Salvation:Faith or works?

I want to make two comparrisons.Is salvation related to faith or to works?Or maybe both?

So imagine a person deeply sinning.Everyday he sins ,he commits the most attrocious sins in the eyes of God and has no remourse or guilt for them so he doesnt repent.But deep in his heart he believes in God .Now we have another person.This one lives accordingly to Gods will (meaning living by the morality christianity imposes)while rejecting him in his heart, believing him to be nothing but an invention. Only God can know who will go to heaven ,but what the bible teaches about Salvation? Is a faith with no works a “uselles” faith and are " works without faith" a meanigless existance?

You are not presenting simply “faith with no works”. You are presenting faith, which is questionable in the case you describe, and an inhumane character treading over anyone and everyone without consideration of what he or she is doing.

You are then comparing to someone who has no faith but is good / humane.

So are you saying can an inhumane person, professing faith, go to Heaven?
And can an atheist, who is a good / humane person go to Heaven?

If iI understand it correctly, according to Christianity, you only need to have faith in Jesus. You can be the worst in the world and you get through the pearly gates, easy street.
On the other hand if you don’t have faith in Jesus and don’t even believe he’s for real, you get to go to Hell.

I don’t agree with this but then I am not a Christian. I believe that God will judge us for what is in our hearts and what actions we do, i.e., good works.

Consider, if the worst can get saved simply by faith in Jesus and getting salvation, then society would soon unravel. Why people being good to others would be a non-issue. The glue that holds society together, the empathy, consideration for others and helping others in their time of need would be irrelevant.

Why did God bother to give us a conscience if at the end of the day it is of no relevance?

Nope its more complicated than that .I could go deeper but this will drive away the main question

If you mean something more then you need to say so because otherwise the question is not clear.

I believe the standard response is faith produces works. But we all have different backgrounds, upbringing and biological material to work with. There is no knowing, except to God, how alive someone’s faith is based on their external appearances.

Paul says faith. James says intellectual faith is useless (even the demons believe and shudder) and that faith and works go hand in hand. Faith without works is dead. I don’t think the authors would necessarily disagree with one another if we questioned them. Surely faith in God and relying on Him produces good works to both authors.

Most Christians believe that men cannot achieve salvation on their own. We are too sinful and need God’s help. Why this is the case brings up a host of issues but those are other issues. Most Christians do not think the fallen nature of humanity needs very much explaining or justifying. It’s kind of obvious when we look at the state of the world and our own actions and behaviors.

I also cannot accept that works without faith are meaningless. Anything that does the will of God on earth has meaning and value, regardless of the intent of the person doing them. If the person is genuinely trying to be good I would only suppose its because God’s law is on their heart and they are approaching a different form of Him than that found in the symbols and words of religion.

We can say that God is required to save people but must everyone who is saved know this fact? I would answer no. It’s pride to think God wants our intellectual consent. The Gospel is not a door, it is the hinge. We don’t validate the Gospel. We live by its light. It can save people whether they know of it or not. No theological multiple choice tests at the pearly gates.


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Salvation works by the faith of Christ. [Not by our work of faith.]

I think this is key. Even the demons believe. If you truly repent, you will change your behavior, even though you will still sin and fall short. And behavior is works. Now, the “deathbed” repentance stories, that is something known to God. My belief is that if you voice belief for “fire insurance” then you missed the point, whether it as a teen or on your deathbed.

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Soooo, turn or burn but no ee zee believism, no once saved always saved?

My thought is that you are assured in your salvation, so you don’t have to worry if you are good enough or whether you might doubt too much, but not in once saved always saved in that you can change your mind and reject it. Not that I am making doctrine, just expressing my thoughts. While salvation does not depend on works, works flow out of it.

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Hey Phil, your thoughts are at least as valid as any post-Apostolic take you know. And your conclusion is positive orthodoxy. I see you as a liberal evangelical, yearning for the best, but, like Barth possibly at some point, having to defer to, wrestling with, the possibility of reprobation. I think he went beyond that. I think he slammed it. He realised the omnipotence of Christ’s faithfulness. That He does what He says on the tin. Jesus saves.

Like he says on the tin. Like Jesus, the Christ, says in John 3:18 (two whole verses distant from John 3:16)?

Thats not always the case though

Believing in god has never been the requirement to be saved. The Bible says only through christ can we be saved but it also say we have to be born again. This implies that it is beyond a capabilities to live up to the standards that would let us live ever. This set the requirement of Jesus the son of god dies on the cross, but it also implies significant change of heart towards seeking to no longer sin for one to be saved.

Whilst for the first criteria everyone has, it is on the second that will decide if you are saved or not and on this second criteria the first person clearly fail, he is not born again and he didn’t have a change of heart. As many have pointed out, the demons (fallen angels) believe in god but they wont be saved.

Now for the second person, I’m honestly not sure. I know that some people believe that you can have a change of heart without seeking out Jesus. I know others who believe that people can receive a revelations on who God and Jesus is without being able use those words to it and thus would be saved. Technically can you love something you don’t believe in or is the concept good enough? is the problem to do with the definition god? I mean I’ve seen many post on other sites trying to disprove god but starting from a definition I don’t think would be how we would describe God.

So in the scenario presented, for me the first person as described will not be saved because he has not repented and is not born again, the second maybe. The tricky thing though is it is hard from our perspective to judge matters of the heart since we can’t read the heart, if the first personne does truly repent but keeps tripping and commiting evil, from our perspective he is not repenting but I think he will be saved, but this is changing the scenario.

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I have seen discussions on this in many other places. There needs to be a prior question: “What is salvation”? is is just to get to heaven, or is it to transform our inner nature and make us like we are intended to be as the “image of God”, the bearers of God-likeness?

I want to suggest it is the latter to restore us to the original divine intention for us and individuals who are also in society.
Salvation is the a two stage process. The first stage is God’s acceptance of us as Beloved in His Son through faith. The second is our response in love in doing works of love He gives us to do, that is an ongoing change of character. It not only affects us as individuals it also changes society.

The first stage was accomplished for all through Jesus’ faith. The second is for those who are able to love regardless. Whether they know that or not.

  • salvation = getting out of undesirable circumstances
  • Jewish phylogeny
    • Jews living in Egypt
    • Yahweh appears to Moses and says: I want Israel, but not as slaves in Egypt, so I’m going to save them. Go break the news to Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go, but don’t expect him to do it, because he doesn’t know who I am and doesn’t have the motivation to set my chosen people free.
    • After a number of lessons in what Yahweh can do, Pharaoh gets to know a little about Yahweh, decides that he doesn’t like Him, and figures he can avoid him, by avoiding Moses and Aaron.
    • Question: At this point, Pharaoh is annoyed and treating Israel worse, Moses and Aaron are starting to think they;re on fools’ errands, and Israel is still in Egypt and worse off than before Yahweh took an interest in them. How many “faith” points should we give to Moses and Aaron, Pharaoh, and Israel? How many “work” points should we give to Moses and Aaron, Pharaoh, and Israel?
    • Then, Yahweh establishes the calendar and tells Moses and Aaron, to tell Israel to obtain year-old, male lambs without blemish, slaughter and roast them whole, paint their doorposts with lamb’s blood, and eat their last meal with their hiking clothes on, because it’s time to leave Egypt.
    • Then Yahweh passed through Egypt and killed the firstborn of everybody–from Pharaoh down to prisoners in Pharoah’s dungeon, including the Egyptians’ livestock. The Egyptians decided it was time for Israel to leave and told them so. Israel high-tailed it out of town.
    • That’s the end of the 1st phase of Israel’s salvation from Egypt.
    • Now how many “faith” and “work” points would you give to each of the parties in this story, so far? From where I sit, the only one doing any work is Yahweh, and Moses, Aaron, and Israel get “faith” points, but no “work” points unless someone wants to give them a point for leaving Egypt, which would seem weird to me to do.
    • Next comes the one-day bus ride into Canaan; oh, wait, … Israel didn’t ride a bus into Canaan, did they? How long did Israel take to get into Canaan? Check our source material: I think it was about 40 years wasn’t it? whining and complaining most, if not all, the way; following a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
    • How many “faith” and “work” points do you want to hand out for this second phase of Israel’s salvation, and to whom? IMO, I’d say “1 faith” point for each of the humans, and “1 work” point to Yahweh


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Glad we don’t get graded on a point system. I signed up for the course on pass/fail.

Not sure on your definition of salvation. I would say salvation is not just a change in circumstances, but rather a release from bondage or slavery, or from control of an outside force beyond the capability of the one controlled, which has deeper implications. Maybe that is just splitting hares and chasing rabbits, however. :wink:

Dear God,
I’m really unhappy. Please get me out of this mess. Please respond quickly; I don’t know how much longer I can take it.*
Thanks for listening,

[*Moderators, This is post should not be treated as a serious and genuine plea for God to intervene in my life. “This mess” is my simple attempt to describe all of the things that a person might want to be saved from, regardless who’s responsible for “this mess”.]

God might reply “You want out of this mess, but my desire is that you let me take the mess out of you.”

Indubitably. But the first prerequisite is trust that He can and will. The second prerequisite is the 2nd phase of salvation: Following a Cloud by night and a Pillar of Fire by day through a desert for 40+plus years.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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