A Works Based Gospel is No Gospel at All

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel, which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-7

The gospel is the good news of God sending Jesus to earth to become sin so He could forgive our sin, set us free from condemnation, AND give us His righteousness in Christ (2 Cor 5:17-21). The word gospel means “good news”. The single sentence that best sums up the good news of the gospel of Christ is “that God is reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Cor 5:19).       

The issue Paul is addressing in Galatians 1:6-7 is the turning from a grace-based gospel to a works-based gospel. Paul’s point is that a works-based gospel is “really no gospel at all”. Our salvation is based on God’s grace and His faithfulness, not our faithfulness. Salvation is based the work of God, not our works. 

According to Paul, anyone who teaches a works-based salvation is teaching a gospel contrary to the gospel of Christ. A works-based gospel is really not good news at all. Good works cannot earn salvation or heaven or God’s approval. Grace works. Works Won’t.

According to Ephesians 2:4-10, because of God’s great love for us, He chose to offer us grace out from His deep reservoir of mercy, knowing all along we were sinners undeserving of His forgiveness and reconciliation. It is God’s grace alone that saves us, through faith. Salvation does not come through works. Good deeds are incapable of earning God’s love, forgiveness, acceptance, or approval. God did all of this because He also wants to demonstrate the incomparable riches of His grace, which is expressed in His kindness to us in Christ. 

Though we were created to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us (Eph 2:10), those works cannot save us. Yet, many of us have bought into the lie of religion that makes us think our relationship with Him is based on our performance. Religion is based on rules. Christianity is based solely on a personal relationship with Christ

Salvation through grace alone is the polar opposite of salvation through works or performance. The great news of the “good news” is that God has already done it all. When God said, “It is finished!” He meant it. God freely offers salvation, forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, and freedom to us. We just need to receive it all by faith. Really. It is true. God has done it all already. Receive it by faith, then walk it out by faith. 

When it comes to salvation; Grace Works. Works Won’t.

Does Christ Know You?

Matthew 7:21-23 is pretty scary. I am worried about many people who consider themselves Christians. Jesus clearly says that there will be some people who consider themselves Christ-followers who will spend eternity in hell. The actual quote is “Not everyone who says to be ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (v.21).

Then He follows that with this statement, “Many will say to me on that day ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and perform many miracles? Then I will say to them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evil doers!” (v.22-23).   

Those verses should cause any Christ-follower to pause and consider their eternity. Jesus also makes it clear who gets to spend eternity in heaven when He said, “but only he who does the will of my Father” (v.21). 

Scripture is consistent throughout; obedience as evidence of the indwelling saving work of the Holy Spirit is the primary test for loving God and having a relationship with Christ (John 14:15-21).

Praying a prayer, being baptized, attending church faithfully, giving money, going through confirmation, nor any other work or deed alone can save a person. The greatest evidence of a personal relationship with Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit in you evidenced by an obedient heart. 

Obedience seems to be a key defining mark of a Christ-follower. “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” The word “only” is deafening! “Only” the person who obeys God will be in heaven.    

Plastic Christians are killing the church. There are two disturbing issues; first, people who have a personal relationship with Christ, but are so bogged down with religion they are not authentic Christ-followers, and secondly, those who claim to know Christ, have been through all the motions of religion, but in reality they do not know Christ.

The second is much worse than the first. The first group is killing the redemptive potential of the local church, but they will go to heaven. 

The second group are not only killing they redemptive potential of the local church, but they will know spend eternity in heaven. Knowing the facts about Christ is different than actually “knowing” Christ. In Philippians 2:12-13 Paul tells us to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose”.

In other words, if you have a personal relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit will indwell you, and He will work in you to want to obey and to actual follow-through with obeying God. Therefore, if you find yourself not wanting to obey, or unwilling to obey God, Paul would say “with fear and trembling” you had better figure out if you truly have experienced the life-change that comes with a personal relationship with Christ. 

Because, you see, the real question is not, “Do you know Christ?”, but rather “Does Christ know you?”