Question: "Why is salvation by works the predominantly held viewpoint? Why do so many people believe that we can be saved by works?" From GotQuestions.org
Answer: The simple answer is that salvation by works seems right in
the eyes of man. One of man's basic desires is to be in control of his own
destiny, and that includes his eternal destiny. Salvation by works appeals to
man's pride and his desire to be in control. Being saved by works appeals to
that desire far more than the idea of being saved by faith alone. Also, man has
an inherent sense of justice. Even the most ardent atheist believes in some
type of justice and has a sense of right and wrong, even if he has no moral
basis for making such judgments. Our inherent sense of right and wrong demands
that if we are to be saved, our "good works" must outweigh our "bad works."
Therefore, it is natural that when man creates a religion it would involve some
type of salvation by works.
Because salvation by works appeals to man's sinful nature, it forms the basis
of almost every religion except for biblical Christianity. Proverbs 14:12 tells
us that "there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of
death." Salvation by works seems right to men, which is why it is the
predominantly held viewpoint. That is exactly why biblical Christianity is so
different from all other religions - it is the only religion that teaches
salvation is a gift of God and not of works. "For it is by grace you have been
saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by
works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Another reason why salvation by works is the predominantly held viewpoint is
that natural or unregenerate man does not fully understand the extent of his
own sinfulness or of God's holiness. Man's heart is "deceitful above all
things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9), and God is infinitely holy
(Isaiah 6:3). The deceit of our hearts is the very thing that colors our
perception of the extent of that deceit and is what prevents us from seeing our
true state before a God whose holiness we are also unable to fully comprehend.
But the truth remains that our sinfulness and God's holiness combine to make our
best efforts as "filthy rags" before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6; cf. 6:1-5).
The thought that man's good works could ever balance out his bad works is a
totally unbiblical concept. Not only that, but the Bible also teaches that
God's standard is nothing less than 100 percent perfection. If we stumble in
keeping just one part of God's righteous law, we are as guilty as if we had
broken all of it (James 2:10). Therefore, there is no way we could ever be
saved if salvation truly were dependent on works.
Another reason that salvation by works can creep into denominations that claim
to be Christian or say they believe in the Bible is that they misunderstand
passages like James 2:24: "You see then that a man is justified by works,
and not by faith only." Taken in the context of the entire passage (James 2:14–26),
it becomes evident that James is not saying our works make us righteous before
God; instead, he is making it clear that real saving faith is demonstrated by
good works. The person who claims to be a Christian but lives in willful
disobedience to Christ has a false or "dead" faith and is not saved. James is
making a contrast between two different types of faith - truth faith that saves
and false faith that is dead.
There are simply too many verses that teach that one is not saved by works for
any Christian to believe otherwise. Titus 3:4–5 is one of many such passages:
"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not
by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He
saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit."
Good works do not contribute to salvation, but they will always be
characteristic of one who has been born again. Good works are not the cause of
salvation; they are the evidence of it.
While salvation by works might be the predominantly held viewpoint, it is not
an accurate one biblically. The Bible contains abundant evidence of salvation
by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8–9).
Question: "What does it mean that humanity is made in the image of God?" form GotQuestions.org
Answer: On the last day of creation, God said, "Let us make man in our
image, in our likeness" (Genesis 1:26). Thus, He finished His work with a
"personal touch." God formed Adam from the dust and gave him life by sharing
His own breath (Genesis 2:7). Accordingly, humanity is unique among all God's
creations, having both a material body and an immaterial soul/spirit.
Having the "image" or "likeness" of God means, in the simplest terms, that we
were made to resemble God. Adam did not resemble God in the sense of God's
having flesh and blood. Scripture says that "God is spirit" (John 4:24)
and therefore exists without a body. However, Adam's body did mirror the life
of God insofar as it was created in perfect health and was not subject to
The image of God (Latin: imago dei) refers to the immaterial part
of humanity. It sets human beings apart from the animal world, fits them for
the dominion God intended them to have over the earth (Genesis 1:28), and
enables them to commune with their Maker. It is a likeness mentally, morally,
Mentally, humanity was created as a rational, volitional agent. In other words,
human beings can reason and choose. This is a reflection of God's intellect and
freedom. Anytime someone invents a machine, writes a book, paints a landscape,
enjoys a symphony, calculates a sum, or names a pet, he or she is proclaiming
the fact that we are made in God's image.
Morally, humanity was created in righteousness and perfect innocence, a
reflection of God's holiness. God saw all He had made (humanity included) and called
it "very good" (Genesis 1:31). Our conscience or "moral compass" is a
vestige of that original state. Whenever someone writes a law, recoils from
evil, praises good behavior, or feels guilty, he or she is confirming the fact
that we are made in God's own image.
Socially, humanity was created for fellowship. This reflects God's triune
nature and His love. In Eden, humanity's primary relationship was with God
(Genesis 3:8 implies fellowship with God), and God made the first woman because
"it is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). Every time
someone marries, makes a friend, hugs a child, or attends church, he or she is
demonstrating the fact that we are made in the likeness of God.
Part of being made in God's image is that Adam had the capacity to make free
choices. Although they were given a righteous nature, Adam and Eve made an evil
choice to rebel against their Creator. In so doing, they marred the image of
God within themselves, and passed that damaged likeness on to all of their descendants
(Romans 5:12). Today, we still bear the image of God (James 3:9), but we
also bear the scars of sin. Mentally, morally, socially, and physically, we
show the effects of sin.
The good news is that when God redeems an individual, He begins to restore the
original image of God, creating a "new self, created to be like God in true
righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). That redemption is only
available by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from the
sin that separates us from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through Christ, we are made
new creations in the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Question: "Why do people reject Jesus as their Savior?" from GotQuestions.org
Answer: The decision to accept or reject Jesus as Savior is the
ultimate life decision. Why do many people choose to reject Jesus as Savior?
There are perhaps as many different reasons for rejecting Christ as there are
people who reject Him, but the following four reasons can serve as general
1) Some people do not think they need a savior. These people consider
themselves to be "basically good" and do not realize that they, like all
people, are sinners who cannot come to God on their own terms. But Jesus said,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except
through me" (John 14:6). Those who reject Christ will not be able to stand
before God and successfully plead their own case on their own merits.
2) The fear of social rejection or persecution deters some people from
receiving Christ as Savior. The unbelievers in John 12:42-43 would not confess
Christ because they were more concerned with their status among their peers
than doing God's will. These were the Pharisees whose love of position and the
esteem of others blinded them, "for they loved the approval of men rather than
the approval of God."
3) For some people, the things that the present world has to offer are more
appealing than eternal things. We read the story of such a man in Matthew
19:16-23. This man was not willing to lose his earthly possessions in order to
gain an eternal relationship with Jesus (see also 2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
4) Many people are simply resisting the Holy Spirit's attempts to draw them to
faith in Christ. Stephen, a leader in the early church, told those who were
about to murder him, "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and
ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!"
(Acts 7:51). The apostle Paul made a similar statement to a group of
gospel rejecters in Acts 28:23-27.
Whatever the reasons why people reject Jesus Christ, their rejection has
disastrous eternal consequences. "There is no other name under heaven given to
men by which we must be saved" than the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12), and
those who reject Him, for whatever reason, face an eternity in the "outer
darkness" of hell where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew