Faith vs Works

faith worksJames 2:14 New International Version (NIV)

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

Tonight at my house we were having a discussion about the different between grace and good deeds. Many have this notion that if you are good enough you will live forever in eternity because they are good. Well! That is very far from the truth. Nobody is good enough to go to heaven and there is no way we can get there on our own merit.

While I was talking to my sister, one of the things we brought up was doing Gods Will. As a Christian, my desire is to do God’s Will, but I fall short all the time. Everyday I am sure I sin somehow and I need to pray about my short comings and areas in my life where I struggle. Many times people are fast to point out the sins of others such as drinking, smoking, cussing, homosexuality or any other kind of sin instead of worrying about the sins they are committing themselves. Churches are full of sinners. Churches would be empty if sinners were sent away or excommunicated. And thankfully God loves me even when I fail. Because of God’s Grace and promises, I know where I will spend eternity.

grace_not_worksIn John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus didn’t say that being good will get you into Heaven.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but going to church isn’t going to get you there either. Being a member and church leader isn’t going to get you to Heaven either. There is no man made church that is going to save a person. It isn’t going to happen.

I love it when people tell me that they are going to go to Heaven because they go to the right church and is good enough for them. Actually I think we have a lot of pew sitters in our society and all churches. I can’t help but wonder how many rely on their church, or their own actions to save them. When only Christ can save.

It is good to do good things and God is pleased by things like helping others, singing with the worship team, preaching, tithing, bringing food to the homeless and all kinds of wonderful kind hearted things that we as Christians should be doing. None of these things are going to earn you brownie points when it comes to getting into Heaven.

fruit-of-the-spirit-treeI do want to say though that we should be doing good because as Christians we desire to be more Christlike. My desire is to allow myself to be an instrument, for Jesus’ love to shine. Christians should be willing to show their fruits that they earnestly seek to follow Christ with all our heart and strength.

Good deeds should be done in love, loving others in the same way you would want to be loved. When we do good deeds, we demonstrate what kind of fruit we are producing. Are we producing good or evil fruit?

Now you should be able to tell a Christian by their fruit i.e. works. Our works are the product of our faith. But no amount of good works is going to do anything for you since in the end you are still a wretched sinner in need of Grace. For every good work you could do a number of “bad” works. This is when Faith comes in.

  • Ephesians 2:8 (NIV) 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
  •  “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:3-4

I started earlier talking about the misconception of church saving a person, so I will resume this thought.

I love it when people tell me that they are going to go to Heaven because they go to the right church and is good enough for them. Actually I think we have a lot of pew sitters in our society and all churches. I can’t help but wonder how many rely on their church, or their own actions to save them. When only Christ can save.

Most importantly you have to put your trust in Jesus. God sent His Son, Jesus to pay the price for our sins so that we will all can have the hope to live forever. In Romans 5:8 it says that “God demonstrated His own love for us, in that, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” There are countless people who believe that being good alone will be good enough to get them to Heaven. And that is so far from the truth.

One of my favorite verses that talks about grace is in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

God gave us freewill, we can choose to believe in Jesus Christ and repent or we can turn away (reject) Him. It is in our ballpark and it is our choice. God doesn’t want His children to go to hell. It is your own rejection of Jesus Christ, for your sins that sends you there. Never forget that God gave us freewill, we can choose to repent and turn to Jesus or you can choose not to and spend eternity in hell. Repent simply means to turn or change.

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I just want to leave you all with this one last thought. Everyone is a sinner:
“there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

With God no one sin is greater than any other. They all have the same consequence.

  • Romans 6:23 (NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
    (Isaiah 64:6 KJV)

If we could “work” our way to heaven, then we wouldn’t need a Savior. Jesus would not have had to die in our place. But we do need a Savior because all our good works still fall short of the Glory of God.

We are saved by Grace. Grace is a gift that can not be earned by good deeds.

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