Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Salvation - Part Eight
Is It Salvation Through Good Works Or Salvation By Grace
Through Faith In Jesus Christ? (First Installment)
Before we use the word of God as argument to bolster the authenticity of which prescription for salvation is true, let us use first logic or reasoning.
Question # 1 - If man can really save himself through good works, then why did the Father have to send His only begotten Son to die an excruciating and humiliating death on the cross? Why did He not just give prescriptions for good works to be able to attain salvation like all the religions in the world?
Answer # 1 - Because man does not have the capacity to save himself. He is born under the state of depravity as a result of the fall of the first man- Adam. God's curses against Adam and Adam's loss of his divine birthright were handed down to all mankind and to all generations to come. Thus, without the saving grace and mercy of God through the death of Jesus Christ, man will never be able to pay his own price for salvation.
Question # 2 - But wait, did not God give the Ten Commandments and other laws and decrees as the very prescription for man's salvation?
Answer # 2 - God gave the Ten Commandments and other laws and decrees to guide the Israelites to norms of righteousness as God's chosen people. This was the First Covenant of God to the chosen people of Israel. Aside from these laws, He also sent prophets to guide them to moral paths of righteousness. But no one was able to fully obey the laws. God gave man these laws to show him the futility of striving for his own salvation without the grace and mercy of God. Jesus Christ is the end of all the laws and commandments and everything that were written in the Old Testament and is the very embodiment of the Second Covenant of Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ.
Question # 3 - If salvation is attained through good works, what good works merited the thief that was crucified together with Jesus and another thief on the cross to attain salvation as promised by Jesus Christ before He died?
Answer # 3 - Remember, all the people at the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ were mocking and taunting Him except for His mother and followers and except for one other man. One thief, crucified with another thief and Jesus, also joined in insulting and mocking Jesus Christ. The other thief saw the grave injustice done to Jesus and turned to Him and asked that he be remembered when Jesus entered His kingdom. This in effect was an acknowledgment of Jesus Lordship over him and his belief in the words of Jesus. And to show that salvation is by grace through faith in Him, Jesus said that he would be with Him that day in Paradise.
That is the essence of divine grace. It is unmerited favor given by a magnanimous giver (Jesus Christ) to an unworthy recipient (the believing thief). The only condition is belief (or faith) in Jesus Christ which the thief did.