In this message I want to talk about what it takes to be saved. And what it takes to stay saved. With a special focus on works vs grace.
In Gal.1 we see that salvation by works is anathema to Paul's gospel. Yet we have still today those who would try to insert works somehow into the Bible's salvation message.
Even though Paul wrote things like "salvation is by grace through faith not of works" in Eph.2. And "to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" in Rom.4. And "if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace" in Rom.11.
Reading these it would seem impossible that anyone could incorporate works into Paul's message about how men are saved. But, for some ungodly reason some people still feel compelled to do just that.
Why? The simple answer is, because it resonates with the flesh. And these people are still operating in accordance with the flesh. And have no inkling as to what it means to live by the spirit.
The fleshly canal mind relates by works.
We can see this when Adam was told both in and out of the garden that he would work. So from the time God placed man on earth he works. And still today we work for food, shelter, and clothing.
So naturally the flesh leans toward works for everything it needs. And salvation being our greatest need. It stands to reason as far as the flesh goes, that works must play some role in how man attains it.
But, this is exactly why Isaiah said in ch.55 that God's ways are above our ways and His thoughts above our thoughts. And accordingly God designed salvation so that it would come contrary to the how the carnal mind thinks it should. By making it solely based on grace that Paul said comes by faith and not by works.
So we must be careful too that we do not fall into the trap of satan that even though it may not be by our works, it can be by someone else's works that we are saved. And that this is what the Bible means by grace.
Because even if someone else did the works for us, and we believed in that someone's grace to place to our account the righteousness attained from those works, salvation would remain out of our reach. Because this would still mean salvation is by works of the flesh.
Paul specifically addressed this situation in Gal.2:16 saying, "we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
So we see that even Jesus' works of perfect law keeping have nothing to do with how we are saved. Because the righteousness that comes by works is at enmity with the righteousness that is of faith. And the flesh is at enmity with the spirit because the flesh is works and the spirit is grace. One is paid as a debt to the one who earned it. And the other is a gift of love freely given to those who will trust in Jesus.
This is why Paul said in Rom.8 that "they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Because the flesh is works. While the spirit is grace through faith. Because it is partaken of only by grace through faith. And is also why Paul quoted Malachi saying, "Jacob have I loved but Esau I hated." Because Jacob represents those who seek the promise of the spirit by faith. While Esau represents those whose only desire is what they can get by the flesh.
In Phil.3 we see Paul saying again that the righteousness that is of works does nothing for salvation. He called that righteousness "dung"💩 and "loss"👎🏾 compared to knowing Jesus that comes by faith🙏🏻 without works🛠. So that it is the relationship we must look to for salvation. And disregard works in any way as if they would make us any closer with God.
In James2 we read that "faith without works is dead, being alone". Most leave the last 2 words in that verse out because they have been deceived to believe James was saying works are necessary for salvation. But, they are extremely important. Because they show that the man whose faith is dead still has faith for salvation.
Just not works so it can be seen by others. And that it is only because he does not show his faith to others by works that are needed because the flesh is works that his faith is dead... to them.
Not able to be seen by anyone else. Which is why James makes the point saying, "show me your faith without works. And I will show you my faith by works". He is not saying a man isn't saved if he has not works that can be seen by others. He is saying a man's faith can not save others who only see in the flesh.
And in Rom.6 we see Paul asking "shall we sin that grace might abound?" To which he answers, "God forbid". This question came up because those who Paul was teaching did not understand his message of grace. So he told them that once you have been set free you should not go back to it's slavery.
He does not say that the one who sins loses his or her salvation. He says the thing you were made free from will enslave you to it making your natural life miserable like before. Only now you have the love of Jesus and the Holy Spirit living in you. So there is no reason your life should be miserable. To the contrary, it should be filled with the love, joy, and peace that God gives to all who trust in Him.
To put a bow on this message concerning how we are saved and how we stay saved, we see that Paul told the church at Corinth that even if a man were to build on the foundation that is Christ wood, hay, and stubble(those things that will burn in fire), when those things are burned away when he is judged for his works at the believer's judgment for rewards, the man is still saved even if that is all the works he had ever done.
This should make it abundantly clear that salvation is not based on the works of the flesh. And can not be. But, is based solely upon our belief in and relationship with the God who made us. And the God who saves us, Jesus Christ.
So don't use your liberty as a license to live in the works of the flesh. Don't fall back into the fleshly thinking that works have anything to do with what saves you and keeps you saved. Because if we are saved it is by grace through faith and not of works. And we stay saved by grace through faith not of works.
The grace of God that was manifested to us when Jesus came to join with us in our mortality. To become a man so that He could die a man's death. So that by His resurrection He would conquer death and mortality so that we could join with Him in eternal life and immortality.
And if you will have eternal life all that is needed is to receive this gift from Jesus by faith that He is YOUR Lord. And that He has raised from the dead. Do this and you will have eternal life. Do this and you will become a child of God and heir to His kingdom. Do this.... and I will see you there or in the air!
This message can also be heard at: Rumble