evening. I tried praying but it felt like my prayers were hitting a wall. I called my daughter and she took me to the ER. They took me right in and before I knew it I was wired up. My prayers still felt like they hit a wall. My heart beat was off the chart and then whistles and bells started to go off and people from everywhere were running in and then the words of --" what just happened here?" --" I don't know" then " Look she corrected it herself."
    I was at a loss of what had happened and confused. A heart Doctor tried to explain it to us and his words made no sense to me.. I was admitted and in the morning a heart specialist came to talk to me. He said he would schedule surgery for the next day for a pacemaker. I have always had a good heart. The more he talked to me -he kept looking over my head. He then said---" I am going to get my team in and do the surgery immediately ."
    My eyes filled up with tears and I wanted to cry. I looked at the compassion in his eyes and peace came over me. I told him I was scared but I felt the peace and I trusted him completely . I had never seen this man before. I also told him many people were praying for me and I was a believer of God. He asked if I would ask them to pray for him. In 45 minutes I was on the operating table. 4 hours later I had a pacemaker in my left side of my chest.
    Later I prayed and prayed and thanked God for His loving care over me. My prayers did not hit a wall. God received them and filled me with that peace that only comes from Him. We talked back and forth my Father and me and He reminded me of that confusion in the ER and how the bells and whistles drew so many people into that room I layed in all wired up and the confusion of them as they exclaimed---She corrected herself-- no I did not- in that 14 seconds of my heart stopping-- my loving God touched me and started my heart up again. He saved me from dying. 14 seconds of your heart stopping is death.
    I welled up in tears thanking my Father and He placed it upon my heart ( no pun intended) to tell my story to others -- to pray with others - to write it- to tell and show others how our God is a loving God. Our God us a healing God. Our God wants all to come to Him. Our God wants the lost to be helped to come to Him.
    This is my mission.to tell others that He loves them.

    I have never had heart problems before. Or did I? Perhaps my heart problem was being content in my own comfort zone !
    Somehow bells and whistles and 14 seconds provided me with a very important step to take.

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    1. Elsie, how terrifying! I'm so sorry you had to go through this! Yet, at the same time, it is so often through the struggles that we really see God. What a glorious miracle He did and what a wonderful way to discover how much He loves you and all of us! It brought me to tears and encouraged me to also tell others about His unconditional love! I'm praying for your recovery and for your doctors. Bless you, Elsie!!!

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  4. I am home.my left arm in a sling. Very painful as the Doctor had to cut and poke through muscles , nerves etc etc. it will go away soon I hope. If you would please pray for Dr. Lawson Darby my new heart Doctor and all heart doctors .

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    1. Praying for you, Elsie, and your doctors.

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  5. By their fruits you shall know them. Yes we are saved purely by grace, all our righteousness is as filthy rags before Him. But one who is saved will seek to be righteous and do good works for the rest of his earthly walk by the work of the Holy Spirit. If one says he loves the Lord and hates his brother, he is a list and the truth is not in him. As long as you acknowledge that our works do not justify us (literally the whole point of the book of Romans!) then I agree with you. Faith without works is dead.

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    1. Yup. That's exactly what I'm saying. :-)

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