We’ve written previously about WorldNetDaily publisher Joseph Farah’s aberrant Christian beliefs….Well he’s at it again, this time with a column claiming to clear up confusion about what it means to be saved by grace. Unfortunately the only use of grace is in the title. His article is pure works…salvation by self effort.
In it he makes the following statement. “There’s only one way to achieve immortality, and that’s to follow the prescription of our Creator. Follow His commandments, repent when you fall short, and love Him with all your heart, soul and mind. The nice thing about this recipe is that it works every time.”
"That’s what I wrote in a column last week, 'In search of immortality,' that set off at least one reader who accused me of leading massive numbers of people straight to hell by promoting 'salvation by works'.”
The reader Farah references is one Oscar Lynch who rightly took him to task for his works based salvation formula.
There are a number of problems with Farah’s theology here, not the least of which is: where is Jesus in any of this? Based on Farah’s instruction, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ plays no part in our ability to “achieve” immortality.
Just the fact that he thinks eternal life can be “achieved” is a tip off that grace is absent from his understanding of the cross. On top of that, the cross isn’t simply about immortality. The purpose of the cross was to remove the stain of sin from mankind and that goes completely unmentioned in Farah’s formula for immortality.
He does make mention of the cross in his previous column The search for immortality . In that article he states. "He loves us so much He gave His only begotten Son over to a torturous death on the cross to atone for our sins, to give us hope, to welcome us as His beloved children into the world of forever. But He didn’t offer universal salvation. You’ve still got to play by His rules…."
At this point he goes on to list the ten commandments, suggesting that because of Jesus sacrifice we are now able to keep them and if we don’t, that’s okay, because we can just repent and try again, the best we can. This is the sort of “be a good person, live a good life and you’ll go to heaven” belief that is so popular and widespread in society today. It requires no acknowledgment of our sin nature and no acceptance or understanding of Jesus sacrifice as a substitutionary punishment for our sins. Without those factors there can be no real repentance and without repentance there is no forgiveness of sin. Just as Mr. Lynch suggested, that belief is leading massive numbers of people straight to hell.
In his more recent column Farah explains what he means when he says “play by his rules.” Jesus made salvation available to us but we still have to maintain it by our own efforts But what about grace and faith? Salvation is through faith, but faith without works is dead, according to James, the brother of Jesus…..
That is a true statement, faith without works is dead (or false) faith. But it is faith in Christ and his sacrifice that produces works in and through us. Not the other way around. We don’t create or maintain faith and righteousness (and thus salvation/immortality) by our works.
And yes Mr. Farah, Jesus did say we are to keep his commandments, but he didn’t say keeping the commandments is the key to eternal life. In fact Paul tells us specifically that the law does not and cannot give life.
(Lumbley, "Joseph Farah’s Works Based Salvation,” ApostasyWatch Online, 1/26/18).