Salvation issues that are prevalent among professing Christians need to be addressed. The most problems that I have found that we have is separating works from grace. We are not saved by works. Neither is salvation by grace and, or plus works.
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.
The Bible tells us that we are to do good works.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We are to do good works, not in order to be saved, or to stay saved, but because we are saved. We will be rewarded for those good works. The works we do come after we are saved. We are to live our lives in obedience to the will of God.
We can be led to believe we have to keep the law in order to stay saved, a mixture of law and grace. We can be led into believing that we have to maintain salvation by our own efforts. Paul addressed that in Galatians 3:1-7:
1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
There was a time that I knew I was lost, but I turned to religion rather than to Jesus. I thought that it was the same, but all the time I was religious I felt that something was not right. It was a mixture of law and grace, Jesus plus works. Nicodemus was religious but he came to Jesus out of concern for his own soul. Are you religious, keeping commandments, checking all the boxes, but concerned that all you do is not enough? There's nothing wrong with the keeping of the commandments and doing our best to live right. The problem comes when we are putting our dependence in those things for salvation. Religion places salvation in our efforts, what we do, and might I say, don't do. Religion is taking many down the wrong road.
As long as I kept the boxes checked and didn't do what I thought was wrong, I felt saved. The fear of not being saved came when I failed to live up to the standards. I had a visit from the Lord one day and felt the need to explain myself. I began by telling all the things that I was doing and had done. Everything I said I was doing came with the feeling that it was utterly useless and I had to come up with something else that I had done or was doing. Each had the same results, it was utterly useless. It was when I ran out of something to say for myself that a feeling of indescribable despair came. It was then that I heard a voice say, I wanted you to see how that felt. I had been professing Jesus, but when it came to the things that I was giving as justification, I never once mentioned Jesus, the only answer I could have given.
I left where I was and went straight in the house, picked up my Bible, and turned to the scripture that says we are not saved by our works, but by grace through faith. I realized that day that I had been depending on my efforts and in so doing was not depending on what Jesus had done for me. I received him in my heart and to this day, the fear of not being saved is gone.
Did that mean I could live a life of sin as I pleased? Saved by grace is not a license to sin. The apostle Paul said in Romans 6:1-4:
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Our belief in Jesus should not just be intellectual, but in our heart. Our faith should be exclusively in the finished work of Jesus. We are saved by grace through faith and we are justified by faith.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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