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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How Are We Saved?

There are so many competing voices out there today all claiming to have the truth of the Gospel and the way of salvation. What does the Bible say on this subject of salvation?

The Bible says a lot about salvation and reading only part without reading the whole can confuse the matter. Let me give you some examples:

Romans 10:13 For, "every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Mark 13:13 But he who endures to the end will be saved.
1 Peter 3:21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God --
Acts 16:30-31 and brought them out and said, "Men, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."
Matthew 19:16 And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" Jesus lists some commandments and then tells him to sell his things.
Hebrews 5:9 and being made perfect Jesus became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

So how do we navigate through verses such as these?

A temptation among non-Catholics is to stress one verse and either ignore the others, which isn’t very often, or put the others into a kind of second-class category.

A great example of this is 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 because of works, lest any man should boast.

Protestants interpret this verse to mean that works can’t ever save you, only grace through faith. But St. Paul is saying, in the context, that there is nothing we can do for our initial salvation, but once we are saved, we must obey God in faith.

Now, many protestants tend to put on the Ephesians 2:8 and 9 glasses and read the rest of the Scriptures through those lenses. So when they read any kind of verse that talks about obedience or works, it looses some weight because St. Paul said there is nothing we can do to be saved in Ephesians 2:8 and 9.

I am sure it is not intentional, it is just what they have been taught in Sunday school.

Even when you come up with a great verse like:
James 2:24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
It is often put in second place or explained away because it doesn’t pass the Ephesians 2: 8 and 9 test.

What we need to do is obey all the verses equally and not stress one over another.

We need to show them the proper interpretation of Ephesians 2:8, 9, and 10.

Before I continue, I must confess three things: This apologetic argument comes from Gary Michuta. I have used it in three conversations with great success, and I will not be giving Gary’s complete argument. You will need to contact him for his awesome classes.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God --
not because of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

See, everything needs to be read in context.

St. Paul is saying that if I am not a believer in Christ, there isn’t a certain number of good works that I can do to earn salvation. I can’t say, “Look God, I just helped about 100 old ladies across the street. You owe me salvation and eternal life!”

St. Paul is saying that this attitude isn’t going to fly with God. God doesn’t owe us anything.

God doesn’t want an employee/employer relationship with us. He wants to make us His family by way of giving it to us as a gift. He does this so no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God --
not because of works, lest any man should boast.

Now comes verse 10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We are the workmanship of God created in Christ Jesus. See, now our relationship has changed. Now we are a new creation in Christ as Paul says elsewhere. What did God make us a new creation in Christ FOR? FOR good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Absolutely all of this is given to us through God’s grace.

Now the playing field of Ephesians 2 has been leveled and now the other verses that we mentioned above can be re interpreted.

Acts 16:30-31 and brought them out and said, "Men, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."
Romans 10:13 For, "every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
1 Peter 3:21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you
Hebrews 5:9 and being made perfect Jesus became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
Matthew 19:16 And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" Jesus lists some commandments and then tells him to sell his things.
Mark 13:13 But he who endures to the end will be saved.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Dan:

Hello and Peace be to you. I am a ardent listener of the Sonrise Morning Show, from San Antonio, TX; and I really appreciated your explanation and discussion on Salvation, today. It was concise, cogent, logical and pursuasive, without being boastful.

I appreciate the call to work out, with fear and trepidation; and I thank you for your service to His call.

May God bless you and keep you

Gordon said...

I am a new Catholic was Baptist for years,I became catholic 2 years ago at the easter vigil and I love the church I have become much stronger in my christian walk with the Lord, I am in the word of god far more and have a strong relationship with Jesus I am involed with our chrismatic prayer group but one thing bothers me I don;t see a lot of change in some of my friends that our catholic ( if any man be in christ he is a new creature old thing have passed away behole all thing have become new i feel upset around them they use Gods name and swear I don't see how they can be born anew i don't want to judge them but have made mention that i don't like that talk, so I try to witness more with them,
love the Lord Jesus
gordon snow