Working to gain salvation is much like snowfall in Northern Maine. The picture to the right is of a dear friend who is steadily working to remove the snow from his driveway. With record-breaking snowfall this winter, he is simply maintaining. More snow will just keep falling and replacing the snow he has blown away. It is the same with man’s sinful nature. We can work and work at confessing it to the parish priest, but those sins just keep coming back. The Word says that we cannot get to heaven because we are sinners. God is Holy and will not receive anyone who is not holy as He is holy.
Many religions interpret this to mean that one must work at his religion so he may gain entrance to heaven. Or even use this to promote the dogma of purgatory. However, no matter how hard one works at being holy, one can never be holy. We are all sinners and we will continue to sin until the day we die. Our “good” deeds, like this snow removal, will never make up for our sinfulness. The snow removal is only temporary. Purgatory enforces this belief because it means that Christ’s sacrifice of the cross is not sufficient and, therefore, there has to be more – there has to be something added to the plan of salvation! Every religion of the world has added works and good deeds to their salvation message. This includes Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, etc.
This is quite different from what God’s Word teaches. The Word teaches that you can be forgiven of your sins, once and for all. To do so, you need to come to Christ (Matt. 11:28 ). You need to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior (John 1:12; Rom. 10:13). You need to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins (John 14:14), and trust in Him alone because there is nothing that you can personally do. You must repent and sin no more (John 8:11). Remember, your good deeds do no earn you a special place before God (Isa. 64:6). Furthermore, if you have faith, it is because that faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29). If you believe, it is because God has granted that you believe (Phil. 1:29). It is not because you were baptized, or have been good, or belonged to a certain church, or have been sincere. It is all of God. The Lord must receive all the glory for salvation because it completely and totally rests in Him. It does not rest on a church – it does not rest on the pope – it does not rest on you! Salvation rests in Christ alone and it is received by faith apart from works.
Please read the following scriptures carefully:
1. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ~Rom. 3:23
2. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord ~Rom. 6:23
3. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. ~1 Pet. 2:24
4. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. ~2 Cor. 5:21
5. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. ~John 14:14
6. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls ~Matt. 11:28-29
7. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: ~John 1:12
8. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. ~Gal. 2:21
9. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. ~Rom. 3:28
10. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. ~Rom. 4:3
11. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. ~Rom. 4:5
12. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Now, after reading these verses, can you seriously believe that God would change the plan of salvation to include Mariology, the eucharist, purgatory, etc. etc.? God does not change – His plan of salvation in the Word will never be superceded by anyone. Don’t believe a lie. Use that brain that God gave you and read His Word. He will not lie to you, but man will! Let God’s Holy Word speak to your hearts and allow His Holy Spirit to draw you to salvation!