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Authentic Christianity
Salvation is Not by Good Works

Salvation is not earned through Good Works
(A gift that is earned is no longer a gift (is no  longer grace)


Ephesians 2:8  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Romans4:4  Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.




Why Good Works Don't Save or Help Save Us:

The Law is the standard we are suppose to keep.  Good Works are following the standard, that as sinners, we can't keep. Trying to fulfill God's law by living righteously or doing good works (what the original Greek of the New Testament literally called as "works of law" )- Romans 3:20, 28, Galatians 2:16, 3:2, 5, 10  cannot save us or help save us and get us to heaven because God's law requires perfect obedience and we are far from perfectly obedient.   Leviticus 19:2, Matthew 5:48, Romans 3:22-23, Galatians 3:10, James 2:10

Ladder theology is the idea that we ascend to God through our own will, emotions, intellect, and good works in order to draw closer to God. With the ladder, there will always be one more step to climb, one more good work to accomplish,with no assurance that one is good enough or has done enough.

God’s law requires perfect righteousness and holiness
(because God is perfect and holy)

Leviticus 19:2  “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.’”
Matthew 5:48   "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
(also see Leviticus 11:44)
Mark 12:29   “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”

If we rely on Good works to save us,
we are condemned if we don’t do everything the law requires:

Galatians 3:10   All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Deut. 26:27)

Sinning even once makes us guilty of breaking all of God’s law
(and are unworthy of going to heaven)

James 2:10    For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

All of us have sinned and fall short of God’s standard
(and are unworthy of going to heaven)

Romans 3:22b-23    There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (also see Proverbs 20:9)

Though the law demands perfect obedience, the good works of the believer are pleasing in God’s sight through faith in Christ

1 Peter 2:5    You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.


Our good works don’t contribute to our salvation
(justification is not being righteous but forgiven)

To be justified does not mean for a righteous person to be made out of an ungodly one, but to be pronounced righteous in a forensic sense as also in this text [Romans 2:13]: “…the doers of the law who will be justified.” Therefore just as these words (“the doers of the law will be justified”) are not against us, so we maintain the same thing with regard to James words that “a person is not justified by faith alone, but also by works,” because people who have faith and good works are certainly pronounced righteous.  For good works in the saints, as we have said, belong to the righteousness of the law.  They are accepted on account of faith, not because they satisfy the law.  Therefore people are justified by faith and works, not on account of the works but on account of the faith, although it is necessary for good works to follow faith.  For James is speaking about those works that follow faith, just as he testifies when he says [James 2:22], “You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works.”  The statement, “It is…the doers of the law, who will be justified” [Romans 3:2], must be taken in this way: those who believe and possess good fruits are pronounced righteous.  For the law is kept when we believe, and it pleases [God] on account of faith and not because the works satisfy the law.  Thus we see that there is nothing wrong in these statements.  However, the opponents distort them and add their own impious opinions.  But these statements do not say that works merit the forgiveness of sins, that people are accepted or regarded as righteous on account of works and not on account of Christ, that works bring the heart peace and overcome the wrath of God, or that works do not need mercy.  James says none of these things that the opponents nevertheless invent from his words. Kolb & Wengert, The Book of Concord, “Apology of the Augsburg Confession,” Article IV: Justification, par. 244, 248-252, p. 157-159.

Romans 3:20    Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Galatians 3:3, 21b-22 ...After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? … For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Galatians 5:4    You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
Galatians 3:1   Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”

Good Works follow faith

For good works do not precede faith, nor does sanctification (to be made holy by the Holy Ghost) precede justification (considered righteous).  Instead, first of all, in conversion, the Holy Spirit kindles faith in us through the hearing of the gospel.  This faith lays hold of God’s grace in Christ, and through it a person is justified.  Thereafter, once a person is justified, the Holy Spirit also renews and sanctifies them.  From this renewal and sanctification the fruits of good works follow.  This is not to be understood as if justification and sanctification are separated from each other in such a way that a true faith can exist for a while along with an evil intention, but rather this only indicates the order in which the one thing precedes or follows the other.  For what Dr. Luther correctly said remains true: faith and good works fit beautifully together and belong together.  But it is faith alone that lays hold of the blessings, apart from works, and yet it is never, ever alone…. Kolb & Wengert, The Book of Concord, Formula of Concord (1577), Solid Declaration, Article III: Concerning the Righteousness of Faith before God, par. 37-39, 41-42, p. 569.


Ephesians 2:8    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Good Works aren’t Good - apart from Faith in Christ 

Hebrews 11:6  And 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.

Our good works do not create, strengthen or sustain faith –
(but by God’s Word and Sacraments):

 Galatians 3:3 ...After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
Mark 1:4 (and Luke 3:3)   And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Matthew 26:28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Romans 10:17   Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (also see: Psalm 19:7, Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 11:14,
1 Corinthians 1:21, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:23, 3:20-21) 

Though we do nothing to deserve heaven, that doesn’t mean we do nothing  
(good works are fruits of faith)


Ephesians 2:8-10    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the 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.
Philippians 2:13    for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
James 2:14, 18     What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? … But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
(James doesn’t teach salvation by works, but that true faith bears fruit.)
(see: Acts 2:42, 45, Romans 6:1-4, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:2, Hebrews 10:26-27, James 2:15—17, 19)



Salvation not earned
through good works

Why Good Works
don't save us


Good Works follow Faith