Thinking Out Loud - Ms. Green

Commentaries from a female, conservative Christian worldview. Intermittent observations on human behavior and current events. Occasional bursts of personal tirades,confessions, and discoveries. Frequent discussions about my "Narrow-Minded Faith".

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Does the Bible Say We are to Work for Our Salvation? (Part 1)

There are numerous Bible passages that others point to in order to try to prove their belief that we have to work our way to heaven. The truth is, we can do nothing to save ourselves, and nothing to earn the “right” to go to heaven.

One of the passages used to support works salvation:

Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

This passage does not say we are to work “for” our salvation. In fact, the original Greek that was translated “work out” is “katergazomai”, which has the idea of carrying something to fruition, or to its logical conclusion. Fear and trembling refers to a reverence and awe of God. In other words, it is saying we are to continue, in our saved state, to follow God’s will and plan for our lives and avoid letting anything hinder us from doing so.

If you are not certain of your salvation; if you do not know without a shadow of a doubt that you will spend eternity in heaven, then you are depending on your own ability to do good works to get you to heaven, and not trusting in the finished work that Christ did on the cross. And if that is so, then you are most likely not saved.

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

Those of us who are saved have absolutely nothing to boast about. We didn't do anything right. We didn't perform enough good works. We weren't nice enough... We didn't give enough. Zero. Zilch. We have nothing to brag about. The only reason we're going to heaven is because Jesus Christ bought and paid for our way. And BECAUSE of that fact, our salvation is not dependent on our good works, doing anything right, being nice enough, etc. - it is dependent on God - on what His Son did on the Cross, and on the Holy Spirit Who seals us "...unto the day of redemption"(Ephesians 4:30).

I invite others who may believe in works salvation, or those who do not, but want to be better prepared to defend the doctrines of grace and eternal security of the believer, to post any Scriptural passages that seem to say that we must work for our salvation so that we can look at them together and determine what they really are saying. Once I’ve gotten a good list of such passages, I’ll post a “Part Two”.

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At 7:32 AM, Blogger Robert Bayn said...

We are saved by grace and grace alone. However we all have our own road to travel, our own struggles, and things that may cause us to stumble, so when the passage talks about "work out your own salvation", I believe it's talking about, Find a way to overcome the bondage's and sin that tries to stumble you from receiving the great salvation we have in Christ.

At 9:43 PM, Blogger D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

"...tries to stumble you from receiving the great salvation we have in Christ."

This tends to suggest there is a requirement beyond the simple act of faith that seals an individual.

Doesn't it?

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

Daddio, I'm not sure, but I think Robert is referring to the time BEFORE salvation. From what I know from reading his blog, he believes in salvation by grace through faith -plus nothing, minus nothing.

Am I right, Robert?

At 3:21 AM, Blogger Robert Bayn said...

We are saved by grace, but I also believe people can fall away from the Lord, as I did for 6 years. That is what I meant by having your own road to travel.

At 7:03 AM, Blogger D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

I believe that people can fall back into sin...but I don't believe a person...once a believer, will ever not be a believer.

Once saved...always saved.

Otherwise...what's the use? If salvation depends on my works, then Jesus was irrelevant.

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Robert Bayn said...

This is where we disagree, I do not believe in Once Saved always Saved. I also have known people who were once believers, never wanting anything ever to do with Christianity, it's sad but it does exist.

We will disagree on that issue, but we agree we are all saved by God's Amazing Grace. None of us can work our way into heaven, but that does not give us a license to live our lives anyway we want to, sin as much as we want to, and still have salvation? I don't believe you believe that, and I don't think any Christian really believes that, that has ever read the Bible. Repentance and living a Holy Life, are all part of Salvation as well.

If we disagree on Doctrine that is fine, we all are heading to the same place and that is all that matters!

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

Robert, Galatians 3:3 is in my opinion, the most powerful verse in Scripture to support eternal security (once saved, always saved).

"Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Once saved, we can't sin all we want - that would indicate we weren't really saved in the first place. And those who claim they were once believers and then walk away were never really saved in the first place. They were just speaking Christianese and doing good works. They weren't born again.

A true believer who backslides (as you said you did) will be warned, then chastened by God. If the chastening doesn't bring the believer back into the fold, the "sin unto death" will take place. Your coming back around after 6 years tells me God got your attention somehow - and you came back into the fold. But if you had continued on the path you were on, if truly saved, God would have taken you out and taken you home. But you wouldn't have lost your salvation - just your life prematurely.

Eternal means just that - forever. "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. There isn't an exceptions clause with this verse. It doesn't say "limited offer - any backsliding, excessing sin, or disobedience will void this contract."

At 9:25 AM, Blogger D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

"have known people who were once believers" Robert

"And those who claim they were once believers and then walk away were never really saved in the first place." Ms. Green

"once a believer, will ever not be a believer. Me

"None of us can work our way into heaven" Robert

Exactly. Maintaining a sinless state is not required for salvation.

Jesus took care of that for us. His substitutionary performace on the cross deserves...even demands...our consideration.


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