The Gospel in The Book of Romans
|The Author and Finisher of Our Faith|
Be sure to continue making lists as you read.
Lesson Seven..... Faith and Works (Click Here For Previous Lessons)
I'd like to begin this study by making this statement:
Any declaration of faith that does not result in a changed life and heart accompanied with good works is a false declaration because no one can come to Christ in true believing faith and remain the same. There must be a conversion because a saved person is a NEW creation in Christ. Dead faith is counterfeit faith.
In Eph 2:10, we see that when we trust Christ for Salvation, we are "created" in Him unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. Even the demons have faith, they believe and tremble, but it is NOT saving faith of course.
Here are the four basic or foundational doctrines upon which our salvation rests. We've studied each one as we've progressed through the past lessons:
1. REDEMPTION ... ( agorazo .. exagorazo .. lutroo) bought out of, released by paying a price, forgiven, ransomed, redeemed
2. PROPITIATION ... (hilasmos .. hilasterion) satisfaction, to be gracious, the benefit of Christ's shed Blood on behalf of the sinner and accepted by God, the gift which is the basis of God's mercy to a sinner
3. JUSTIFICATION ... (dikaioo .. dikaiosis) to declare righteous, pronounce righteous
4. IMPUTATION ...(logizomai) .. to put to one's account, to reckon or consider to be righteous
A simple statement might be: "God has caused me to be in right relationship with Himself because I have believed and had faith that the payment of Christ's shed blood, death and resurrection was enough to buy my pardon and freedom, and pay the penalty for my own sins. I have eternal life and my account is clear because God now considers me righteous." I would add that" eternal" equals "forever!"
NOW, how do works figure in to our salvation?
First of all, works will be the final test of judgment. Faith must produce good works; true saving faith which results in good works is one evidence of salvation.
Faith without works is useless or dead. ... James 2:20 ..One of the most significant passages of scripture illustrates this principle is James 2: 14-20, "...what good is it if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can his faith save him? .... Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead. But some might well say, "You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without works and I will show you my faith by my works."
If you examine that passage, you'll see the the absence of works show the absence of faith, so in that respect faith and works go hand in hand. Recall in the last lesson that Jesus told his disciples the work we must do. And that work is to Believe! John 6:28,29 .. They said therefore to Him, "What shall we do that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered them and said, "This is the work of God, that you may believe in Him Who He has sent." This is how Abraham was justified when he offered up Isaac, his son, for sacrifice, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. So the work involved in justification is "to believe."
So, faith alone, as James states, cannot save a man, because faith is NOT passive, but active. It does the work of believing God. If a man has faith, works will necessarily follow. The foundational work is believing and trusting God for Salvation. The good works which follow are a result of Salvation. It's really very simple, but some teaching has made it seem complicated and confusing, leading to dead legalism. Works are necessary yet faith is all-sufficient.
Paul wrote about those who profess to know God, but deny Him by their works. Titus1:16 James refers to just that kind of person ; he shows that he has no faith (true, saving faith) by the fact that he has no good works or fruits of the Spirit, so of course, his faith can't save him, because he does not possess saving faith.
Obedience to the faith as shown by our good works does not exclude failures or weaknesses of the flesh, for we are only human, subject to temptation and struggles with our flesh. But, we will no longer be controlled by sin and our hearts will hate sin and abhor it! We will sin, but we will not be in habitual sin. (There's a whole study on that in I John) It would be good to study that book next, and it's my opinion that every new Christian should be tutored from that epistle. As it states in I John, we know that if we say we have not sin, we lie and the truth is not in us, but we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus! We will no longer love the evil and sin of the world; we love God and our fellow believers, and we will be turned toward godliness and good works and even want our enemies to be saved. We will battle the sinful tendencies of the flesh as did Paul when he wrote about the struggle between the good he wanted to do and what his flesh wanted, but he also stated that Jesus is our deliverer and upholder in that struggle. Paul knew that there is no good thing in our flesh. (Rom. 7:18) But as stated earlier, the believer "delights in the law of God" in the inward man.
If Paul could not attain perfection in the flesh, and had to rely on the power of Jesus to deliver him continually then how can we think for one moment that we could attain the kind of perfection by our own deeds that would serve to maintain our status with God. I'd hate think I had to rely on my own ability to keep me in God's grace.
I want to point out something about the well know passage of scripture that says, "There is therefore, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus ... and so on in Rom. 8:1 During my Precept training I quickly learned that "context" reigns and "alert" words are there for a purpose. There are no chapter and verse divisions in the original manuscripts so we can see that immediately preceding the alert word, "therefore" the discourse has just been written about the struggle in the flesh, then right after, "therefore" he continues with the explanation in Chap 8 with these words: ...For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, GOD DID: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk after the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
The rest of the chapter deals with the flesh or the body being dead to sin and our spirit being alive in Christ. Be sure to carefully read through Romans, chapters 7 and 8.
The way I understand these passages is that I'm no longer under the jurisdiction of the law. (or works) Then under whose jurisdiction am I? ... By His Grace, GOD, my FATHER, as an adopted child and fellow heir with Christ Jesus, and the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me, in my innermost being, so that I'm being led by the Spirit of God.
Then in verses 35-39 .. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... but in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And consider this: .. who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity. II Tim 1:9
Also: ... For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil 1:6
If, like the Judaizers of Paul's day, I believed that I am SAVED by Grace but KEPT by Works so that I must do good, perform certain rituals, observe certain days as a guarantee to keep my salvation, then I'm indeed on shaky ground, and my Savior would need to be sacrificed again on my behalf. And I would be placing myself under the law again.
Chapter 3 of Galatians deals with just that mindset, that there were those who believed that they were saved by faith, and kept by works. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law and if we had to again be in bondage to the law (which we don't of course) we would be trampling His sacrificial death underfoot.
In chapter 5 of Galatians it's stated that it was for our freedom that Christ died. If I could be "good enough"- "give enough" - "be kind enough" - "be spiritual enough" - "be obedient enough" - "keep my flesh under control enough" - "pray enough" "look and dress perfectly right" - "do unselfish and extraordinary acts of service to others" (the list could go on and on) then I would surely have cause to boast in myself and rely on my good behavior to win the favor of God, my Father, wouldn't I???
But, what does the Word say about that? ... "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world!" Add that to all the other scriptures we've covered about not being able to boast because none of this is of our works, but by faith.
I think that says enough. If my God, the King of the Universe, the Creator of all things, the Savior, the Lamb, the Great I AM is loving enough to prepare a plan for me to be redeemed and send His Son to earth in the form of His fleshly creation to cover my sin with His own Sacrifice, not asking anything of me other than to believe in HIS LOVE, how then could I even think that HE could or would not KEEP me?! His plan would be faulty if that were the case, because of my flesh.
I can only stop to thank HIM for the provision He made for me and you, and the whole of mankind! HE has bridged the gap that was made by sin so we now have a WAY to HIM, and Eternal Life with HIM .. and it's called SALVATION!!!
I want to thank all of you who have been with me in this study about salvation. I truly hope and pray that it has been a blessing to you, and you've learned along with me. I learn all the time through my personal studies in the Word. All of us continue to learn new things every time we open up our minds and hearts to the Precious Holy Word of GOD!
I want to invite and encourage all of you to stay with me as I plan to explore new topics as the Lord leads. We could never exhaust the vast resources of the Word of God, and as believers, we need to continually study to show ourselves approved. For a while, the lessons will be posted once a month instead of twice a month. That will give me time to prepare more in-depth studies. I hope this change will not inconvenience anyone. And, don't forget that all the previous lessons are in the archives so you can go there any time to review what we've covered on the subject of our salvation.
God bless you all ... Be sure to come back for the next Lesson, which will be posted around Dec 1st, and as is fitting for the season, it will be about the birth of Jesus, our Savior.
Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday and please come back to our website to see the new Holiday theme pages we're preparing, complete with songs from some of my projects; you will be able to hear the whole song on each page with streaming audio. We intend to add several different theme pages and will be adding new ones periodically.
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Love In Christ,