SALVATION: FAITH VS WORKS
Ephesians 2:8 NET For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God;
There are many instances in the New Testament referring to people “being saved”, but exactly what are they being saved from? The most popular answer is that at death, a person’s soul/spirit either goes to heaven or to hell, with hell defined as an eternal fire of torture.
Although quite remarkable to consider, many preachers believe and announce from the pulpit, that “you” need to be saved so that “you” won’t spend eternity in a fiery hell. Then, at the return of Jesus all the “saved” will be transported to heaven. Of course, if this is true then heaven will have a collection consisting of the righteous law-abiders as well as the saved who only go to church on Easter and Christmas and spend their weekends drinking, playing poker, or attending some form of a club. Apparently, these people have not considered all the implications of their doctrine. Perhaps they think that God will instantly make everyone righteous, but if that was the plan of God, then why not do it now.
The above statement concerning hell-fire and a rapture to heaven is wrong on many counts. First, it is certain there is no HELL. The word “hell” is an English translation of the Greek word “Hades”. However, that is not the reason there is no hell fire of eternal torture. I have written on this subject numerous times in numerous articles and will not say very much at this point.
In 1 Corinthians 15:22 Paul tells us that “in Christ all will be made alive”. All means “ALL”. Every person ever born has died or will die, and every person will be made alive, and that doesn’t mean resurrected just long enough to be placed into a fiery hell for eternity. I know many think that, but it just isn’t scripturally true.
1 Corinthians 15:22 NET (22) For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
Secondly no one is in heaven other than God (which includes Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit). The God-created angelic entities likely have access to God within heaven but they don’t spend their existence flying around the throne of God. I have also written on this subject numerous times in numerous articles and again, I will not say much at this point.
At the return of Jesus Christ, the Millennial Kingdom of God will be located on the earth. Glorified individuals known as the elect, the overcomers, and/or the saints (or holy ones) of the most high God (Daniel 7) are said to have access to the heaven of God. They will be the rulers and administrators of the earthy Kingdom under the leadership of Christ.
The original question was: “what exactly are the saved being saved from.” The question should ask, “what will the saved gain as opposed to the unsaved”? A vague answer may be hinted in Mark 10:25-25. Jesus is referring to the Kingdom of God and the disciples reply with the word “saved”. That appears to claim that a saved person is a citizen of the Kingdom of God.
Mark 10:25-26 NET It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (26) They were even more astonished and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?”
Thus it could be discerned that the saved person is being saved from a life without God and receives a down payment of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That would allow the saved to be a bodily container or a temple of God within themselves. The Holy Spirit would write or speak the laws of God within their heart and mind. As Paul explains, they have become the “sons of God”.
Romans 8:14 NET For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.
Paul expounds on this theme in Romans 8:32 by saying, “how will He not also, along with Him, freely give us all things?” By all times, Paul does not mean instant healing, expanded bank account, new car, etc. He means all spiritual things, perhaps also Biblical understanding.
Romans 8:32 NET Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will He not also, along with Him, freely give us all things?
Faith vs Works
To most people it should be abundantly clear and understandable that a person can only be saved through faith in God and the life and works of Jesus Christ. An Old Testament person could not be saved by adhering to the law although the law was important, then and today. He (OT person) could only be saved by believing in the promises of God. Abraham was saved by faith well before the law was given. Jacob was saved by faith after he wrestled with the angel and came to an understanding that God is in complete control of everything and did not need Jacob’s sneaky help to achieve it.
Romans 3:28 NET For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law.
Ephesians 2:8 NET For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God;
The salvation doctrine that is commonly taught is that a person is saved the very moment he believes in Jesus Christ, that he is saved without any further acts of obedience, and that is the manner that many consider it. The New Testament book called James has much to say on the subject of faith and works. For example: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” James 2: 17.
People confuse the good works of the Kingdom gospel which the Bible clearly defines as essential, with the works of trying to adhere to God’s laws, or the meritorious works of men in an effort to earn salvation.
Romans 7:14 NET For we know that the law is spiritual….
The law is not carnal, and the law applies in the spiritual realm as well as in an earthly kingdom.
Nailed to the Cross
Many so-called Christians claim Colossians 2:14 says “the law of Moses was nailed to the cross of Christ and is no longer bound upon anyone”.
Colossians 2:14 NET He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.
Anyone can easily see the verse has no mention of law or Moses. The law is only an indirect subject because it is the law that reveals to us our sins. It does say that Jesus took away “a certificate of indebtedness”. (other translations read: handwriting of ordinances that was against us KJV; the charge of our legal indebtedness NIV; the record of the charges against us NLT; the ordinances against us YLT; the legal contract of our sins HRB; the decrees against us MLV; most other versions are repetitions of the ones above.
The above translation should be clear that Paul was referring to the list of sins, or sin debt, that each person has acquired over their lifetime until the moment of salvation. The laws of God were not nailed to the cross but rather every person’s list of sins. The laws of God were opposed to us in the manner that our sins against God were made evident, therefore the hostility of the law which indicated a sin and made us require a sin debt was the actual thing that was nailed to the cross. We still have the Laws of God to remind us when we sin and they should be upheld, but our sin debt has been forgiven.
Below, is Dr. Stephen Jones version of my short personal (nailed to the cross) version found above.
It was customary during the Roman occupation for the list of crimes to be written and nailed to the cross so that all who pass that way may read the reason for the man’s crucifixion. This was to act as a deterrent against others who might want to commit the same crimes. To write such an inscription, then, was not unusual.
Matthew 27:37 NET Above his head they put the charge against him, which read: “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.”
John 19:21 NET Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The king of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am king of the Jews.’ “
The chief priests wanted Pilate to change the crime to read that Jesus claimed to be King of the Jews. Pilate, however, refused to change it, stating that He was indeed the King of the Jews.
The doctrinal significance of this is mentioned in Col. 2:14, where the Apostle Paul spoke of the crucifixion,
14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
The decrees against us are all the sins that we have ever committed. All sin is reckoned as a debt, and so Paul calls it “the certificate of debt,” that is, the debt note that we incurred through sin. These sins, which brought the hostility of the law to us, was removed because this sin-list was “nailed to the cross.”
Some have mistakenly thought that the law itself was nailed to the cross, and this has been used to teach that the law was put away and to justify lawlessness. In fact, it was the list of crimes committed that was nailed to the cross, for this was the usual practice when anyone was crucified. Paul tells us that “the certificate of debt” was paid by Jesus on the cross.
In other words, He paid our debt as if He were liable for it. Our sin-list attributed all of our sins to Him, and so He paid the penalty for all the sins on that list. He honored the law and upheld it by paying its full penalty. The law is satisfied, and we have been set free of our sin-debt.
Works of the Kingdom
It has been established in a previous section that salvation faith makes one a citizen of the Kingdom of God. James 2:19 claims that merely believing a God exists (i.e. head knowledge) is not enough because even demons are aware of that.
James 2:19 NET You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that — and tremble with fear.
To be a Kingdom citizen requires that one believes that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all things and that He is preparing His Kingdom now (at this moment). His work of preparation is accomplished through His citizens. Therefore if a person thinks they are saved while doing nothing and the Holy Spirit is not convincing them to accomplish preparation work for the Kingdom then that person may not be a citizen which means they have not been saved. If they are not saved does that mean eternity in a hell-fire punishment? No, it means they will be a part of the second resurrection and may spend a considerable amount of time as a servant or slave in the servant class, according to the Law.
The woman anointing the feet of Jesus took the opportunity to be a servant of the Lord. She clearly understood His position as the Messiah and the Lord of all. It was her faith in Jesus that saved her and she was already working as a citizen of the Kingdom.
Luke 7:50 NET He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
When Jesus sent out the 12 disciples to preach of “the soon coming Kingdom” He gave them certain instructions: Go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons; do not take anything of monetary value; etc. Although this “sending out” occurred in real time, it is also a prophecy for all times. The true citizens of the Kingdom would at that time and will be after that hated by everyone because of the name of Jesus. However, the citizen who does not give up or give in (i.e. endures to the end) will retain their Kingdom citizenship.
Matthew 10:22 NET And you will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
The Two Resurrections or Each in Their Own Order (From a Previous Post)
Not all will receive immortality at the same time. Jesus established the fact of universal reconciliation, but the timing is determined by our obedience to God and our actions. The overcomers (elect/saints of the Most High) will receive glorified bodies in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6) and they will reign with Jesus during the thousand-year Millennium or the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 15:22-23 KJV (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (23) But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
John 5:24 LITV-TSP Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes the One who has sent Me, has everlasting life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
The rest of the believers will be given life (immortality) at the general resurrection or the White Throne Judgment which occurs at the end of the thousand years. At this time ALL who yet remain in the tombs “shall hear His voice and shall come forth” (John 5: 28-29). This will include both unbelievers and the rest of the marginal believers or citizens who missed the first resurrection. Those who refused Christ during their life time on earth, along with the great majority of mankind who never had opportunity to hear of Him in their life time, will confess Jesus as Lord at the Great White Throne judgment.
Acts 24:15 LITV-TSP having hope toward God, which these themselves also admit, of a resurrection being about to be of the dead, both of just and unjust ones.
All resurrected people at the White Throne will be judged according to their works (Revelation 20: 13). Because all sin is reckoned as a debt, the great Judge will reckon each man’s “debt” according to his sin and according to his level of knowledge (Luke 12: 48) and then sentence him to be “sold” according to the law in Exodus 22: 3. The purchaser will probably be an overcomer, one with the character of Jesus Christ, who will be given authority and responsibility to teach them righteousness by personal example. This judgment could endure until the Creation Jubilee but that is presently unknown (i.e. it has been said by some that the Creation Jubilee will occur at the 50,000th year).
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