Yesterday we went to a group of kids in laguna to give out school supplies and dictionaries.
As long as I do good and I do not hurt people, I will go to heaven. I do not need God because I am doing good things to people. This is the common thinking of most professionals and businessmen who are engaged in Philanthropic activities.
Most people think that salvation is about having the most points, the more you do good the more chances you go to heaven. Parang lotto lang the more tickets the more chances of winning?
Yes it is true that In James 2:17 the Bible says that "So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless." This means that faith and belief in God without doing good things to others is dead faith. Which is true.
SO ARE WE GOING TO BE SAVED BY FAITH OR GOOD WORKS?
But it is also true that in Romans 10:9 "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." This verse clearly states the requirement for you to be saved - confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from dead after dying for our sins.
So what now? Are we really saved by faith in God alone as it is written in Romans or do we need to do good works before we can be saved as it is written in James? There are a lot of debate on this issue but let us tackle it through what the Bible says about salvation.
Let us look at Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."
This verse talks about 3 important points:
1. We are all sinners
2. Under God's law doing bad things is punishable by death
3. But realizing that no one is truly good God sacrificed his one and only son to be a penalty for all our sins- past, present and future. (Take note that it was written that salvation is a free gift and you do not have to pay for it, you just have to receive the free gift of salvation.)
IS IT TRUE THAT DO GOOD AND GOOD THINGS HAPPEN AND DO BAD AND BAD THINGS HAPPEN?
I have been asking God for the past few weeks, Why is it that doing good doesn't necessarily assure us that good things will happen to you. I mean if doing good equals (=) sure rewards then people will surely want to do good all the time.
But I realized that if God was strict with the concept that doing good=good things to happening to us and doing bad=bad things happening to us then maybe we wouldn't be here on this earth today. You see who in this earth has not done something bad? No one right? So if God follows the concept do good = good things happening and do bad = bad things happening then we will have more bad things happening to us than good.
If you believe that doing good=heaven then you should also believe that doing bad=hell. But that is not the way God wants it to be. His only requirement to be saved in Romans 10:9 is to believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead and we will be saved.
IF FAITH IS THE REQUIREMENT TO BE SAVED THEN DOES IT MEAN WE CAN DO BAD?
So you will ask, is this a permission for us not to do good works or a permission to sin? Romans 6:1 says that "Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace?"
Paul answers this in Romans 6:6 "We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin." Therefore when Jesus died for us he had not only removed our past, present and future sins but he has also given us the power to overcome sins.
But this doesn't mean that all Christians are perfect and no one commit sins anymore. Everyone is sinful and temptation comes. But the difference between a true Christian and a fake Christians is the effect of sin in his life. A true Christian after committing sin will produce Godly sorrow which is an inner longing to repent and never sin again. Whereas a fake Christian would never feel sorry to God for committing the sin and instead gives reasons and justifications to not feel guilty and this will never produce a changed life.
In summary good works is never going to cause automatic salvation just as bad works will not necessarily and automatically cause hell if you have received the free gift of salvation.
John 3:16 says that "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall never perish but have eternal life."
An apple tree does not need to produce apple fruits for it to be called an apple. The fact that it is an apple tree, it will automatically bear fruit. In the same way, a Christian need have fruits of good works for us to say that he is a Christians. A true Christian just like a true apple tree will automatically produce good works, because that is the natural way of things.
THE NEED FOR GOOD WORKS
But let us never forget what James says that faith without good works is dead faith. Believe first that there is a God who loves you so you can love others. Believe first that there is a God who sees you and cares for you. There is a God who wants you to go to heaven. Believe that God loves you so much that he gave his one and only son to die for you without expecting something in return. And because of this overflowing love and blessings that God gives you, you cannot help but do good works as a show of love to God.
For just like buying a car, you will never act to buy that car unless you have faith that such car is a good car. There is a good God that loves you and cares for you, believe and have faith in God and I'm very sure that good actions will follow and not the other way around.
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