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What works are we to do to ensure we have eternal life?

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  • What works are we to do to ensure we have eternal life?

    If this topic has previously been discussed please link me to the thread/s.

    I believe we are saved by grace through faith unto good works. The book of Revelation is full of, "I know your works..." and the theme of accompanying works together with salvation is strong throughout scripture.

    What works are we to be doing to ensure that we inherit eternal life? It would be good to to think that Jesus answers this question completely in John 6:28-29, but the answer is obviously so much more.

    John 6:28-29:

    28 They then said, What are we to do, that we may [habitually] be working the works of God? [What are we to do to carry out what God requires?]

    29 Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].

    Then there are scriptures such as Mathew 25:31-46:

    31 When the Son of Man comes in His glory (His majesty and splendor), and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

    32 All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them [the people] from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats;

    33 And He will cause the sheep to stand at His right hand, but the goats at His left.

    34 Then the King will say to those at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father [you [g]favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

    35 For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you [h]brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and [i]lodged Me,

    36 I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me [j]with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me.

    37 Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink?

    38 And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You?

    39 And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You?

    40 And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least [[k]in the estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it for Me.

    41 Then He will say to those at His left hand, Begone from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!

    42 For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink,

    43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me and entertain Me, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me [l]with help and ministering care.

    44 Then they also [in their turn] will answer, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?

    45 And He will reply to them, Solemnly I declare to you, in so far as you failed to do it for the least [[m]in the estimation of men] of these, you failed to do it for Me.

    46 Then they will go away into eternal punishment, but those who are just and upright and in right standing with God into eternal life.

    Just thinking, Jesus would of course not be in prison for any criminal act and so him being in prison can only be if he was there unjustly. Visiting believers in prison who are there because of the Gospel would be a work to do, but to visit criminals in prison who deserve to be there?

    Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and visiting the sick are clearly works which our salvation hinges on?

  • #2
    If we have the saving belief of John 6:28-29, we will quite naturally do the works of Mt. 25:31-46. See also James 2:14-26.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

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    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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    • #3
      Our salvation hinges on no works of ours. The thief on the cross is the perfect example of this fact. Works show that our salvation is real, which I believe is what OBP is saying.

      Works are a natural outpouring of the change that salvation makes in a believer. And not all of us have the same opportunity to do the good that other people may have. God will use us where we are to do those good things that are brought to our attention.


      Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
        If we have the saving belief of John 6:28-29, we will quite naturally do the works of Mt. 25:31-46. See also James 2:14-26.

        I agree with OBP. A good question is what's the reason Jesus gave this speech.

        I think He was attempting to get His audience to recognize the importance of thinking about and then helping others. The ones on the left probably never really thought about another person or assisting them. The ones on the right did.

        To be saved does require one to think beyond the self. By getting people to think about others, Jesus may be hoping they will then start to think about God.

        I know this isn't a standard view of salvation. However one has to fit this passage into the process of salvation. Right now as I think about it, I'm not sure how it fits.
        "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

        "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

        Comment


        • #5
          "I know your works" is addressed corporately to the seven churches and has to be read in that context. Of course, there are still exhortatations to individual believers (including the most famous verse in there, Revelation 3:20).

          There is a list of sins that will keep people out of heaven later in the book (Revelation 22:15): "Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." But the focus on positive works is more addressed to individual churches, who are warned that they are at risk of dying (or in the case of the church in Sardis, are already dead).
          "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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          • #6
            In my hand, no price I bring - simply to the Cross I cling
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

            Comment


            • #7
              1 Corinthians 3:12-15:

              If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
              I think the context of these verses is probably limited to work done to further God's kingdom and not just all works, but I could be wrong.
              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

              Comment


              • #8
                Here is another instance where Jesus seems to talk about doing something to inherit eternal life:

                Source: Luke 10:25-28

                On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

                “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

                He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

                “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

                © Copyright Original Source


                But note here the emphasis on love, thus (especially in regard to God) on relationship. Love also shows up in the parable of the sheep and the goats, where people are ministering to Jesus. To know God is to love him, and to love him directly and through his people, is to have eternal life. Thus when Jesus says to unbelievers "Depart from me", he adds, "I never knew you."

                "Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—in the hope of eternal life..." (Titus 1:1-2)

                Blessings,
                Lee
                "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
                  Here is another instance where Jesus seems to talk about doing something to inherit eternal life:

                  Source: Luke 10:25-28

                  On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

                  “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

                  He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

                  “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

                  © Copyright Original Source


                  But note here the emphasis on love, thus (especially in regard to God) on relationship. Love also shows up in the parable of the sheep and the goats, where people are ministering to Jesus. To know God is to love him, and to love him directly and through his people, is to have eternal life. Thus when Jesus says to unbelievers "Depart from me", he adds, "I never knew you."

                  "Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—in the hope of eternal life..." (Titus 1:1-2)

                  Blessings,
                  Lee
                  I have know many Christians. I think it's less than 10 that to my perception have approached loving God with ALL their heart, soul, strength, and mind. I don't think any achieved it. I certainly haven't. I don't think that claiming that loving God will produce your salvation.

                  Like the other passage, I think Jesus is showing the standard of what it takes and when you think it through, one realizes it's an unachievable standard. Again I come back to salvation is a gift of God and not a work of a person.
                  "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                  "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
                    Here is another instance where Jesus seems to talk about doing something to inherit eternal life:

                    Source: Luke 10:25-28

                    On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

                    “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

                    He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

                    “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

                    © Copyright Original Source

                    Perhaps Jesus preached this because technically it was still Old Testament law which was works based? He hadn't died and resurrected yet.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Esther View Post
                      Perhaps Jesus preached this because technically it was still Old Testament law which was works based? He hadn't died and resurrected yet.
                      I think you need to look at the overall context, which is the parable of the Good Samaritan.

                      And note that the question was about eternal life, but Jesus didn't say "you will live eternally" - He simply said "you will live".
                      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
                        I don't think that claiming that loving God will produce your salvation.
                        But I was focused on relationship, knowing God (resulting in love for God).

                        "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3)

                        Like the other passage, I think Jesus is showing the standard of what it takes and when you think it through, one realizes it's an unachievable standard. Again I come back to salvation is a gift of God and not a work of a person.
                        Good point, yet I think that knowing God is at the start of a relationship with him, and then love grows as we get to know God better.

                        What must I do? Know God and obey him, or as Paul said it: "Who are you, Lord?" and then "Lord, what do you want me to do?" (Acts 22:8,10)

                        Blessings,
                        Lee
                        "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Esther
                          What works are we to be doing to ensure that we inherit eternal life?
                          Just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

                          It would be good to to think that Jesus answers this question completely in John 6:28-29, but the answer is obviously so much more.
                          No, the answer isn't any more than that. You have been misled.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Esther View Post
                            If this topic has previously been discussed please link me to the thread/s.

                            I believe we are saved by grace through faith unto good works. The book of Revelation is full of, "I know your works..." and the theme of accompanying works together with salvation is strong throughout scripture.

                            What works are we to be doing to ensure that we inherit eternal life? It would be good to to think that Jesus answers this question completely in John 6:28-29, but the answer is obviously so much more.

                            John 6:28-29:

                            28 They then said, What are we to do, that we may [habitually] be working the works of God? [What are we to do to carry out what God requires?]

                            29 Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].

                            Then there are scriptures such as Mathew 25:31-46:

                            31 When the Son of Man comes in His glory (His majesty and splendor), and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

                            32 All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them [the people] from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats;

                            33 And He will cause the sheep to stand at His right hand, but the goats at His left.

                            34 Then the King will say to those at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father [you [g]favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

                            35 For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you [h]brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and [i]lodged Me,

                            36 I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me [j]with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me.

                            37 Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink?

                            38 And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You?

                            39 And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You?

                            40 And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least [[k]in the estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it for Me.

                            41 Then He will say to those at His left hand, Begone from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!

                            42 For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink,

                            43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me and entertain Me, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me [l]with help and ministering care.

                            44 Then they also [in their turn] will answer, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?

                            45 And He will reply to them, Solemnly I declare to you, in so far as you failed to do it for the least [[m]in the estimation of men] of these, you failed to do it for Me.

                            46 Then they will go away into eternal punishment, but those who are just and upright and in right standing with God into eternal life.

                            Just thinking, Jesus would of course not be in prison for any criminal act and so him being in prison can only be if he was there unjustly. Visiting believers in prison who are there because of the Gospel would be a work to do, but to visit criminals in prison who deserve to be there?

                            Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and visiting the sick are clearly works which our salvation hinges on?
                            STM it is not what one does, but the spirit in which one does it. Feeding the hungry is useless, if one resents them. Feeding the hungry, etc., is a Christian act only if done from Christian motives.

                            Having the right motive - and cultivating purity of heart to that end - will go a long way toward ruling out sub-Christian motives: such as doing good to others so that one can use their need as a means to one’s own spiritual gain. That kind of motive is manipulative, demeaning, and self-centred. Love of others is not about oneself. Our salvation is not about ourselves. We do not ensure that we inherit eternal life - God does. Again, it is not about us. It is, all of it, about Christ, and to the Glory of Christ.

                            A form of religion which dwells solely or supremely on the well-being of oneself, and subordinates all else to that, is sub-Christian. This is easily seen, by the fact that love goes out from self, to others, and seeks the good of others. It is not bent inwards on the self. Love is a kind of self-emptying, so it does not seek its own gain - so it does not get bent out of shape about whether it is “doing enough” to be saved. It knows, if it is explicitly Christian love, that to do “enough” for God is impossible.

                            Anything whatsoever, that is not intrinsically wrong, can be a means of doing good, no matter how “non-religious” it may be. Changing a baby’s nappy is as good a means of pleasing God as saying one’s prayers - both have their place in the lives of Christians. OTOH, some actions are intrinsically wrong; there is no way to commit rape or murder or fraud in a Christian manner, because all these actions are wrong in themselves, and can never be anything but wrong.

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