Is salvation by works or Faith?


The short answer is, not one of the two. Look at the following passage.

Ephesians 2     For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of Godnot of works, lest anyone should boast.

So, let me explain. Every one of us is a sinner, and sinners cannot save themselves. To try and get salvation by works is therefore an impossibility, and yet most religions try exactly that. It is a very unhappy situation when you try to save yourself by keeping the law, or by doing good deeds, because our nature is directly opposite to that, and so we keep on sinning and asking for forgiveness, on and on and on, and we can never get it right. So, your first one, salvation by works, is a non-starter.

God knows that we are sinners, without a hope of salvation, except if the Creator of the universe becomes a human being, takes upon Himself all of our sins, and dies the death that every sinner should die. And that is exactly what Jesus did for us. He took upon Himself every sin of every man, woman and child, since Adam and Eve to the very end of time. He did this on the cross, and the Sinless One became sin for us, so that we can become the righteousness of God. He gives us His righteousness as a free gift, which takes away any reason for us to try and earn salvation. All we have to do is accept the gift, and this is where faith comes in. 

2 Corinthians 5:21   For He (God the Father) made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

In the first passage above, it says we are saved by God’s wonderful grace, through faith. What exactly does that mean? It means that when God promises to save us and bring us into His kingdom, to live with Him forever, we have to trust that what He says is true, and believe it. You can only trust someone you know. Anyone that promises you something, and you don’t know the guy from a bar of soap, you won’t believe. So, it comes down to the fact that we have to get to know God so well, that we will come to know that we can trust Him completely, no matter what He promises. And that can only happen if we start and grow a close personal relationship with Him. That means you have to spend quality time with Him every day, at the same time, in the same place (to build a good habit), and talk to Him. That is how relationships are built, you tell someone all about yourself, your hopes, dreams, fears, sins, frustrations, doubts, and everything else. And then you give them the opportunity to tell you all about themselves, in the same way. And before you know it, you are best friends. For God, it works exactly the same. You open up your heart to Him, telling Him everything (He knows it all anyway, so what have you got to lose!), and asking Him to forgive you and change you into the person He would like you to be. And then you let Him show Himself to you, by reading His Word, the Bible. Before you start, ask Him to show you Himself, to lead you into the truth about Him and salvation, and then listen to Him. Take your time, God has plenty! And don’t expect it to happen overnight, relationships take time to form and grow. But I promise you, your life will change! And when you know Him, really know Him, you will trust Him completely, and believe what He says, which is what faith is.

1 John 4:8   He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

John 17:3   And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

John 14     “In My Father’s house (heaven) are many mansions; if it were not so,  I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

So, God gives you eternal life for free, and you don’t have to earn it (you couldn’t even if you wanted to!). All you have to do is accept it, and enter into a close personal relationship with Him, so that you get to know Him really well. And when you do, you will have the faith to believe that when He says that you are saved, and that He has a mansion waiting for you in heaven, you will believe it wholeheartedly. And by that time, with God as the first Person in your life, your sinful life will have changed to a life dedicated to God. How does that sound?

God bless as you study this! I hope it makes sense to you.

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