Let’s make this clear; Christians are saved by GRACE through FAITH in Jesus Christ as Lord God and Savior (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). But it is because of genuine faith in Jesus that will defiantly cause the life of someone who just came to faith to drastically change. A changed life is a sure fact. To reiterate, it is NOT the changed life that leads someone to faith. It IS the faith that leads to a changed life. Faith proceeds the life change but the life change is an inevitable result from saving faith. This addresses the issue of Lordship Salvation.
The recognition of sin and the fight against it. The recognition of the need to serve and obey God and the fight to do it. But notice it is a fight. Christians are still sinners; but once we fought against God, now we contend for the faith (Jude 1:3) and fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). The works we do in our fight of faith are works in service and obedience to God and done for his glory.
Why are these works Inevitable?
True Christians that have saving faith will for a fact desire and strive to do good works. Again, they are not saved by their works but their saving faith compels them to do good works. These works and life change are inevitable because they are in fact born again (John 3:1-21), the old self has been put to death (Col 3:5) and they have been made new (2 Corinthians 5:17) and transformed (Romans 12:2). Thus Christians, still sinners and imperfect, no longer live in their sins but in Christ (Romans 6:2).
How long does it take to change?
This is entirely up to The Holy Spirit. Although there is a starting point of spiritual birth; the spiritual maturing varies. There is a spiritual growth (2 Peter 1:5-8) but clearly is not the same for all people. Timothy was young in age but spiritually mature (1 Timothy 4:12) while the audience of Hebrews was rebuked for their continued immaturity in faith (Hebrews 5:11-14). But this also shows that change is inevitable because the Holy Spirit himself does in fact change and matures true believers.
Is Just Saying you believe enough?
Paul addresses this in Romans 10:9-10. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” If you truly believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord God and Savior in your heart; your life changes. Paul makes it clear it is more than talk. Your heart dictates your actions so what is in your heart will come in your life (Matthew 15:19). Jesus makes it clear that just because you claim something with your mouth in Jesus’ name doesn’t mean that’s what you really believe in your heart (Matthew 7:21-23).
NOT Saved by any kind or amount of Works
Again I want to make this very clear. Christians are not saved by how ‘good’ they try to be. Christians are sinners and without the justifying works of Jesus and God’s Grace; there is no salvation. God’s Grace given through faith alone in Jesus Christ as Lord God and Savior saves eternally. This is a very important principle known as Faith Alone.
In fact, when Christians do good, it is actually God working through them. Christians can not brag or boast about doing good. “so that no [a]man may boast before God. 30 But [b]by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, [c]and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:29-31. The only thing I can and WANT to brag about his how awesome the person and work of Jesus Christ is!
What if there is NO change?
James addresses this issue. His discussion can easily confuse people as it has throughout history but in light of all other scripture it becomes clear what he is talking about. Some one who claims to be Christian but never fights to believe and strive to live obedient to God is not saved by their claim of faith by it self (James 2:24). The spirit of God is not manifesting and working through them compelling works that God desires. The entire James 2:14-26 passage is about proving the genuineness of your faith by what you do.
If there is no change or desire to live obedient to the Lord; how can anyone say they are saved when God makes it clear that genuine faith WILL change your life.
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