Christian Works: Is It For Salvation, Rewards, Or Is It Simply About Identity?
In my experience, I have found that it’s very difficult to talk about ‘works’ in some Christian circles. Some of the meanest, most verbally combative people will come at us in full force if we dare reject the concept that Christians are somehow being rewarded above and beyond others who did not ‘do’ as much as they did.
In today’s video, I want to tackle this controversial subject. Are we saved by works? Do Christians get a special reward for having as many human works as possible? Or, is it possible that God is not up in heaven with a scoreboard to track our works, and instead the works are merely the outward flow of our inward identity?
Enjoy the video (above):
Below are a few verses I will discuss in this video about works-based salvation, and also earning rewards through works.
I first want to begin by saying Christians ARE called for good works.
Works Are Our Identity
Ephesians 2:10 ‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’.
Works for Rewards…….
However, work flowing as part our Christian identity doesn’t mean we earn special rewards for doing these good works.
Nowhere in scripture do actually see that some Christians are getting more rewards that others based on their effort here on earth.
Sure, you might find a parable that indirectly seems to suggest this, but you won’t any firm, direct statement to support this theology.
In fact, I’d like to point out that ‘rewards‘ in the plural sense is not anywhere in the bible. It’s reward. Singular. The reward is Jesus. It’s the inheritance.
The Bible DOES tell us what this reward is.
Colossians 3:24 ‘Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward’
Works For Salvation…….
Further, is a huge stretch to suggest that we are saved by works, and that includes water baptism, continual confession, or by tithing.
There is nothing any human can ‘do’ for salvation. If there were, then Jesus died needlessly – Galatians 2:21.
Some of this junk may sound super ominous and religious but don’t be fooled by eloquent speeches. It’s simply not in the scripture. But these verses are:
Ephesians 2:8-9 ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast’.
Romans 5:20 ‘Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin’.
Romans 5:1 ‘Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’.
John 6:28-29 ‘Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Romans 4:4-5 ‘Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness’.
Romans 3:27-28 ‘Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law’.
Acts 17:25 ‘And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else’.
If you found this post helpful, remember to like and share it.
Author: Mike Cynar
Mike Cynar was raised in a church setting where he frequently noticed that many attendees would eventually drift away. The church labeled these individuals as ‘back sliders’ or ‘fake Christians’ just looking for ‘fire insurance’. However, Mike realized the issue was rarely with these individuals but instead with the church’s message itself. The teachings heavily emphasized behavior improvement and one’s flaws, with only a fleeting mention of one’s identity in Christ. It felt as though every sermon was tailored to the church of Corinth, who as we know or committing sins that even unbelievers don’t partake in. This trend was noticeable not just in one denomination, but across Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, and many other churches. Upon understanding the true essence of the gospel – that our righteousness comes from Jesus’ actions, not our own – Mike was inspired to liberate believers from lifeless sermons and reconnect them with the genuine teachings of Jesus. He believes that one can nurture a vibrant and growing bond with Jesus, unhindered by rigid religious practices. And thus, “Jesus Without Religion” was born.
It turns out that it is grace that leads to repentance. And if our heart is to get others to walk in the Spirit and live a godly life, then the best approach is not a beat down sermon, but rather to remind other that it is only when we understand our true identity in Christ that we will live it out. Yes, it’s true, if you’re convinced that God thinks you’re a dirty sinner, you will ultimately continue a lifestyle that mirrors that view, but if you truly believe that even on your worst day, you are called holy, sanctified, justified, and will be presented blameless in the end, well, it turns out this is the secret to living out on the outside what has been worked in to the inside.