Where do good works fit into salvation? Article by Pastor John Clark
Good works actually hinder someone’s chances to be saved. They do not help their chances to be saved. Now, that may shock some people, because most people have a faulty view that 'good people go to heaven'. The problem with that view, especially as it relates to good works, is what the Bible actually says which is something quite different.
Isaiah 64:6 says, "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags..." Isaiah holds nothing back here! First, we would have expected Him to say, our "unrighteousnesses" are like like filthy rags, but he doesn’t. He says our "righteousnesses" "are" like filthy rags. Isaiah uses a graphic and offensive word here to describe filthy rags when he uses the Hebrew word that refers to a woman’s menstrual rags.
Titus 3:5 says, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit." So, we see that the Bible teaches that good works actually HINDER someone’s ability to be saved! Our good works are like "filthy rags" in God's sight, and they actually cause people to depend upon themselves for their own righteousness (self-righteousness). But the truth is that NO ONE will get to heaven based upon their own righteousness – it is IMPOSSIBLE. This is why Romans 4:5 says, “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” Notice it says, “to him who DOES NOT WORK but to him who BELIEVES – The Bible teaches we must trust in THE GOOD WORK OF WHAT JESUS CHRIST DID FOR US ON THE CROSS when He died for our sins, paid their penalty in full, and rose again. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved..." (Acts 16:31)
Written by Dr. John Clark, pastor of Grace Community Fellowship in Newnan, Georgia (USA) You can watch many excellent videos by John Clark on his YouTube channel