• By John Hicks

Is maintaining salvation by works scripturally accurate or even a thing?


It actually is.

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. Proverbs 18:13

Don’t be foolish in not hearing this out.

It is amazing that whenever anyone mentions that works are required in order to maintain and keep salvation, which is a biblical fact, then the OSAS crowd starts foaming at the mouth and chomping at the bit as they rant on and on about how it is works only that can save.

Hear this out clearly, works cannot save anyone from their past sins, only the blood of Jesus can. We see this clearly in Romans 3:25:

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Romans 3:24-26

The fact is that salvation is like a lifering for a drowning person. Without the ring the person drowns. It is only by enduring unto the end by grasping onto the ring for dear life can one truly be saved.

This analogy demonstrates exactly why Paul said to work out one's salvation with fear and trembling and why Jesus told the churches in Revelation that they must overcome and why He also said to all of us that we must endure until the end in order to be saved.

Once a person understands that the gospel of Jesus Christ for the world is truly a bi-directional relationship that brings us into alignment into what we were created for in the first place, good works, then he or she can see why the Bible over and over again emphasizes this critical truth.

So works are required to maintain salvation:

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12

We are saved by grace through Jesus' blood (see verses above, this is the grace of God!) so the saved can continue on in good works as they were originally designed to do through Jesus Christ:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

The entrance into eternal life with the Father in heaven is for those who endure until the end and this endurance clearly, as demonstrated throughout scripture, includes works that glorify God:

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew 10:22

If we hold fast unto the end and, as mentioned above, holding fast unto the end also includes works that glorify God and this is clearly demonstrated throughout scripture as well:

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Hebrews 3:6

It is sad but at this point I need ward off, in advance, the likely attacks at the analogy provided regarding the lifering. Previously, in a similar fashion, I used a car as an example of how a "gift" works in reality. I was specifically talking about the actual meaning of what a "gift" is but folks got extremely bent out of shape over this saying that I could not compare a car with salvation. Of course that was not at all what I was doing but they had to be upset and divert the attention away from the true definition of what a "gift" is because they had to have their skewed definition of "gift" not be changed so that their false doctrine of grace alone could survive.

So getting back to the lifering analogy. This is just a demonstration in the physical realm that shows that only the lifering can keep the drowning person afloat in order to live but unless the person hangs on, even if fear and trembling is needed, they will drown.

Jesus also used physical analogies to explain the process of salvation and how works play a part in it. Yes, works do play a part. I missed these obvious examples of a critical component of salvation for decades of my life due to my having to constantly distort scriptures in order to justify my previously held false doctrines but now I see how wrong I was and now I know what scriptures really say in clear and accurate context about the role of works within the plan of salvation.

In the parable of the workers in the vineyard there is more than just fair wages being discussed there. Jesus clearly showed through this physical analogy of the spiritual kingdom of heaven that no matter when a person enters in or how much someone does based on the time they had available to work everyone receives the same reward at the end but they all were required to work. While the requirement to work is implied it is definitely a requirement. No work equals no wages.

Jesus clearly shows this many times through other parables as well. In fact several are centered around or include works and for good reason, we were created to do good works for God. Ephesians 2:10 states: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. [2] And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. [3] And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, [4] And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. [5] Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. [6] And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? [7] They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. [8] So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. [9] And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. [10] But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. [11] And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, [12] Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. [13] But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? [14] Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. [15] Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? Matthew 20:1-15

We see the same in the parable of the two sons. While the parable was directly addressing overall obedience in the end the obedience is in regards to the command to work.

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. [29] He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. [30] And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. [31] Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. Matthew 21:28-31

The parable of the faithful servant is also centered on faithful working.

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? [46] Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. [47] Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. [48] But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; [49] And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; [50] The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, [51] And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:45-51

The parable of the ten virgins is clearly centered on faithfulness in waiting on Jesus’ second coming but the implication here also includes the need to work. The lamps needed to be filled and kept full and this requires work. The five unfaithful virgins attempt to do the work at the last minute having previously been foolish in not keeping their lamps filled when they should have. At last minute they attempt to save themselves out of desperation for themselves obviously and not for the sake of Jesus. These five foolish ones fall into those whom Jesus said He did not know. Jesus previously, in Matthew chapter 7, mentioned these types of people, those He did not know and He also followed that up with another parable, the parable of the wise and foolish builders. Works are important but if they are not works done purely for the glory of God then they are foolish works that will burn in the fire as will those who produce such works.

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. [2] And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. [3] They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: [4] But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. [5] While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. [6] And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. [7] Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. [8] And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. [9] But the wise answered, saying, Not so ; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. [10] And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. [11] Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. [12] But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Matthew 25:1-12

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. [22] Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. [24] Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: [25] And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. [26] And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: [27] And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. Matthew 7:21-27

In conclusion, works are clearly required but those who are truly saved and have a genuine fear of God realize that it is a great privilege of God’s grace that we “GET TO” serve the one true almighty God!

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: [29] For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29

One last thought. God tells us in His Word that in the physical realm those who do not work should not be able to eat. In order to taste and see that the Lord is good one must trust God and this trusting in God means that one has faith in God and one’s faith in God is dead unless he has works that glorify God which demonstrates that his faith in God is not dead. Can you see the clear line of reasoning here? It is amazingly beautiful!

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. James 2:17

What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

An additional line should be added to that classic hymn and it would go like this:

What can maintain my salvation? Working it out with fear and trembling.

That may not rhyme well enough but regardless it is the gospel truth.

#works #salavation

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