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In Christendom, the issue of salvation
and works is a heated debate. Some say doing anything other than "just
believing" is a work of man and has no bearing on our salvation. Others
make rules and regulations which are not in the Bible. Where is the fine
line of salvation and works of man?
First, we must see that we are saved
by grace: For it is by grace you
have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the
gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians
Yet, many don't pay attention to the very next verse of scripture: For
we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which
God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians
If we are saved and are of God, then we are created to do good works. We
don't get to choose whether or not to do good works. God has already made
that choice. Each of us is either a good and faithful servant or is disobedient.
Not being obedient and not doing the will of God condemns us: "Not
everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will
say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and
in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell
them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew
Only those who do the will of the Father
in heaven are in Christ. In Matthew
12:46-50, Jesus teaches us who his mother and brothers are:
"For whoever does the will of my
Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew
Doing what Jesus commanded us to do is doing the will of God. Jesus said
if we love Him, we will obey His commands (John
14:15, 23; 1
John 5:1-3). He also said that those who don't love Him
won't obey His teachings (John
14:24). If we obey Him, we will remain in His love (John
15:10). Whoever obeys Jesus lives in Him (1
John also teaches that those who know
Jesus obey what He commands (1
John 2:3). If we obey Jesus' commandments, it pleases Him
and we receive from Him what we ask (1
The scriptures clearly teach us that
our obedience to God is evidence of our love for Jesus. Thus, we are doing
the will of God. One should remember that Jesus always did the will of
the Father so that we could be saved.
Many say they are saved, yet they have
no deeds or works. The Bible clearly shows our deeds/works (or lack of
them) play a key role in whether we are sent to eternal punishment or to
eternal life (Matthew
The last thing Jesus said before He
ascended into heaven was what is commonly referred to as the "Great Commission:"
the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told
them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then
Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has
been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am
with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to
all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever
does not believe will be condemned." (Mark
This is a command of Jesus. This is the will of God. Have you been obedient
to the will of God in order to receive forgiveness of your sins and to
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? Peter
replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus
Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift
of the Holy Spirit." (Acts
Jesus promises the Counselor (Holy Spirit) only to those who are obedient:
you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and
he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- (John
Peter and the other apostles also teach us that God gives the Holy Spirit
only to those who obey Him: We are
witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given
to those who obey him. (Acts
Thus, we must conclude that only those who are obedient to God and do His
will have the Holy Spirit.
The will of God is available for everyone
to learn and follow. It is found in God's Word, the Bible. Yet, how many
will do the will of God? Only a few! Enter
through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that
leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate
and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew
Are you among the few? Are you saved?
Do you love Jesus? Do you have the Holy Spirit? Are you doing the will
of God? Are you doing the works God created for you to do? Are you on the
narrow road? Will your works (or lack thereof) condemn you?
Copyright © 2005 Timothy A. Southall.
All rights reserved.