HOUSMAIL HM#054 - SAVED BY GRACE - JUDGED BY WORKS! 25 March 2000
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 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. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev 20:11-15)
The Apostle Peter left us with a challenge to be ZEALOUS to be found without spot or blemish. (2 Pet 3:14) A careful reading of Peter’s epistle will reveal that he was encouraging us to MAKE EVERY EFFORT to ensure that we possess faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love! He says that we MUST have these things, in order to effective and fruitful, in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Messiah. And he then says that if we do lack these things, the cause of this terrible blindness, is failure to remember that we have been cleansed from our sins!. (2 Pet 1:5-8)
There is no escaping the conclusion that Peter is talking about WORKS! In the same context Peter said that the Apostle Paul also agreed with this emphasis on WORKS! But Peter did concede that there are some things in Paul’s writings about this subject, that are “hard to understand”. (2 Pet 3:15). Peter adds a strong warning about that! We must not allow ourselves to be carried away by the ignorance and instability of those “lawless men” who twist the hard things written by Paul, “to their own destruction”. (v16-17)
Of course, Peter is talking about the apparent conflict between Paul’s teaching about “salvation by grace”, and “salvation by faith”, and the other things Paul wrote which do emphasise the place of “works”.
It is important to keep this in balance. The same Paul who wrote -
“By GRACE you have been saved through FAITH; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2:8)
“For he will render to every man according to his WORKS: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.”(Rom 2:6-8)
In another place Paul said that if repentance is genuine, then it will change the WORKS that we do. (Acts 26:20)
The Apostle James also wrote about this when he said that Faith is DEAD (i.e. not faith at all) if it does not reveal itself in accompanying WORKS. (James 2:14-26)
The words of Jesus also make it clear that on the Day of Judgment, it is the record of our WORKS which will reveal whether or not we are "sheep" or "goats". (Matt 25:31-46)
Saved by grace ..... judged by WORKS! (John 5:29; Rom 2:6-11; 2 Cor 5:10)
Of course that does not mean that we MERIT our place in eternity on account of our works, but it certainly does mean that if we do not obey the commandments of Jesus, then we reveal that we neither love Him, nor possess "saving faith". (John 14:15,23-24)
It is perhaps too fine a point to debate about whether or not those
things are, in some way, "conditions" of salvation! But, regardless of
what we conclude about that, they are certainly amongst the Biblical tests
that we must use for ourselves, to consider whether we are truly in the
(1 Cor 11:28; 2 Cor 13:5; 1 John 2:3-6)
There are some who consistently take refuge behind “grace” in order to evade the uncomfortable and challenging test laid down by all three Apostles --- Peter, and Paul, and James. However, what we really need to be doing, is to frequently ask ourselves a serious question.
When we do examine ourselves honestly ..... do we pass the test?
If we do not, then we are in desperate need of the GRACE that will train us until we do! (Titus 2:11-14)