Friday, October 14, 2016

Works Based Sufficient?


I don’t know the source on this graphic. But I didn’t search deeply for that – it showed up with graphics when I searched for “Hard Work” and really fits for a story I heard Sunday.

A missionary met a gentleman on a plane that gave them hours to meet, exchange tidbits and discuss a bit of religion. That happens often when missionaries travel – they don’t keep their love of God in a container to use only at their “workplace,” the live it. The question to the young man has been given in an earlier blog – that he had attended communion, regularly, and that would be sufficient.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “works salvation,” the concept that good deeds will earn us a home in heaven. Wouldn’t that be great, except for a few Bible verses:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23 KJV)

Remember from earlier this week His commandments? Check them out in Matthew 22:37-40. Love – Him and neighbors. Now, I’ll admit, that may be hard work. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ignore those who have hurt us, hurt others, hate God – we could make a whole list, couldn’t we? Won’t work – all on that list fall under neighbors. What work can overcome not doing God’s will?

There are several specific verses that tell us what is required other than works:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6 KJV)

Paul believed and preached repeatedly to those who asked:

And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:30-31 KJV)

Spelling it out, plainly:

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. (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

That is sufficient – but it opens the door for much more.  Once we believe that God is, that He love us, that He was shown miracles beyond our belief and the Bible brings us closer to Him, we study His word. There we get our instructions:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (II Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)

There are those good works! And they are sufficiently important that more is given to us:

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18 KJV)

If we could achieve eternal life on our good works alone, why did Jesus go through crucifixion and resurrection? As usual, I hope you’ll not remain ignorant of verses surrounding those above. I’m always open to listening to other viewpoints, but my resource will always remain the Bible.

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