February 26, 2009
Is Salvation by Faith + Works?
The Catholic Church, Orthodox Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that salvation comes through faith and works, works being any acts or good deeds that may help to earn our salvation. The Protestant Reformation held that salvation is by grace and faith alone, and that good deeds are simply a sign of true salvation not a means of achieving it. However, there are some Protestants who believe that the act of water baptism is required for salvation. And it seems many Christians aren't sure what they believe on this issue and why.
If salvation is by faith alone, a denomination cannot claim to have the only true way of salvation. So it seems this issue has serious ramifications. It seems that works based salvation may be used by a denomination as a basis for controlling people. Has this been shown by history? It seems the New Covenant was meant to replace the "religiosity" of the Old Covenant with a personal "relationship" with God (Jer. 31.33-34). On the other hand, it seems that many denominations have simply created a whole new set of laws and rituals to replace the Jewish ones. Is it possible to be partially free or partially a slave? (Gal 5.1)
Which view do you hold and why? Is it important to make the distinction between faith and works? If so, why? What is your opinion?