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 Works versus Faith (Part 2) — Salvation by Faith Alone (Book of John)

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PostSubject: Works versus Faith (Part 2) — Salvation by Faith Alone (Book of John)   Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:13 pm

Works versus Faith (Part 2) — Salvation by Faith Alone (Book of John)


We are starting out by looking at passages that support salvation by faith alone and that a Christian cannot lose his or her salvation.   Let’s begin our investigation in the book of Saint John.  John 5:24 says, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”  This verse says that salvation comes by merely hearing Jesus’ words and believing that the Father sent Him.  There is no work involved here.  He says this is the truth.  Such a person crosses over the threshold from death to life.  Again, eternal life starts the moment you receive it.  If you lose it sometime next year it wasn’t eternal.   Look at John 6:28-29.  That passage reads, “They [the disciples] asked him [Jesus], ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’”  This is a profound passage.  The disciples clearly asked Him, “What work does God require?”  Jesus did not answer them with a work that God requires.  There is no work that God requires for salvation.  He said that there is something that is required, however.  The so called work that is required is to believe in the one he has sent.  Sadly, many so-called Christians, and certainly Catholics, live their lives not knowing if they have fulfilled the list of things that God requires and demands.  But God does not have any such list.  They make up their own rules and lists of commands and call it obligatory.  Any such list is not biblical.  Do not let your conscience deceive you into thinking that there are certain steps that you must do in order to be saved.  Satan does not want us to be free or to feel free in Christ.  Anyone with a list of rules to do to please God is living in spiritual bondage.

Still in John, look at John 6:37, which reads, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”  Jesus says here that He will never do anything to drive a believer away.  We can place many scenarios here and this verse will still be true.  What about a carnal believer?  Will Jesus drive a carnal believer away?  What about a believer who is rebelling big time and is living very worldly?  Will Jesus drive such a person away?  If he ever does, this verse would no longer be true.  Yet this verse is true because no matter the situation or person, Jesus will never drive the believer away so as long as he or she believes in Him and knows who He is.  I just added a clause here: “and knows who He is.”   This clause is true.  One cannot believe in any Jesus and expect salvation.  There are lots of Jesuses out there.  Some believe that Jesus was just a prophet who never was raised from the dead and who was never God.  If you are believing in that Jesus, I guarantee that you will be driven away and are not saved.  Some believe in a Jesus who needs to be helped out by their own works in order for them to receive salvation.  This too is not the correct Jesus.  The correct Jesus needs no help.  He alone takes all the credit for your salvation so that no one can boast.  He alone paid the total price with no left over bill for your sin left for you to pay by shedding his blood on the cross and through His death and resurrection.  So it is important that you believe in the correct Jesus, even if the one whom you believe in happens to go by the same name as the true Jesus.  John 6:37 is an assurance verse.  None who come to Jesus by faith will be lost.

John 6:39-40 reads, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” This passage needs little commentary.  It is the Father’s will that everyone who looks to Jesus and believes will raise to life.  

John 6:51 reads, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  The point I will make for this verse goes back to my point about “eternal life.”  Eternal life starts the moment it is received and since it is eternal, one can never lose it.  Here, Jesus says that He is the living bread and whoever eats of this bread will live forever.  Eating is a one-time deal.  Receiving eternal life is a one-time deal.  Since you cannot lose it, eating the living bread a second time has no effect over the first time you ate it because you never lost it.  It is still there and hasn’t gone anywhere no matter how undisciplined you live.  We will later speak about rebellious Christians.  They are locked in for salvation, but they will miss out in other things, even great things.  

John 6:56 is another verse with the basic meaning.  It reads, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  Jesus says that by passively eating his flesh and drinking his blood—another way of saying whoever receives Him—He promises that He will raise that person up at the last day.  Eating and drinking are not works.  God told the Israelites to rest on the Sabbath, but they were to eat on the Sabbath what they stored up the days prior.  Eating and drinking were never works in the bible.  Same is true for whoever eats Jesus’ flesh and drinks His blood.  Such a person is promised to be raised up by Jesus at the last day.  And we already saw that it is the Father’s will for everyone who believes in Jesus to be raise up on the last day (John 6:39-40).

John 8:34-36 reads as follows: “Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’”  Of course, those who believe a Christian can lose his or her salvation will argue the first part of this passage and say that a person can sin his or her self out of the family, and therefore can lose their salvation.  The second half of this passage, they simply ignore.  To understand the passage one must read it all as a single unit.  The slave referenced in this passage is not a true son.  They do not have the rights and privileges that a true son has.  A Christian is a true son or daughter of the Most High God through Christ.  We are sons and daughters because of our faith in Christ.  We become adopted as God’s children.  We do not work to become born again.  And, this is a one-time event.  Once you are a son, you are a son forever according to this passage.  If one is able to lose one’s salvation, this verse would be a lie.  “Forever” is more explicit than “eternal life”.  Most people think only of the afterlife when they hear “eternal life.”  We said several times that eternal life starts the moment you believe in Jesus.  “Forever” does not connote the next life.  “Forever” denotes now, this life, and forever more.  

I have 2 more passages in John left to share.  John 10:28-29 reads, “I [Jesus] give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”  This verse puts having life forever another way.  It says we shall never perish.  Once you are in Jesus or the Father’s hand via your faith in Jesus, you shall never perish.  It goes on to say that no one can snatch them out of God’s hand.  No one includes Satan.  Satan is not able to make you lose your salvation.  Satan’s only power against you is deception.  Even with that, he is not able to deceive you out of your salvation so as long as you believe in Jesus for your salvation.  He can use his deception to tempt you to sin.  No matter how much he tempts you and even if you fall because of his temptation, you are still guaranteed your salvation.  

Finally, John 11:25-26 reads, “Jesus said to her [Martha], ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”  Believing is the only verb that Jesus says we must do to live.  He says if you believe you will never die.  Ironically, many so-called Christians do not believe that they will “never die.”  They believe that it is possible to live one day and to die the next, and maybe repent and live again; and, hope that Jesus does not come or that they will not die before having the opportunity to repent and be restored.  Please don’t confuse this passage with what Paul said when he said “I die daily.” Paul was referring to a different topic than this.  Paul was saying that the flesh part of him, his body, he crucifies daily.  And perhaps the main reason why some Christians do not believe that salvation is secure is because they do not know their new identity in Christ.  You are a new creature once you believe.  The old is gone and the new has come.  You literally changed inwardly the moment you believed and received the Holy Spirit.  You may not have felt anything, but something dramatic took place.  God’s Spirit is in you and He purified your spirit.  You are now alive in Christ.  You will never die.  Jesus concludes his synopsis to Mary by asking her, “Do you believe this?” Do you?

I need to interject and conclude today’s writing with a disclaimer regarding the fact that a Christian cannot lose his or her salvation.   Salvation is by faith alone in Christ and that secures one’s salvation eternally.  It is the faith that applies the padlock to eternal life.   Only by recanting that faith can one lose one’s salvation.  I spoke with a Christian who understood that a Christian cannot lose his or her salvation, but misunderstood this key aspect.  This person contented that if a Christian were to later convert to Islam or Jehovah’s Witnesses that the former Christian would still be saved because he or she was once a Christian and Christians, according to the bible, cannot lose his or her salvation.  I tried explaining to this individual that it is true that when we receive salvation through faith that it is only that faith that saves; therefore, by recanting that faith, one is able to recant the only thing that saves them.  So the disclaimer is that a Christian cannot lose his or her salvation by committing some sin or by neglecting to do enough works.  There is nothing we can physically do that would take away our salvation so as long as we continue to believe in the one who continually saves us.  If one recants his or her belief in Christ one is no longer a Christian.

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