We hear it all the time:
“We are saved by grace, not by works, lest any man should boast”
And indeed, Paul did write that. But how far are we supposed to take that? Is this verse meant to override the rest of the Word of God? Does it really mean what it looks like it means?
Hypocrisy #1: The Work of Preaching
The proponents of the “grace-only, no human works can save you” message never thinks about the fact that a human must preach the gospel to them in order for them to hear and get saved.
Obviously, preaching is a work. Preaching involves human effort, and various degrees of human work. Some preachers work a lot harder than others. But nevertheless, preaching is work.
GO (grace-only) proponents make things sound so “spiritual” by saying that they are saying by grace only, and salvation by no means involves any human work.
These same GO preachers preach the gospel to you, indirectly telling you that you get saved by their work! – preaching the gospel.
After they preach to you, if you accept their message, and say the “sinners prayer” they walk away feeling so proud of themselves, knowing that their work saved you. This is hypocrisy is the purest form.
Hypocrisy #2: The Work of Comprehension
Professional teachers will tell you – It takes work to learn! Students work hard to focus, listen, and understand what is being taught. Students get tired! Why? Because it is a lot of work!
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that focusing, listening, and understanding are verbs – ACTION words.
It takes brain power, and work to:
- stay put, and pay attention to the message
- listen intently to the message
- understand the message
- respond to the message
GO proponents like to sound super-spiritual by telling you that you are saved only by what Jesus did on the cross – it takes absolutely no human effort on your part. They say that you are not saved by your effort, you are only saved by Jesus’ effort.
Obviously, the GO message is a self-destructing message. It is a self-cancelling message. Even if it were true (it’s far from true), staying put, paying attention, listening, understanding, and responding are all forms of human effort. What GO preachers don’t realize is that they are telling you that you are saved, not only by their works of preaching the gospel to you, but you are saved by YOUR ability to focus, listen, and understand + Jesus work on the cross. Once again – hypocrisy!
Hypocrisy #3: Confession
Proponents of the “grace-only” message often quote Paul “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
In fact, they quote that scripture as the be-all end-all recipe for salvation. But is it? Or it is just a brief summary of salvation, barely touching the surface of the “recipe”?
Grace-only extremists say that your salvation has absolutely nothing to do with an human work, or human effort – rather it is all Jesus, and what He did.
It all sounds fine and dandy. It sounds good, and very “Christian”. But is it true?
We must take a hard look into what is being preached. Those who preach that the salvation of a person’s soul does not involve any human effort, also hypocritically preaches Romans 10:9 that clearly says IF you confess the Lord Jesus… you will be saved. Confession is a work. Therefore, such an argument is self-destructing, and hypocritical.
Those who say that confession is not a condition to salvation are willingly denying the scripture they claim to believe. Romans 10:9 says plainly “IF you confess”… “thou shalt be saved”.
So then, Paul puts a condition on salvation that is indeed a work – a human effort. Therefore, anyone who is a believer of Romans 10:9 should never say that works play absolutely no part in salvation.
Romans 10:9 is but a micro-thumbnail, a brief, but not exhaustive overview of the entire Bible. It is NOT the entire Bible.
Faith without works will not save you. James makes it clear: Faith without works is DEAD! Can dead faith save you? Is God impressed by dead faith?
Jesus said, “except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Peter echoed the Lord, commanding us to “be holy as He is holy.”
The book of Hebrews confirms that you are not covered if you sin intentionally.
Several of Jesus parables, include the talents, the ten virgins, the sheep and the goats ALL teach that your WORKS will be the basis on which Jesus judges you. NOT your faith.
Jesus also said that many will come to Him on the day of judgement, confessing Him as Lord, having great faith to do mighty works in His name – and He will say, “Depart from me, you who live without Torah! I never knew you!”
Many translations use the word “iniquity” in this passage. The Greek word anomia means “without the law”, or “without the Torah”.
After all Jesus said that He will reject every worker of iniquity, regardless of their confession, or faith (Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus plainly said that it is possible to confess Jesus as Lord, and have great faith, and in the end be rejected by Him because of your sin.
Furthermore, Jesus made it clear in Matthew 25 that the only difference between the sheep (who are saved) and the goats (who are not saved) is what they did, or didn’t DO.
If Jesus’ teachings aren’t enough to convince you, what is?
In spite of the teachings you hear from mainstream Christianity, your works are vital to your salvation, and in the end Jesus will either commend you or condemn you based on your works! It’s clear. Jesus never taught that your works doesn’t matter, or that your works will never please Him.
We need to learn how to listen to God and believe Him, not men. The “Christian” world is saturated by preachers who trying to use one part of the word of God to nullify another. This is a gross heresy. God never makes mistakes. Everything he said from the beginning still stands. His word is forever settled in heaven.
Some teach that we are saved by faith, and judged by our works. But this is a dance-around theology that ignores much of the teachings of Christ, and the apostles on this matter – including the scriptures aforementioned. It reads too much in between the lines, they say a lot things that the scriptures simply don’t say. Modern-day Christianity is corrupted by the teachings of men.
Are we practicing scripture-isolation? Are we using our interpretation of Paul’s letters to nullify the teachings of Jesus, Peter, James, and John? Are we cutting one scripture out of the Bible, and leaving the others?
Finally, Jesus told His church in the book of Revelation over and over again that He sees their works and their sin. And unless they repent, they will be judged. Jesus Himself makes it very clear in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3 that He will judge the church based on their works. And many in the church will have their lamp snuffed out, be fought against by God Himself, and become the vomit of God – based on their WORKS.
Does that sound like salvation to you?