The Biblical Truth on Faith Alone, Good Works, and Salvation

5/31/2019 , 16 Comments

Man Cannot Be Saved By Faith Alone

Perhaps one of the most remembered personalities in the New Testament is the thief that was crucified alongside the Lord Jesus Christ, not for anything else but, because of the enviable assurance of salvation which no less than the Lord Jesus Christ gave him in his final hour.

Remember, before the thief died, he believed that Jesus was the Savior, and he even asked Him to remember him when He comes into His kingdom. And Christ told him that instance that he would be with Him in paradise.

LUKE 23:42-43
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Sadly, lots of preachers have capitalized on this particular incident to convince people that, to merit salvation, it is enough to just believe and have faith. They would even add that salvation is God’s gift to man, so there is no need for man to do good works anymore to obtain it. Again, they would make reference to that particular thief who didn’t do anything good in his life and yet he earned Christ’s assurance that he would be with Him in paradise simply because he believed.

Besides, according to those preachers, man’s righteousness is like filthy rags to God, citing the prophet Isaiah. So, no amount of good works could ever make a person appear righteous in the sight of God because his righteousness is just like filthy rags for Him.

Of course, those are all very wrong teachings. Please, allow me to clarify this matter.

First of all, let us go over what Isaiah 64:6 says and see for yourselves how those preachers had grossly misinterpreted the verse.

ISAIAH 64:6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

The verse states the words of people who were buried in iniquities; they were doing their own righteousness.

We must realize that there are two kinds of righteousness in the Bible. There is what the Bible mentions as the righteousness of God, which is dikaiosune in Greek, meaning justice, equity; on the other hand, there is also the so-called man’s own righteousness.

ROMANS 10:3
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

There are people who are ignorant of God’s righteousness. Instead of submitting themselves to the righteousness of God, they establish their own righteousness.

Isaiah 64:6 was referring to themselves, the Israelites, who were transgressors of God’s law. They said, “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” They were very, very far away from God. They have no record of any good deed so they compared themselves to leaves that fade and wind that passes but leaves no mark.

Now, let us compare it with the words of the Apostle Paul in the book of ROMANS 3:10-12, which says,

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

They were among the people who had forgotten God in their lives. None of them sought God, and there was none of them that understand (not including the Apostle Paul, of course). They were the kind of people whose righteousness was like filthy rags in the sight of God.

BUT IF you are doing God’s righteousness and IF you are submitting yourself to the righteousness of God, will it still be like filthy rags?

MATTHEW 6:33 says,

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Your righteousness is valuable in the sight of God if what you are doing is His righteousness, instead of your own righteousness.

There is a great difference between man’s own righteousness and the righteousness of the Lord. There is a heaven and earth difference between the two.

How does God regard a person who is doing his own righteousness, and not His righteousness?

LUKE 16:15 says,

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

It is abomination; it is just like filthy rags in His eyes.

EPHESIANS 6:6 says,

Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

There are men-pleasers who do their righteousness to be seen by men. Yet, what is in their hearts is abomination in the sight of God.

To arrive at a correct interpretation of God’s word in the Bible, you have to consider the spirit from within the entire Bible itself. You should not take anything out of context. You must be within the context of the verse, of the chapter, of the book, and of the entire Bible.

There are religious leaders, especially the Baptists, who interpret the Bible out of context. So, they say, “We do not have to do good works anymore; good works are no longer necessary because, even if you do good works, they are just like filthy rags in the eyes of God.” Such is an erroneous interpretation of the Scriptures! It is NOT the truth, and it will NEVER be the truth.

It is true that faith could save us, just like what happened to the thief on the cross – although a criminal, he was justified because of the faith that sprang in his heart a few minutes before he died. It was only a few minutes before his death, not an hour or two hours before his death, when he started believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, during their first and second hours on the cross, together with the other thief, he was also mocking the Lord Jesus Christ.

MARK 15:32 says,

Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

There were only two thieves that were crucified together with the Lord Jesus Christ. One was on His left and the other one on His right. Based on the account of Mark, he said “they,” meaning, both of them mocked and reviled Him. But before they finally died, one of the thieves saw and experienced things which eventually opened his mind.

In LUKE 23:39-42, it says,

39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

That was the moment when the thief professed his faith. He said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” That utterance was an expression of faith. And that was sufficient for him to be saved because he had but a few minutes more to live; and he would not be able to do anything good anymore.

BUT for us, who are not crucified, will it be enough to just have faith and not do good works anymore to be saved? If you had but one hour left to live after you started believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, then your faith will be sufficient for your salvation. BUT IF you are going to live for another day, or another week, or another month, or another year, after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, your faith would no longer be enough to merit salvation. You have to do something aside from having faith only.

2 PETER 1:5-9 says,

5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

After having been purged from our sins, our faith must be followed by obedience. To our FAITH we need to add virtue; to virtue knowledge; to knowledge temperance; to temperance patience; to patience godliness; to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

So, if you are going to live for another day, or more, your faith wouldn’t be sufficient for you to be saved. Your FAITH should be coupled with works of obedience to the Lord.

1 CORINTHIANS 13:13 (KJV) says,

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

In the Revised Standard Version it says, “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

It did not say that the greatest of these is faith. No! Love is greater than faith; and love must not be absent in faith. Faith must be coupled with love and hope. If you are going to take away love, even if you have faith, you will not be saved still.

1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-3 (RSV) says,

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Faith is not enough for a person to be saved. Insofar as the thief on the cross was concerned, yes, his faith was enough. He couldn’t do anything anymore but just have faith. He couldn’t show love anymore; he couldn’t do good works anymore because there was no more time left for him. He couldn’t join the congregation anymore so that he could sing hymns and praises to the Lord. Remember, singing praises to the Lord is a good thing in the sight of God.

PSALMS 92:1 says,

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:

The thief on the cross, with a broken leg and with nailed hands and feet, could not do that anymore as he was enduring severe pain and he was dying. But given another day, or another month, surely, that thief would do good works.

2 TIMOTHY 3:17 says,

That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Given the time and the opportunity, you have to do good works. And your good works, as a man of God, are not filthy rags in His sight. Why? Because you do good works with God; you cannot do them by yourself alone.

PHILIPPIANS 2:13 says,

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good purpose.

The purpose of God is His will. To be able to do the will of God, God must be with you; Christ must be with you. Otherwise, you will fail.

As written in JOHN 15:5,

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Therefore, if you are able to do the good works that God commanded you to do, that is a manifestation that God is with you. We can do good work because God is with us; apart from Him we cannot do anything.

So how dare those people say that our good works are just like filthy rags in the sight of God when we are doing those good works with Him! If the righteousness that we are doing is the righteousness of God, and we are doing it with His help, such would never ever be like filthy rags in His sight.

HEBREWS 6:10 says,

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Good works done with love could not be like filthy rags in the sight of God.

The Baptist Church, whose pastors and leaders do not want to do good works, had grossly misinterpreted the Scriptures in teaching their members that faith alone is enough; that faith alone can save, and that there’s no need to do good works anymore because good works are like filthy rags in the sight of God.

If it is true that faith, minus the good works, is enough to be saved, why, then, are you requiring your members to give tithes? Isn’t the giving of tithes a good work? How come you are accusing your members of robbing God if they would not give tithes? This only shows how wrongly you interpreted the Bible. Your interpretation is an interpretation of the anti-Christ. Because what Christ wants is that we do good works as long as we live. And it is our good works that will qualify us to inherit eternal life.

MATTHEW 7:24-25 says,

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

It is imperative that we do what the Lord Jesus Christ said. You know that everything that the Lord Jesus Christ said and all the examples that He set are all good works. He said, Love your enemy. Give him something to eat when he is hungry and something to drink when he is thirsty. Those are good works. And because of those good works that you do, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “anyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them...” Meaning, anyone that does His work. “...I will liken him unto a wise man, which build his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not…”

If those who do His works, which are all good works, are likened to wise men, those who do not want to do them are likened to foolish men.

MATTHEW 7:26-27 says, “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (like the Baptist pastors), “shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

So there is a great fall that is forthcoming to those who do not want to do good works. Instead, they just say, “I believe in you; I accept you as my personal Lord and savior; hallelujah! Just give tithes and you would be saved.” Those are merely the teachings of the Baptist pastors but they are not the real truth in the Bible! The real truth in the Bible is that we have to work; we have to do good works in order to be saved by our faith.

JAMES 2:22 says,

Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

Faith without works is dead, as written in JAMES 2:26,

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

How can you be saved by a dead faith? The faith of the Baptist Church is dead because they do not want to do good works anymore.

Good works should be accompanied by faith, and faith should be coupled with good works. It is the good works that you are doing that would make your faith perfect. How?

PHILIPPIANS 2:12 says,

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

What does “obeyed” mean? They had worked them out; they had put into action his words, his commandments, admonitions, and teachings.

We really have to work, and the works that we have to do are the good works that God wants us to do. You will not be saved if you are not going to do good works.

Your faith may be enough for salvation if you are going to live for just a couple of minutes more, when you no longer have the chance to do any good work anymore. But if you are still to live for another day, another month, or another year, after you received the faith, then you have to GROW in Christ. And growing in Christ is learning how to do good works – the good works that had been exemplified by the Lord Jesus Christ. And the good works you have done will qualify you for salvation.

MATTHEW 25:32-40 says,

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

So, those who would be made heirs of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ are those who did good works. How now would you say that good works are no longer necessary?

Actually, doing good works can be a way to salvation of men who do not have faith. They have no faith because they weren’t given a chance to listen.

ROMANS 10:17 says,

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Nonetheless, THEY will be accepted as righteous in the sight of God come judgment day because of the good works that they have done.

ROMANS 2:13-15 says,

13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

The Apostle Paul was talking about the people who have no faith because they had NOT heard the law. (As we know, faith is born out of listening to the word of God. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.)” And because they have not heard the law, they had NOT known Jesus. They died without hearing Jesus; they died before the Bible was printed; they died in a place and time that the Bible was not yet available.

But DESPITE that, they do by nature the things contained in the law, that is, they do the goodness that is in the law. And because of that, they are justified.

The Apostle Paul explained this further in 1 TIMOTHY 4:10, which says,

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe.

Therefore, there is a possibility that those who do not believe could be saved IF, despite the fact that they did not hear any law, they are doing the good things contained in the law. So, even if they had neither seen Christ nor heard His teachings, they are still considered justified because of the good works they had done, like feeding the hungry, giving something to drink to the thirsty, clothing the needy, etc. Because of these good deeds they were found worthy of inheriting the kingdom of God.

How about those who refuse to do good works, like the Baptists? What will Christ tell them?

MATTHEW 25:41-45 says,

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw thee an hungred, or athirst, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

That is the penalty for those who do not want to do good works. Clearly, refusing to do good works will disqualify you from inheriting the kingdom of God, even if you claim that you have faith. Faith alone is NOT enough for salvation. Do not liken yourself to the thief that was nailed on the cross and was promised of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ because his condition was different from yours. His hands and feet were nailed and he had a few minutes to live, while your hands and feet are free, and you have your whole lifetime ahead of you to do good works.

If you have faith, couple it with good deeds for you to merit salvation and be an heir also of the kingdom of God.

16 comments:

  1. Thanks be to God for his wonderful message thru this blog! Pastors of born again are anti christ.

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  2. obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    1 Peter 1:9
    English Standard Version (ESV)

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  3. 2 Peter 1
    King James Version (KJV)

    5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
    6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
    7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
    8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

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  4. What an eye opener topic and straight forward bible base explanation!
    To God be all the glory!

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  5. We're privileged that we have Mr. Controversy is there to enlighten us that faith is indeed not just enough except on an exceptional circumstance like the thief on the cross with Jesus.

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  6. There is a true church called MCGI where faith is taught properly beginning with this blog...

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  7. How can your faith move mountains when you are enrolled in the wrong church?

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  8. So loud and clear. thanks be to God

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  9. Truly, only a man of God could understand His words. To God be the Glory!

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  10. Thanks be to God. TO GOD BE THE GLORY...

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  11. We,the MCGI are greatful and thankful for the increase knowledge we learn through the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the preaching of Bro Eli Soriano during our Weekly Thanksgiving. To God all honor and glory. Amen.

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  12. May the Baptist and Born Again and all those who believed to be saved by Faith alone Minus Good Works be Enlightened that it is not enough to Inherit Salvation! To God be the Glory Forever,
    Thanks be to God!

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  13. agree because God is give at all for sinful person. don't forget always pray every day. and don't lose your trust to your self. don't lose your confidence and always possitive. God is good all the time. Amen.

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  14. When you read of the bible you will know what is inside the? The other people are not interesting to read a bible that’s why they didn’t know the content of the bible, we learn how to read a bible and the bible will gives clearness of our mind in the world of full mistake

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