Where's the Works?
Recently, Joe and I have noticed that many of the people we talk to in our ministry believe in Jesus. But they don't speak of Jesus as their Savior. Instead they believe in a historical Jesus. They believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary; they believe that He was crucified, and they even believe that He rose from the grave on the third day.
The part that folks seem to miss is that their salvation rests completely on what Jesus has done for us. Instead of accepting the gift that Jesus gave, they cling to a belief that their salvation comes from a combination of knowledge of Jesus and the good works they accumulate in a life time. It's sad to visit these folks because they spend so much energy trying to get to heaven but they've missed the simple truth found in the Bible.
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13 (NKJV)
I encourage you to read this passage carefully. What would you say if you were asked today, "What do you need to do to get into Heaven?" What would you say? List your thoughts out honestly. Now take each item on your list and look for them in this passage. Do you find these items?
Not convinced? Let's try two more verses. Do you see the works that you've been accumulating over the years in the next verses? Is your religious organization listed?
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NKJV)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 (NKJV)
You see, our works were not good enough to get us to heaven. If they were then the Jews would have made it to heaven with the Old Covenant. If good works could open the door to heaven why did Jesus need to come and die? If good works saves you, the pain, the suffering and the anguish Christ Jesus suffered on the cross has no value.
I remember when I realized that my works would not save me. I was born and raised in a religious group that did not teach us that we need a personal relationship with Christ Jesus. I started asking hard questions like, "Does my colony save me? Will being a member of my church save me?" I realized that the religion I grew up in did not line up with the simple Gospel of Christ.
When I was first saved I struggled between the religion I knew and the Gospel written in the Bible. I went back and forth asking, "Am I saved? Do I still need good works to make sure I get into Heaven?"
Then God revealed to me that my salvation does not come by works of righteousness but by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I now know that works will never get me into heaven. Jesus died because I needed saving and His way is the Only Way. Consider what Titus tells us.
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7 (NKJV)
Am I suggesting that we should stop doing good works? Absolutely not! But you see, salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone. After we have a relationship we will naturally want to Love God and Love our fellow man. Titus finishes by saying:
This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. Titus 3:8 (NKJV)
So have you believed? Are you placing your trust in the works of man or in the Blood of Christ? Would you like to have a relationship with Christ? It's a free gift. Your only requirement is to receive the gift Jesus provided to you. Ask him to reveal Himself to you and He will. You don't have to work for salvation.
Just pray this prayer and He will come into your life and save you.
Jesus, I read in your word that you are the only way into heaven. I've been trying to get into heaven with the works I've done all these years. But now I see my works are not enough. I want a personal relationship with you Jesus. Right now I confess that you are my Savior and my Lord. I believe that you died for me and your Father raised you from the grave. Jesus, I believe that you are the only way to the Father. You are my salvation. Please forgive me for my sin and wash me with your blood. Now renew my mind Jesus to your word. Help me stand firm in the truth of your Gospel.
Thank you Jesus. Amen