Are You Working for God to “Get Saved”
–or Because You “Are Saved?”
When James 2:26 tells us “faith without works is dead,” is he saying that works save us? Jesus was asked a related question and His answer helps us to find a godly answer:
John 6:28 asks, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answers, “The work of God is this: To believe in the One He has sent.” It has been said, “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.”
Are those words familiar to us? Acts 16:30, 31 is one of the host of scriptural truths that tell us that “believing in Jesus” is the key. Hebrews 11:6 says “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
So, let’s explore some of God’s inspired Word regarding works:
When believers work, who is actually working?
Ephesians 2:10: “We are God’s workmanship.”
Ephesians 3:20: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”
Ephesians 6:10: “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”
Philippians 1:6: “Be confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry in on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Colossians 1:29: “For this purpose I labor, striving according to His power which mightily works within me.”
Philippians 2:13: “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work His good pleasure.”
Christians are empowered and enabled by God’s Holy Spirit that dwells within believers. Jesus said, “whoever believes in Me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within Him.” By this He meant the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39).
In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells believers that they will receive power (dunamis, root word of our word, dynamite) when the Holy Spirit comes upon them and they will be His witnesses. Old Testament saints receive similar promises from the Lord. “They will soar like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isa. 40:29-31)
God’s power brings with it a compelling desire to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). The Holy Spirit teaches and directs believers, filling them with a joy in sharing the gospel and doing a variety of ministries. Rom. 8:9-11 says Christians are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit and that “God lives in you.” You are controlled by the Spirit.
Born again, Spirit filled Christians are thus described as the temple of the living God (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19). 1 Cor. 2:10-16 says God’s Spirit connects with our spirit and that Christians are given “the mind of Christ.” So obviously they love to do the works of God and to glorify Him.
It is crystal clear in scripture that “works” do not save.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast, for we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Titus 3:5-7 provides similar truth saying that works do not save us. Romans 11:5, 6 says believers are “chosen by grace and if by grace, then it is no longer works; if it were, grace would not be grace.”
So, for the people of God, there remains a sabbath rest.
Anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own works. Eternal life is received by believing, by faith, by confessing that “Jesus is Lord,” by coming to Him and following Him.
Dogs bark, birds fly, and born again believers witness, testify, and share the gospel. A Christian’s work is really God’s work done through His mighty power. Christians work because they know the Lord, and love Him, because He lives in them and because they are saved and Spirit filled.
Jesus’ last words to His followers were, “You will be witnesses of Me.” God’s words never return to Him void.