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    Starman's Avatar
    Starman Posts: 1,308, Reputation: 135
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    #1

    Apr 12, 2006, 09:02 AM
    Is salvation earned?
    I was once told via an indirect, that there were Christians who expected to be saved by riding on the backs of those who heeded Jesus' instructions to preach the Gospel. I have also observed many Christians literally breaking their necks to be in good standing with God by preaching, looking down on those who are not preaching as much regardless of the reasons, and considering them in danger of losing their lives via God's wrath. These very Christians then speak about how Jesus died for our sins and that we gain life eternal through faith in that sacrifice. So there seems to be a certain tension based on misunderstanding betrween works and faith which is in need of clarification. Any comments?
    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
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    #2

    Apr 12, 2006, 09:10 AM
    Salvation cannot be earned, period.

    Sadly, there is much hypocrisy and bad teaching in the name of Christianity out there.

    Faith and Works are keywords to this. Look closely at James Chapter 2:14-26 to see the relationship of the two.
    Starman's Avatar
    Starman Posts: 1,308, Reputation: 135
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    #3

    Apr 12, 2006, 09:27 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by rickj
    Salvation cannot be earned, period.

    Sadly, there is much hypocracy and bad teaching in the name of Christianity out there.

    Faith and Works are keywords to this. Look closely at James Chapter 2:14-26 to see the relationship of the two.
    True, and sometimes the other extreme of once saved always saved is taken which conveniently serves as a license to live a carefree un-Christian life which makes a mockery of everything which Jesus taught. In short, by living such a life they trample the Son of God anew.
    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
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    #4

    Apr 12, 2006, 09:41 AM
    To Note: "once saved always saved" is a new teaching from the Reformation... not one of historic Christianity.
    Starman's Avatar
    Starman Posts: 1,308, Reputation: 135
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    #5

    Apr 12, 2006, 10:50 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by rickj
    To Note: "once saved always saved" is a new teaching from the Reformation...not one of historic Christianity.
    True, the Catholic viewpoint on this matter is preferable since it reminds us that conduct does count as Jesus said it did.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,305, Reputation: 7692
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    #6

    Apr 12, 2006, 11:45 AM
    Of course the problem is that man like to expect others to behave as they do Christians are no different.

    Salvation is a gift, but one that has to be accepted, normally we don't view accepting the gift as a work, but a person does have to ask for forgiveness ( and mean it) and they have to ask for and accept Christ.

    So if a person does not repent then they can not accept christ since they are still putting the world and its desires first.
    That does not mean we live perfect but it means we are trying.

    And of course there is a BUT, the bible also tells us faith without works is dead, so of course a person who has accepted Christ will not merely live his old life in the world, but he will want and find a way to serve Christ.
    And the bible is clear we are not all preachers, not all teachers but Christ gives us each gifts that help us do something for him.

    Myself, I seldom preach, I have worked with prison ministries, homeless and now work with the eldery and the disabled.
    jduke44's Avatar
    jduke44 Posts: 407, Reputation: 44
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    #7

    Apr 12, 2006, 12:58 PM
    In addition to Rick and Fr Chuck's comments I like to add something that happened to me recently. My wife and I had some situation that happened to us recently that may or may not seem bad to others but shook our faith a little. We started doubting some fundamental principles that we were so strong about previously. We even almost questioned whether God was willing to help us in this matter. Personally, I was so bad, I was almost willing to give it all up and not follow Jesus(God) at all and see what happens. The more I was saying in my head I would do this the more a nagging feeling came across me that would say "But where would you go". I felt something inside me that wasn't right with me leaving. The more the problems pressed on the more I felt like leaving my faith behind, so to speak, the more I felt the feeling of I would be more alone if I didn't believe in God. I liken it the OT account of the Israelites in the wilderness when they complained about being sent out there to die, they were better off in Egypt.

    I don't expect anyone to totally understand but the reason why I put this in is because the statement "once saved always saved" became true to me then. The more I tried to walk away the more I was drawn to having to hold on to my faith. I don't believe I am necessarily disagreeing with Rick when I say I believe in a person not being able to lose their salvation. I think there might be some hypocrisy in this thinking as well. The reason is like, FR Chuck said, it is a gift. If I can't earn it I can't lose it on my own. It doesn't give me the right to sin because if it did, that would not have stopped me from going out and doing what I wanted. I can elaborate more as time goes on if needed.

    I hope shed some light on the question.
    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
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    #8

    Apr 12, 2006, 01:44 PM
    I hear you jduke... but here's the catch:

    Yes, Salvation is a gift... but with any gift, we can choose to discard it or reject it. Neither the Church nor the Bible teach explicitly how we might discard or reject it, but nonetheless, we can.
    31pumpkin's Avatar
    31pumpkin Posts: 379, Reputation: 50
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    #9

    Apr 12, 2006, 05:05 PM
    I see your point about faith & works and I look at it like this: We are equipped to all good works ( it's in scripture ) Yet we don't get medals so that none should boast. I guess the main thing is to realize that God alone is the all powerful.

    I'm going to church Sunday. I don't care if it's not a non-denominational church. I'll take what I can get here. All that matters is that "we" celebrate Christ's resurrection. That HE paid the price for our sins on the cross and we are anew for many years perhaps - I know I am.

    I try to focus on the positive aspects of salvation. The Gift is forever... unless we choose to reject everything we have learned and turn towards the other guy in word and deed. Especially in action.! Remember, actions speak louder than words.


    But I just try to concentrate on the positive aspects of salvation.
    Do my career or just be a homebody. Like anyone else, if I can afford not to work for a year, then I'll enjoy the extra time. It's for sure, you can't do what you want while you are at work!

    I think I'm just tired... so I'll RETIRE for a while... with my "helmet of salvation"
    Thank you Jesus, Thank you Lord
    Peace brothers...
    Starman's Avatar
    Starman Posts: 1,308, Reputation: 135
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    #10

    Apr 12, 2006, 11:35 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by rickj
    I hear you jduke...but here's the catch:

    Yes, Salvation is a gift...but with any gift, we can choose to discard it or reject it. Neither the Church nor the Bible teach explicitly how we might discard or reject it, but nonetheless, we can.
    I once met a man who said that he could never accept being a Christian because that would prevent him from doing something he enjoyed too much, fornicating. I guess that is a rejection of the gift. Forcing the gift on him would be violating his freedom of choice.
    What's your view on this?
    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
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    #11

    Apr 13, 2006, 04:09 AM
    It appears that he either has not yet been shown the full truths of the Christian faith, or that he is not ready to accept them.

    It is not possible to force the gift on someone.

    Truth is, that man should be told that Christ is ready to accept him just as he is.
    Starman's Avatar
    Starman Posts: 1,308, Reputation: 135
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    #12

    Apr 13, 2006, 05:55 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by rickj
    It appears that he either has not yet been shown the full truths of the Christian faith, or that he is not ready to accept them.

    It is not possible to force the gift on someone.

    Truth is, that man should be told that Christ is ready to accept him just as he is.

    How is it not possible to force someone?

    I agree that he should be told that God will accept him with all his inherited faults. Yet, he should also be told that a change of conduct is required as a show of respect and apreciation in order for him to gain life.

    The following scriptures tell us that the willful practice of sin leads to death.


    Ezekiel 33
    18"Suppose someone who is godly stops doing what is right. And he does what is evil. Then he will die because of it. 19But suppose a sinful person turns away from the evil things he has done. And he does what is fair and right. Then he will live by doing that. NIRV


    Romans 6:

    12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

    13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

    22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    NKJV
    jduke44's Avatar
    jduke44 Posts: 407, Reputation: 44
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    #13

    Apr 13, 2006, 06:22 PM
    Starman, this gets very complex, yet at the same time God is really not complex at all. God will not force His will on someone.

    I agree that he should be told that God will accept him with all his inherited faults. Yet, he should also be told that a change of conduct is required as a show of respect and apreciation in order for him to gain life.
    That is true. I don't believe in sugar coating things. I also understand that man in their inherit faults cannot do the change on his own. This is why, Jesus, in the Bible states that He will send a Helper when he dies. This Helper is the Holy Spirit which indwells in a believer that teaches, guides, convicts and shows the way. We will still fall at times, because again, we can go against this nudging of the Holy Spirit. But, as I mentioned in an earlier posts, that nudging can be very strong.
    Starman's Avatar
    Starman Posts: 1,308, Reputation: 135
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    #14

    Apr 13, 2006, 06:58 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by jduke44
    Starman, this gets very complex, yet at the same time God is really not complex at all. God will not force His will on someone.
    Certainly, I agree that God will not force anyone to accept eternal life.
    But his will will be done on earth after God forces the governments from power and forces Satan and his demons into oblivion as the book of Revelations tells us.

    Revelation 19
    11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had[e] a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,[f] followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp[g] sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

    KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. NKJV


    That is true. I don't believe in sugar coating things. I also understand that man in their inherit faults cannot do the change on his own. This is why, Jesus, in the Bible states that He will send a Helper when he dies. This Helper is the Holy Spirit which indwells in a believer that teaches, guides, convicts and shows the way. We will still fall at times, because again, we can go against this nudging of the Holy Spirit. But, as I mentioned in an earlier posts, that nudging can be very strong.
    True, without God's holy spirit which is sent as a helper Christians would not be able to serve God as well as they do.

    John 14:26
    But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. NKJV
    tsila1777's Avatar
    tsila1777 Posts: 138, Reputation: 18
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    #15

    Aug 4, 2008, 09:53 AM
    jduke44 said:
    I don't expect anyone to totally understand but the reason why I put this in is because the statement "once saved always saved" became true to me then. The more I tried to walk away the more I was drawn to having to hold on to my faith.

    I understand this... but you still had a choice... the drawing was there, but you were not forced to hold onto your faith, you chose to. I am so glad you did.

    But there have been others in similar situations that chose not to hold on, and kept resisting the 'drawing' and then confessed they no longer believed in God.

    Now some will say 'they were never 'saved' in the first place'. But God will not force us to 'get saved', and He will not force us to 'stay saved'. Even Christians still have freedom of choice. He will by His Holy Spirit keep drawing us back, but there will be some who are weak in faith, or draw away of their own lusts and enticed... fall away.

    You asked 'where would I go” some do have a place to go, wherever their lust is drawing them to. Not all are as strong in faith, and are blessed with a good wife as you are, not all can resist the temptation to quit the faith.



    We have all been tested in this area most of us many times.


    Blessings upon you and your dear wife in Christ
    Galveston1's Avatar
    Galveston1 Posts: 362, Reputation: 53
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    #16

    Aug 6, 2008, 09:42 AM
    A distillation: We are not saved because we work, we work because we are saved. Hope this helps someone.
    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
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    #17

    Aug 6, 2008, 12:59 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Galveston1
    A distillation: We are not saved because we work, we work because we are saved. Hope this helps someone.
    Absolutely... and absolutely Biblical.
    And further from Scripture: Our works are the evidence of our Faith.

    Yep (the colloquial for Amen ;) )

    ... "Pray as if everything depended on God, and work as if everything depended on you"
    revdrgade's Avatar
    revdrgade Posts: 162, Reputation: 37
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    #18

    Aug 6, 2008, 03:19 PM
    The topic of fiath vs works is always a little confusing no matter how much we study or learn. The problem is that they are both separate from one another but they can't be disconnected from each other.

    We are saved(justified, made righteous) by the blood of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice and ransom made for us. He did it all. We did nothing. That's the objective and eternal truth.

    Subjectively, even though He died also on behalf of the "whole world", not everyone is going to trust God to have done this for them out of His love for all. For whatever reason these others won't trust God's love to do right for them. In real essence, they reject Him and His free gift of being saved from the final judgement against their sins.


    When it comes to "good works", these are a result and the cause of salvation. When we enter the kingdom of God through faith we are spiritually changed and become "new". As a part of this newness is the will to walk with God Who saved us and gives us all things in Christ. As Jesus explained about good works:

    Luke 6:43-45

    43 "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.
    NIV

    These good works will be there. The more we walk with God according to His Word, the more good works we will do and the less "bad" works we will do. But it is a matter of maturity or growth. And that's what gets confusing. Sometimes Christians want to do their own works for God because they haven't understood the greatness of God's salvation OR they don't want to be fully beholden to God for their salvation. So they revert to works of their own flesh rather than seek what God wants them to be doing.

    Rom 4:1-8
    4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about — but not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

    4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

    7 "Blessed are they
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
    8 Blessed is the man
    whose sin the Lord will never count against him."
    NIV

    Each will have to give account of themselves: either God's perfect gift of righteousness or dependence on our own... and no boasting over anyone else since we each have salvation as a gift from God and not of ourselves.
    cogs's Avatar
    cogs Posts: 415, Reputation: 27
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    #19

    Aug 7, 2008, 07:49 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by RickJ
    I hear you jduke...but here's the catch:

    Yes, Salvation is a gift...but with any gift, we can choose to discard it or reject it. Neither the Church nor the Bible teach explicitly how we might discard or reject it, but nonetheless, we can.
    god's work in jesus' dying in the flesh as an atonement for sin is finished, and jesus even said so himself, in his last words 'it is finished'. So if it's finished, how can someone make it not finished, by doing something wrong? They cannot. As far as 'discarding' that atonement, it would be like denying some truth, which is a lie.
    what the question becomes, then, is what work do we have to accomplish, that results from our belief in that truth of atonement? Some would say nothing, just sit back and ride the 'saved' train. Others would say, hey, do whatever you can to show god you're appreciative. And others would do works, then berate someone else for not accomplishing what they themselves have.
    so I ask, in what authority do you do your works? Do you think because you do works, they're automatically accepted by god?
    Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?
    Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
    how dare him! They were doing what they thought was good! They probably did more than the christians around them. They probably did these works because they believed in the atonement. They certainly weren't trying to do them for satan, or some other 'god'. You may say, 'their heart wasn't right'. How do you know? Is your heart right when you do works... do you judge them?
    so why didn't the 'saved' train help these people? Why weren't they on their way to heaven, plus some treasures in heaven for all their good works? Aren't you on the same path as they? Why not? Why won't jesus say that to you? Is it because this passage doesn't mention everyone, and you think you're one of the safe ones? This passage says many
    will say to me... so odds are you're one of the many. What can you do to avoid their fate? Exactly what they will have to do, when jesus tells them their problem.
    this passage seems kind of cool, like jesus is dissing the sinners. But didn't he tell the pharisees what was their problem? He didn't just say, 'whateva' to them. He let them know their condition. When you come to jesus to see your condition, he'll show you. Then,
    Hbr 4:12 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    when this begins to happen to you, your heart will start to purify. It's done by the power of the holy spirit, that jesus promised to send.
    so jesus, even on earth, was completing his work of salvation. He gave us a way to get purified. How could we ever purify ourselves? By our good works? By our believing in the atonement? You saw how jesus spoke to the people doing that.
    now works, I'm not sure from where they will proceed, either by jesus telling you what to do, or as a result of your purified heart being in alignment with jesus' will. But you cannot skip the purification step. That step is the work we need to be doing. Not good works for the kingdom. Not until we prioritize our efforts. If we fail in our work of purity, thanks to the atonement, we're not cast out forever. We can continue in repentance of our fall, and begin where we left off.
    stop thinking of jesus' atonement as complete for our salvation, and start thinking of it as an ongoing process of purity. If not, then our fate is as the workers of good that jesus cast out. They may have thought they were through, but they were wrong.
    Hbr 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his
    tsila1777's Avatar
    tsila1777 Posts: 138, Reputation: 18
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    #20

    Aug 7, 2008, 02:14 PM
    Jesus said the works that I do shall ye do and greater works shall ye do because I go to My Father. He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and lead, guide, teach and comfort us.

    Jesus went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil.

    Doing good: He taught the gospel of salvation, He warned people to repent and cast out devils, He raised the dead among other things; those are the works we are to do through the leading and power of the Holy Spirit.

    Jesus said: All authority in heaven and earth are given to Me, therefore go in My Name….. We have authority in the Name of Jesus and the anointing that was on Jesus and the faith of Jesus, patience of Jesus and the compassion of Jesus…these are called the fruit of the spirit.

    We also have the Gifts of the Spirit, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, working of miracles and the gifts of healings…….

    We do not work to keep our salvation, or to impress God, or to 'finish' what Jesus started, we who believe are saved from the wrath to come…the tribulations. We do not have to do anything more to 'obtain' salvation except believe the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God and confess Him as Lord.

    Because Hell is a real place and people are going there everyday, we should try to reach as many as possible to give them a chance to receive Jesus.

    Many people are suffering…we should do all we can to help them in whatever way we can.

    Love God and Love others…and do good………

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