Sunday, October 25, 2009

Have I Been Lied To? (Again?)

The more I understand the Bible, the more I have this sneaking suspicion that I have been lied to all these years. Since grade school, we were taught that salvation is all about faith, and that there is nothing that you can do or not do that will save you. We teach such a faith-centered salvation and do everything we can to teach that the Catholics and Pharisees (the classic "bad people") say that you are saved by works, which is wrong. But I think I am finally starting to see that faith and works (i.e., deeds) are both required for the Christian walk, and that nothing is by faith alone.

Granted, the Catholics and the Pharisees are proverbially doing it wrong, but so are we by throwing in the towel on works! James 2 says, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?...Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

Faith without deeds is useless! It cannot save you! For years, I thought that the only thing I needed to do was believe in God and have faith, and that this would save me. Well, it may or may not save my soul, but the point is even deeper than that. The point is that faith alone does not produce a Christian. Deeds/works/action is required, right alongside faith. Being the efficient person that I am, I figured that deeds were pointless if they didn't save you, so why bother to do them but to look good in the eyes of other Christians? But they do save you! No, they alone do not save you. But faith alone doesn't save you either. Salvation=faith+deeds. It's right there in the Bible, right in front of our faces, and I'm only realizing today.

1 comment:

John said...

I think it's not so much "salvation = faith + deeds", but more along the lines of faith leading to salvation, which produces deeds (see Ephesians 2:8-10):

We are saved when we confess our sins to Christ and acknowledge that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. The Christian life (with its good deeds and fruits of the Spirit and love we show to each other) is a natural outpouring once we begin to fully realize what an amazing thing Christ has done in us!!

What James is referring to is that if our lives are without any sort of works or Spiritual "fruit", then we have to question our authenticity and whether we actually put our trust wholly in God or not. Works are an indicator of faith, not a prerequisite.