Are We Saved By Grace Or Works?

The issue of grace, works and faith is no doubt one of the most misunderstood topics in scripture. Works is commonly understood as trying to earn your salvation by keeping the law, which would require one to keep it perfectly and hence why it is called works. Thus works can never get one into the kingdom and also because it is not motivated by love, which is the reason why we should desire to keep the law. (John 14:15) When we unintentionally break God's law, we repent and by faith in Christ's redeeming sacrifice we receive God's grace. So reading Paul's writings, one would conclude that we are not saved by works but by faith which results in God's grace, which is true but here is where the confusion comes in. James 2:26 says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Thus many have concluded that Paul is contradicting James. But Paul is referring to not being saved by the works of the law but by faith in Christ's redeeming sacrifice. James on the other hand is showing that in addition to faith itself comes the fruit of faith, which is that of good works. Hence James is not referring to the works of the law but to that of good works which comes from faith in Christ. Faith and works in this context go hand in hand as you cannot have one without the other.

The Ten Commandments truth in relation to faith and grace is so simple and obvious that it should require no repetition, but despite this you still often hear the argument in an effort to belittle the law of God: “Well, since we are not under the law but under grace, we do not need to keep the Ten Commandments any longer.” Is this a valid point? The Bible certainly does say that we are not under the law, but does that imply that we are free from the obligation to obey it? The text is found in Romans 6:14-15. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

How easily one could prevent confusion if we just accepted exactly what the Bible says. After stating that we are not under the law but under grace, Paul gives his own explanation. He says, “What then?” This simply means, “How are we to understand this?” Then notice his answer. In anticipation that some would misconstrue his words to mean that you can break the law because you are under grace, he says, “Shall we sin (break the Ten Commandments law) because we are not under the law but under grace? God forbid.” In the strongest possible language, Paul states that being under grace does not give a license to break the Ten Commandments. Yet this is exactly what so many believe today despite Paul's specific warning.

Since being under grace does not exempt us from keeping the Ten Commandments, then what does Paul mean by saying that Christians are not under the law? He gives that answer in Romans 3:19. “Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Here Paul equates being under the law with “being guilty before God.” In other words, those who are under the law are guilty of breaking it and are under the condemnation of it. This is why Christians are not under the law. They are not breaking it; not guilty and condemned by it. Therefore, they are not under it but are under the power of grace instead. Later in his argument, Paul points out that the power of grace is greater than the power of sin. This is why he states so emphatically, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Grace overrules the authority of sin giving power to obey the Ten Commandments. This is the effective reason that we are not under the law's guilt and condemnation and also why Paul states that we will not continue to sin.

Suppose a murderer has been sentenced to death in the electric chair. Waiting for the execution the man would truly be under the law in every sense of the word; under the guilt, under the condemnation, under the sentence of death, etc. Just before the execution date the governor reviews the condemned man's case and decides to pardon him. In the light of extenuating circumstances the governor exercises his prerogative and sends a full pardon to the prisoner. Now he is no longer under the law but under grace. The law no longer condemns him. He is considered totally justified as far as the charges of the law are concerned. He is free to walk out of the prison and no policeman can lay hands upon him. But now that he is under grace and no longer under the law, can we say that he is free to break the law? Indeed not! In fact, that pardoned man will be doubly obligated to obey the law because he has found grace from the governor. In gratitude and love he will be very careful to honour the law of that state which granted him grace.

Now for one of the most fallacious propositions ever set forth relating to the Ten Commandments law. Countless sincere Christians have accepted the idea that the Old Testament encompasses the dispensation of works and that the New Testament provides for a dispensation of grace. Under this garbled plan, people were saved by works in the Old Testament and by grace in the New Testament. This is simply not true. The Bible holds forth only one beautiful, perfect plan for anybody to be saved, and that is by grace through faith. Heaven will not be divided between those who got there by works and those who got there by faith. Every single soul among the redeemed will be a sinner saved by grace. Those who entered into salvation in the Old Testament were those who trusted the merits of the blood of Jesus Christ, and they demonstrated their faith by bringing a lamb and slaying it. They looked forward in faith to the atoning death of Jesus. We look back in faith to the same death and are saved in exactly the same way. Be sure that the entire redeemed host throughout eternity will be singing the same song of deliverance and exalting the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Jesus exhorts again and again to “let no man deceive you.” We are also explicitly warned that in the end days Satan will have false prophets doing many signs and wonders and miracles and if possible even the elect will be deceived. Satan can and does counterfeit most miracles of God including healing and tongues and more and more Christians are seeking aimlessly after these signs and wonders without testing the source.

Jesus said in Matthew 16:4, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

If your Church teaches that the Ten Commandments are abolished and has a large emphasis on miracles, how do you know that Satan is not responsible for any of these miracles in an attempt to keep one sidetracked and deceived on the real important issues such as truth about obedience to God in love regarding the Ten Commandments? The Ark of the Covenant that housed the Ten CommandmentsIf Satan's grand finale is to deceive the multitudes by signs and wonders as explained in Revelation, wouldn't he be working on the lusts of the human heart now to get us thinking in this manner so his final master deception will be like lambs to the slaughter for those who do not diligently study the Word like the Bereans and know what to expect?

Acts 17:11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures EVERY DAY to see if what Paul said was true.

The eternal nature of the Ten Commandments can also be seen from John's vision of the time of the end where he sees the temple in heaven open and very particularly he sees “the ark of his testament.” This is the true ark of which the earthly one was only a copy and where in the sanctuary is the depository for the original Ten Commandments, God's immutable moral law for all men of all ages. This is very significant when you consider that God's Ten Commandments are still in place in the heavenly sanctuary. They have not been discarded, destroyed or rewritten.

Revelation 11:19And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

The Ten Commandments - Page 5