This blog was prompted by an email. The writer had been warned to be careful about works, a common problem (heresy) in the evangelical churches.
We have to believe what the Bible teaches. The Bible says that faith and works are tied closely together (James 2; Jn. 3:36; Heb. 3:17-18 are just examples). We become Christians by grace, which we received by faith (Eph. 2:8-9), but that is so we can do good works (Eph. 2:10). We do those good works by the power of the Spirit (Rom. 8:2-4 and many other verses), by the guidance of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and by the deliverance that grace bring us (Rom. 6:14; Tit. 2:11-14), but make no mistake, we will be judged by whether we did the good works salvation has equipped us to do (2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-8; 1 Pet. 1:17), and if we return to the world after we have experienced that grace and power, then we will be worse off than if we had never heard the Gospel (2 Pet. 2:20).
That basic truth is simple Scripture, and only the obstinate can deny those Scriptures.
Evangelicals are prone to being confused because their foundations are messed up. They don’t know the right Gospel to preach. Jesus said he was going to build his church on the confession that he is the Christ, the Son of God (Matt. 16:16-17). John wrote an entire Gospel just to get us to believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God (Jn. 20:31). Yet evangelicals want to build the church and get sinners to confess that Jesus died for their sins. Romans 10:9-10 says to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess that he is Lord, but evangelicals want us to pray a prayer saying we believe he died for our sins and that he is Savior. They’re off from the very outset.
If you go through Acts, you will find the apostles repeatedly emphasizing the resurrection to get people to believe that Jesus is Christ, Lord, and Judge. Jesus did die for our sins, but knowing that does not save us. Making him Lord saves us. The faith of the Bible is the faith that Jesus is the Son of God, the Lord, and the Christ, proven to be so by the resurrection from the dead (cf. Rom. 1:1-4). Those who believe that Gospel can be saved, forgiven, and filled with the Holy Spirit. They submit themselves to the rule of King Jesus by being baptized, and their sins are washed away there (Acts 2:36-38).
True believers know that what they believed requires them to leave the world behind and follow Jesus. He is their new Lord, and if they love their families, jobs, or possessions more than him, they are unworthy of him (Matt. 10:37-38; Luke 14:26-33). They begin to walk in the light, learning from Jesus, being forgiven daily as they make mistakes, but always progressing, growing in knowledge and faithfulness (1 Jn. 1:7-9; 2 Pet. 1:3-11).
That is the faith as the Bible teaches it. What one should be afraid of is the warnings of evangelicals against good works. Paul told Titus to be constantly tell Christians that they must maintain good works (Tit. 3:8). Jesus died to produce a people zealous for good works (Tit. 2:11-14). If we grow weary of doing good works (by the Spirit), we will not reap eternal life (Gal. 6:8-10).