Faith and Works

Salvation is by grace through faith.

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.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)

It's important that we understand this clearly.

No works will ever get you saved.

But then James says this.

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
- James 2:26 (KJV)

So which one is it?

As it turns out it's a bit of both. Faith and works are intertwined.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
- James 2:18 (KJV)

Faith means "to believe" which is a verb. It requires some kind of action.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
- James 2:14 (KJV)

There is a huge difference in believing something, and acting in accordance with that belief.

Consider the following two scenarios:

  • I believe repentance is the heart of the gospel
  • I believe repentance is the heart of the gospel + Repenting in real life

Faith has to be put into practice for it to be real.

A belief without works is like not really believing it in the first place.

A faith without works is a dead faith, and it leads to you losing your salvation.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
- Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)

Paul is quite clear on what we need to do after we have received grace.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
- Romans 6:1-2 (KJV)

We ought to stop sinning. That should be our works.

To learn more about the works we need to do consider the following verse.

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
- Galatians 5:6 (KJV)

Faith is all about having a genuine loving relationship with God.

And how do we love God?

If ye love me, keep my commandments.
- John 14:15 (KJV)

So the works then are the works of love and obedience (Ten Commandments).

  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind
  • Love your neighbour as yourself

And that's all there is to it. You are saved by grace through faith, and a genuine faith is alive and bears much fruit.

Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
- Matthew 7:20 (KJV)

Works are evidence of true faith, but always remember that works alone can never save you.