Community service, helping the poor, working in a soup kitchen, giving money to good causes – these are all very good things! These are all very needful things. In fact, Christ taught us to help those less fortunate than we are. This should be at the top of every human being’s list of important things. However, none of these good deeds will change our standing with God.
God says that:
~Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
~Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
There is not one person on this earth who can say he/she is without any sin at all. If you have stolen anything, you are a thief. If you have told even a little white lie, you are a liar. If you have looked at another woman with desire, the Bible says you are an adulterer in your heart. If you admit to doing any of these things (and each represents breaking one of the Ten Commandments), then by your own admission you are a lying thief and adulterer. God gave us the Ten Commandments so that we could realize that we are sinners.
Man has the ability to discern for himself that he is a sinner. God has placed that ability in each of us. We know when we have done wrong. In turn, we try to make up for it by doing good things. These good things, in and of themselves, are good but they cannot make up for our sins. These works cannot save us from God’s impending judgment. That is the reason God sent Christ to die for our sins because we could never do enough good works to make up for our sin.
If you look at most religions today, there is some type of works involved. One either has to do penance or good works to cover his sin. This is not a new concept. Cain tried to cover his rebellion toward God’s will by offering a sacrifice from his garden rather than what God had commanded, which was a spotless lamb.
~Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (8 ) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (9)
~Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
~2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Why, then, does mankind have the need to push the works-based salvation agenda? It is because of the same pride that Cain had. No one is going to tell me how I’m going to live my life. No one is going to tell me that I can’t go to heaven my way. My offering is just as good as his!
The truth of the matter is that there is nothing that we can do to earn heaven. You cannot earn a gift. Ephesians 2:8 is quite clear that salvation is a gift. You cannot work for a gift. You can work for money – you can work for food – but you cannot work for a gift. This is the simple truth. The Father gave mankind a gift through His Son. What kind of a gift was He? He paid the penalty for our sins. God knew we could not do it on our own. We sin every single day. There’s no way that a tally could be kept comparing our good works against our sins! That is silly and the Word of God does not support that.
~2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Just what is the truth? Where can this truth be found? Who has the truth? Jesus had the answers to these questions:
~John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
We cannot work our way to heaven, my friend. We have a choice – do we accept this gift that the Father has given to us through Christ Jesus? Or, do we continue to work our way to heaven and find out at the judgment that we are wrong? The Lord Jesus Christ paid our penalty with His own blood! We have been saved from judgment and its accompanying penalty which is eternity burning in hell.
~Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Once you have settled your salvation and accepted Christ’s blood as payment for your sins, you receive the Holy Spirit and you are reunited with God. You are a new creature – you are born again. After salvation, you then begin to serve a new Master, the Lord God. A servant works hard for his master and so should we for our Master.
~Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
The works we did prior to salvation were dead works – they amounted to nothing. But now we serve the living God and our work for Him should be evident. The world should know that we are Christians by our works – not works need for salvation but works that come after salvation.
James talks about the works that come after salvation.
~James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
~James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Notice it is works along with faith and not works alone. Remember the account of the Good Samaritan? That was an excellent example of someone saying they had faith but their works did not prove it.
One cannot be saved without faith, Ephesians 2:8-9 make that quite clear. Therefore, after salvation one should be working for the Master. One should be witnessing to others and sharing the Gospel. One should be the “light” in a very dark world. Anyone who says they are born again and yet doesn’t do anything to serve the Lord should check out his spiritual barometer.
It is ashame that there are many who believe that their works go hand-in-hand with their salvation. If they only compared their beliefs with the Word of God, they would see that they are sincerely wrong. To state such a thing is to say that Christ’s death was not enough – the Father’s gift was not enough – and that we have to “add” our works to the salvation process. To do so takes away from the Perfect Lamb of God.