Friday, 15 October 2010

Christ supplemented or Christ sufficient?

Is salvation a work of the Lord or does He require your input?

This is a vital question, and one that we have to get right, and when we look at what the Bible says we can have no doubt.  The sad thing is that there are people who put other things alongside Scripture that end up contradicting and overriding it.  I heard an example of this recently when someone was talking about how faith and works are required.  He tried to get around the obvious conflict with Scripture by saying that these works are only done by God's grace so we can't boast. 

There are huge problems here.  First, if we consider what the man said about works being done by God's grace, what works aren't by God's grace?  So what would Scripture mean when it says salvation is by grace through faith apart from works?  It amounts to this, that God requires work from us, He may provide the grace to do it, but we still have to do it, and if we do it well enough we get in.  You can see we aren't trusting Christ to do it all, we have to do part of it, and it would therefore still give cause to boast. 

But there is a second more fundamental problem.  If salvation depends in part on our works, what would it take to satisfy God?  This is where we see that works-based religions have too big an opinion of themselves and too small an opinion of God.  If God demands our works in order to attain salvation then is there anyone in this world who can satisfy the requirements of an infinitely holy, absolutely righteous God?  I would say to all those who feel their works play a part in attaining salvation, "Your God isn't holy enough."  He won't be satisfied by our contribution of sin-stained works. 

The only thing that will satisfy a holy God is a perfect sacrifice of infinite value.  That is what was provided at Calvary, and that is why we can only be right with God when we trust in the value of that sacrifice.  Nothing less will do, but nothing more will do either!  To say something additional to faith in Christ is needed is to say His sacrifice is not enough to give us a right standing before God.  God will not allow such a thing to be said.  It is faith alone, in Christ alone - nothing more, nothing less.  Ephesians 2 v 8-9; Philippians 3 v 9; Romans 3 v 27-28; 4 v 4-6; 11 v 6.