Question: You and your people are by no means Bereans. You have taken away very important truths of the Bible and have replaced them with falsities. Let me point out that "faith without works is dead." A dead faith will get you nothing from the Lord. God is the "God of the living and not the dead." Eternal life is a gift but requirements must be met, such as: "Keep my commandments and live, saith the Lord." This is a requirement. Not by faith alone is one saved but by keeping God's commandments. If anyone of us wants eternal life we must "work" to fulfill our part of the agreement. We are saved by grace through faith. This grace is not given to anyone who does not keep our Lord's commandments. Grace is given to the obedient, not the rebellious. We must "work to show ourselves to be approved" just as Scripture says....TheBereans knew the Scriptures. You teach that faith is all one needs. Nowhere in the Bible is this taught....I hope this has helped you to see the light!
Response: We have addressed the question of "faith vs. works" on a number of occasions in past issues (see June 2010 TBC). That a person can only be saved by faith and not by works is both biblical and logical. Scripture tells us that all have sinned and that the penalty for sin is eternal separation from God. Consequently, there are no works that a person can do in order to pay the debt of that never-ending penalty. Only Jesus, who is God and the perfect Man, could—and did—pay the eternal penalty for everyone. The only way to receive the forgiveness of one's sins and Christ's gift of eternal life is by faith alone.
Some of the remarks in your letter clearly show that the biblical concept of "grace" is simply not understood. "Grace" has been defined as "unmerited favor," but what does this mean? The testimony of Scripture is unanimous in stating that nothing that involves "work" will "earn" you salvation.
Yet, you say, "requirements must be met....Not by faith alone is one saved but by keeping God's commandments." What are the commandments? The Lord gave many more than the 10 Commandments. Jesus spoke of "new commandments." How do you know you've kept all the "requirements?"
In blessed contrast, when the disciples asked, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?", Jesus replied, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
Again, the Scriptures unanimously present the same message of the grace of God. Going back to the passage in Numbers 21 concerning anyone bitten by "the serpent," we find that "whosoever" looked at the serpent on the pole was saved.
The Israelites who died when bitten by the serpent were receiving the just punishment for their sin. There was nothing a person could do--no anti-venom he could concoct, no tourniquet he could apply, which might otherwise save him. God, in "grace," however, provided a remedy. Moses was told to cast a brass serpent and place it upon a pole that anyone who was bitten, when "he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived" (Num:21:9).
The Lord Jesus utilizes this historical example and likens Himself to the Serpent on the pole, saying that "whosoever" believes will be saved (Jn:3:14-15). Other than to believe, where, indeed, is "our part" in the agreement? What do the Scriptures say? "But to him that worketh not..." (Rom:4:5). "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph:2:8-9). "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us..." (Ti 3:5). Three verses later, Paul instructs Titus to be careful to "maintain good works. These...are good and profitable to men" [our emphasis].
James:2:14-26 doesn't say "not by faith alone, but by works also." On the contrary, it says that works should follow faith: "I will show thee my faith by my works" (Jas 2:18). Faith in the grace of God must come first. This agrees with Ephesians:2:10: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" [our emphasis.] If we are truly saved by faith, there should be visible works showing that our salvation is real. Otherwise, "faith without works is dead also" (Jas 2:26).
We would strongly urge you to go back over the Scriptures that you have taken out of context and see how the "light" you believe to present is in reality a turning away from the grace of God.