salv51 Good Works do not Save us

salv51 Good Works do not Save us explains the relationship of good works to the Christians life after being saved, and nothing to do with obtaining salvation.

By David Cox

[salv51] v3 ©2018
(Version 3 is the first version in English)
You may freely reproduce this tract for non-profit purposes

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Many people think that they are not so bad that God would send them to hell. “I am not bad really, so why would God treat me like that? No, God is not a person to do such a thing” they say.

Our situation before God is not one in which we heap all the evil we do on one side of a scale, and all the good on the other side, and whichever is heavier or more decides where our eternal destiny will be. Our eternal fate is not decided this way!

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

For only one single sin, God will send the person to hell. People go to jail for only a single infraction of the law. The same is true when dealing with God.

I am Good, Won’t I go to Heaven?

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

When we think that we are not so bad, we are wrong. Even the best among us does not have any righteousness in the eyes of God. We all have sinned, and whether greatly or lightly so, but we are all sinners. Whether we think that our sins are horrible or not, in the sight of God, all sin is horrible.

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

There is nobody just in the eyes of God. We are all sinners and are under God’s wrath because of that sin. Nobody truly seeks for God.

Job 25:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 40:4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.

Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.  

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

What we need to understand is that we are guilty of disobeying His will, so then we are moral criminals (or sinners) before God. Our response cannot be to defend our innocence nor accuse God of being unjust, nor that God does not have the right and authority to call us into accounts with Him even though He is our Creator.

Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Our Righteousness against God’s Righteousness

Romans 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

David spoke of the clemency of God that He grants to those few without the consideration of the good works of the person. We do not HAVE OUR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, but God forgives our sins by covering our sins with the blood of Jesus. The pardon of God is what saves us. There is nothing that anybody “can do” to be saved. Nobody can establish their own righteousness with God. We have no chance of working some merit to be saved. There is no work that we can do to make us just before God.

Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

The person that thinks he can do good works to obtain some kind of approval before God in heaven is just deceiving himself. Salvation only comes when a person has faith in the work of Jesus in dying and his resurrection so that they can go to heaven to join him. AFTER THEY ARE SAVED, they will seek righteousness in God (in Jesus) to be applied to their celestial account. Jesus is totally just, and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS is applied to our account when we believe in Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

So, we get the righteousness of Jesus when we believe in Him, in his work on the cross, in his life 100% showing the righteousness of God (that also when saved, we follow His life of righteousness as our standard of life,[1] that is holiness and piety). The faith of Abraham was counted unto him for righteousness.

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

We are Saved by the Grace of God

Ephesians 2:8 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.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Grace is a gift or present, like what a person would give somebody else on their birthday. Thus, it is with God. But God places the condition of faith in Jesus as your Savior on us before giving us this gift of “erasing our sins” before the court of heaven. We must have faith (believing in something which we live in our lives because we know it is true) in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary and his resurrection to redeem us of our sins. The Bible speaks of one having to repent of their sins BEFORE THEY BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST.

The Conditions to Receive the Righteousness of God

There are steps that are to be taken before being saved, and we should note these steps. But before noting them, we must emphasize that it is faith in the work of Jesus Christ that saves us. These steps are what guide us to Christ. Faith is what saves us.

We accept that we are sinners. Before a judge, in a criminal court, considers a petition for clemency, he wants to see if the criminal first admits their infraction or crime. It is not acceptable for a criminal to insist that he is innocent of having done anything wrong, but at the same time, ask for clemency. No! Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are without “any good thing” or thing in which we can glory about before God. We have no merit (outside of Jesus Christ our Saviour) with which we can presume to enter heaven. This is simply the state in which we find ourselves.

Repentance of our Sins. Also, another condition[2] which is necessary to find clemency and forgiveness of our sins is that we repent of our sins. One thing is to admit and be absolutely convinced by the evidence presented against you that you did something wrong, and it is another thing for you, of your own self state that you do not want to ever do that again. Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. If a judge believes that the criminal is just saying whatever is necessary to get out of jail, he will show no clemency to him.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

God will judge every person according to his way, his acts, and the person that sins will be condemned beneath the wrath of God.[3] (The saved have no excuse why they continue sinning knowing this, but even so, we still are all sinners, saved or not.)

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (written by the Apostle John to Christians)

How do we “hide ourselves” from God’s all-seeing Judgment?

Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, (the evidence of our sinning) which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.

When we have faith in Jesus Christ, and this is in His Person and work on the cross which saves us, then God “hides” our sins from His view in his examination of our lives (in the final judgment). Jesus is the only way by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12; John 1:12-13; 10:1; 14:6). Jesus is the way, and if you do not believe this, you will die in your sins John 8:24.

God sees everything, and nobody can hide anything from God. For us to be accepted to enter heaven, we must be without sin in the sight of God. Because God sees everything, it is impossible for us to be innocent before God. So, God solved the impossible with Jesus, His beloved Son, exchanging Jesus in our place, Jesus being made sin for us (Jesus took our sin upon himself). When Jesus did this, the Father could no longer look on Jesus. Jesus said,

Mark 15:34… My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

This is the moment that Jesus took the sin of the world upon himself, and the Father turned away his face from watching His Son become our sin. The evidence of our sins is nailed to the cross at this moment so that God does not accuse us as sinners even though we are. To be saved, a person must stop justifying himself or denying his guilt, accept his guilt, and abandon his sin, believing in Jesus’ sacrifice and nailing their sins to the cross so the blood of Jesus covers all guilt. The resurrection is God’s way of publicly saying Jesus’ sacrifice was accepted.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The Correct Place of Good Works

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

In other words, God has commanded that we walk in good works always. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, but part of our salvation (sanctification) is also dealing with our moral character (the good character of God that we should imitate God Ephesians 5:1), and this replaces the sin we were doing. This is always what comes AFTER BEING SAVED, and good works are NOT a consideration in the eyes of God for a person to earn merit to be saved. We do not do good works TO BE SAVED, but BECAUSE WE ARE SAVED, we do good works. Our rewards are based on our good works.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Because we do not believe that good works gives us salvation is not to say that they are not important to the Christian nor are we ignorant of God’s will. For obtaining salvation, works are not a consideration. As being an obedient child of God after salvation, they are a consideration. As a Christian who is saved, we will fight with sin all the rest of our lives here on earth until God frees us of this sin on entering heaven. Sometimes we will lose this fight with sin here on earth, but we are promised victory in Christ. The child of God will have victory in Jesus by his faith in Christ.

1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Yes, we can have victory over sin through the power of God.

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[1] Everybody will sin even after they are saved, but the way of the Christian is to follow the life and example of Jesus.

[2] Both confession and repentance are the same thing. In repentance, a person changes his mind from seeking good works and other methods to enter heaven and ascribes only faith in Jesus as what he hopes for to get him into heaven. So, with repentance, confession of sin and believe in Jesus Christ are involved to believe in Christ.

[3] A saved person will not lose his salvation. But God will judge him on earth, and He will remove some of his rewards in eternity.

salv51 Good Works do not Save us


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