Can you get to heaven by doing enough good works? Can you outweigh the bad with good?
If you believe the Bible, then I want to hear your argument against Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God–and not by works, so that no one can boast.”
I just don’t know how you can argue against this verse (unless you don’t beleive the Bible, and I’m not trying to discuss that). It is by “grace through faith.” How can we, as sinful human beings, become anywhere close to God’s perectness? It just doesn’t work.
Now to make one thing clear before I move on. I believe Catholics can be saved. But not by works. If they believe in grace through faith, they most certainly can be saved. But who am I to judge who is saved and who is not? But what about works? If we are saved and have no reason to do good, Christians would most certainly be immoral. We would have no reason to do right. But works must follow justification if we truly have been justified. But works must not enter in the process of justification.
Calvin states it this way:
“Why then, are we justified by faith? Because by faith we grasp Christs’ righteousness, by which alone we are reconciled to God. Yet you could not grasp this without at the same time graasping sanctification also. For he ‘is given unto us for righteousness, wisdom, sanctification, and redemption”(1 Cor. 1:30). Therefore Christ justifies no one whom he does not at the same time sanctify. These benefits are joined together by an everlasting and indissoluble bond, so that those whom he illumines by his wisdom, he redeems; those whom he redeems, he justifies; those whom he justifies, he sanctifies…Thus it is clear how true it is that we are justified not without works yet not through works, since in our sharing in Christ, which justifies us, sanctification is just as much included as righteousness.”
Believing works justifies you is telling Christ that His sacrifice was not sufficient. After watching “The Passion”, I am certain many of you would heartily agree that Christs’ sacrifice was sufficient.
So God has justified us by Christs’ sacrifice (which we must accept to be saved). It is not by our good works. Rather, works follow justification–it is our fruit by which we are known as beleivers.
We are regenerated by God–made new persons–when we are justified. He has let us start anew, become “born again” in a spiritual sense.You see, it is not just “grace through faith” (justification). But we need to follow justification–not include in–with santification, regeneration, and the fruits of the Spirit. There is a place for works in works in Protestant theology.”If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”(Lk. 9:23).A saved person must continue to do good works thruought his life. But these works do not save him. The evidence of a justified man is his good works. Good works do not justify a man. So the consequences of knowing these things are these:
1.) We must use what God has given us (our talents) to
glorify him. We must continue in working for his kingdom.
2.) We can praise God for the change inside of us and in others as we see their fruit displayed.
3.) We can have a basis for judging whether or not someone truly is saved or not. But we must be careful in judging others salvation. Only God truly knows.
(Calvin, Institutes, p.798.)