Faith and Works: Part Two


Why do good works not lead to salvation? What does it mean that faith saves?

If you wish to open a lock, you must have the right key. You may have a whole bunch of keys, but if none of them fit the lock, you might as well have none at all. There is one key, and only one that can open the door of salvation. The name of the key is Faith. You may have hundreds of other keys called Good Works, but not one of them will open the door.

Faith is just another word for believing. When you believe you are a sinner and cannot save yourself, and that the Lord Jesus died to take your punishment, you have faith, the kind of faith that pleases God. When you have this faith God can take away your sins and give you new life in the Lord Jesus.

The Lord Jesus Himself said that it was faith that saved. A poor sinful woman came to Him one day, and began to wash his feet with her tears, and to wipe them with her hair, and to anoint them with sweet perfume. These surely were good works. But the Lord Jesus spoke to her and said, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace” (Luke 7:50). He did not say, "Thy good works and thy tears have saved thee," but thy Faith! Tears can never wash away sin, nor good works cover it up. The Lord Jesus has "loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” In another place God says very clearly that "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).

When we are saved God says we are justified. That means that when He looks at us He does not see any sin, but only the righteousness of the Lord Jesus. Someone has said that justified means that it is "just-as-if-I’d never sinned.” Of course, God knows we have sinned, but when we have put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, He does not see the sin anymore. If you look through green glass everything appears green, through blue glass everything is blue. When God looks at us through the Lord Jesus He sees us as holy as He sees His Son, Jesus Christ. It is when we believe what God says about our being sinners, and when we believe what God says about His being satisfied with the death of His Son that we are saved. It is faith that justifies us, for God has it written in his word that "Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).

When we are saved we receive new life from God - everlasting life - a life that will never, never end. This life is ours by faith, too. You know 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!” It does not say that God gives everlasting life to those who are good, or to those who pray, or to those who go to church, or to those who do kind things, though He wants us to do all those things, but He gives everlasting life to those who believe.

Our own works can never save us. 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). We cannot be justified by our works (Romans 3:20).


* Why do good works not lead to salvation?

* What does it mean that faith saves?

* How has Christ given us the gift of faith? Why?

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