BIBLICAL CENTER FOR BIBLE STUDIES

God's love... "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (Joh 3:16)


 DO YOU WORK FOR YOUR OWN SALVATION?

THE TRUTH IS: GOD PROVIDES IT!
  



Most religions in the world follow “free will gospel” or “Work your own salvation”, so they can have access to heaven. Even in Christianity, we hear:

-           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.
Genesis 17:1-2

Christ accepted Abraham. At that time there was no church with those many confessions to get saved. If we are correct let’s ask the following question: Is Abraham saved? The answer is yes!
What about Moses, Samuel, David, etc? All of them are saved. Some people might say that was ok for the Old Testament believers, but not for the New Testament.

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.
Luke 23:39-43


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:      

When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

 2(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
John 4:1-2

 

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:

 17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Colossians 2:16-17
 

Since Jesus has done everything on the cross. The sinner on the cross is picture of those who are born again. They have nothing to do, for God‘s love draws them to repentance by the fear of God. And there are securely saved for eternity: 1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Romans 8:1

Like God opened the heart of the criminal on the cross, He does the same thing for any one He plans to save: ” 14And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”
Acts 16:14; Ephesians 2:8

You see, Lydia did a good work of responding to Paul’s message because the Lord intervened. 

"4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”. 
Ephesians 1:4-5

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:


2 Peter 3:15-17; James 2:14-26; Mathew 5:20, 12:33-37, 16:27; Phil. 2:12-15; Mathew 7:21-27, 7:14; Luke 6:46-48, 8:11-13; John 5:28-29, 14:15, 21, 15:13-14, 3:5, 17:3; Rev. 3:15-16, 20:12-13, 22:12-15; Acts 5:32; 2 Thess 1:7-8; Acts 10:34-35; Romans 2:5-13, 6:6-23; 2 Cor. 5:8-9; Heb. 5:8-9, 6:4-6; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; James, 4:17; 1st John 3:15



We are going to examine each one of them:



1

 

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

“fall from your own stedfastness” does not mean I can do something on my own because the Bible says:

 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”John 15:4-5

 


 

2


Faith and Deeds 

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.
James 2:14-26


The Bible also says, 31By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”
Hebrews 11:31

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.
Galatians 3:22-24

 

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.
Ephesians 2:8-9

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17

What is the word of God?

The Word Became Flesh

 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.
John 1:1-14

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.


  

3


 
20For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:20


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.

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. 
Philippians 3:9

 

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. 
2 Corinthians 5: 21

But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his Faith is accounted for Righteousness.  

Romans 4:5

If we have the Righteousness of Christ, which was implanted within us by God through faith, Righteousness will rule in our lives, we will live a righteous life. For if by the one man’s offence death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of Grace and of the Gift of Righteousness will REIGN in life through the one, Jesus Christ.  You will rule in life.
Romans 5:17

The new life, begins with the Righteousness of Christ, we have to continue to walk before God and man in divine Righteousness. As the word of God warns us. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices Righteousness is Righteous, just as He is Righteous.
1 John 3:10

Jesus is our Righteousness:  In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest. Whoever doe’s not practice Righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:10

4


 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.
Matthew 12:33-37


Here is what Jesus says:

The Vine and the Branches

 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.
John 15:1-3 

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.

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Today, various translations of the Bible change the word "of" by "in" because they do not want to believe for a second that Jesus-Christ is the transforming faith