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Updated November 2, 1999
Due to its length I had to condense this letter.
Dear Pastor Malone:
WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE NOT BY WORKS LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST. FAITH, REPENTANCE, AND KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS ARE WORKS AND THEREFORE, CAN HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR SALVATION. ALSO, WE CAN IN NO WAY MAKE CHRIST LORD OF OUR LIFE UNTIL AFTER SALVATION TAKES PLACE. THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF SALVATION TAKING PLACE WHEN A CALLED PERSON (BY THE HOLY SPRIT) BELIEVES IN THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST(AFTER PENTICOST) AND THAT JESUS WAS THE MESSIAH , BEFORE THE CROSS. THERE IS NO MENTION OF ANY OF THE WORKS YOU CLAIM LEAD UP TO SALVATION. AND THE BELIEF REQUIRED IS A GIIFT FROM GOD. IT IS GODS GRACE! THE BIBLE SAYS THAT JESUS IS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH, SO EVEN THE FAITH WE HAVE IS THE RESULT OF OUR SALVATION. SO BE CAREFUL MY FRIEND WHEN YOU TEACH THAT TRUE REPENTANCE MUST TAKE PLACE BEFORE SALVATION OR THAT WE MUST MAKE JESUS LORD OF OUR LIVES, BEFORE WE CAN BE BORN AGAIN, OR THAT WE MUST KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF CHRIST OR WE ARE LOST. THESE ARE ALL GOOD WORKS WE ARE CALLED TO DO , AND ARE EQUIPPED TO DO AFTER WE ARE SAVED. I REPEAT , HOW CAN A DEAD MAN DO ANY OF THOSE WORKS?
You are correct but only half right. I do not believe nor have I ever believed (and my articles attest to it) that salvation is achieved through works. But just because someone prays a prayer does not mean they were saved. I have seen hundreds come to an alter of salvation. Not all went away taking Jesus with them. But I have documented me belief on that subject many times in other articles.
When talking about what role works plays in salvation you must take the whole Bible as your guide and not pick out certain verses that make your case. You quoted Matthew 7:22-23 (not mentioned in above letter due to length) "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." I find it strange that you forgot to quote along with that scripture verse 21 which states, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Unfortunately, that verse included with your quote changes the picture all together. Doing the will of the Father is a demonstration of works. Yes, salvation is free and is a gift from God that we cannot achieve a part from faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But there are fruits of salvation that come forth in a Christian's life which can tell us what vine a person is connected to. If you are saved you will produce fruit, some more than others, but there will be fruit. That is the nature of any tree. Like a tree (Christian) it doesn't all of a sudden start producing fruit because it wants to, it produces fruit due to who it is connected to, which is Jesus. Without that connection there cannot be fruit produced.
I realize that Romans and Hebrews speak frequently about the subject of salvation apart from works. That of course is totally true as I have stated earlier. It's also true that James and I John speak frequently about faith a part from works as being dead (All of James 2 and I John 1 & 2). "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2: 3-4). Why the contradiction between Romans/Hebrews and James/I John? There is no contradiction! Romans/Hebrews is explaining that there is no way you can work your way to heaven while James/I John declare that if you are saved you will produce good works only because you are connected to Jesus the true vine. Without that connection good works could not be produced. You are still not saved by those works, but those works are an evidence that you are saved because only a person with Jesus in their life could produced them.
Take a look at John 15:1-5:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 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.The key to the subject is found in verse five, "for without me ye can do nothing." We have no ability to serve God without His power. But the first step to serving Him is to truely yield our lives to Him through faith (and true repentance), and He will produce good works through us.
Yes, there are those who are producing humanitarian works in churches today, but you will know them by their fruit if they are real and produced by God. I hope I was able to shed some light on this subject.
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