Summary: An ongoing series answering questions from the congregation.
Sermon Series: ¡§Questioning the Faith¡¨
Sermon #9 ¡§Salvation by Works?¡¨
Text: Philippians 2:12
OPENING JOKE: A preacher takes the day off from church to go play golf. God allows him to shoot a perfect game. When asked why by St. Peter, God says, "Think about it, who can he tell?"
REMINDER: Please remember that this series on questions will go on until I run out. As I looked this week I noticed that I am running short. If you have questions, please write them and place them under my door.
INTRODUCTION: Tonight we are going to answer a question concerning salvation and works.
The Bible talks a lot about the relationship between faith and works
James¡¦ epistle speaks of the certain relationship of faith and works, remarking that true faith will be accompanied by good works
While almost all thirteen of Paul¡¦s epistles reaffirm that it is by Grace through faith and not works that one is justified and counted righteous.
So the question of today is not one that is really new. Christians have been asking about the relationship of faith and works since the dawn of the faith.
Question: ¡§Is not our salvation through God¡¦s grace? If so, I am confused by Philippians 2:12. If God set us apart, how is it we have to work for or earn it?¡¨
To understand the answer we must first look at the doctrines of salvation as found in the Scripture
ƒæ The Doctrine of Justification
a. Definition: Justification is the act where God declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins
i. Acts 2:38 ¡§Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit¡¨
ii. Luke 13:3 ¡§I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish¡¨
iii. Acts 3:19 ¡§Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,¡¨
b. Justification comes by God¡¦s grace through faith in Christ
i. Ephesians 2:8 ¡§For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,¡¨
ii. Romans 4:3 ¡§For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.¡¨
c. Justification comes to those who trust in Christ¡¦s complete work on the cross, and not their own goodness, to inherit the Kingdom of God
i. Isaiah 64:6 ¡§But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.¡¨
ii. Romans 4:5 ¡§But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,¡¨
d. Through Justification sinful man receives the righteousness of sinless Christ
i. II Corinthians 5:21 ¡§For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.¡¨
ii. A person is justified of sin when he/she comes into a saving relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ
iii. Their account is then wiped clean, and when they stand before the judgment bar of God they will stand with Christ¡¦s righteousness instead of their own, which is the only righteousness worthy of Heaven
ƒæ The Doctrine of Sanctification
a. Sanctification has a two-fold meaning in Scripture
b. (1) Positional Sanctification
i. This is where the believer is ¡¥separated from profane things and dedicate to God¡¦
ii. This happens at conversion
iii. Positional sanctification has to do with the believer¡¦s standing in Christ (he is ¡¥set apart¡¦) not with his Christian walk
1. Acts 20:32 ¡§So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified¡¨
2. I Corinthians 1:2 ¡§To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:¡¨
c. (2) Progressive Sanctification
i. This is the ¡¥process of cleansing the believer goes through¡¦
ii. This is a lifetime struggle against worldly and fleshly desire
iii. Progressive sanctification has to do with the believer¡¦s walk in Christ and should never be mistaken for justification or positional sanctification
iv. Quote: Progressive sanctification is our preparation for Heaven, not our pathway to Heaven
1. John 17:17 ¡§Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.¡¨
2. II Corinthians 3:18 ¡§But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.¡¨