Salvation by works and not faith?

For months now I’m struggling in my head to make peace with the “all sins will be forgiven”.
For me that theology sounds dangerous and ridiculous in my honest opinion. For me some sins are “irreversible”. From a moral perspective it doesn’t make sense either. You can commit the most heinous sin and crime and you can ask forgiveness from God and everything will be ok for some reason.
For me I find it hard to believe Jesus came here to “forgive all sins”. It doesn’t make sense.
Some have pointed out that similar groups like the Calvinist church and the Armenian one have similar views.
Hense some works can codemn you and others save you

So it is only me that struggle with this?

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Yes, the “all sins will be forgiven” sounds dangerous. Not rational from the human viewpoint but part of the ‘reckless’ love of God.

The consequences of sins are irreversible in the sense that what is done is done, we cannot change the history. We can only change today and tomorrow. The consequences of past sins do not disappear, we often need to face the consequences, even if God forgives us. I know persons who confessed what they had done after they became believers and were forgiven by God. That did not prevent a lifetime sentence for murders done before the person became a believer.

The forgiveness and new life given by God is not just words. The radical forgiveness by God is aimed to save the life. Living faith changes our actions today and tomorrow. A faith that does not change the life, is not visible in actions, is dead.


I think we all struggle with it on some level. I know the temptation to feel that I am good enough to enter heaven, and at the same time too broken and evil to be forgiven is present almost daily. When a theme is frequently present in the Bible on a subject, as grace and forgiveness are, you can bet it because a lot people struggle with it.
I doubt we will see Hitler in heaven, not because he could not be forgiven, but because he most likely did not accept forgiveness. And while there can be death bed confessions and repentance, that is not the norm, and repentance is apparent by a changed path in life for those repent. So, I would say, that asking for forgiveness is a first step, but then living a changed life is what follows. Is it justice? By our standards, perhaps not, as we are seemingly attached to the eye for an eye mentality, but there it is. Merv and Randy often quote MacDonald’s sermon on Justice, and it seems that justice is what you seem to find lacking in grace, and it is a good read, but difficult even for those of us with English as a first language. Perhaps this article which helps break it down will be helpful to you as it was to me: Experimental Theology: George MacDonald: Justice, Hell and Atonement

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You are able to enter heaven. How come they are irreversible? What consequences? Who cares if what you did impacted others. You are forgiven so?
They lives are already damaged by you. But for some reason you still go to heaven.

So no I don’t agree. That’s not justice

Eye for an eye and then suddenly not an eye for an eye. What happened really? Makes me wonder.

Justice above grace. Grace isn’t needed. Justice is supreme. You can run civilizations on justice. Remove that and count only on grace and our society collapses.

How even can you give motivation to humans to change if you are so soft saying “I’ll forgive all sins no matter what just ask for iit”. Like you don’t have to earn it . Just ask. No motivation to,nothing. Just come get it.

This is what buffles me about Jesus. I believe in the message of the cross(for me he came not because of love particulary but because we were useless and couldn’t even sanctify ourselves) yet he is so soft like compared to the old Testament I question some of his teachings. I can’t reconcile his all open attitude. It’s not right.
Sure he hang out with prostitutes and such. So he can show that they can sanctify themselves.

But not by asking forgiveness alone. But by actions and their level of purity.

You can’t expect forgiveness harming another human being beyond healing.

For me you either earn the forgiveness (IE changing mindest for self destructing behaviours that harm yourself) or you are lost beyond grace(or harming another human beign to the point the wounds are not treatable anymore )

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That is not justice, it is grace.

I do believe that God is righteous and that all sins have serious consequences. That was a key point in the coming of Jesus on Earth. That the problem of sins would be solved (sins punished) and we would get peace with the righteous God. Jesus died that we could be forgiven. Perhaps not rational or justice but it is the grace we were offered.

It is perhaps easiest to understand how great this grace is if you understand the seriousness of your sins, that our sins prevent entrance to the presence of God. If someone thinks that he/she is a good person and deserves a free entrance to the Kingdom of God, then forgiveness of all sins may sound unfair.

Motivation to change cannot be forced from outside, it must come from the inside. God aims to change the inside. Changing behavior is just a symptom of that change.


The principal teaching of most religion is that our ultimate happiness/destiny is a consequence of our choices and actions. Thus Peter was naturally worried in 2 Peter 3:16 that the teachings of Paul might be understood in a way that is contrary to this. Certainly the words of Jesus do not support any such thing. He certainly uses the word “faith” a lot and I think it has been greatly misunderstood to equate “faith” with the dogma you accept and to replace the standard teaching of religion that our destiny depends on our choices and actions with a teaching that it only depends on what religion you ascribe to… that is a TERRIBLE thing! It is a formula for the destruction of all goodness and morality.

It is important to read the story in Matthew 19 where Jesus answers the direct question of what you must do in order to have eternal life. His ultimate answer is “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” And from this we have the Christian gospel of salvation by the grace of God. But His immediate response leaves no doubt whatsoever about whether our actions are important. And we can find plenty of passages from Paul which say the same. So the above replacement is not what is being taught by Jesus and Paul… but it may be what many have twisted Christianity into meaning. But in truth it is more the teaching of Gnosticism that our salvation is by what knowledge we have – by understanding the sound doctrines taught by some religious denomination. In truth this simply makes it a salvation by works of the mind, which is indeed a worse religion by far.

Instead what we see in the teachings of Jesus and Paul, is that salvation is not something that we can ever have as one of our accomplishments. Instead we are asked to live by faith, which does not ask who is saved or damned, but in which we do everything we can in love for God and our fellow man, doing good not evil, seeking justice, correcting oppression, helping the defenseless (Isaiah 1), leaving our salvation in the hands of God and never thinking that anything we do or believe entitles us to anything.

For me I guess it depends on what you think is truly justice. Is justice ultimately wrongs be righted or is it wrong doers being punished. We often say here on earth our healings leave behind battle scars but with God, we are restored completely. To me justice is a victim being restored and fully healed. Justice is not a victim being left broken while the abuser gets broken even more. Justice is definitely not eternal conscious torment. Justice is not even the death of the abuser, his annihilation.

If someone killed my cat, as angry as I would be, as much as I wanted revenge, I would not actually feel that justice was served just because the person who killed my cat was cut down. Let’s say the guy who killed my cat got murdered the next day. Would I feel a bit of joy at his suffering and death. Sure. But that’s just revenge and hatred being satisfied. It’s not justice. Justice to me would be God bringing my cat back. That would be restorative.

A company cutting down miles and miles of forests and poisoning the rivers illegally would be a great injustice in my eyes. If I could choose having that company destroyed and everyone who did it executed , their body and soul annihilated it would not really help anything. But if God restored the groaning creation, and brought that forest back, it would feel like real justice. Because I feel that true justice is the restoration of goodness.

Punishing war criminals is good for this earth, but it would be meaningless if God could not end war and restore all the people lost to it.

I don’t worry about works faith. It’s a useless argument. No matter what side someone lands on.

One says he does good works to show he’s a Christian and the other says he does good works because he’s a Christian. In the end, we expect Christians to bear fruit of the spirit. In the end we expect Yahweh to restore goodness and destroy evil.

So… justice…

What is justice? It is the idea that there should be a logical connection and balance between what we do and the results. A man bakes a loaf of bread then naturally he deserves the benefit of having that loaf of bread… to eat… to sell… to give to others… or whatever. If that bread is taken from him so that others reap the benefit then there is an injustice because the results do not logically agree or balance with the actions. Without some minimal measure of justice, there is no reason for anyone to make any efforts for anything. Naturally the same applies to bad actions as well. If a man does something bad then logically negative results for him should follow or there will be no reason for people refrain from doing such things.


We have some teaching that if we ask for Gods’ grace then all the bad things we have done are forgiven and we go to heaven scott-free.

We have some teaching that if you don’t accept the offer of salvation then you are damned with ultimate suffering for eternity.

Then we have atheists teaching that when you die there is simply nothing.

I don’t see justice in any of these, because in none of these does the good and bad things you have done have any effect. I don’t believe that Christianity is about such an escape from the consequences of your actions.

I think it is a fundamental confusion about what salvation is really about. I don’t believe salvation is about the general consequences of our all actions. Rather I think it is specifically about self destructive habits we have in dealing with those consequences. Do we learn from our mistakes and face the consequences of our actions, or do we cling to an illusion of self and deny any responsibility for what we have done? The difference between heaven and hell is simply whether we seek to overcome our bad habits or we let them drag us down to our destruction. And the consequences of the things we have done remain in either case. So whether we are in heaven or hell, we will have reason to rejoice in the good we have done and regret the bad things.

Thats got nothing to do with it .I know i did sins deserving hell.And because these sins are at the expense of some other person then i expect punishment.I cant fix those persons o heart.Some may even be broken.So i cant ask for forgiveness and then everythings ok. That is not justice as i said.

Grace isnt needed in the world when you have raw justice beign practiced.

Valid points BUT

Because the real world and i suppose God dont work like that then what? Wouldnt you want real time justice?Hense wanting the criminal cut down.Its the only logical choise after what youve stated.Restorative justice isnt real in this world.It doesnt and wont happen.

So at least in the next one i hope raw justice does.Imagine that criminal entering heaven with you after what he did.Is that restorative? Is that justice? He could violate the laws God gave and still ended up in heaven.

For me theres one word for it.Cheating.And i dont like cheaters.

As a martial arts competitor ,everyone who dissobeys in our club or treats new members unfair at sparring going too hard gets a beating.Not getting banned or something like that ,like some others clubs do. He gets a beating.Fair and just.

We had one guy do it to a less experiened one .Coach made him bleed literally. After that he goes easy as a feather.

Thats justice

Whats out with that view though.Turning a blind eye on injustices in a thing christians do i guess.

Thats shelfish thinking.You talk about consequences sin and bad habits can have to ones self while ignoring the consequences your actions can have to others.You dont dictate only your own life.You dictate people generally(we all do).Any action you take can impact someones life BIG TIME and if it is bad it can impact it negatively.


Corrupt politians,murderrs.child molesters, terrorists etc etc and generally bad people do these stuff everyday.What consequences do they face?

The thing you are describing that you seek is the principle of karma (Karma - Wikipedia), ultimate blind justice; the Karma credit plan (“Buy now; pay for all eternity.”) . You don’t need God for that. Certainly not the Christian God, and the work of God the Son, Jesus. You can argue with us all you want, but that’s not going to get you what you are seeking.

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Karma doesn’t work in real life. And since I’m no Buddhist and don’t believe in reincarnation I don’t think that’s what I look for.

It cartainly is similar though. The concept of good deeds=good afterlife is something I seek and believe. But as I said I don’t asscribe to Buddhism reincarnation nor practises in this life

Since I believe God to be the final judge of this cosmos while yes I do. Don’t you?

Reincarnation also seems like soft judgment to me while separation from everything that is Good and Holy and generally life (God in the afterlife and heaven) I think is enough for punishment. Eternal as well.

Reincarnation and karma preachers that in the next life no matter what you are incarnated to ,you can change your karma.

. I never claimed you can change your karma or actions. Period. Once is done is done. Not going back. So that’s aa big difference as well. I believe in eternal punishment (in the form I described above) .Karma’s goal is to get a good karma and cease to exist. I don’t believe we cease to exist since I believe in God.
Most Buddhists don’t

For most Buddhists life is suffering (which I ascribe too in this idea).

However they just want to cease to exist. They don’t care if there’s a God after that or not ,or heaven or something . But I do believe there is

Actually the principle of karma does not require the concept of reincarnation, which is why I suggested it. Blind, pitiless judgement. No favors, no grace. I never suggested reincarnation or changing your karma or taking up Buddhism.

I’m simply suggesting that the type of justice you seek is available elsewhere, but not with the God of Christianity.

If you’re going to stick with that God, then you’re stuck with grace to some degree. You can protest all you want, like Jonah. Take it or leave it.


Where? Is there any other religion or branch of Christianity with this point of view?

If yes then I’m willing to convert but I don’t know of any. This barrier is a huge issue for me in Christianity to reconcile (although I’m trying to)

Unfortunately I can’t do that. Hense while I’m arguing for a possible different view

I am unsure of the theology of purgatory, but some of the Christian sects that hold to it might have some appeal to you, as I understand it is a time of purification and sanctification suffered after death before entering heaven. It has some biblical basis, and perhaps others who hold to it can elaborate. Not a lot of Catholics around here, to our loss.

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From wikipedia i read as you said it ,a place for purification and restoration.

Im fine with this ideai guess as long as we define what punishment exactly are they put up to? Because i doubt its a place of literall fire as some describe it .

So are they getting seperated from God and all things good for some period of a percieved time ?

If thats the case and God decides to sanctify them only after theyve suffered enough and realized their past sins ,then im totally ok with the idea.

IF as some say humans can pray to God to allow them an enter free-pass without suffering then i reject everything that has to do with it

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I am also unsure; from my reading of some of Patristic writings, I get the impression that in purgatory, we sinners are enabled to comprehend our evil deeds in toto, and this causes us a great deal of anguish and pain (although pain to a dead person seems difficult). The greater our sins, the greater the anguish -although time is not the same, the period in purgatory relates to the extent of evil deeds. This period finally ends when God can see the sinner has fully repented and all evil attributes have been purged from the sinner, who is reconciled to God (saved) and this is by the grace of God (not works). In my view, this outlook needs to be coupled with the doctrine that God wipes the tears of victims and He heals them and welcomes them into His kingdom.

I recall that Dante paints a picture of sinners dragging heavy loads up a winding path of a mountain, the weight related to their evil deeds. When they finally reach the top of the mountain, they are provided with reconciliation - but I cannot understand what happens next.

Jesus did the good deed sufficient for everyone’s afterlife.

As it says on my tin.