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Can a Person be Saved by Works Alone?

Discussion in 'Exposition & Bible Study' started by newton3005, Oct 16, 2021.

  1. newton3005

    newton3005 Active Member

    United States
    We have all been blessed by God’s gift of life to us. It is through His Grace that life was given to us. Every birth is an act of God. Because of God through Christ Jesus, everyone who is born has the potential of being saved through God’s Grace.

    We don’t know for sure who will be saved. We read a lot about works in the Bible, but we are also wary of passages like Ephesians 2:8-9 which says “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works...” But then there is also Matthew 25:31-40 which says that those whom God has blessed, who help the least of His flock, will be saved.

    If you help someone else who doesn’t have the resources you have, is that not a matter of works? James tells us in James 2:24-26 that a person will not be justified by faith alone unless they also have works. And some may say that this is confirmed by Matthew 25:31-40. But what if a person goes about their business not believing in God, not believing in anything for that matter other than themselves, but they perform works that are associated with people whom the Bible says can be saved in accordance with Matthew 25:31-40? And perhaps what about people who in accordance with 1 Timothy 5:8 provide for their household but do not believe in anything other than themselves? Is believing in yourself a bad thing if you were created under God’s Grace?

    We read of Jesus’ Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8 in which a judge who “neither feared God nor respected man” gives justice to a Widow against her adversaries. We read that he gives justice to her in order that she wouldn’t keep bothering him. But at the end of the day, has he not done what God would expect anyone to do who believes in Him? In the context of Matthew 25:31-40 and the passages that follow, would the judge be lined up on the right side among those whom God chooses to save, or will he be lined up on the left even though he did help someone less fortunate than him? And forget what Dante says about purgatory if the Bible doesn’t address it. So the choice the judge has is to be lined up either on the right side or the left.

    And remember, in terms of being blessed through God’s Grace, we were all blessed just by being born. In that regard, God is already in our hearts. We will either act in the way that puts us in God’s favor, or we won’t. As we’re “wonderfully made,” as it says in Psalms 139:14, we determine our own path, with God in our hearts and looking over our shoulder.
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  2. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

    United States
    Hello @newton3005, you asked if we can be saved by works alone? The answer is, no, unless you meant saved by the Lord Jesus’ works alone .. through faith?

    If we could save ourselves, then why did the Father feel that is was necessary to send His Son here to die that horrible death on the Cross (IOW, why the Incarnation and why the Cross if ‘our’ works, apart from Christ, could save us)?


    God bless you :)

    p.s. - if God is truly "in our hearts" from birth, then why do you think that the Bible describes the lot of us (outside of Christ) like these two passages do .. Romans 3:9-12; Ephesians 2:1-3?

    Thanks again :)

    Finally, I thought that I'd add a few verses/passages that seem pertinent to this topic.

    Hebrews 9
    22 All things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

    Hebrews 10
    4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

    Romans 5
    8 God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
    10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

    2 Corinthians 5
    21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
  3. d taylor

    d taylor Well-Known Member

    United States
    Yes here is what you do.

    Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
    So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
    He said to Him, “Which ones?”
    Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
    The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
    Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

    But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
  4. IntriKate

    IntriKate Active Member

    Wotks wont save you if you don't have a relationship with Jesus.
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  5. Albion

    Albion Factchecker

    United States
    A case can be made from Scripture either for Faith Alone (which, however, produces good works) OR for Faith + Works jointly. But there is just about no way to defend Works Alone unless one adopts the Universalist argument, and its foundation in Scripture, to the extent that there is any, is very slim and shaky.
  6. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

    United States
    Hello IntriKate, do you believe that it's our works that save us, once we have a personal relationship with Jesus, or is it His works ~alone~ that merit our salvation for us (from first to last)?

    Thanks :)

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
  7. IntriKate

    IntriKate Active Member

    I believe that if we love him and with all our hearts we make an effort to live as he wants us to that the failures are laid at the foot of the cross and grace steps in. He searches the heart.
  8. anna ~ grace

    anna ~ grace Newbie Supporter

    United States
    Works apart from faith in Christ can not save us, as Christians.

    Now… some Catholic and Orthodox theologians have speculated and taught on the state of virtuous pagans; those who do not have faith in Christ, yet who are humble, charitable, forgiving, and who live out the commandments of Christ, though they do not know Him, or know of Him.

    It may be that such people will be saved by Christ, and because of Christ, though this is a matter between the soul, and the Holy Trinity. Some speculate that at the last moment of life, Christ makes Himself known to such souls, and grants them an opportunity to trust in Him, like the Thief on the Cross.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
  9. Soyeong

    Soyeong Well-Known Member

    We can't earn our salvation by our works because works were never given as a means of doing that, even if someone managed to live in perfect obedience to God's law (Romans 4:4-5). In Romans 3:21-22, it does not say that the Law and the Prophets testify that the righteousness of God comes through our works, but rather they testify that it comes through faith in Christ for all who believe, so this had always been the one and only way to become righteous according to the Law and the Prophets. The issue is that works can be done for reasons other than trying to earn our justification, so verses that speak against that misunderstanding of the goal of the law should not be interpreted as being against our justification requiring works for some other reason, such as faith.

    In Romans 3:31, our faith upholds God's law, so only those who have faith will obey it and will be justified by the same faith, which is why Paul could say in Romans 2:13 that only doers of the law will be justified while also using Abraham's example in Romans 4:4-5 to deny that we can earn our justification by our works. While it is true that Abraham believed God, so he was justified, it is also true that he believed God, so he obeyed God's command to offer Isaac, so the same faith by which he was justified was also expressed as obedience to God, but he did not earn his justification by his works. In James 2:21-23, it references Genesis 15:6 to say that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered Isaac, that his faith was active along with his works, and that his faith completed his works, so he was justified by his works insofar as he was acting in faith, but not insofar as he was earning his justification as a wage. In Ephesians 2:8-10, it denied that we can earn our salvation by our works lest anyone should boast, however, it also says that we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, so choosing to do good works through faith is nevertheless an integral part of what it means to be saved from not doing good works.
  10. BNR32FAN

    BNR32FAN He’s a Way of life Supporter

    United States
    “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

    ““Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:32-33‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

    “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭15:6‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
  11. Jay Sea

    Jay Sea ................ Ke ĉiuj vivu

    Unconditional good works are a sign of the Heart and Spirits orientation. They do not contribute to being saved. in a sense they are a side effect of traveling the Way of Yeshua and keeping to the path.
    In LOve
    Jay Sea