Once again I had someone argue with me on my Facebook page about salvation after reading my blog “Faith or Works?” This person believes as does his church that works are required in order to be saved. He cited of course the passage in James chapter 2, which some believe contradicts Paul’s writing in Ephesians chapter 2.
Paul and James do not contradict one another. Paul writes about salvation from God’s perspective and James from a human perspective.
Saving faith in a person should be evident in their lives by the fruit they bear. As Jesus said, by their fruit shall you know them. A genuine believer that is saved by faith should bear good fruit for the kingdom.
It amazes me that there are so many people that cannot and will not receive the free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. They think that there must be something that they have to do to be saved. I guess some of of it is our human nature, but I have witnessed and seen numerous people spending years to argue that works need to be included. They argue that faith in God alone is not enough and that we have to do something more than just believe.
I don’t see how anyone can come up with a works based salvation message. I cannot find that anywhere in the pages of scripture. It is all God’s work and nothing that we have done. God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He send His only begotten Son. (John 3:16)
We are all declared sinners before God, not one is righteous on their own. “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.” Rom 3:10, 11.
God has declared that ALL of mankind has fallen short of His perfect Holiness. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23.
It started in garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and they ate from the forbidden tree. That one act of disobedience caused sin to enter the world and the result was a spiritual separation from God. Adam and Eve who once were in perfect harmony with God found themselves separated and soon after witnessed what their disobedience had brought forth, the first recorded murder when Cain slew Abel.
I can only imagine what Adam and Eve must have felt on that day when they saw the outcome of their sin. The result of sin is death. They did not die physically, but they died spiritually. There was nothing that Adam and Eve could do to atone for their sin. They tried to cover up their disobedience with fig leafs, thinking that God would be ok with that. But it was not ok, God clothed them in animal skins, signifying that blood was required to atone for their sins. The blood of an innocent animal could only cover their sins but not take them away. Later when we come to the time of Moses, God instituted blood sacrifices as part of the law.
Just as Adam and Eve covered themselves in fig leafs, so are many people today have a fig leaf religion. They think that they can appease God on their own merit. They think that by their “good works” God will look at them as righteous before Him. That is a false hope, there is absolutely nothing that any of us can do to please God with our works. God provided one way and one way alone and we must receive that way.
The only way provided is through the precious blood of Christ. The shed blood of Christ on the cross was sufficient and acceptable for the Father. Jesus is our propitiation, the passover lamb. He that knew no sin became sin for us and died for us, so that we may live eternally with Him.
To all those who think and teach that faith in Jesus alone is not enough and that certain works are required to earn salvation are gravely mistaken. The law could not justify anyone and no one was or is able to keep the law perfectly. If any of us were able to keep the law, than Christ died in vain. People that want to live a life of bondage to the law are destined to fail. The law is perfect and breaking one of them means breaking all of God’s law.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Rom 3:20.
Paul wrote to the Galatians: “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:22-26.
Yet there are those who insist that works are required, the write books about it, they preach from the pulpit and keep their congregation under legalism and bondage. Christ came to set us free from all of that. We are no longer under the law but under grace. The gospel i.e. the good news is so simple, but people have to make it complicated and the put heavy burden on others. This is not what Christ came for and it is not what God wants.
Jesus came to die on the cross for us. He left His place in Heaven to become one of us and to take our sins upon Him. He didn’t have to do that, but God so loves us that He send His Son Who willingly gave His life. That is something to rejoice in and to be thankful for. But what do so many denominations and churches do? They overlook or don’t understand the true meaning of God’s grace and teach others that the have to live by certain rules and regulation in order to be saved.
They have teachings that are not biblical and not be backed up by the scriptures. They twist and turn verses or built their whole theology around a couple of verses, failing to compare scriptures with scriptures. It is no wonder that non-believers sometimes mock Christianity. There are so many denominations and branches of churches out there, teaching different viewpoints and are convinced that the are the only “true church.” There is a lot of confusion out there among the various denominations.
No wonder that Christians look divided, rather than being of one mind. They follow the teachings of men rather than what the word of God teaches.
The only way someone can be saved in by believing in Jesus by faith. It is not Jesus plus, it is Him alone and only through Him and Hid finished work can we be justified before God. It is not our righteousness that God looks at but His righteousness that was imputed onto every true believer. Thank you God for Your mercy and for Your grace. Thank you Father for giving Your only begotten Son.
Thank you Jesus for setting us free from the bondage of law and that you have broken the wall of separation so that we may come boldly before the throne of God.Thank you for giving us Your perfect peace.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Rom 5:1, 2.
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Rom 3:21-28.
- Faith or works? (media4lifeministries.com)
- Being Good Does Not Save You! (footsoldiers4christ.wordpress.com)
25 thoughts on “Fig Leaf Religion”
Right on. Romans 10:9
Paul in Galatians speaks about that the law was a Tudor, showing people that they cannot perfectly keep the law. Christ fulfilled the law, He was the only perfect one. He did it all for us. So, we come by faith, the law written on out hearts, just as Abraham who was before the law was declared righteous before God because of his faith.(Gal 3:6) We are not saved because of our works i.e living and trying to please God by keeping the law which is impossible. Read the sermon on the mount, Jesus addresses the issue about keeping the law, which the Pharisees thought they kept perfectly. Mat 5:20-48. God looks at the heart, not outward appearance of righteousness. We cannot be saved by works, only by faith which produces fruit i.e good works. No one can earn salvation, it is a gift of God. “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.” Eph 2:8, 9. Religion is of works and many people that have religion rather than a personal relationship with Jesus are desperately trying to reach God by their “good works” which is not biblical. Many man made religions are works based, an attempt to please God. Biblical Christianity is the opposite, it is not man reaching up to God, but God reaching down to man. https://media4lifeministries.com/2012/03/20/faith-or-works/
so your saying that works aren’t needed but one of the scriptures you posted to defend your argument says that it is necessary Gal 3:22-26. says that the law is there to gain faith
So basically Gal 3:22-26.is saying that hey once you have faith you don’t really need to do works any more, but because faith will give you a better understanding of how things work and then you will want to do good works. As well as that faith comes from doing.
also one could use your argument to justify horrible things….
PASTOR .SWEN KUMAR.P
RAPAKA – 534 320
E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Brethren & Sister in Christ,
Warmest Greetings to all of you in the precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
After much prayer and waiting upon the Lord, I write this letter to enquire about your ministry and also to introduce our ministry and ourselves.
I have recently heard about you and your wonderful ministry to your people. Since we are independent and not affiliated to any church or denomination, we wish to work in association with you God willing.
I am an evangelist pioneering among unreached Hindus. As you know India has 1200 millions people and more than 84% are Hindus. There are only 3% Christians.
Though there are 33 millions gods being worshipped by Hindus. People life in terrible poverty. Sickness and suffering, more than half of Indian people live below break line. More than 1, 00,000 children die every month due to starvation. Only 5% of India’s 240 million children go to school.
In the midst of such a distressing and frustrating situation, we take the Gospel to these hurting and suffering masses. People are more positive to the Gospel than before. They are able to distinguish between mand-made religion and God’s way of salvation.
But the Gospel work goes slow due to castism and regionality, recial prejudice, etc. Indian people are divided in 3000 castes and innumerable number of sub castes. There are as many as 1640 different dialects and languages. Also seven major religions exercise good hold on people.
We are not at all intimidated by any of these issues. We just press for ward with preaching the Gospel. Surely the Holy Spirit convicts and converts their hearts.
So far our Lord has enable us to reach many hundreds of Hindus. We established 8 churches in untrodden territories. No Missionary has ever gone there. They are growing in the Lord. We need your prayers and participation. We are interested to know more about you and your ministry.
You are most welcome to visit us in India and see what God is doing in our midst. Also please feel free to ask us any question to enquire about our ministry or us. We will be highly delighted to furnish any information.
May the Lord richly bless you and prosper you all for His Nam’s sake.
Kindly pray for us our ministry and us.
We are awaiting your good Christian Co-operation and Blessings in the Name of ever flowing gracious loving Lord.
With prayers and God’s best
yours in His Service,
PASTOR .SWEN KUMAR.P
I assume you are not of the human race? Which planet are you visiting from. Would love to meet someone who is all knowing and supposedly knows the truth. Which planet are you from, Kolob?
Thanks Manfred, you are clearly denying Jesus as God. I know you don’t believe in the Bible, so I will not quote you the verses. Jesus on many occasions revealed His deity. Now, you can call Jesus a liar or a lunatic, but I do believe the word of God and I believe that Jesus is God, second person of the triune Godhead. Islam? Islam came 600 years after the NT was written and a 1000 years after the OT, with Malachi being the last prophet before John the baptist. You talk about religion? Islam is religion, not a relationship with a loving God. Allah of the Quran and YHWH the God of the Bible are not the same. I am saddened that you are turning from the only true and living God, the creator of all things and turn to Islam, a man made religion. Jesus said:” I am way the truth and the life, no one will come to the Father, but by Me.” Not my words, but the words of Jesus. You have to make the choice, to either believe Him or call Him a liar. The only unpardonable sin is the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior of the world. The Holy Spirit bears witness to Him and forgiveness and salvation can only be found in Yeshuah. Not Muhammad who was a mere man or Islam which is a religion and contradicts the word of God. It is your choice, God has given you a free will to choose. Read my article “Jesus or Muhammad?”
GOD is father and not father, GOD is mother and not mother. Jesus is a prophet and NOT GOD. He himself was talking about being a prophet. The only religion who undertstands this is the Islam.
There is only one GOD and not three in one. Ifyou think like this then there should be countless GOD’s in one.
This world would be a much better place without this destructive religion stuff which has nothing to do with the real GOD and it is devils work.
You humans are all wrong and one day you will see the real truth. You created Jesus, you made him a GOD. You made an idol.
Thanks for replying Freddy,
You’re right in that God’s love is unconditional. You’re wrong in that salvation is not conditional. There is a difference between the two. To say that all it takes is God’s love to be saved is to make the mistake that universalists make. God loves all, but all will not be saved (2 Peter 3:9).
Again, as I have said before, the theif on the cross is not an example for what one must do today to become a Christian. First – the thief lived under a different covenant than we do (Hebrews 9:16,17). Second – the thief did not have to confess that Jesus was raised from the dead (Romans 10:9,10). Third – the thief was not saved by faith alone; he reviled Jesus at first but repented (Matthew 27:41-44; Luke 23:39-41). Lastly, Jesus gave the command for baptism for the remission of sins after the thief was dead (Mark 16:15,16). That settles the comparison between what a person must do to be saved today and what the thief did.
You brought up Abraham again. The context of Romans 4 and Abraham not being justified by works is talking about the works of the law of Moses; not works of faith. James used the same word “justifies” when he mentioned works of FAITH in James 2:21. When was Abraham justified? When he simply believed as some try to teach? No – it was when his faith acted on God’s word.
Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. I won’t argue with that. Faith is neccesary to be saved. Hebrews 11:6 does not say faith alone – “…He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Faith alone will never please God – “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19) Now Freddy, if faith alone saves, then why are the demons lost?
To be saved a person must HEAR the gospel (Romans 10:17; 2 Thess. 2:14; John 20:30,31)
To be saved a person must BELIEVE the gospel (Acts 18:8; John 6:44,45; 8:24)
To be saved a person must CONFESS Christ (Romans 10:8-10)
To be saved a person must REPENT of his/her sins (Acts 17:30,31; Acts 2:38)
To be saved a person must BE BAPTIZED for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16; Revelation 1:5; Romans 6:3-5)
To be saved a person must REMAIN FAITHFUL to Jesus (Matthew 24:13; Revelation 2:10; Hebrews 5:8,9)
People are saved by God’s grace (Eph. 2:8); Christ’s blood (Romans 5:9); The Spirit’s Gospel (Romans 1:16,17); the sinner’s faith (not prayer – Acts 16:31); repentance (Luke 13:3); our confession in Christ (Romans 10:10); baptism for the remission of sins (1 Peter 3:21); works of faith (James 2:24); hope (Romans 8:24); and faithfullness (Revelation 2:10).
A little longer of a response that I wanted it to be, but it should answer all of the questions you asked, plus more that you or others may be thinking. God’s love is unconditional, according to the Bible – according to the Bible, salvation is not.
One more thing – you said, “It is all Him, none of it us.” Is the same true for a person who is lost??? If not, why not?
One more thing Eugene, you said: “Never one time in all of scripture is faith alone pleasing to God…” But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Heb 11:6. God is the initiator and the faith that a person has was given by God. It is all Him, none of it us. He did it all for us. There is no one that can say, well, God really saw something special in me and I deserved to be saved. No, we all deserved judgment because we all have fallen short. That is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions. In all other religion it is man that are trying to reach God, btw with their works. In Christianity, God reached down to man. Saved by Grace through Faith.
Hi Eugene, thanks for your comment. Salvation is not conditional, God’s love for us is unconditional. What for example did you do to receive Salvation? I understand what you saying that a person needs to repent and turn from their former life. Now someone could argue that repenting can be considered work. Repentance means a change of mind. However salvation may happen in a persons life, the either hear the gospel and have a change of mind or in my case I was so down and out that I cried out to God, “if you are real, I need You now, I do not want to be this way any longer.” From that moment on my life changed. Can one consider that work? The thief on the cross, he did not do any works, he had a change of mind i.e. repentance. I think that some people confuse justification and sanctification. Justification happens the moment a person receives Jesus as Lord and Savior. The believer is declared righteous before God through Jesus Christ, it is His righteousness that God the father imputes onto the believer. It is not our righteousness, God looks at us the believers through the blood of Christ. Even the faith of the believer is a gift of God. There is nothing that you and I have done to earn this free gift of salvation. It was God’s grace and mercy and His love for us. “He loved us while we were yet sinners” Abraham was declared righteous because He believed God. (Gen 15:6) “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Rom 4:3. The verse before: “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.” Rom 4:2. We are considered heirs of Abraham because we as Abraham believed God thus we are declared righteous before God. Abraham was justified, was he perfect after that? No, nobody is and that is where sanctification comes into play. Sanctification is a life long process and God works differently in every believer to conform them more and more into the image of Christ. Once we are with the Lord, than we are glorified. Until then we are being sanctified. I hope that I made sense. Have a blessed weekend.
You said, “It baffles me that there are so many people that cannot and will not receive the free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. They think that there must be something that they have to do to be saved.”
To receive the gift of salvation THROUGH faith inherently means that something must be done on our behalf by another to be given the gift, and also that something must be done by us to receive that gift. Everyone in Hebrews 11 were given gifts that they could not earn – gifts that were received because they ACTED by faith.
The salvational gift of God is a conditional gift. Never one time in all of the scriptures is faith alone pleasing to God. At the very least a person MUST repent of their sins and have a willingness to deny self.
“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23,24)
“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
Peter mentions a gift to a crowd in need of the blood of Jesus…a conditional gift, but a gift none-the-less. I will never argue that anything but the blood of Jesus will ever save a lost soul, but to say that a person has no responsibilites to appropriate that blood in their life is to say that universalism is true – which it is definitely not.
Doing what God says to be saved is not the same as meritting one’s own salvation.
Have a good night.
@”work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”
I’ll refer to the complete verse
“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”
“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure”
– Philippians 2:12-13
So, It is still GOD who does the work. not us.. Even the Will to work it out, is still God’s.
originally, no work on our part. but God’s only. the result of God’s work in us is working out the salvation with fear and trembling. If we work apart from God’s work, then its dead work.
our sanctification is Jesus.. and not our work or doing.
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption”
– 1 Corinthians 1:30
so its still God’s work.
– grace and peace
People should read the entire Leviticus to understand what Jesus has done for our sins.
“he shall restore what he took by robbery or what he got by extortion,
or the deposit which was entrusted to him or the lost thing which he found,
or anything about which he swore falsely; he shall make restitution for it in full and add to it one-fifth more. He shall give it to the one to whom it belongs on the day he presents his guilt offering.
“Then he shall bring to the priest his guilt offering to the LORD, a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering,
and the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any one of the things which he may have done to incur guilt.”
The thief at the cross should do restitution
if so what a bad day. he cannot do restitution because he is nailed.
neither Faith or Works does save. shocked?
Jesus alone saves. It is the blood of Jesus that washes our sins.
Jesus is our savior, not our faith. our faith secures our conscience.
It gives us peace to believe all our sins forgiven.
but really, It is Jesus who saves us.
if we believe Jesus forgives all our sins and
that He alone can save us, then Jesus calls it faith.
same with healing.. Faith does not heal. Jesus is healing.
– grace and peace
if people say works are required for salvation. the looks is simple.
“they don’t have faith, and they need to hear the true Gospel”
– grace and peace
Amen, have a blessed day.
If I am required to keep working for my salvation, then that would mean that Christ’s work on the cross was not finished, His sacrifice not complete. Christ died for sin once and for all to those who believe.
Agreed. I am suggesting that “salvation” encompasses both justification and salvation. Thus, we are justified by grace and not by works, yet we also work out our salvation with fear and trembling. If salvation encompasses being saved from our sin, completely saved, then it requires our sin nature to be dealt with. This is what sanctification does – it deals with our sin nature. Justification deals with the consequences of sin – separation from God, destruction of relationships, etc. But sanctification deals with the sin itself, rooting it out of us. Both justification and sanctification are components of salvation. Thus, “salvation” entails our active participation as we cooperate with the transforming power of God in changing our inner being.
They have teachings that are not biblical and not be backed up by the scriptures. They twist and turn verses or built their whole theology around a couple of verses, failing to compare scriptures with scriptures.
May I have some of these examples. If they have these twists but, belief in Christ crucified. Why do they not get the whole truth (Word of God)?
Are we not all judged alike? what of the thief on the cross? was Jesus kidding when he said “Today you will be with me in paradise”? or did the thief climb down , get some works done, and then have his sentence carried out? works are born out of our changed spirit, not required of it. HOw sad to feel the burden of the pressure to always perform for our God. Who does the greater work? the one who, with a giving heart tries and fails? or the one, out of “requirement” has a successful ministry?
Thanks for your comment. A person that receives Jesus as their Lord and Savior by faith is justified before God. Justification is a one time deal. That is God’s work. Justification and sanctification are two separate things. Justification happens the instant a person comes to faith in Christ. Sanctification is a life long process and true it requires the willingness of the justified person to surrender all to Him. The Holy Spirit works in the believers life conforming them more and more into the image of Christ.
Send from Freddy’s iPhone
There is an underlying question in these discussions which needs to be defined… what is itthat we are saved from? If we are just saved from hell, then yes… salvation is accomplished the moment we are justified and requires nothing from us.
If, however, we are saved from our sin – not just the CONSEQUENCES of our sin but from our SIN – then salvation goes beyond hell (a consequence) and incorporates an entire change to our very nature. This transformation, this sanctifying process, requires our participation in the work God is doing in us. This is different than the fruit we bear, this is the cultivation of the soil out of which that fruit is grown.
I agree with you 100% Freddy we can’t earn our Salvation it is a free gift given to all mankind and received by heart repentance in the Believe the Jesus is our Lord and Saviour and as God The Son part of The Godhead. I also agree with your Statement …….
Saving faith in a person should be evident in their lives by the fruit they bear. As Jesus said, by their fruit shall you know them. A genuine believer that is saved by faith should bear good fruit for the kingdom.
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
1John 3 No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.
Christian Love from us both