Take a little test on grace, faith, works and salvation. Don’t worry, it is multiple choice. I always liked multiple choice questions because I at least had a chance of getting the answer correct. Look below. Which one or ones would you check?
Check the correct answer(s) below.
Grace = Salvation
Faith = Salvation
Works = Salvation
Grace + Faith = Salvation
Grace + Faith + Works = Salvation
None of the Above
All of the Above
It is easy to get confused. Even the Bible seems to contradict itself! For example, when you read in Ephesians 2 and Romans 4 that salvation is not by works, and then read in James 2 that it is by works, you may wonder, “What is the biblical doctrine concerning grace, faith, works and salvation?”
This is an eternally important question because we are talking about salvation! So, let’s consider three things that will help us to sort this out.
1. The popular doctrines of salvation by grace only and faith only are not found in the Bible. Certainly, the Bible teaches we are saved by grace (Eph. 2:5, 8; Tit. 2:11). These passages are evidence that we are not saved by grace only, else all would be saved (cf. also Acts 15:11; Rom. 3:24). Grace means that God gives us what we do not deserve (Rom. 6:23). Without the grace of God we would all be lost in our sins! "Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see." But, nowhere does the Bible teach we are saved by grace only!
Certainly, the Bible teaches we are saved by faith (Eph 2:8; Heb. 11:6; cf. also 2 Tim 3:15; 1 Pet. 1:5, 9) or belief (Mark 16:16; Acts 16:31; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 1:21; 2 The. 2:13). If we do not believe in Jesus we will die in our sins (John 8:24). But, nowhere does the Bible teach we are saved by faith only!
Think about it…if we are saved by grace only, then we cannot be saved by faith and if we are saved by faith only we cannot be saved by grace. The truth is that we are saved by both grace and faith. In fact, there are many things that save us. For example: Jesus (Mat. 1:21; Luke 19:10; 1 Tim. 1:15); the longsuffering of our Lord (2 Pet. 3:15); sanctification by the Spirit, renewal of the Holy Spirit (2 The. 2:13, Tit. 3:5); the gospel message, the word (Rom. 1:16; Jam. 1:21; cf. also Acts 11:14; 1 Cor. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:15); calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21; Rom 10:13); belief and confession (Rom. 10:9-10), godly sorrow and repentance (2 Cor. 7:10); belief and baptism (Mark 16:16; cf. also Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 3:21); a wife her husband or a husband his wife (1 Cor. 7:16); Paul some (1 Cor. 9:22); Timothy himself and those who heard him (1 Tim. 4:16); affliction and comfort (2 Cor. 1:6); endurance (Mat. 10:22); hope (Rom. 8:24); works (Phi. 2:12; Jam 2:24).
2. The Bible speaks of several different kinds of works. There are works that are done in an attempt to earn or merit salvation but the only thing that can pay for our sins is the sacrifice of Jesus. Such works do not save us (Eph. 2:1-10; Tit. 3:3-7). God’s grace is the source, basis, grounds of our salvation. All of our works could never pay for even one sin; only the sacrifice of Christ could pay for our sins.
There are the works of the Law of Moses. This law was given to the Jewish nation but never to any other. It showed them that they were sinners in need of a Savior, because they all transgressed and fell under its condemnation. The Law of Moses cannot save; it only points us to the Savior, Jesus Christ (Rom. 3-4; Gal. 3). The problem is that the Jews tried to earn their salvation by the works of the Law instead of trusting God for it (Rom. 9:32)!
But, the Bible also speaks of the works of faith (1 The. 1:3; 2 The. 1:11). This is the obedience that comes from a heart of faith, trusting not in one’s perfect performance of keeping God’s word but in Christ for salvation (Rom. 4:11-12; 1:5; 16:26; Gal. 5:6; Phi. 2:12; Jam. 2:14-26; cf. also Acts 20:21; Rom. 6:17-18; 10:9-10; Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 3:10; Col. 2:12; Tit. 2:11-14; Heb. 6:1, 10). We must trust Him enough to do what He says to do in order to be saved (Mat. 7:21; Luke 6:46; Heb. 5:8-9).
3. According to the Bible, works of faith are necessary for salvation. Grace is God's initiative. He loved us first (Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:19)! Before we asked, before we did anything, from the foundation of the world Christ was slain for the sins of all (1 Pet. 1:18-20; Rev. 13:8; John 1:29; 1 Tim. 2:6; 1 John 2:2)! We cannot obtain salvation on our own without Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Faith is man's response. We believe, we trust with our hearts, with our whole lives the One who loves us so!
This involves a decision of faith—repentance (Acts 3:19; 2 Cor. 7:10). Repentance means turning from sin to live for God. One must repent (Luke 13:3).
It includes a declaration of faith—confession (Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:9-10). One must declare faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Lord and Savior of the world, the Son of God (Mat. 10:32-33).
There must also be a demonstration of faith—baptism (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21). Baptism is not a work of merit or a work of the Law of Moses but an act of faith in obedience to the gospel of Christ (Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:1-5; Gal. 3: 26-27; Col. 2:12).
In baptism we are united with Christ and added to His church with all the saved (Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:23). One must be baptized (John 3:5), but it is just the beginning of the new life.
Finally, it calls for a devotion of faith – a life of faith (Gal. 2:20; Heb. 12:1-2; 2 Tim. 4:7-8). We must strive to glorify God in all things, to keep His commandments, trusting Him for salvation until Jesus returns (Heb. 10:26-31).
You Can Be Saved by Grace through Faith!!!
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).