Grace and Salvation

Posted on March 3, 2011

Question

I was reading your answers about faith and life. I have been raised to believe that grace is all that is necessary for salvation… no works. But having read the verse from James that you quoted about faith without works being dead, it now makes sense that works go with faith. But how many works are necessary for salvation?


Answer

There is no “required amount” of works that are necessary for salvation. What is crucial is that, if we indeed have faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, that we manifest or reveal our faith in how we live and how we treat others.

Read Matthew 25:31-46, in which we find the parable of the sheep and goats. In this parable, Christ reveals that which He will ask of us when He judges us, as well as that which He xpects from those who call themselves by His name. He asks if we have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, given drink to the thirsty, ministered to the sick and imprisoned—and, of utmost importance, whether we have discerned His very image in those around us, especially the “least of the brethren.” If we fail to put our faith into action through such works of mercy, our faith is purely intellectual, “lip service,” so to speak. Simply stated, if we accept Christ as the Son of the Living God and the Savior of the world, yet we fail to bring His love to others around us, then we are liars. Hence, faith without such good works is dead, and it is precisely on our willingness to put our faith into action that our eternal salvation hinges, as Christ reveals in Matthew 25.