The Relationship Between

Good Works and Salvation

Salvation is

(Ephesians 2:8-9)

Salvation is

(Ephesians 2:10)

Good works are not the MEANS of salvation (Titus 3:5).

Good works are the RESULT of salvation

(Titus 3:8).

Good works are not the CAUSE of salvation.

Good works are the CONSEQUENCE of salvation.

Good works are not what a person must do to be saved.

"But to him that WORKETH NOT, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5).

Good works are what a saved person does.

"This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works" (Titus 3:8).

The unsaved person performs good works to try to obtain and merit God's favor.

The saved person performs good works because he has obtained God's favor

(Titus 2:11-14).

(Why do believers perform good works?)

Believers do not work in order to be saved.

Believers work because they are saved!

FLESHLY WORKS: that which an unsaved person tries to produce in order to be saved.

FAITH WORKS: that which God produces in the saved person (Heb. 13:21).

FLESHLY WORKS cannot please God

(Romans 8:8).

FAITH WORKS are pleasing to God

(Hebrews 11:6; 1 Thess. 1:3).

The unsaved boaster: "Look what I have done!" (see Matt. 23:5--"to be seen of men").

The saved person: "Thank you Lord for what You are doing in me" (Phil. 2:13).

The works of an unsaved person are grounds for boasting.

"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory [boast]; but not before God" (Romans 4:2).

The works of a saved person are cause for praise to God.

"Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:11).

DEAD WORKS (Heb. 6:1; 9:14; Eph. 5:11)

Working apart from God's LIFE. Works produced by the old nature (Gal. 5:19-21)


Works which flow out of a right relationship to the living God.

The unsaved person boasts in SELF ("I")

(Luke 18:11-12).

The saved person boasts in GOD

(1 Corinthians 1:29-31).

A person cannot WORK FOR his salvation (Romans 4:5).

A saved person can WORK OUT the salvation that he has (Phil. 2:12).

EMPTY: "Nothing in my hands I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling."

FULL: "that ye may abound to every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8; 1 Cor. 15:58)

Faith alone saves (Rom. 3:28).

The faith that saves is not alone

(James 2:14,20,22,26).

The error Paul corrected in Romans 3-4:


This is the error of legalism.

The error James corrected in James 2:

Works are unnecessary after we are saved.

This is the error of antinomianism.

You can't be saved by works

(Romans 3:28; 4:6; 2 Tim. 1:9).

You can't show that you are saved without works (James 2:18).

How can I be saved?

ONLY BY FAITH (Eph. 2:8; Gal. 2:16).

How can I show that I am saved?

ONLY BY WORKS (James 2:14-26).

Faith without works is essential for salvation (Galatians 2:16).

Faith without works is detrimental and evidences death (James 2:26).

Faith is the ROOT

(Galatians 5:6).

LOVE (expressed by good works) is the FRUIT (Galatians 5:6,22; Heb. 10:24).

Faith is unseen (even as a root)

Works are visible (Matt. 5:16).

Works are faith made visible (James 2:18).

Good works REJECTED (Matthew 7:22-23).

Good works REMEMBERED (Hebrews 6:10).

The works of an unsaved person will be an issue at the Great White Throne Judgment

(Revelation 20:11-15).

The works of a saved person will be an issue at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

God's message for the unsaved:

"This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:29).

God's message to the saved:

"[God's grace] teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world...a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:11,12,14).

Impossible requirements for the unsaved:

"Run, John, run," the law commands but gives me neither feet nor hands...

Supernatural enabling for the saved:

...far grander news the Gospel brings,

It bids me fly and gives me wings!

              --attributed to John Bunyan


Adding requirements to saving faith. To be saved you must submit, obey, surrender to Christ's Lordship, fulfill the conditions of discipleship, etc.


Insisting that a true believer can be barren and devoid of good works even to the point of totally abandoning the faith and denying Jesus Christ.

I do not work my soul to save--

That my Lord hath done...

...But I would work like any slave

For love of God's dear Son!


The Middletown Bible Church
349 East Street
Middletown, CT 06457
(860) 346-0907
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