Works Are Necessary

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Works Are Necessary

Post by Paidion » Wed Aug 18, 2021 7:06 pm

Requirements to Be With the Lord

Many will loudly and confidently declare that only faith is necessary to get right with God, and that works are of no avail. If anyone stresses good works at all, these people make this hasty judgment, “Trying to get to heaven by your works. 'Works righteousness' will not avail!” They will then quote the words of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:8,9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Their claim is that good works are fine but not necessary in order to be right with God or to be with God in the afterlife. They assess those who stress righteousness are “trying to earn their way heaven by doing good works.” Indeed, Martin Luther added the word “alone” in Ephesians 2:8 in his German translation of the Greek. When someone objected that it wasn't in the Greek, he indicated that that didn't matter, for that was what was meant. Luther's words are:

“I am not the only one, nor the first, to say that faith alone makes one righteous. There was Ambrose, Augustine and many others who said it before me. And if a man is going to read and understand St. Paul, he will have to say the same thing, and he can say nothing else. Paul's words are too strong — they allow no works, none at all! Now if it is not works, it must be faith alone.”

Those who deny the necessity of works seldom or never quote the immediately following verse:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

So it is God's will that his people walk in righteousness. But is it necessary? Will faith or trust in Christ be enough, making it unnecessary to be holy or to work righteousness and eschew evil? Although Paul makes it clear that we cannot by works of the law earn a right standing with God, Paul and the writer to the Hebrews clearly state that holiness (or “sanctification”) is necessary. This truth is not inconsistent. Let's compare it to building a house. I cannot build a house through work and effort alone. I must have carpenter skills and knowledge in order to build a house. However, work and effort are necessary. If I don't do any work or make any effort, carpenter skills and knowledge alone will not result in a house being built. So I cannot get right with God by striving to do good works and avoiding evil. I also need God's enabling grace (Titus 2) made available through Christ's sacrifice and appropriated by faith. But if I do not live righteously, I will not be acceptable to God.

Here are some passages that clearly teach the necessity of holiness in order to see God and receive salvation and eternal life:

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness (sanctification) without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. (Hebrews 12:22)

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

For He will render to everyone according to his works. To those who by perseverance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, He will give lasting life, but for those who are self-seeking and are not persuaded by the truth, but are persuaded by unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. (Romans 2:6-10)

Affliction and anguish for every person who does evil, ... but glory and honour and well-being for every one who does good ... for God shows no partiality.
(Romans 2:9,10)

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 83.

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