Salvation Comes First Before Works

Jesus Christ said that whoever comes to Him He will in no wise cast out.

35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day– John 6:35-40

Human Works Will Never Merit Salvation?

Have you ever wondered that if we as humans could earn our way to heaven, why would Jesus have had to die that horrible death? Yet, why do we as believers become self-righteous and believe that on top of what Jesus did that we can merit salvation through our works, which are filthy rags in the eyes of God.

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 awayIsaiah 64:6

Pride is dangerous, and as believers, we must never ever think that we ourselves can merit salvation, on top of what Jesus did. The work is ALL of Jesus Christ. We must believe Jesus. This is God’s will.

God’s standard is perfection, and all humans are flawed. Yes, we may battle this truth until the day we die, but every human being is flawed because of sin. The wages of sin is death.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LordRomans 6:23

Only Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, kept the law perfectly without sin, and his death on the cross paid for the sins of the whole world. God Almighty accepted His blood sacrifice upon His resurrection. It has the power to save souls unto eternal life.

Jesus told Nicodemas that in order to gain entry into the Kingdom of God, we must be born again.

How to be Born Again

1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God – John 3:1-21

Jesus makes it clear that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

pisteuó: to believe, entrust

Original Word: πιστεύω
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: pisteuó
Phonetic Spelling: (pist-yoo’-o)
Definition: to believe, entrust
Usage: I believe, have faith in, trust in; pass: I am entrusted with.

If we are not trusting in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we are not taking God at His word. In effect, we are calling God a liar, and why should God save someone who does not believe Jesus’ word?

If you trust Jesus as your saviour, you are saved and rest in that assurance. Do not rely on feelings or emotions as evidence because these can change. Trust God.

Trust God not Man

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in manPsalm 118:8

The charismatic movement is very reliant on signs and wonders as evidence of the Holy Spirit, but this can give a false assurance in some people, because if a person has trusted Christ as Saviour, but does not have an emotional experience, he or she may not have assurance of salvation. Speaking in tongues, as detailed in the book of Acts, was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit who was speaking the Holy Word to the surrounding crowds and translating it into an understandable language for the people to understand.

Trust God and His word, and not an experience. The amount of times I have expected a sign of salvation, because I listened to someone else’s testimony who described an ‘experience’. I was not resting in Christ, and this is the problem. If we want assurance of salvation, we must stand on the Word of God and not what any man says.

Saved Unto Good Works

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in themEphesians 2:10

A lot of pastors and churches are teaching that we need to maintain works for salvation, but throughout the epistles, Paul is reminding the brethren to beware of others who were putting them back under the law into bondage. It is faith that saves, and not works of any kind. We must get out of the frame of mind that our works has anything to do with salvation, and look to the finished work of Jesus. People who teach that we need to do this and do that for salvation, or to persevere for salvation, have no understanding of the simple gospel that saves. They do not believe that the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood is enough to save them.

1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh4H ave ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it isevident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise – Galatians 3:1-29

It is important to separate salvation from discipleship, which is a choice for every believer after salvation – trusting in Christ alone. It would be helpful if pastors and churches taught this, that when we serve God post salvation we are storing up treasures in heaven. But even if we don’t serve God throughout our life after being born again, we can’t lose our salvation, because the gifts of God are without repentance. However, we may lose treasures or rewards in Heaven.

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

KJV: of God [are] without repentance.

ametamelétos: not repented of

Original Word: ἀμεταμέλητος, ον
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: ametamelétos
Phonetic Spelling: (am-et-am-el’-ay-tos)
Definition: not repented of
Usage: not to be repented of, about which no change of mind can take place, not affected by change of mind.

Works Are Profitable For Eternal Rewards

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing – 1 Corinthians 13:3

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come1 Timothy 4:8

if, then, any one may cleanse himself from these, he shall be a vessel to honour, sanctified and profitable to the master — to every good work having been prepared2 Timothy 2:21

This saying is faithful, and concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to menTitus 3:8

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 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. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead alsoJames 2: 14-26

James 3 is often used as reason for teachers to prove that works are necessary, but notice that the book of James is addressing the brethren – born again believers. James is talking to believers and saying that it is beneficial for the believer to do works to show evidence of faith to others, as it brings profit – heavenly rewards, but it should never be used to explain that a believer can lose salvation. We are to be light and salt in this world, so works post salvation is a reasonable service to God, after what He has done for us.

Keep it simple. Salvation comes first before works, so ensure that you are trusting in Christ alone, and not Christ plus works like the false work that you have to ‘repent of your sins’ as taught by many, for eternal life. Trust God and accept His free gift of eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ, then if you want to become a disciple afterward and serve God, you will be storing up treasures in heaven. Salvation and serving God after salvation are entirely separate. The former saves a soul from perishing, while the latter is profitable at the Judgement Seat of Christ when our works will be judged and rewards given, or taken away.

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