Salvation revealed through works.
I am a big believer in salvation via grace through faith, in fact it's the predominant message of the gospel. But for a long time I have been deceived, by myself. I believed that a man can be saved and never show signs of salvation. For instance a man (or woman) can live a life like Balaam and be saved.
Now, this came from watching Steven Anderson, he is an easy-believism preacher, and he essentially says if you need works to prove salvation, then it is the same as saying you need works to be saved - which I agree with.
However, the predominant view in the reformation basically said this, from salvation stems love and works - we work because we are saved. Now how can that be reconciled with knocking doors, giving the gospel, people "believing" and then carrying on living their lives as if nothing happened?
For instance, look at EVERY character in the bible who is saved..every single one - did something because of salvation. Look at Paul - did he continue killing Christians after getting saved? In fact, look at Judas, he knew Christ personally and yet betrayed him, he was a son of perdition and is in hell now - he was never a christian, and never was saved.
So it follows to me that true salvation will make some changes, now that doesn't follow that its a must, but could we believe that someone is saved and never do anything differently anymore? I could believe that people will still sin, that is fleshly nature, but to literally NEVER acknowledge that they're Christians, as a minimum? Come on.
Yet that is what Steven Anderson teaches, that if they "believe" the gospel, they can then forget they're even saved and still go to heaven. It's a circular argument, the idea is that the "belief" leads to nothing, but "faith is still faith". Yet if that faith is dead - as James said - due to zero works, what about love? love isn't a work, it is a state of being, can a person truly NOT acknowledge that love, and then act upon it?
For instance, you believe on Christ, you WILL act upon it, just as if you believed that every fifth pavement slab you stepped on would explode - you would surely miss every fifth pavement slab. So if you believe that Jesus died upon the cross to save you, and that you are unrighteous without him, and that the law is a mirror to true Godly perfection, and that God's righteousness is perfect - you would act upon that, no?
You see, the belief - the faith - is something you will act upon, now the next question is the level to which it is acted upon, and I think this is where the mustard seed comes in, and WHY Christ continually calls his disciples "ye of little faith", because we will, nay, must act upon our faith, as it is within our being. yes, little faith - is faith and it is that which saves, but Christ calls us to greater faith - as an intrinsic argument within the gospel - IF ye had faith as a mustard seed ye could move mountains. So that in itself is an okay level of faith to have. So I would say this, if we have less faith than a mustard seed - that is okay. In fact even if we had the minimum possible level of faith, it is okay. Yes, faith is still faith. We spend too long worrying about the "works" that we have. But the simple fact is this, faith IS faith, we have faith and we will act, the better so if we don't think of it as works. For instance, carry an old lady's shopping for her, or help an old man who is struggling to cross the road - just do it!! (to quote Shia LeBeouf). That is your faith in action.
Why did I write this? Because there is so much confusion, people say having works is works righteousness, but the issue is not the works, but the salvation. A Christian wants to do right, and I find it so scary the levels to which preachers will go to push works, or to exclude them. Works are a natural extension to faith, and they can be as grand as global missionary preaching, or just simple niceness to your neighbour. We don't do them to be saved, but because we are saved - hence the title.
I've used Steven Anderson because he led me to believe that I didn't "need works", and I am being a little unfair, as I don't "need works" - but he is a great sophister, and sadly that sophistry can lead one to believe that works are out of the equation, as if they won't be there at all at any point - ever.
To account for this, and to explain why works are featured in the bible, Steven says we do works for bonus points in heaven - for a nicer mansion so to speak. So for all the good works you do, your mansion will be better, and as a "king" in the millennial kingdom, you'll be "given more" - utilizing the parable of the faithful and unfaithful servant.
So, one does works to get rewards, another does works because the Holy Spirit changed their nature, took out their heart of stone and made it that of flesh. One does it arbitrarily, another does it because of what Christ did on the cross, and because they cannot help but do so.
I think my theology is changing.
For more, please read Tyndale's "Pathway into Holy Scripture"