Salvation by Grace Faith and Works

Men have taught many false doctrines concerning salvation. Men have been in error on what one must do to be saved. When is one saved has been misunderstood. How one is saved is a question men will not let the Bible settle.

The New Testament teaches man is saved by (1) grace, (2) faith, and (3) works. "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." (Eph. 2:8-9) A study of the relationship of grace, faith and works is needed because the denominational world has never understood the proper relationship of the three.

Man Is Saved By God's Grace

The Bible in a number of passages teaches men are saved by God's grace. (Titus 2:11-12; 3:7; Eph. 1:7; 2:79; Jno. 3:16; Rom. 3:24; 5:20-21; 6:14). Briefly defined "grace" is the "unmerited favor" of God extended to man. If God did not extend man his grace, man could not be saved. A convict could not be pardoned unless the governor was willing to extend his grace to him.

Examples of God's Grace

(1) Noah. From Gen. 6:5 7 it is learned because of the wickedness of man God intended to destroy man and beast from the earth. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." (v. 8) God's grace permitted Noah to build an ark. (Gen. 6:14-22). God's grace saved Noah from destruction.

(2) Abraham. From Gen. 12:1-3 we see God's grace caused him to bless Abraham allowing him to go into the land God would show him.

(3) Israel. In Exodus 14 we observe Israel saved from the Egyptians by God's grace for Israel had done nothing that obligated God to save them from the Egyptians at the Red Sea.

(4) Joshua. Joshua 6 reveals that God gave into the hand of Joshua the city of Jericho. This was an act of God's grace toward Israel.

(5) Naaman. 2 Kings 5 reveals how Naaman was permitted by Elisha to dip in Jordan and be cleansed of leprosy. This was by God's grace through the prophet of God.

(6) Man today. Today men receive the grace of God to save them from sin. (Thus 2:11-12) God is not obligated to save man; he is saved by God's grace.

God's Grace

We need to observe that the New Testament teaches, that when related to salvation, grace is always bestowed by God upon man. Grace is God's side of salvation, not These passages do not contradict each other. The man's. reason this is true is because the Bible mentions different kinds of works.

Man Is Saved By His Faith

The New Testament teaches that man is saved by faith in a number of passages. (Heb. 11:6; Jno. 3:16; 3:36; 5:24; Rom. 5:1; Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 16:31; Jas. 2:24).

While the New Testament teaches men are saved by faith, the Scriptures nowhere teach that man is saved by "faith only" or by "faith alone." In fact, the only time the Bible uses the term "faith only" it says ..ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith alone. "

Yet, in the light of what the Scriptures say, men still teach that one is saved by faith only. (See a Baptist Manual or a Methodist Discipline.)

As grace is God's part in redemption, so faith is man's part. Men believe unto salvation. (Rom. 10:9-10) In relation to salvation never do we read of God's faith, but always man's faith.

Examples of Faith

(1) Noah-"By faith Noah, . . . moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house." (Heb. 11:7)

(2) Abraham-"By faith Abraham . . . obeyed; and he went out . . by faith he sojourned in the land of promise . . . ." (Heb. 11:8-10)

(3) Israel-"By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land." (Heb. 11:29)

(4) Joshua-`By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days." (Heb. 11:30)

(5) Man today-"For by grace are ye saved through faith. . ." (Eph. 2:8-9)

Obedience of Faith

Saving faith is not the kind of faith that just gives mental assent. Many Pharisees believed on Christ, but would not confess him. (Jn. 12:42-43) The devils believe and tremble. (Jas. 2:19) Who would affirm that these are saved?

Paul says in Rom. 1:5 that he received grace and apostleship "for obedience to the faith among all nations." He says the mystery of the gospel was "made known to all nations for the obedience of faith." (Rom. 16:26) Christ is the author of salvation to the obedient. (Heb. 5:8-9) Saving faith is the kind of faith that obeys Christ.

Man Saved By Works

The same New Testament that teaches that grace and faith save, teaches that man is saved by works. Consider these passages that so teach: Acts 2:40; 10:34-35; Phil. 2:12. The religious world has had great trouble understanding the Bible teaching on this point. A passage will be read that says man is not saved by works, while others are found that declares man is saved by works.

Different Kinds of Works

Every time the New Testament mentions works, it does not mean the same kind of work. A failure to consider the different kinds of works mentioned in the New Testament is the reason for much misunderstanding. Consider the works mentioned in the New Testament.

(1) Works of man's righteousness. These are mentioned in Rom. 10:3, Titus 3:5 and Eph. 2:9. By this kind of works no man is saved.

(2) Works of the law of Moses. Read Rom. 3:28 and Gal. 2:16 to see that man is not saved by the works of the law.

(3) Works of faith. Paul mentions "works of Faith" in I Thess. 1:3. Since faith comes by hearing the word of God, Rom. 10:17, the works of faith are those that come by hearing God's word.

(4) Good works. Christians are taught to maintain good works. (Titus 3:8-14) These good works are ordained of God and are not left to man's judgment. (Eph. 2:10)

(5) Works of God. There are those works mentioned in Jn. 6:28-29 as being the "works of God." These are the works authorized by God for men to do in obedience to his will.

(6) Works of God's righteousness. These works are mentioned in Acts 10:35; I Jn. 2:29; 3:7, 10. We are charged to work or do these.

The New Testament passages that teach that men are not saved by works are passages teaching man is not saved by the works of the law of Moses or the works of man's righteousness.

The New Testament passages that teach that men are not saved by works are passages teaching man is not saved by the works of the law of Moses or the works of man's righteousness.

The New Testament passages that show man is saved by works are those which teach man is saved by the works of God's righteousness. These are called the works of God because God authorizes them. When worked by man they are called the works of faith for it is man's faith that causes him to do them. They are called "good works" because God authorizes them, and good comes from God.

Examples of Works

In each instance when man is approved of God, it is only when man is willing to work or obey God. God saves the obedient (Heb. 5:8-9); God never saves the disobedient. (Mt. 7:21-23)

(1) Noah. "Noah, being warned of God . . . moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house." (Heb. 11:7) Noah worked that which God told him.

(2) Abraham. "Abraham, when he was called . . . obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." (Heb. 11:8) Abraham obeyed God.

(3) Israel. "They passed through the Red Sea as by dry land . . ." (Heb. 11:29). Israel obeyed God when they passed through the Red Sea.

(4) Joshua. Israel and Joshua "compassed about seven days" the "walls of Jericho" and when they did the walls "fell down." (Heb. 11:30) They worked that which God told them to do.

(5) Naaman. This man dipped in Jordan. (2 Kgs. 5:14) God's prophet told him to dip and Naaman worked that which God had said.

(6) Man today. Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mk. 16:16) Man, when he is baptized, works or obeys the work of God (the work God named) and is saved by God's grace, when his faith leads him to work what works God has told him.

Is Baptism A Work?

Some object to baptism calling it a work and quoting Eph. 2:9, Titus 3:5 or some other passage that says man is not saved by works. The mistake that is made is in failing to understand the, kind of works by which man is saved.

Man is not saved by works of which he can boast. (Eph. 2:9; Titus 3:5) Baptism is a work of God for Christ commanded it. (Mk. 16:16) Man ban not boast of being saved by his works when he obeys what God said and is baptized.

Belief Is A Work

Those who teach that men are not saved by any kind of works involve themselves in great difficulty. While objecting that man is saved by any kind of work, they teach that man is saved by "faith only." And the Bible teaches that faith is a work. (Jno. 6:29) "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." Faith is a work of God; they teach man is saved by "faith only" without any kind of works, so they deny man is saved by that by which they say he is saved.

Conclusion

The Universalist teaches man is saved by grace only; the Calvinist teaches man is saved by faith only and the Catholic teaches man is saved by works.

The Bible teaches man is saved by God's grace with man appropriating that grace by his faith in working or obeying what the grace of God teaches him to do to be saved.

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Author: jfm

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