“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6
“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.” – Galatians 5:6
Faith saves us. Faith keeps us.
“Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” – Hebrews 4:11
“Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear:” – Romans 11:20
“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” – Acts 14:22
Works are just the byproduct of faith, not the fuel. If Faith were a fire, the warmth, the light, and the dirty soot would be our works (our righteousness is as filthy rags), but the fuel would be GOD’s grace.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” – Titus 3:5
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” – Isaiah 64:6
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” – John 1:17
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 5:2
“But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” – Romans 5:15
As activity from a human body shows that the spirit of life still remains inside a human being, even so spiritual actions or activity or works are proof that our faith is true saving faith and that the Spirit of GOD lives within us. As we abide by faith in Christ, He produces fruit or works in our lives.
We cannot abandon faith and abide outside of Christ and hope to remain alive, anymore than a branch can abide outside of a tree’s vines and roots and hope to still remain alive. Our faith is GOD’s gift to us, and it is fueled by His grace. We must approach GOD with love and fear, knowing that without faith and our lamps filled with His Spirit, we will be like the foolish virgins of Christ’s parable in the end – shut out of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” – James 2:26
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” – John 15:4
GOD keeps the fire burning, not us. It behooves us to kneel before Him prostrate in thanksgiving for His great grace if you are child of GOD today, because if you fail to abide in Him and your faith dies, it is impossible to renew such faith. We are solely dependent upon our GOD’s grace, not living in fear of “losing our salvation”, but in faith that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him as Hebrews 11 states.
Some in Arminius’ camps believe in “repeated regeneration”. In other words, they believe if you fail to maintain works (i.e. works salvation) or if you shipwreck your faith that you are given multiple opportunities to renew it. The Bible teaches that works have nothing to do with keeping one’s salvation. The Bible also teaches that once the fire of faith has died on the altar of a man’s life as the grace of GOD is removed, then you are eternally apostate and hopeless. Do not look to Arminius or any other man’s additions to Scripture for your beliefs on salvation. Look to Scripture alone.
“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” – John 15:6
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” – Hebrews 6:4-6
Faith saves and that faith is made possible by GOD’s grace. We do not deserve His grace. “Saving faith” perseveres and it does show forth fruits meet for repentance. Our works are but the byproduct of our faith. He chooses to whom He will give grace and thus empowers “saving faith”, which means some will sail to Heaven’s shores, others will shipwreck their faith, while others will never get into the ship. Ultimately, the latter two did not have “saving faith” and were not of “the elect” or “saved”, even if they started out in faith. Only GOD has a right to give us faith that perseveres through His grace.
“Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God” – Romans 15:15
“But He gives more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.” – James 4:6
“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy.” – Romans 9:13-16
Some followers of Calvin believe that this verse teaches that GOD damns some and limits his atonement to just those who receive His truth in faith, but that doctrine is not taught anywhere in Scripture. The Scriptures are abundantly clear that the ark of Christ’s salvation is open to everyone until the door of His grace shuts out those who waited too late to receive His gift of salvation. Does GOD choose to share a different measure of grace with certain people in His sovereignty? Yes.
Does that mean He restricts some from coming to Himself? No. His atoning death on the cross is not limited to just an elite group of people. He died for all men, and He also gives all men a free will and choice in the matter.
Does GOD choose to dispense grace based upon something He sees in a man? How does this work? The Bible doesn’t go into a detailed explanation on this subject, so you can either disobediently add to Scripture as Calvin and Arminius did or you can trust the Father to explain it to you in heaven someday. Beware of those who are more into teaching catechisms and spouting syllogisms and rationalism than they are into quoting Scripture. Adding to Scripture in order to reveal the “secret things” of GOD is not intellectual but extremely foolish.
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” – Deuteronomy 29:29
Does GOD tell us to choose or does He force salvation upon us as an abusive spouse? GOD does tell us to choose many times in Scripture, and His character is not that of an abusive spouse, but a loving Groom. Are we depraved? Yes. How can we then choose Him? Why do some choose Him and some reject Him? How does this work? Why does GOD choose some and not others? Arminius’ followers may say it is because we choose GOD and He in His foreknowledge then gives us grace. Calvinists would say that it is because GOD selects men in His Sovereignty alone and damns the rest to hell.
Again, the Scriptures do not explain the mechanics of grace to us. Some run around “giddy as a school girl” with what they think is their perfect understanding of these truths, denouncing other believers who disagree with them. Many of these type of people are more into traditions, catechisms, divisions and debates than they are into sharing the Gospel and Christian unity.
In truth, our human minds cannot comprehend such matters, and those who say they know how or why GOD shows grace to some and not to others are like Calvin and Arminius who foolishly argue and attempt to show others answers on a matter that GOD will take ages to show to us.
They do not prove how intellectual they are, but rather the opposite. We can’t understand His sovereign grace in this life, but He will take ages to show to us how rich His grace truly is in the next life.
“That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” – Ephesians 2:7-8