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Throughout the New Testament there seems to be a distinction drawn between grace and works, it is almost as if one salvation question is “who you are” and the second salvation question is “what have you done”. On the one hand, we know we are saved by grace not by works, and yet we read that only the "doers" of the will of the Father will enter Heaven.

It seems as if there are two salvation questions: Have you received God’s grace by faith, are you born anew with the Holy Spirit and as such a child of God’s? The second seems to be as a child of God’s and with the availability of the Holy Spirit, is the Spirit of God bearing out Jesus Christ through your life's work?

Examples from Scripture:

Beginning with Jesus chastising Nicodemus in John 3:5,6 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Grace to the Gentiles: Acts 15:8-10 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)…2:8,9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began


In contrast Jesus says: Matthew 7:21 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.

1Corinthians 3:13-15 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Is there any historical references within Christianity where the salvation of the soul by grace and the salvation of ones life works are differentiated (realizing that they are related)? It certainly seems that 1 Corinthians 3:15 differentiates these perspectives: (If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved). It seems the "new birth" assures entrance into God's kingdom and the "works" born of faith in the will of God the Father determines how much of ones life will will enter into the Kingdom of God, is this correct?

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You really need to scope this down to a particular denomination. (I'm not usually a fan of saying that, but in this case, it has to be said). There are thousands of books, positions, creeds, and proof verses in either direction. Personally, I think the best ones say "FALSE DICHOTOMY". But in the end, without a framework of who you want answers from, this question is unanswerable. –  Affable Geek Sep 25 '13 at 13:54
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Also, this has been covered in christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/7088/the-grace-gambit, christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/9951/…, christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/15472/… and a whole lot of other questions. Search c.se for "Grace or Works" and I suspect you'll find a whole lot more –  Affable Geek Sep 25 '13 at 13:57
    
@AffableGeek Just did a quick review of those answers and did not find this specific question. This would seem to be an important question so we know from what context we interpret scripture. –  Rick Sep 25 '13 at 14:24
    
@waxeagle I have attempted to make a number of edits without modifying the question to the point where the good answers no longer fit! –  Rick Sep 30 '13 at 12:16
    
@Rick I think it's tentatively OK to reopen. The specific qualifier of "examples from church history" is the effective scope of this question now. –  wax eagle Sep 30 '13 at 12:22
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There is much confusion in this area because no one takes the time to clarify what is meant by "salvation." Let us first generally define the term then look at specific uses in scripture.

Whenever people see the one of these terms mentioned in scripture, they tend to assume that "saved" or "salvation" means "to be delivered from eternal damnation" or "getting a ticket into heaven," but this is only one meaning or use of the term in scriptures. The term "saved" most generally means "to be delivered or rescued from harm or danger." There are three tenses of salvation that apply to Christians. If someone is a Christian they have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved. The past tense of salvation refers to being "born again." The present tense refers to "sanctification." The future tense refers to being glorified and being delivered from the great tribulation. Let us look at each of these three tenses in more detail.

Born Again (Was Saved)

A person is born again when they accept that God is God, admit that they are a sinner, believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and repent from their sins, making Jesus their Lord. When a person is born again they become a new creation. Man is composed of body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess 5:23) (among other things). Becoming a new creation means that your old spirit dies and you are given a new spirit (2 Cor 5:14-17). Being born again delivers a person from being a slave to sin (Rom 3:7), allows a person entrance into the kingdom of God (John 3:5-7), and places them into an eternal relationship with God (John 17:3).

The born again Christian posses both a new spirit and the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:16). A Christian's new spirit is a pure desired to know and love God. The born again Christian also still possess their old flesh, which has retained it's old, sinful lusts and desires (Rom 7:

Man is born again by grace alone. The three of the first four passages referenced above in the question (John 3:5-6; Eph 2:5, 8-9; 1 Tim 1:9) have to do with being born again.

Sanctification (Am Being Saved)

Sanctification is an on-going process in which a Christian is made more like Christ. Sanctification is done by works. As a Christian matures in their faith, they will do fewer "works of the flesh" and more "works of the Spirit" (Gal 5:19-25), doing more acts of love, possessing more joy and peace, extending more gentleness and kindness, and displaying more faith, etc. At some point after a Christian dies or is raptured, they will be judged by Jesus for all of the works that they did from the point which they were born again to the point that they either died or were raptured (1 Cor 3:11-15, 2 Cor 5:10). In 1 Cor 3:12 the "wood, hay, and straw" represent the works of the flesh, while the "gold, silver, and precious jewels" represent works of the Spirit. Works of the flesh can be either overtly sinful acts or apparently righteous acts done from prideful or selfish motivations (e.g. someone feeding the poor not because they love the poor and have compassion for them but because they want people to think they are religious).

Sanctification is God maturing the Christian from the inside, causing them to do more works of the Spirit on the outside.

Glorified and Delivered from the Wrath of God to Come (Will be saved)

As a result of being born again, the Christian will one day be delivered from their sinful desires and will, therefore, no longer be able to sin at all. This will happen at an event call the rapture, where Jesus will remove all of the Christians from the earth, thus delivering them from the coming "great tribulation." There simply is not enough time to discuss the timing of this event here, so my comments on this topic will be terse. 1 Cor 15:42-57 and 1 Thess 4:14-16 describes the rapture and glorification, where Christians receive a new, immortal body and will no longer be subject to sin and death (in either the physical or spiritual senses of death) and will be with Jesus forever. 1 Thess 1:10 and 5:1-11 show that Christians will be delivered from the "wrath to come," which is a reference to the Great Tribulation (Matt 24:21).

Glorification and deliverance from the wrath to come are by grace alone - think of them as "necessary results," or perks or benefits of being born again.

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Very interesting, So since Christ spoke of being "born again" before His completed Work on the cross and because He spoke as though Nicodemus should have known that one had to be born anew, do you believe salvation of the soul was available before the completed work on the cross? –  Rick Sep 25 '13 at 19:25
    
If you do, then the unique thing about being Christian is not going to Heaven, but rather being so equipped by the presence of the Holy Spirit that Christ might be born out through our life's work. Sanctification then is what is unique to Christianity. –  Rick Sep 25 '13 at 19:28
    
This is a very good answer to what is normally a poor fit for the site. Well done! When you get the chance, please check out our about page and find out how we are different than other sites. –  Affable Geek Sep 25 '13 at 19:38
    
This also must be what Paul speaks of in Philippians 2:12 "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" –  Rick Sep 25 '13 at 20:30
    
Please note that the scope of this question has changed. Specific historical references are now a necessity. –  wax eagle Sep 30 '13 at 12:24
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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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Good works do not earn us a ticket into heaven, the merits of the sacrifice of Christ alone earn us a ticket into heaven. But it is also written

Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy. (Jonah 2:8)

Although good works do not earn us a ticket to heaven, evil works if not confessed and overcome can disqualify us from heaven. Therefore we can say "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and faith if it has not works is dead" (Ephesians 2:8, James 2:17) You are absolutely on the right track when you say we must be doers of the word, and overcomers of sin, yet we are saved by grace.

We have no hesitancy in telling you that in order to obtain the immortal inheritance and the eternal substance, you must be overcomers in this probationary life. Everything that blots and stains the soul must be removed, must be cleansed from the heart. We must know what it means to be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Are you willing to wage war against the lusts of the flesh? Are you ready to battle against the enemy of God and man? Satan is determined to enslave every soul if he can; for he is playing a desperate game to win the souls of men from Christ and eternal life. Will you permit him to steal from you the graces of the Spirit of God, and plant in you his own corrupt nature? or will you accept the great provision of salvation, and through the merits of the Infinite Sacrifice made in your behalf, become a partaker of the divine nature? God has given His only-begotten Son, that through His shame, suffering, and death, you might have glory, honor, and immortality. The Signs of the Times, June 15, 1891

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Is the confession and overcoming of "evil works" not a work in and of itself? –  Rick Sep 25 '13 at 15:19
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@Rick Yes it is, but this is done AFTER you accept Christ as Savior. This is a great quote though. –  jlaverde Sep 25 '13 at 15:25
    
Please note that the scope of this question has changed. Specific historical references are now a necessity. –  wax eagle Sep 30 '13 at 12:24
    
Evil works do you disqualify you from heaven. If they did you better die as soon as you're saved. You see, we're told to obey the law of the land. Have you gone 56 Mile/hour when you should have gone 55? well if you've done that you're falling short. The bible says if you break one law you're guilty of the whole lot. That's why we're saved by Grace. The works part is actually about putting action to your salvation and belief. e.g. believe in your heart must be followed by confession with your mouth. That is the work. –  Matt Oct 1 '13 at 9:44
    
@Matt I encourage you to read Paul's explanation of the verse you quoted "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Notice here it says one believes unto righteousness, and what is righteousness? The Bible says "My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness." (Psalm 119:172) Righteousness is right doing, obedience to the commandments of God. –  HelloWorld Oct 1 '13 at 15:15
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You have a false dichotomy in your question title - it is not an either-or situation, it is a both-and.

Grace saves us through faith by which we will perform good works (as the scriptures you quotes indicate).

You also missed quoting James 2:14-26, in which the Apostle says the same thing:

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

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And there are many more than James on both sides of the isle. I was not saying that the scripture provided was exhaustive but only examples for the sake of the question. –  Rick Sep 25 '13 at 14:50
    
So are you saying you are saved by works born from grace? –  Rick Sep 25 '13 at 14:56
    
@Rick - I am saying that we are saved by grace through faith which then manifests in works (a reword of my second sentence). –  warren Sep 25 '13 at 15:28
    
If the question is a false dichotomy then you are saying a true dichotomy is we are saved by grace and works. Is this correct? –  Rick Sep 25 '13 at 16:47
    
@Rick - they're two sides of the same coin .. it really depends on whether you're looking at "God's side" or "man's side" :) –  warren Sep 25 '13 at 16:50
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I'd like to start by saying that the Bible does NOT contradict itself. Also, grace and works are not mutually exclusive.

What is grace? "The free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings" (from Google)

What are works? "Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result." (Also from Google)

We all have sinned. (Romans 3:23) Because of this we deserve death. Jesus died to take our sins onto Himself so that we would get what He deserved (eternal life) and He would get what we deserved (death). When we accept the sacrifice He made for us, we are given what He deserved, life eternal.

So you are a sinner. You accept Jesus Christ and are baptized, which is a public confession that Christ is your Lord and Savior. Salvation has been attained. You can ONLY be saved by grace.

But what happens now that you are a follower of Christ? Does your life end here? No! You must continue to live but not in the way you used to live but by following the loving commandments of your LORD.

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

Romans 7:7

HERE AND ONLY HERE is where works are involved. Christ saved you by giving you grace, but now because He saved you by grace, you must walk as He walked and must persevere in the Christian walk, through works, the works of Jesus Himself.

I will illustrate this in this example. You are speeding through the freeway and are pulled over by a police officer. You are guilty because you have broken the law (sin). The police office lets you off with a warning (grace). Do you go back to speeding? No! Does the officer letting you off mean now you can speed all you like? Absolutely not! Out of respect and gratefulness that you were let off with a warning, you obey the law (works).

God has given you grace, through the redemptive blood of Christ. But because Jesus died, are you now free to go back and do what condemned you to death and was paid at such a high cost? ABSOLUTELY NOT! If you truly accepted the sacrifice of Jesus and wish, out of gratefulness, to do His will, your works must display that you have been saved. Works are the fruit of true conversion.

In conclusion, salvation could ONLY be attained by the grace of God. Once saved works are the RESULT of Christ living in you through the Holy Spirit.

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

James 2:20-22

EDIT: I would like to add one more thing.

What happens if you fall back into sin after having been baptized and have accepted Christ? This is a reality most, if not all, face. You must once again ask forgiveness of God and ask once again to be saved by grace. He is not waiting for you to do something wrong so that He can condemn you, instead He WANTS you to be saved and is WAITING for you with open arms to forgive you. Unfortunately, people take advantage of such love and do this time and time again until they can no longer hear the calling of the Holy Spirit and remain in their sins. This is why Jesus calls this the unpardonable sin. So Go to Jesus while His grace is still available and while His voice can still be heard!

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What works will stand the test of fire outlined in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15? –  Rick Sep 25 '13 at 15:15
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The works that God Himself ordained in His will for you. God is the everlasting, all-consuming fire. His works are the only ones that will stand the test. The only way the Holy Spirit can do the works of God through you is by FIRST accepting Jesus as your savior and laying all your works, whether good or evil, at His feet. –  jlaverde Sep 25 '13 at 15:22
    
Please note that the scope of this question has changed. Specific historical references are now a necessity. –  wax eagle Sep 30 '13 at 12:24
    
My answer has now been edited. –  jlaverde Sep 30 '13 at 13:06
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QUOTE

It seems as if there are two salvation questions: Have you received God’s grace by faith, are you born anew with the Holy Spirit and as such a child of God’s? The second seems to be as a child of God’s and with the availability of the Holy Spirit, is the Spirit of God bearing out Jesus Christ through your life's work?

*There is only 1 salvation

*It is only by Father's mercy that we are saved. "many are called but few are chosen". Don't forget about the Elects. For the chosen ones are the ones God had called from the beginning before the creation of the world. Anyone who believes and trusts in Jesus Christ are all saved by faith and Grace

*Whoever is Born Again will get the Holy Spirit! If you are God's child, you have the Holy Spirit. For Father has imprinted on you a special seal, seal of the Holy Spirit.

*The Holy Spirit is the guarantee that you will be saved and have eternal life. For the Holy Spirit resurrected Jesus Christ, the same Holy Spirit who gives us gift will also resurrect us when we die or at the end. For if you have the Holy Spirit, you cannot curse Jesus or perform the Unforgivable sin. read 1 Corinthians 12.

*Who ever is Born Again..even though is sinning will be saved! For that is the Will of Jesus Christ. SO that whoever Father gives him, Jesus will not lose them!

*You don't need Baptism to be saved or get to heaven. It is just obedience and to show the world your faith in Jesus. You will not receive the Holy Spirit after you are baptised. For you get the Holy Spirit the moment you are Born Again/Saved/Gave your life to Jesus

*Kingdom of God is within you. It is not a place, it's inside you. Jesus brings the Kingdom of God for you.

*we DO NOT need to do any WORKS to get to heaven. All we have to do is just believe in Jesus Christ! Jesus's blood has made us holy. We CANNOT be holy. If we cannot inherit salvation by ourselves If we cannot please God by ourselves If we cannot stop sinning by ourselves If we cannot be made righteous by ourselves If we cannot get to Heaven by ourselves Why do people say we have to be Holy? Those things above can only be done by Jesus Christ, his blood and Holy Spirit. If so...then his blood has made us Holy!

*Matt 7:21 is for the Jews. They believed if they follow Moses Law and 10 commandments, they can get to Heaven. But they cannot. We can only do it with Jesus. What is the Will of the Father? Will of the Father is to believe in his Son John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. You need to 24/7 always believe in Jesus...which is equivalent to Loving God with your mind, heart and strength. loving God with all your mind, strength and heart is impossible. But just believing in Jesus is just like loving God with all.

*1 corithians 3 is used by Catholics to justify Purgatory. This is not true! What works is this? the works of the Holy Spirit, which is bearing fruits.

Rev 21. Goes back to Matthew 13, Parable of the Sower. Of course only the good seeds will be the one to conquer and inherit all things.

Please understand there is no works involved in Christ Jesus. All we have to do is believe in him and love everyone. 2 simple commandments. 1 John 3 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God,[d] and God[e] in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

God bless!

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Why do you say: "Don't forget about the Elects" are you a Calvinist? So how do you explain James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. –  Rick Oct 3 '13 at 11:15
    
Also, Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, –  Rick Oct 3 '13 at 11:17
    
Rick, if you go to church, it's winter and it's snowing outside. You are warm with your coat and you see a brother wearing t-shirt and he's cold. do you say "God will bless you abundantly" and then leave. or do you say "take £40 and buy yourself a coat, God just blessed me to bless you". which is right? we live by the Spirit, and by Spirit we bear fruit. –  Xino Oct 3 '13 at 11:33
    
Fear & Trembling. Fear as in Fear of God which is to discern good and evil by having wisdom and knowledge. Trembling as in watch your own life and doctrine. many people love to judge others but they don't look at their lives. if you see a brother stealing and you judge him for stealing. Do you yourself also steal? There is NO condemnation in Jesus Christ. Romans 8:4 –  Xino Oct 3 '13 at 11:34
    
You say: "Please understand there is no works involved in Christ Jesus". Have you read jpohly2 response? –  Rick Oct 3 '13 at 11:44
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