If There Are No Works Involved In Salvation Then Why Does the Bible State: "Faith Without Works is Dead?"
We struggled with works a lifetime and it took that long for God to allow us to see the truth. Works is why we ended up in a cult for years. We wanted to serve God in some capacity. We thought that somehow we could reassure ourselves through works that we were really truly saved. Without works we didn't think God would consider us as "worthy" of heaven.
This kind of thinking got us into a whole lot of trouble and allowed many to take advantage of us and fleece us, because they teach that we are robbing God if we don't tithe. What we neglected to do was to really study the WORD in depth and as my mother taught, "when we don't listen, we have to feel it."
The is the first Scripture that was en eye opener in Isaiah 64:6
"But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
We were "Temple" Mormons and members for over 20 years and if you don't think we believed in works try that one some time. Their whole doctrine revolves around works and we thought we were real righteous people. The bishop agreed and said, "if you do all the things we tell you to do, you will become perfect one of these days." Our buttons about popped off our clothes in pride, because we were working hard at becoming these perfect people.
Twenty years later the Holy Spirit gave us that Scripture in Isaiah and note it said, "we are all as an unclean rag.." We couldn't believe what we saw? Where do we go from here?
Then we read: in Matthew 19:17:
"And He [Jesus] said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."
This Scripture only added to the confusion. How could Jesus say that He is not good? While we say we are good? There was obviously something we had missed in the message.
We kept digging. Salvation is about sin, getting our sins forgiven. Because of Adam's sin all of Adam's family (humanity) was and is condemned. Only through the Aaronic priesthood in the Old Testament was there a temporary solution for the Jews. Gentiles were not even salvageable we found. When a Gentile woman approached Jesus for a healing He didn't want to talk to her. He had come for the Jews. She kept insisting as these verses state:
"Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's [meaning the Jews, who had been set aside as God's elect] bread, and to cast [it] to dogs [Gentiles]. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." (Matthew 15:25-27)
We were getting worried now. How do we as Gentiles fit into this portrait of eternal heaven? Works didn't seem to have a place at all?
Then in Hebrews we found that God had abolished the Aaronic priesthood. It had offered an opportunity to repent of one's sins and in return one could make an offering to obtain at least temporary relief from being accused of sin [a permanent condition for humanity. Even certain thoughts are considered to be sins].
Mormons claim to have resurrected the Aaronic priesthood. In Hebrews, the New Testament, God ended the Aaronic priesthood permanently.
We became pretty desperate because all our props were being knocked out from under us. There seemed to be no way to get rid of sins, not even by 50 "Hail Mary" or praying someone out of purgatory. The biggest problem seemed to be that Jesus came for the Jews not us.
We kept on studying in Ecclesiastes we found that all is "vanity", which only added to our dismay. That meant whatever we are proud of is vanity in God's eyes.
"When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take [them]: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;" (Isaiah 57:13)
We had the first clue; we needed to put our trust in Him. What did that mean? We thought we had already done that. Obviously in reality we still had no clue as to what all this meant.
Then we found this beautiful perfect person came to earth to become King of the Jews. The Bible states that He was God in flesh because He was conceived of the Holy Ghost and a virgin. We never really understood that one either. As it turned out it was because we were not born again. Only born again Christians can understand that Jesus is God. What does that mean? We are already born, why be born again?
To make a long story short we found out that we had spiritually died due to Adam's transgression and the vertical communication with God had become unavailable except through the Old Testament priesthood which began with Abraham's faith.
God was watching His creation. Abraham, blessed by Melchizedek [a King who was not born of physical parents] before God tested his faith. God communicated with Abraham to test his faith and asked him to sacrifice his son. Abraham, a Gentile, was a believer, he knew God [God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit]. He knew that God would resurrect his son if he were to slay his son.
Abraham had vertical communication, which we don't have until we are born again. What does that tell you? God was in him. He was one with God.
Now lets go to James again. James was Jesus's half brother, servant of the twelve tribes. Paul was assigned to teach Gentiles. James states "Faith without works is dead". The only way Abraham could perform works was because he was one with God, he had the Spirit in his heart otherwise he would not have known that his son was going to be resurrected. We cannot understand the WORD of God without the Holy Spirit in us. He reveals it to our spirit and the light goes on.
Gentiles are under grace while the Jews are under the Law.
"For the law was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)
Jesus often referred living people as though they were dead. In example: Matthew 8:22: "But Jesus said unto him, 'Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead'." (Matthew 8:22) How can dead people bury the dead? He didn't mean that they were physically dead but spiritually dead. What He was saying without ME there is no life [no Spirit] in you.
Now if you are wondering who Melchizedek is or was in the Old Testament? He had no physical parents and always was.. God doesn't fill in the whole picture but continues in Hebrews
For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; (Hebrews 7:1)
Melchisedek was God's priest and who blessed Abraham.. Melchizedek was the King of righteousness and the King of peace, no beginning, no end, "
"Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually." (Hebrews 7:3)
"If therefore perfection were by the Levitical [Aaronic priesthood] priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
"For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
For [it is] evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
"For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope [did]; by the which we draw nigh unto God. And inasmuch as not without an oath [he was made priest]: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. (Hebrews 7:11-22)
A testament is an inheritance. An inheritance is a free gift. Notice it is a NEW Testament and a better testament.
The life in us which works through us is the Holy Spirit. We cannot take credit for His works. Even though, God promises to reward us by allowing us to participate in Christ's inheritance. Halleluia.. .
James is saying that a man without works does not have the Holy Spirit in him. We believe that the WORD is the Holy Spirit and it gets into our hearts it begins to grow and wash us and make us perfect in Him because we become one with Him if we yield to Him.
James 2:24: "Ye see then how that by works [works of the Holy Spirit] a man is justified, and not by faith only.
"But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:21) Notice that "doeth truth" is wrought in God not by us. Truth is the WORD of God.