No other doctrine has done so much harm as the false and unbiblical belief that Good Works are not required for our Salvation, or are somehow despised by God.
Faith and works surely work together, but faith in God is alone insufficient, and Good Works alone are insufficient, in order to ensure salvation for our eternal souls.
Scripture is literally filled with the requirement for us to both love God and perform Good Works, and that we all shall be judged according to them. And Jesus spoke very clearly on the matter during his ministry.
Through his parable of the Talents, Jesus taught that to those much has been given, much will be required from them, and that to simply not work (resting on the security of Faith Alone) is lazy and slothful, and is not enough.
Jesus challenged us to do Good Works, saying that they must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees – which is like today saying “You must be more righteous than Billy Graham, Mother Theresa and the Pope!”
And most tellingly, Jesus, when asked specifically, “What GOOD DEED must I do to have eternal life?” answered “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”
Now, as a practical matter, one cannot do Good Works without knowing what such commandments ARE, and if one is ignorant of God’s commandments, one cannot obey them (or may do so only by accident, and haphazardly.) How can a Good Work be performed, if we never know what is considered “good” by God?
But God through his Prophets and lastly, through his Anointed One, his Son, Jesus, lets us know clearly what we must do in order to be Saved.
Faith in His Son is thus the starting point to all Good Works that are pleasing to God, and in that way, it may be said that faith and works do indeed work together, because works without any faith is like a student without a teacher. How can students know what works are truly good without a Master to instruct them?
Having faith that Jesus is God’s Prophet is a starting point, however, and no one should be deluded into thinking that is enough. As Jesus says, crying out “Lord, Lord” (“Master, Master”) is not enough to ensure salvation, any more than students can rely solely on their teacher alone to learn facts and pass tests in their name, so long as they simply show up to class. That kind of faith, without any works, is indeed dead and useless, as James tells us truthfully.
But doesn’t relying on Works make us prideful and arrogant? Jesus does indeed warn of doing Good Works “to be seen by men.” But conversely, he commands that Good Works be performed that are then seen by God alone and rewarded secretly and accrue as Treasures in Heaven.
Therefore, it’s God who is the audience and the One Whom we must please, not others. Neither God nor his Servant Jesus, whom he sent, ever condemns the requirement of Good Works, let alone degrades them as “rags” that God somehow dislikes (let alone actively hates!)
If we will be rewarded by God for performing Good Works, how can someone claim that they are not required? How can we be judged by those acts we perform here in this life, but somehow rationalize them away, saying (contrary to Jesus’ teachings) “Oh, those are just voluntary ‘fruit’ which flow from being Saved. They are just the natural things that happen, and are optional, not requirements on which we can base our Salvation, which is instantly given because of our faith.”
Of course this is all dead wrong, on various levels. If something is not required, it’s optional – a “gift” we may or may not give to God. That’s directly contrary to the direct teachings of God’s Anointed One.
Modern preachers of “Faith Alone” Easy Believism who condemn “works salvation” and “commandment keeping” destroy and make null and void the obedience required by the Master, Jesus, who was sent by God to proclaim a Good and Beneficial Message (Gospel) to humanity: That we must repent of our sins, stop sinning, and rely humbly on God’s ongoing grace and forgiveness as we strive for the goal of Moral Perfection, which God commanded through Jesus, His Anointed One.
Some Scripture References:
“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” Luke 12:48
“For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Matt. 16:27
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Rev. 20:12
“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave.” Matt. 20:26-27
“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matt. 16:27
“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:20
“As his mercy is great, so is his correction also: he judges a man according to his works” Prov. 16:12
“To you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work. Psalms 62:12
“Commit your works unto the LORD, and your thoughts shall be established.” Prov. 16:3
“Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” Prov. 24:12
“Say not, I will do so to him as he has done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.” Prov. 24:29