- We must accept Christ
- We must go to local church
- We must be baptized in physical water
- We must observe physical Sabbath
- We must do many confessions of faith
Really! Did Abraham accept
Christ; go to church, baptized and so on?
1And when Abram was
ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am
the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2And I will make my
covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
What about the criminal on the cross?
39And one of the
malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save
thyself and us.40But the other answering
rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same
condemnation? 41And we indeed justly;
for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing
amiss. 42And he said unto Jesus,
Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.43And Jesus said unto him,
Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
The criminal, after he repented, was saved. Jesus accepted him by the fear of God; he had no chance to go to church, to be baptized and so on.
As a matter of fact, water baptism was already practiced at that time:
So, this idea if you do all those things, may be you can enter into heaven, is not in the Bible.
The ceremonies of the New Testament just have spiritual meanings as well as the ceremonies of the Old Testament. They reflect God’s salvation program through Christ.
16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Some people think that some verses persuade us that we are saved by grace, and not of works, while other verses tell us we are God’s workman and we must walk in good works in order to be saved. To begin, we are going to show you the verses that they quote in the bible that prove that we are in fact saved by works, and not by grace alone:
We are going to examine each one of them:
15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.2 Peter 3:15-18
14What doth it profit, my
brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save
him? 15If a brother or sister
be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16And one of you say unto
them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them
not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17Even so faith, if it
hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18Yea, a man may say, Thou
hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will
shew thee my faith by my works. 19Thou believest that
there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O
vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our
father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22Seest thou how faith
wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And the scripture was
fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for
righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24Ye see then how that by
works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25Likewise also was not
Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and
had sent them out another way? 26For as the body without
the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
What faith is? Where does it come from?
22But the scripture hath
concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be
given to them that believe. 23But before faith came,
we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be
revealed. 24Wherefore the law was
our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
The expression “But before faith came” teaches us that’s not our faith. This faith is Jesus Christ Himself who comes as the word of God to distribute the gift of Salvation to many:
8For by grace are ye
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any
man should boast.
the word of God?
1In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the
beginning with God. 3All things were made by
him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the
life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in
darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6There was a man sent
from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a
witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8He was not that Light,
but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light,
which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10He was in the world, and
the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own,
and his own received him not. 12But as many as received
him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe
on his name: 13Which were born, not of
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word was made
flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only
begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Now we can understand the phrase “But before faith came”. It is talking about Christ who is the Faith found in the Word of God. The Faith that saves is Jesus Christ Himself.
Since Salvation is a gift given to the true believer, this gift belongs to him. And now he can say my faith. Only as a new born creature he can receive that Faith, which is Jesus Christ: when we become saved: Jesus can be my faith, your faith, his faith, our faith, your faith, and their faith.
And be found in Him, not having my own
righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through
Faith in Christ, the
righteousness which is from God by Faith.
RIGHTEOUSNESS. : in the Greek dikaiosune ( Strong. 1343 ) The Character or Quality of being right. It is used to denote an attribute of God. This Righteousness is unattainable by obedience to any law, or by any merit of man’s own, or any other condition than that of faith in Christ.
Jesus is our Righteousness.For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the Righteousness of God in Him.
33Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
34O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
35A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
36But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.37For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Here is what Jesus says:
1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Are you a branch of the true vine? If yes, you should bear fruit. Otherwise you will be cut off by the Gardener. Here is the last statement of Jesus to those who are truly saved: “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” You are not clean by your own works; but by the works of the gospel of Christ in you..