We were together with friends of ours this weekend and we had an interesting discussion. Please pray for her because I could see a light begin to come on. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will open her eyes to understand what I was sharing from the Bible. Our discussion centered around faith and works. I have another friend who just had a conversation along these same lines with the father of her friend. While she was visiting the story about this little girl and a new bicycle which she wanted was told. I'm copying and pasting it into this blog.
In this story, written by Stephen E. Robinson, a young girl approaches her father about the possibility of buying her very own bike. Her father explains to her that having a bike is a very big responsibility and that a bike would cost a lot of money. However, he hugs her tightly and tells her that a goal is a good thing to have. He encourages her to try to earn what she needs to buy a new bike. The young daughter begins sweeping the porch, helping her mother pull weeds in the garden, and clean her bedroom in earnest. After working hard, she comes to her father with the money she has earned, hoping to be able to buy a new bike. Her father responds, "Let's go see what we can find out." When they enter the bicycle shop the young girl sees the most beautiful bike she could've ever imagined...but when she sees the price tag she begins to weep. When the little girl settles down, her father wipes her tears away and says, "How about this? How much money do you have?" "Sixty-one cents," she answers. "Then I'll tell you what," he says. "Let's try a different arrangement. You give me everything you've got--the whole sixty-one cents--and a hug and a kiss, and the bike is yours. I'll make up the difference." This little, heartwarming story honestly and truly makes my heart...sick! You see, this parable describes exactly the way my LDS friends believe they will be redeemed. They believe that they need to meet Christ half-way with their sixty-one cents...
My friend, too, mentioned this story in her explanation. I shared how the New Testament consistently emphasizes that salvation (eternal life) comes by placing personal faith in Jesus Christ. There are close to 200 times in the New Testament where salvation is said to be done by faith alone, with no works in sight. I'll list just a few: John 3:15, John 5:24, John 11:25, John 12:46. Jesus explains the 'works' of God in John 6:27-29.
I am in agreement that works are important but they do not save!! Christians work from salvation, not for salvation. We do good works not to receive salvation, but because we have already received it (salvation). We are saved by faith but for works. Works are not the condition of our salvation, but a consequence of it. James 2 tells us we are saved not by works but by the kind of faith that produces works.
I will not argue, but when the Lord presents an opportunity, I need to be obedient and share, in love, the truth from His Word. Again and again, I share how important it is for anyone who believes they are following truth, to check it against the sure foundation of God's Word, just as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11, "...They received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
You see, since God is outside of time, then there isn't any way that He can contradict Himself on down the line. Any "new" commandment will always line up with what He has already stated in His Word. If it doesn't, then one can be sure that it is false, leading one away from the truth.