Mysteries of Christianity: Salvation by Works?

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" Ephesians 2:8-9.

It seems clear from scripture that works will not give you salvation. In other words, you cannot "earn" your way into heaven by doing good deeds. Why was this such an important lesson? Because the Laws of Moses did not result in righteousness for its own sake, but for the sake of mortal ego. People were being good so that others would view them as good and think kindly on them. They were shooting their arrow of "good" at the wrong target; they were aiming at this world rather than at God.

So, is there no value in good works? Should we do nothing? Or do evil? Of course not.

US Navy chaplain administers baptism in Iraq. Definitely not salvation by works, but doing nothing is a sin, and that does not lead to salvation.
US Navy chaplain administers baptism in Iraq. Definitely not salvation by works, but doing nothing is a sin, and that does not lead to salvation. | Source

Claiming Salvation

Can we claim salvation by saying it is so—by saying that we now follow Christ? Wouldn't that be an "act" or a "work?" Can we claim salvation by being Baptized in the name of Jesus? Again, wouldn't that be a "work?"

If we do these things without faith—a reliance and confidence in the spirit and meaning of Christ—would we be saved?

If we reside in a burning house and make our way to the roof to find a beam stretching to the next roof, we need to have faith in the beam and the house of safety. We also would need to act on that faith and cross over from this world to the realm of salvation, even before our bodily death.

How Can Wholesale Destruction Be an Act of Love?

The Bible's Hidden Wisdom: God's Reason for Noah's Flood (Volume 1)
The Bible's Hidden Wisdom: God's Reason for Noah's Flood (Volume 1)

This book is from years of my own research into a biblical timeline compatible with those of mainstream science. I wasn't surprised that God's holy book would match his own creation (reality), but there were many surprises, including discovering through science the target of Noah's Flood -- a species which went extinct at that time.

 

Self-Deception

Can anyone be deceived into thinking that they are following Christ, but instead be following the things of this world?

What if a Christian, after finding the bliss of apparent redemption, still lusts after the things of this world? What if they boast? What if they covet? What if they lie to their customers in order to gain unfair advantage. What if they lay with others than their spouse, convinced, now being saved, that no harm should befall them?

Perhaps a better question is, "What does 'following Christ' mean?" If someone lusts after the things of this world, are they still following Christ? When following Christ, is there any room for such a stain?

Good Works Before Salvation

Are good works before salvation of any use?

Let us look at the parable of the Bridegroom's attendants. In this we find wisdom which can be applied here.

Parable

"Then the disciples of John came to him saying, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?' Jesus said to them, 'Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and they will fast. No one puts on a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch pulls away from the garment and tear is made worse. Nor do they put wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved'" (Matthew 9:14-17).

If a man has habits that distract him from the task at hand, can he do that task well? When he finds those habits and is made fully aware of them, he can decide to give them up. However, if he is not aware of those habits, he will continue suffering from those failings.

If a man is living in sin but is unaware of those sins, how can he be saved if he does not know them in order willingly to give up those sins? If God requires that we love Him with all our heart, but our heart finds other things to love, can we fulfill that commandment?

By doing good works before our salvation we can shed the habits and temptations of the flesh so that the new wine of salvation will enter a new vessel of love for God.

While it is true that none will be saved unless they go through Christ, we need to be aware of what it means and when it is accomplished that one goes through Christ. Many have felt the bliss of being on the path toward salvation, but then they stop in the road, thinking that they have already arrived.

Works from faith are blessed indeed. With true faith we cannot stand idly by and do nothing. But acts before salvation to prepare the way for that gift can be blessed also, because they serve God and the purpose of salvation.

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Comments 6 comments

Pedro Morales profile image

Pedro Morales 5 years ago

excellent! your quick production of hubs(number of deeds) and positive to contribution to others is awesome. I want to contribute to this hub by bringing a passage that has a lot to do with what you wrote in here.

James 12:14-19

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

Faith and good deeds are complementary elements of the life of a Christian, whatever denomination. For that reason when I see people from one denomination attacking another one, calling them 'unchristian' I shudder. Many times the ones being attacked show greater deeds than the ones attacking. To begin with, Jesus did not give anyone the mandate to condemn others who are trying their best to live good lives and believe in Jesus. Jesus asked his disciples to pray for their enemies, yet some Christians pray against other denominations. Those are not good deeds. Also Jesus called blessings upon those who receive persecution, not those that dispense it.

We have replaced the original faith away from the person of Jesus, the man in the flesh, who grew in stature and wisdom and became the perfected Son of God. We have replaced it with a strange object. We have replaced it for a faith in doctrines, mystical, mysterious, irrational doctrines founded more on Hellenic philosophical concepts than in the basis of Jesus' teachings: the Jewish scriptures. And then after that demanded, once upon a time upon lethal threat, that people accept those doctrines before being allowed to call themselves Christians. wow aren't we humans a mess?

Thanks be to God that some people do have an open mind, and courage to seek for answers beyond the established and traditional ones. May God's grace keep shining upon you.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thank you Pedro and may blessings be upon you and yours.

Wow! What a breath of fresh air you have written. And yet, I feel the need to do so much more.

I hope I can shine a little light on Christianity, showing where it seems truly blessed and showing where there is yet opportunity for growth.

Many of today's Christians seem to be modern Pharisees, so anxious to be seen by others as "good Christians," but judging others. I hope not to judge their actions, but merely to illuminate the possibilities to find truth directly from the source rather than the letter of doctrine.

I rejoice at the thought of someone becoming truly enlightened with the spirit of God, working miracles for His glory and the uplifting of our fellows from the mire of selfishness and self-centeredness.

I continue on my own journey.


flpalermo profile image

flpalermo 2 years ago

What is salvation? Saved from what? What is Sin?


lone77star profile image

lone77star 2 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Good questions, flpalermo.

I've spent my life searching for answers to questions like these and keep refining the answers I discover. Currently, my answers are:

* Salvation = spiritual awakening. This is when love of others means more than your own life. This is when self-concern (ego) disappears and you can see what God can see; you can do what God can do (miracles).

* Saved from what? Our own egos and self-destruction. Saved from the limitations of a life lived in darkness and one that ends with bodily death.

* Sin = separation from others (and from God). Self-importance. Lust instead of love. Blame instead of responsibility. Suicide instead of humility. Arrogance instead of humble confidence. In other words, sin is ego. Ego (sin) is doing good for the sake of self. When you have corrected all the desires of ego to those of pure and unlimited altruism, then there is no self-concern and thus no limitations. Sin will have ended.

I'm currently discovering a great deal more with authentic Kabbalah (not the New Age junk). An interesting place to start, if you're curious, is with the short film,

http://perceivingreality.com

PS: Kabbalists wrote the first 5 books of the Bible and possibly a lot more.


flpalermo profile image

flpalermo 2 years ago

What is Kabbalah?


lone77star profile image

lone77star 2 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

According to Kabbalists, it is the ancient wisdom Abra(h)am taught when he invited strangers into his tent. It is the source of wisdom which yielded the Pentateuch of the Bible. Later Kabbalists used this same wisdom to write the Zohar, and later analysis by the Ari and Baal haSulam (Master of the Ladder). This wisdom has been greatly misunderstood for thousands of years by those not privy to the code in which the wisdom was written -- the language of branches (symbols of the physical world used to represent the Truth of the spiritual world).

This is the wisdom of the structure of the spiritual world and the path back to it. The basis of the wisdom is the idea of loving your neighbor as yourself. This is the cornerstone of all spiritual growth -- what Christ referred to as those who are last becoming first.

Kabbalah is the revealed path. It is the reverse of the path we took from our fall from heaven, so instinctively we know this path. It is in our spiritual "bones." Kabbalah helps us to recognize this path by letting us know what is sensed at each step of the way. These are the revelations of those who have traveled this path all the way to its final destination. Belief is unnecessary. You only need the faith that God is there waiting for us and a hunger to be there -- at the source of infinite and unconditional love. He is the guiding light, for when we become like Him, we cannot help but be closer and finally at-one with Him.

The Kabbalists at Bnei Baruch call it "spiritual science." Authentic Kabbalah has only a superficial resemblance to the New Age craze that celebrities have latched onto. Authentic Kabbalah deals only with the spiritual and has nothing to do with physical concerns -- no magic, no mysticism, no red strings, no astrology.

Several times in my life, I found myself up that ladder. I don't know how far up I traveled, but as I learn more about Kabbalah, I recognize the Truth in it by the same closeness to God I have already experienced.

I have no doubts that my understanding of Kabbalah will change as I make more progress.

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