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.
“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.