Some people think they will go to heaven because they obey God’s laws. Some people think they will go to heaven because they give money to the poor, or they pray a lot, or they go on pilgrimages. But this approach does not work unless you obey ALL of God’s laws. If you break some of God’s laws, if you ever tell a lie, for instance, or ever lust after another person’s wife in your heart, you stand condemned, and you are a lawbreaker, despite the fact that you keep some of God’s laws.
No one is perfect. Therefore, since we are all lawbreakers, we can only be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. That means we are saved not by OUR goodness, but by the goodness of JESUS. Those who claim to be saved by being perfect reject God’s mercy. But those of us who KNOW that we are wicked sinners, and ADMIT, our sins, can be saved by faith, by our belief in the one true God who grants mercy to those who repent and believe in Jesus Christ.
Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” (Galatians 3:11-12 NIV)
Some people think they are “righteous” because they do more good works than other people. But this is wrong. People who think like this are proud, and God does not look kindly on those who are proud and arrogant and who think they are better than others:
“Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4 NIV)
If you are a proud one then your soul is not right within you. If you think you are better than other people because you have never murdered someone, or because you have never stolen or lied very much, then you are wrong. All of us are guilty of some sins. No one is perfect.
And God will still save some of us sinners. He will make us righteous if we turn to him by faith. That means, when a horrible sinner hears that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and repents of his sins and believe in Jesus, than God will count him as sinless, and will not send that person to hell. Instead he will be resurrected to heaven when he dies to spend eternity in perfect fellowship with God.
If you are trusting in your own good works to get you to heaven, you are trusting in the wrong thing. You need to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. You will be saved by your faith in the love and power of God.
You Cannot be saved by keeping the Old testament Law, unless you are able to keep all of the law:
For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” (Galatians 3:10 NIV)
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. (James 2:10-11 NIV)
No one is able to keep the entire Old Testament Law. There are laws against lying, laws against stealing, laws against desiring someone else’s property. If you break any of these laws you are a law breaker, and are under God’s judgment. Therefore, do not think you are a good person who can earn your way to heaven by your own good works: you are a sinner and a lawbreaker. You can only escape the coming judgment by God’s grace, which is given to those who repent and believe on Jesus Christ.
True children of Abraham are those who are saved by faith. Abraham was saved by faith when he believed God’s promise that he would have a son. Today many Gentiles are saved by faith when we believe that God sent His own Son to die for our sins, Jesus Christ.
Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore,be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God [l]would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. (Galatians 3:6-9)
Some people believe that the Torah teaches us to earn our way to heaven by good works. But no one can be good enough to keep all the laws in the Torah. Even Abraham, the ancestor of the Jewish people, the first one to recieve the national promise that God gave to teh Jews, was saved by faith, not by his good works, which were imperfect:
So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. (Galatians 3:6-7 NIV)
Abraham was a good man by human standards. Indeed, he did many Good things, and God Himself is not ashamed to be called the God of “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” But Abraham was not perfect and sinned against God at times. His salvation was granted to Him because of His belief in God. True believing Christians are now Abraham’s spiritual children, for we, like He, are saved by our belief, not by perfect living. We admit that we have broken God’s laws, but we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins.
Abraham (also called Abram) is one of the most famous characters of the Old Testament. He is the father of the Jewish people, and several other nations as well. He was a man greatly honored and loved by God. God saw Abraham as “righteous,” but Abraham did not earn His righteousness by perfect behavior. No, Abraham sinned against God at times. But God credited Abraham with righteousness because he believed God. Read the account below slowly and you will see why God forgave Abraham of his sins:
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 12:2-6)
In this passage God tells Abraham something that is hard to believe. God tells him that he will have a son who will have many descendants. This was hard to believe because both Abraham and his wife were very old. From a medical standpoint, it was impossible for Abraham and Sarah to have a son. But God told him that he would have son.
Abraham believed the Lord, and the Lord credited it to him as righteousness. This means that God forgave Abraham his sins on account of his belief. You see, Abraham did not impress God with his good deeds. No one can impress God with their good deeds. Even mother Teresa could not have earned her way into heaven on account of all the starving children she fed. She was still a sinner that hurt other people. She had secret sins that no one else knew about. All of us are sinners. The only way we will be saved is if we believe God’s promises.
God’s promise to Abraham was that he would have a son. God’s promise to us today is that GOD has a son, whom He sent to Earth to die for us. His name is Jesus. Jesus not only died for us, but God also raised Him from the dead. If you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and you also believe that God will raise you from the dead, then you will be saved. But if you deny the power of God and keep living for you own selfish desires, then you are making yourself God’s enemy.
True Christianity preaches that salvation is by grace through faith, not by works of the law. This means that God saves wicked, horrible people who repent of their sins and believe in God’s promises. God does not save perfect people who have earned their own salvation through good deeds and religious rituals, since no one is good enough to get saved this way.
One way we can prove that God saves through faith rather than works is by the account of the miracles recorded in the Bible. The people who did this miracles were not perfect people. They were sinners who had messed up, but God performed powerful miracles through them anyway because they had faith:
So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? (Galatians 3:5 NIV)
The question that Paul asks is a rhetorical question. The answer is by believing what your heard. Paul himself had been used by God to perform many miracles:
God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. (Acts 19:11-12 NIV)
Indeed, all the miracles in the Bible were performed through faith. Hebrews 11 gives a long list of names of Old Testament “heros” who accomplished great things by their belief:
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11:32-38 NIV)
These people, these great heroes of the faith were sinners like you and me. But they repented and believed God’s promises, and he used them to accomplish great things. If you want to serve God, the only way to serve God is through faith: believing in God and his promises, trusting in Jesus Christ alone. Do not think that God will do a miracle just because you are a good person. You cannot earn a miracle by giving money to the poor, or kneeling before a priest, or eating the eucharist, or saying prayers to a statue of the “saints.” God’s blessings are given to us through faith, not through our own works. They are a gift from God, not something that we are able to earn with all of our effort.
Some churches teach you that God will supernaturally and mystically regenerate your soul and give you faith if you submit to the physical acts of baptism and or/communion at the “right” churches. But I know they are wrong. On the contrary, I believe that anyone who submits to baptism or takes the eucharist without already believing in Jesus is committing grave sin, and should repent of it. These acts are worthless if you do not already believe, and they heap judgment on those who partake of them without humility and faith in Jesus Christ. Do not expect that being baptized or taking communion will give you the faith you now lack, rather, take communion and be baptized only if you already believe.
So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. (I Corinthians 11:27-28 NIV)
The only way that anyone can be saved is by grace through faith, by simply believing in Jesus Christ and know that His death on the cross was sufficient to save your soul. Yes, it is important to get baptized and take communion as well, but you do not earn or improve your salvation through doing these things. Many churches put an unhealthy emphasis on such rituals as communion and baptism, and even make up a few extra rituals such as confirmation and last rites. The clergymen at these churches will try to use fear to keep you at their church, they warn you against going to a church that doesn’t have all the perfect liturgy or tradition. But I warn you, do not trust in a clergyman, or his fancy vestments, or his liturgy to save you, God will save those who are humble and believe in Jesus alone for salvation. You do not need to be an expert in church tradition to go to heaven, you only need to repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ who died for you and loved you. It is by believing the word of God that you are saved, not by performing any extra “works”:
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? (Galatians 3:1-3 NIV)
The Apostle Paul stresses in this Bible passage above that we are saved and receive the Spirit of God not by works of the law but by believing the truth that we have heard about Jesus. Our belief in Jesus, our faith, did not come from ourselves, it is a gift from God. Therefore, since we have begun by means of the Spirit we should cling to our first faith like children, and not try to finish by means of the flesh, that means, not try to add to our salvation by sophisticated rituals and rules. We are sinners who would have been sentenced to hell apart from God’s grace; we can only be saved by mercy, not by our own good works. If we try to add to our salvation by our own good works or church rituals, then we are admitting that our original faith wasn’t enough; we are saying that our conversion was in vain. Therefore, let us not sin against Jesus by trying to add good works to the salvation that He accomplished for us on the cross, but let our faith for salvation be in Him alone, not in priests or confirmation class, or the specific liturgy of the baptism and communion. Your baptism and communion is only pleasing to God if you have faith.
2,000 years ago the Apostle Paul wrote a very serious letter to the church of the Galatians, to warn them that they were leaving the faith and falling into serious error. The Galatian church was a wonderful church of eager new converts. They had been saved out of the horrors of paganism by God when they repented of their sins and believed in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. But afterwards false teachers came into their church teaching that they had to believe and be circumcised in order to be saved. In the beginning of chapter three Paul energetically rebukes them for listening to these false teachers:
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. (Galatians 3:1)
Paul is calling these gullible young Christians foolish and bewitched because they have been so easily fooled by false teachers. They had been clearly taught by Paul that Jesus Christ was crucified for their sins, and only through believing in him can the be saved. They should have known better than to follow false teachers with impressive-sounding credentials who claimed that there was more that they had to do to be saved. By adding to the simplicity of the gospel message, they were actually throwing out the gospel all together. They were giving up everything important in order to impress some false teachers.
Sadly, there are many evangelicals who are doing the same thing today. They know that salvation is only by grace through faith, but they have been seduced by theologians and church official sto believe that there is more that they have to do to be saved. They are returning to orthodoxy, they are being enslaved by the manmade traditions of the past. Some evangelicals have gone back to the old churches who have taught them that they can contribute to their salvation, or at least improve their standing with God through human rituals performed by a specially ordained priesthood. Let me be blunt with you: being confirmed, fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, keeping the Sabbath, having a priest pray for you, taking the sacraments from someone in special garments, will in no way improve your standing with God, on the contrary it may undermine it. A true relationship with God must be founded on faith in Christ-alone for salvation, not faith in the church or faith in festivals and rituals. Don’t trust people or ministers, trust God alone. Atonement is provided only through the blood of Christ, and it is offered free to all lay-people by God independent of any human-appointed clergy.
If you are a “bewitched” Evangelical reading this today, I advise your to repent today, and ask God for forgiveness for sinning against His Son. Stop trusting in the special rituals or the special communion bread to save you, trust in Christ alone.