Q Zone: + Nothing, – Nothing



Growing up, one of the things we recited in our Christian school weekly was our Confession of Faith, several succinct “We believe” statements that encapsulated our core doctrines. In it were these words regarding salvation (yep, I still remember them): “We believe salvation is by grace, plus nothing and minus nothing…” It continued on with a few more words about repentance and faith, but it’s the “plus nothing and minus nothing” that has come to the forefront of my cerebral cortex today.

Why? Because of a question from Sunday. The question? “If you confess the Lord Jesus and believe that Christ was raised from the dead, but yet believe that you have to do works too, are you saved?” In a word, I’d say ‘no.’

This may sound harsh, but we must remember that salvation — God’s gracious gift of saving sinners — isn’t merited by anything we do. So even believing the right things becomes corrupt and faulty when wrapped in the rags of good works (Isaiah 64:6). Frankly, this is an afront to God’s glory, much akin to how the Pharisees operated — legalistically! Sure that their righteousness would help God, the Pharisees were called “blind,” “lost,” and “hypocrites.” In no uncertain terms, Jesus called them out as false. In fact, the one that did come to see Jesus, Nicodemus, was told he had to be “born again,” indicating in his current state he wasn’t (John 3). The stark reality is that adding works deletes grace, plain and simple (Gal. 3:10-14; 5:2-6).

Remember — though we will do good works because we are saved (Eph. 2:10), we don’t have to do good works to be saved. In fact, the real “work” is believing, and even that is wrought by and from God! Here’s how Jesus said it when asked about it – “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29).

Sola fide! Sola gratia!

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