O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Galatians 3:1-3
A recent survey taken by Arizona Christian University (ACU) revealed some disconcerting numbers. True Biblical faith in this country has departed. I know this is nothing new as Rabbi Saul aka the Apostle Paul was combating this while the ink was still wet on the Gospel’s. What is disturbing is that Biblical Salvation is being rejected in place of works-based faith. Brethren, if I have to place my faith in my works, I’m toast (literally in the Lake of Fire). I don’t know about you all, but a “Lake of Fire” is no place I want to go. NOT even for 1/1000th of a nano-second, let alone eternity.
If there are ANY of you reading this that believe you can earn your own salvation. We need to talk.
Unlike past generations of Americans, who readily recognized the reality of sin and the need for salvation through Jesus Christ, U.S. adults today adopt a “salvation-can-be-earned” perspective, with a near-majority (48%) believing that if a person is generally good, or does enough good things during their life, they will “earn” a place in Heaven.
Only one-third of American adults (35%) continue to embrace the traditional biblical view that salvation comes through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, according to findings from the American Worldview Inventory 2020 from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University.
What is even more shocking is that huge proportions of people who attend churches whose official doctrine says eternal salvation comes only from embracing Jesus Christ as savior nonetheless believe that a person can qualify for Heaven by being or doing good. That includes close to half of all adults associated with Pentecostal (46%), mainline Protestant (44%), and evangelical (41%) churches. A much larger share of Catholics (70%) embrace that point of view.
In addition, the relevance of sin is on the wane, with only slightly more than half of U.S. adults (56%) saying they consciously and consistently attempt to avoid sinning because they know it offends God.
Other key findings from the latest AWVI 2020 release include:
- Fewer Americans (49%) believe they have a personal responsibility, in appropriate situations, to share their religious beliefs with people who possess different religious beliefs. That is down slightly since 1991, when 53% of adults felt they had such an obligation, according to the findings.
- Only half of Americans (54%) believe they will experience Heaven after they die; 15% said they don’t know what will happen after they die; 13% said there is no life after death; 8% expect to be reincarnated; another 8% believe they will go to a place of purification prior to entering Heaven. Just 2% believe they will go to Hell.
- Born-again Christians, defined as people who not only claim to be Christian but also believe that when they die they will go to Heaven only because they have confessed their sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, were least likely to hold the “salvation-can-be-earned” view.
- Conservatives are much more likely (75%) to “consciously and consistently attempt to avoid sinning because they know it offends God,” compared to liberals (41%) or moderates (49%).
Therefore, if I can give God my best works, He will accept them? Scripture tells us:
For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Isaiah 64:6
The best I can offer God in my own flesh is nothing more than a polluted garment. That should tell me something, yes? I think so! If I could become saved by my own works, I could boast! But:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
That should put the issue to bed yes. But, what of works? Indeed, you cannot have faith without works as James stated:
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
Yes, it is true. If you say “I have faith but do no works”, you are deceiving yourself. Perhaps test your faith to see if you are indeed saved. Our salvation is in Faith alone by Christ alone. Our works are the fruits of our salvation:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
You see the greatest battle we all fight is three inches behind our eyes. We wrestle with the flesh daily. So, if someone tells you they are saved, yet continually does detestable things before a Holy God, perhaps they might not be? I am not the fruit tester, or judge of the fruit. That alone belongs to God. He shall separate the sheep from the goats, and the wheat from the tares. We, however, are to discern the trees by their fruits:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Take the test?
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5
You and I DO NOT want to hear this from our Lord and Judge:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Brethren, if there are things about yourselves that bother you about sin in your life. Repent. If you fail. Repent again. If you YET again fail. Repent again. Lord knows, I do.
We ought never be comfortable in any sin. We must put the flesh to death. But bear this in mind, you do so as a result of your salvation, not as a means toward it. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 The Name of Jesus (or in Hebrew Yeshua which means salvation).
He paid for you, and if you are His, He is Lord. Obey Him! And if you happen to fail in that (I have). Run towards Him not away. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Only HE can save you! You cannot save you!