Recently we came across this interesting person who said “I’m living a good life and doing a lot of charity and that is enough for me!!!”. I felt so sorry for that person; because he missed out on the greatest event ever happened in the history of this world; the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
There is this common presumption even among believers that salvation is through your own efforts and/or good works are enough for them to enter heaven. So for all my friends who think good works are enough and those friends who want to share with their friends why that is not enough, I’m writing this post! The purpose of this post is to let you know the truth and nothing but truth!!
Before we go further let me make this clear – if our motive behind doing good works is that we can enter eternity ( it is not possible!!) , we are the most selfish people!!! This is not pleasant to our ears, but that is the truth.
As a church we started doing a systematic study on the book of Romans. And in that study almost every lesson portraits this truth- ‘SAVED BY GRACE’. So we are not saved by our good works but by The grace of God. Let us try to understand that according to the word of God; Because Word of God is truth and truth shall set you free!!
Why cannot good works or our own efforts save us?
Apostle Paul makes that very clear when he is writing for Ephesians- “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT
For us to do good works, Jesus didn’t have to go through all the sufferings and die on the cross.
Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which God told them not to eat. And so they disobeyed and sinned against God. Sin meaning – it is an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law. And sin entered the mankind, and bible says the wages of sin is death (“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 6:23 )
So that knowledge we got from the fruit actually is helping the mankind to do good works. But that good works doesn’t nullify our sins nor redeem us from death.
And after that sin in the garden of Eden- the Lord God made clothing from animal skins (blood was shed)for Adam and his wife, to cover their nakedness caused by sin-Genesis 3:21. After that sin increased in this world and sacrifices were introduced for the forgiveness of sins and law was established.
But we read in Hebrews that “For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
Hebrews 10:4 NLT
Look at these verses from Isaiah-
“What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the Lord. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.”
Isaiah 1:11 NLT
No matter how many sacrifices we offered or try to live a good life, it was impossible for us to live a holy life. We were born in sin. As David says in Psalms 51:5 “For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.”
And “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”
Romans 5:12 .
And some of you might be thinking that’s is totally unfair. That we also are suffering the consequences of Adam’s sin. To be honest I thought the same for a long time. Until I realized , if I was in that garden I would’ve done the same thing. In fact that is what we are doing every day.
Billy Graham puts it this way ‘ What happened in Eden was a preview of what happens to us every day. Adam and Eve’s decision is repeated by every generation and by every person. We all are guilty of sin, because we all choose our own way instead of God’s way. If we deny we are sinners, it is because we have allowed pride to blind us—and pride is itself a sin. The Bible says, “There is no one righteous, not even one. . . . For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23).’
Jesus Christ- The Perfect Sacrifice
So the forgiveness for our sins and our redemption is made possible by the perfect sacrifice Jesus offered on the cross.
Look at these verses
“For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Hebrews 10:10
For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14
Think about the story of Noah’s ark. There may have been people at that time who did so much of good works. But did they all survive the flood? No. Why? Because for a person to be saved from the flood the only thing they had to do was to enter the ark. Even though Noah preached that for 120 years , no one listened. And we learn that Noah and his family entered the ark and got saved. And inside the ark, God had already provided everything they needed.
That is what we see in John 10:9 Jesus said- “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
How can I receive salvation and enjoy the eternity with Jesus?
So let me say that again, good works cannot save you. That is not the way to enter heaven. Only way to enter heaven is through Jesus Christ- He is the door. And that way was made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our faith in Jesus Christ is the key to salvation. When we believe in Him, we become His children. “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
John 1:12 NLT
And that is what is called Salvation and it is a free gift, given to us even though we are so undeserving of that. And that is the beauty of Grace of God.
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”
Romans 10:9-10 NLT
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”
1 John 1:8-10 NLT
Now that salvation is through Grace of God alone, why should we do good works/charity?
While we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, we are justified before God.
Now let us look into this verse in James 2- “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”
James 2:17. Pastor John Miller puts it this way- “So if you are saved and you know it, then you show it” . Yes, our good works is for justification before men. Good works should come as a natural outcome of our salvation and our love for Jesus.If we say we have faith and we are not doing anything in action to help others, that faith is useless . It will not help others to come to the saving knowledge of Christ. I also came across this interesting analogy- that faith is like calories. People cannot see the calories, but they can see what it does to you.
Jesus said “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Matthew 5:14-16 NLT
So first it is your salvation, and that is purely by the grace of God through Faith in Jesus Christ. And when we show that faith through actions, it brings not only physical comfort but also spiritual deliverance to people around us. And through us they will see Christ living in us. Isn’t that more wonderful than doing just good works with the intention of crawling up to heaven; and living in that false hope?!
I pray and hope that you will understand and experience this free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Time is short, Jesus is coming soon to take us to our eternal home. Please do not waste anymore time ; But enter through the door. Jesus died on the cross for you and me! Once you enter through that door , you are in the Kingdom of God and bible says in Romans 14:17, Kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. And that is the best life ever😀🙌🙌.
God bless you all💛