Salvation Without Works, By Identification, Through Faith
This is written with the firm belief that the King James Bible is the Word of God, therefore believing that God called Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles, and gave him (and him only) the gospel to the Gentiles is inevitable. Anyone else who ever preached it got it from Paul (Rom. 2:16, 16:25, and 2 Tim. 2:8). Paul left Timothy at Ephesus with the command to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine" (1 Tim. 1:3). In his second letter to Timothy he said "the things thou hast heard of me commit to faithful men" (2 Tim. 2:2). In 2 Tim. 1:13 he said, " Hold fast the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me." When writing to the Corinthians, Paul said "Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the Gospel" (compare with Mark 16:16). With these things evident any attempt to prove salvation for a Gentile in this age without the gospel of Paul would be ludicrous.
Anyone who corrupts Paul's gospel by preaching it as "another gospel" (Gal. 1:6-9) or who adds works to it will be called for a fool and thrown out of the fight (2 Tim. 2:5) and rejected by God for not receiving the truth (2 Thess. 2:10-12). God said that we are to consider them accursed (Gal. 1:8-9). In every debate opposing the doctrine of eternal security, those who believe salvation can be lost also preach that it can be gained by "works of righteousness". These always try to prove their demented theory by going to doctrine outside Romans through Philemon.
This article is about salvation without any kind of religious works (repentance, keeping the law, water baptism, the Lord's supper, etc.) by identification with Christ, through faith; therefore we will stick with the doctrine committed to Paul in Romans through Philemon.
SALVATION IS WITHOUT WORKS
-- "Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy, he saved us"
-- "If by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace" (Rom. 11:6)
-- "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on
him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for
righteousness" (Rom. 4:5)
-- "A man is not justified by the works of the
law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, that we might be
justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law" (Gal. 2:16)
-- "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and
that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of
works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9)
Therefore, any attempt to preach any form of
works of righteousness for salvation in this age is to pervert the
gospel of Paul, and those who do are to be accounted accursed
(compare Gal. 1:7,
Gal. 3:10, and Gal. 5:4). You cannot be saved by grace while working for salvation (Rom. 11:5-6). Compare Peter's admonition to Cornelius in Acts 10:35 with Paul's message to us in Titus 3:5. Anyone who says they are the same has a reading problem.
SALVATION IS BY IDENTIFICATION WITH CHRIST
According to the dictionary, the word identify means "to prove to be the same, to write or combine in such a manner as to treat as one." As an illustration, 2 Cor. 5:21 tells us that God made Christ to be sin for us. In other words, He was treated as one with us and our sin on Calvary. "In Adam", we are identified with the sin of Adam (Rom. 5:12). "In Christ", we are identified with the death of Christ.
One Act -- Rom. 5:18
One Act -- Phil. 2:8
People die because of Adam's sin. Believers live because of Christ's death for sin. Please note the little word "for" in Rom. 5:6,7, and 8. The word means "in behalf of" as in Phil. 1:29, or we might say "instead of" as in Rom. 5:6, Christ died "instead of" the ungodly, and in Rom. 5:8, Christ died "instead of" us.
On the cross our sin was laid on Christ and He was judged as a sinner in our behalf. God identified Him with us and our sin. Now those who believe the gospel are identified by God in Christ, in death on the cross. God identified us dying in Him. Christ was quickened, we believers were quickened with Him. Christ was raised up, we believers were raised up with Him. Christ ascended up to heaven, we believers ascended up with Him. Christ is seated at God's right hand, we are seated in Him. Paul said "I am crucified with Christ." When writing to the Romans in chapter six, Paul said, "we are dead to sin" verse 2, "our old man is crucified with Christ" verse 6, and "we are dead with Christ" verse 8.
According to Rom. 8:33-34, there can be no charge made against us who believe the gospel, for our sins were charged to Christ and He died for them, God raised Him up, and He is now seated at God's right hand interceding for us. He is not now our advocate (1 John 2:1), for we do not need an attorney, for there can be no charge made against us. All of our sins past, present, and future, have been brought up for judgement, we were found guilty, and Christ was put to death for them.
When Christ died, the law (which is the prosecuting attorney) was taken out of the way (Col. 2:13-14) and put to death (Col. 2:14 and Rom. 7:1-3), therefore there is no one to charge us, and even if there were he would be charging a dead person (Rom. 6:6 - 8, 11). We that are saved are dead, and being dead, are free from sin (Rom. 6:22), and that's the end of it.
SALVATION IS BY FAITH
Faith is not grace and grace is not faith. I say this because some religious leaders cross them up so as to make it appear that all men in all ages were saved the same. This is untrue. It is true that all salvation, Genesis through Revelation, is by faith but not all by grace through faith. Some were saved by works through faith, as Abel (Heb. 11:4), Noah (Heb. 11:7), and Rahab (James 2:25).
The Bible says, "Now faith is the substance of
things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"
According to Luke 8:3, substance is "something" belonging to someone. According to Luke 15:12-14, it is a man's "portion of goods" which are relied on. Synonyms for substance are: material, matter, real content, property, means, etc. Then faith is the substance or foundation or means of our salvation, the spiritual ground upon which we stand, the very basis of our spiritual existence.
Evidence is that by which a thing is proven to be true; that which is evident or plain or open to the mental eye: apparent, manifest. In the court room, one is convicted by the evidence. Synonyms for evidence are: proof, documentation, confirmation, testimony, etc. Faith is the eyes whereby we are able to see that which cannot be seen (Rom. 1:20). Please note the invisible things of God are clearly seen being understood and understanding or knowing is by faith (I Tim. 4:3). Therefore by faith we see Christ nailed to the cross, dying for our sins.
In Matt. 9:29, Jesus Christ told a man, "According to your faith so be it unto you". The same is true of you. According to your faith in the gospel of Christ so is you salvation unto you. In Mark 9:23, Jesus said unto a man, "If thou canst believe all things are possible to him that believeth". I say unto you, if you will believe the gospel no matter what your moral condition, salvation with eternal life is available unto you (Rom. 1:16). But, you cannot be saved without trusting, believing in Jesus Christ as you only Saviour.
Bible synonyms for faith are belief and assurance. In 2 Thess. 2:13, Paul says the Thessalonians' salvation came through "belief of the Truth" and according to I Thess. 3:2, that truth was the Gospel of Christ. According to Acts 17:31, God is going to judge the world in righteousness and he has given assurance unto all men by the resurrection of Christ. The word "assurance" is the same as belief or faith. In other words, those who truly believe that Christ died for their sins are those who are assured that He did it. If someone is not sure, the they don't believe nor do they have faith. Those who have faith or believe are assured, the words mean the same thing. People who are saved know they are saved. Those who can never get to know or be assured of salvation do not truly believe the gospel. It is that simple.
The lost believe the gospel because they want to believe it. The want it just the same as a drowning man desires to grab and hold onto a life line thrown in his direction. He doesn't waste time debating some stupid issue concerning the veracity of the life line, nor is he concerned about the attitude or the character of the person who threw the line. He doesn't say to himself, "I don't think it would be wise to rush into this at this time. I'll have other opportunities to be saved by and by." No, he just grabs the life line and hangs on. He is so anxious to be saved that he would fight to grab the life line. So it is with the truly lost. They can believe without analyzing the message or the messenger. When someone says, "Well, I want to be saved, but I just can't believe", they are lying. Anyone can believe who wants to believe and those who know they are lost will want to believe. Believing in the Lord is trusting the Lord.
Paul and the Ephesians trusted the Lord (Eph. 1:12-13). To trust the Lord is to turn the work of you salvation over to Him. In other words, stop trying to save yourself and trust Him to save you. Believe that He completed the work of you salvation on the cross at Calvary. In so doing you are:
Righteous by His faith -- Rom. 3:22, Phil. 3:9
Justified by His faith -- Gal. 2:16
Have life by His faith -- Gal. 2:20
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.