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GRACE vs. WORKS



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GRACE vs. WORKS
by Dietmar Scherf

> No Human Works for Salvation
> Works in the Life of a Christian

 

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As explained on our GIADONI MISSION Home Page, pure Grace is very hard to find in our day and age.

NO HUMAN WORKS FOR SALVATION
In our article on
Salvation we explain that salvation of the soul from damnation is only available by Grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) as it is the gift of God. And in Ephesians 2:9 we read an explanation thereof:

"Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:9

Based on the Word of God a person can do nothing of themselves (meaning they can't perform any works, rituals, duties, efforts, or keep any laws or whatever) that would be acceptable/pleasing to God to obtain salvation, instead it is according to His mercy that He saves us (Titus 3:5). The only condition to obtain God's gift of salvation is to believe (trust) in Jesus Christ as the only Savior (Acts 4:12, 16:31; John 3:16). As we're free-will individuals, He can't force salvation upon us. Salvation is something that we don't deserve, but because of His infinite love which was ultimately demonstrated at the cross of Calvary, God made the gift of salvation available to every person on earth (1 Tim. 2:4).

Also, faith is not a work of man, but instead it is a gift of God (John 1:9; Rom. 10:17). Every person on earth has a measure of faith (Rom. 12:3) and it is up to the free will of each individual to invest/direct their faith toward whatever they want to or toward the Creator (Rom. 1:19-20). And once a person hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ he/she can exercise their free volition with their inherent measure of faith and through the loving illumination of the Holy Spirit they can accept God's gift of salvation which He has made available to every person on earth (Titus 2:11).

The only work that was required so that God can make the gift of salvation available to us, was His Finished Work on the Cross of Calvary (John 19:30). Therefore, it is obvious that based on the Word of God, any human work and endeavor to obtain salvation is absolutely eliminated. The only condition that God requires is that we believe in Him whom He has sent (John 6:29). And this condition is a necessary requirement for salvation, because He created men as beings with a free will. HE wants us to choose Him with our free volition and God doesn't want robots. Through the loving drawing of the Holy Spirit, God motivates every person to make such a once-in-a-lifetime decision for Him through the testimony of creation (pointing to the Creator), through God consciousness and finally through the communication of the glorious Gospel. Salvation of a soul from damnation is by Grace--there's no other way! It's absolutely and without question a complete work of God and a gift from God available to all men.

WORKS IN THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN
Now, that's when lots of folks get all excited and apparently don't get it as they miss the mark. Suddenly, once a person is saved, lots of preachers jump right into the works-performance-duty trip for the Christian. They often say that a person made it into the kingdom of God by Grace, but now let's go to work and let's maintain the salvation. Some go as far as to use the grammar in the original languages of the Bible to "technically" force such teachings into their interpretations of the Word of God.

The reality of the Word of God is that God's Grace is so phenomenal and so contrary to human nature that it often takes a thorough cleansing of the mind through the Word of God in order to even understand some of the basics of pure Grace in life applications.

But the works deception is nothing new. In fact, the Apostle Paul already encountered this trend and way of thinking in the churches of Galatia:

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ ...; ... O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth ...?; ... Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"
Galatians 1:6; 3:1-3

One verse that is often misunderstood and therefore used as a premise to teach the works-performance-duty concept for the Christian is found right after the great Salvation verses of Ephesians 2:8-9,

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works."
Ephesians 2:10

Of course, this verse is true: it is the eternal Word of God. But the emphasis in this passage and verse is not on our own effort or responsibility to perform such works, but instead the Bible makes it absolutely clear that only Christ can perform any such works in us.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13

"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Philippians 1:6

Yes, God works in us and He lovingly motivates us through His Word and through His Holy Spirit to be available to Him to let Him work in and through us, but it's all Grace and there's nothing man can do in his own strength and efforts to please God. As a free-will being of course, a Christian is responsible to make positive choices toward the Word of God and His leading to be available to let Christ work in and through the individual. And automatically as the Christian allows Christ to work in and through him/her, the evidence of His work in and through the Christian are the fruits of the Holy Spirit and the good works (His works that He performs in and through us) which Ephesians 2:10 talks about.

While Grace provides immense liberty in Christ, does it mean that Grace can be used as a license to sin? In Romans 6 we read that for the Christian sin isn't even an option and pure Grace can never be a license to live in sin. In Jude 4 we read that some have even tried to turn the Grace of our God into lasciviousness, but then pure Grace wouldn't be Grace anymore. Why? Well in Titus 2:11-12 it is crystal clear that the Grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Therefore, pure Grace has nothing to do with ungodliness, worldliness or legalism. The key in understanding God's Grace in practical application is that we continue to focus on Jesus Christ. Meaning, we obtain the specific mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5) through studying the Word of God as the Holy Spirit makes the written word alive to us (as we receive a Rhema). The faith that we receive through hearing and reading the Word of God is a gift from God. It's just impossible for a human being to glory in his/her own endeavors and achievements.

The Grace of God has a purpose and that is to glorify Him. We have the privilege of getting to know Him here on earth every second of our lives and at the moment of salvation the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:5). As we have the mind of Christ in us (1 Cor. 2:16) we're focusing on Christ and we live Spirit-filled lives and therefore fulfill the purpose of Grace. As Spirit-filled Christians we'll be occupied with Christ and His purpose on earth, namely to seek and to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10). But it will be God who works in us both to will and to do and the flesh profits nothing (John 6:63).

"So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."
1 Corinthians 3:8

It's all God or it won't be worth anything as 1 Corinthians 3 goes on to explain. It has to be all Christ or it will be burnt in the end. It's either all Grace or it's all works:

"But if it is by Grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise Grace is no longer Grace. But if it be of works, then is it no longer Grace: otherwise work is no longer work."
Romans 11:6

Therefore, it is important to understand that only Grace (Christ in us) is acceptable in the sight of God. And if a work is performed by a Christian it must be the work of God in and through him/her, which then is a true work of Grace. The responsibility of works can never be put on the Christian. But the choices of a Christian are his/her responsibility because each person is a free-will agent, but the actual performance of Christian work rests solely on God alone. As we already mentioned, God will motivate us through His Word and His Holy Spirit to make the proper choices to be available to Him for His work.

Based on the essential truth regarding this subject found in the Word of God, all teaching that puts the emphasis and the responsibility for the performance and/or work of a person based on them executing it by themselves, is not of God. Such false teaching originates once again from the father of all lies who is the devil and who deceives the nations to take the focus off of Christ and produces a self-centered lifestyle. The Abundant Life and the eternal rewards for the Christian are a gift from God and are a result of pure Grace for the believer who is available to receive it from Him.

The false teachings that a Christian can perform any kind of work on earth based on their own natural ability to please God and the threat that a true born-again Christian can lose his/her Salvation and/or their eternal rewards based on their performance here on earth comes from someone who mostly likely doesn't really know the nature of God and who has not yet obtained/received an understanding/illumination of the pure Grace of God. And of course, there's no condemnation for such ignorance, because the illumination of His Grace is a gift and it can be received freely by those who seek Him. Since Grace is free and available to every person right now, why not go for it and receive a total Grace immersion today!

        

You may also want to check out our articles on:

>Click Here for an interesting article titled "Covenant Theology vs. Dispensationalism: A Matter of Law vs. Grace" by Bob Nyberg (Head of the Phonetics Department at the New Tribes Language Institute in Camdenton, Missouri).


Check out these very helpful Books to explain the subject of Grace in greater detail:

GRACE by Lewis Sperry Chafer


GRACE: An Exposition of God's Marvelous Gift
by Lewis Sperry Chafer List Price: $13.99          More Info
>
Check availability today's low BOOK Price Now!


You may also want to check out Dietmar Scherf's very helpful book:

 

I Love Me: Avoiding & Overcoming Depression by Dietmar ScherfI LOVE ME: Avoiding & Overcoming Depression
... which is in an excellent guide to a fulfilled life
ISBN 1-887603-03-4 | Hardcover |  212 pages

Also available at: WalMart.com          In CANADA: Amazon.ca

This book is based on the promises of Psalm 107:20,

"He sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions."


Other related areas at GIADONI MISSION that might be of interest to you:


For all inquires please send your E-mail to: ds@scherf.com

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