Eternal salvation: by works or grace through faith?
– By Dr. Stan Satterfield
“We are not always sure why the Lord convicts us to do certain things, but we hope this message will encourage you in your walk with Him. Many of us continue to be concerned that so many Protestants (Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc. ) and Catholics believe they are redeemed (forgiven of sins) and saved (going to heaven) because of their good works (keeping the Ten Commandments or God’s Law).
The Bible (God’s holy inspired love story given to us) says if we are guilty of even one sin (Rom. 3:23) then we are condemned to eternal separation from God. However, because of God’s grace (undeserved favor based on his love, not our good works) we have forgiveness of sins and the free gift of eternal life (John 3:16).
Our salvation is based on God’s saving grace (what Christ did for us on the cross) through our faith in what he did to save us from our sins. These Bible passages clearly show that we are saved to eternal life by the work of Christ.
Isaiah 53:4-6, 8, 10-12 “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity (sin) of us all.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makeshis life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities (sins). Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
John 1:12 “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” ~ Receive Him as Savior.
John 5:39, 40 “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
John 8:24 “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”
John 17: 1-5 “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began’.”
John 20:31 “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” ~ Assurance of Heaven.
Acts 16:31 “They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” ~ Believe Jesus died for us.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Recognize our sinfulness.
Galatians 4:4-6 “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’.”
Ephesians 2:8, 9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Titus 3:3-7 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
1 Peter 1:17-19 “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
1 John 4:9, 10 “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live though him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
1 John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
Please understand that your good works will bring rewards once you’re in heaven but will not get you to the gate of heaven (Gen 28:17). The Bible clearly says that we are not saved by religion, church membership, baptism, association or a knowledge of Christ (James 2:19 “Even the demons believe and shudder”).
Why do we think the Bible refers to the message of Christ as the gospel (means good news)? It is good news because Christ did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. He paid the penalty for our sins so that we don’t have to try to earn our salvation (of course only perfection could satisfy the requirements of a holy God and only the sacrifice of our perfect savior could substitute for us and meet this need).
Therefore, give thanks to our gracious heavenly Father and his holy Son for this amazing saving grace that cost Christ his life on the cross, but comes to us as a gift. Please note that we must individually accept (receive the free gift) Christ as our Savior (paid for our sins) and Lord (ruler of our lives). You will not be saved by church membership or by a relationship to someone you believe led a righteous life (a relative or friend who is a pastor, priest, deacon, nun, elder, etc.).
You receive Christ by personal invitation (Rev. 3:20) Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door; I will come in to him (her) and fellowship with him (her).” We receive Christ by grace (undeserved favor of God based on his love alone) through faith (Eph. 2:8,9) “By grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast.”
If you’ve never accepted Christ into your heart, you can do it right now by faith through prayer (talk with God). What you say in prayer is not as important as what is in your heart.
Prayer of salvation example: “Dear Lord Christ, Thank you for dying on the cross to save me from my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life with you in heaven. I now receive you as my Lord and Savior. I turn away from my sins and choose to follow your path for my life that will bring glory and honor to you. Please take control of my life and make me the kind of person you desire me to be.”
If you prayed this prayer, please share it with a strong believer and join a body (church) of Bible believing Christians that can pray for and encourage you in your new life as a servant of Christ.”