Are Good Works Necessary for Salvation?

To answer this question more fully, we need to consider what happened with Adam, our first father.

The original relationship man had with God required much of both parties, just like a marriage. Demands, promises, and curses were attached to the agreement (i.e., covenant) made with the first Adam. These obligations were broken, and the curses of the betrayal (like in marriage) had not only relational effects but legal ones as well. We received Adam’s guilt, shame, and corruption. 

 

The Bible instructs us to imitate Christ, to obey his commands, and to follow in God’s footsteps. Yet, Scripture also declares salvation to be a free gift of God (Eph. 2:8–10). So, what do our works have to do with the free gift of salvation in Christ? Are good works necessary for salvation? This is a tough question that Christians have debated for a while.

To answer this question more fully, we need to consider what happened with Adam, our first father. The original relationship man had with God required much of both parties, just like a marriage. Demands, promises, and curses were attached to the agreement (i.e., covenant) made with the first Adam. These obligations were broken, and the curses of the betrayal (like in marriage) had not only relational effects but legal ones as well. We received Adam’s guilt, shame, and corruption.

All of humanity fell because we were attached to those verdicts and curses. In order to reverse the effects of sin, Jesus had to become one of us and undergo the penalties of the court. He willingly took on the death sentence we deserved in order for us to be restored to that fellowship with God which no man has ever imagined or could hope for (1 Cor. 2:9).

Because Christ took the penalties, guilt, shame, and corruption of the curses on his back, we can now have that divine relationship with the triune God. We are heirs of the kingdom, legal children who are no longer illegitimate (Gal. 4:6–7). Everything pertaining to salvation is ours!

In order to uproot, the shame, and corruption, Christ had to deal with the guilt of sin. We had to be declared righteous (legally) before the shame and corruption could be undone. Now that we are in Christ, as the New Adam, we have his legal righteousness and his holiness and perfection. God has begun the good work of not only wrapping us in his righteousness but transforming us from the inside out with Christ’s love. His very life is ours as a gift.

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