Salvation and Works: A Reflection

While many cults and competing worldviews assert that the way to salvation is through works, Christianity holds to the fact that the process of salvation is only available through the grace of God. Using the revelational presuppositionalist method of apologetics, which “believes that the Holy Bible is the core and center of all truth,” I will utilize Scripture to prove that works play a vital role in the Christian life.[1]

Through God’s grace, the process of salvation is accomplished in three phases:  justification, sanctification, and glorification. First, upon the initial acceptance of and belief in Christ, a person is justified in the eyes of God. Through God’s grace, his only begotten Son was offered as a sacrifice for the sins of men. With this action, coupled with Christ’s resurrection, one can have the peace associated with being justified in the eyes of God. [2] The only “work” required during this phase is the act of repentance and belief. However, even though our sins are forgiven, our inclination to sin still remains.

Second, immediately following justification, the phase of sanctification begins. Sanctification is the process of “setting apart”, and it involves a combination of one’s works and the power of the Holy Spirit to eventually erase our inclination to sin. Our works are vital during this phase because our actions and desires should align with God’s will for our lives, through the manifestations of the Spirit that lives in us. The Spirit’s focus, in addition to our own, during this phase are “acts that lead to death” by “cleansing our consciences.”[3] This phase is a continuous process throughout the remainder of our Christian lives.

The final phase in the process of salvation is glorification. Through sanctification, we are prepared for glorification, given that our sin nature has been put to death. This makes us worthy of being in the presence of God following our earthly death. The Apostle Paul makes a clear case for glorification in his personal yearning to have a clear conscious in preparation for his resurrection following death.[4]

Finally, even though works is not the key to our salvation, it remains vital in rendering ourselves worthy of residing in God’s presence throughout eternity through sanctification. By yielding to the Holy Spirit’s power, we strive to kill sin in our lives so that we may be found worthy to approach God upon our death.

____________________

1. Ed Hinson and Ergun Caner, eds., The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2008),66.

2. Romans, 5:1.

3. Hebrews 9:14.

4. Acts 24:14-16.

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