Are We Saved by Belief or by Actions?

In my last post where I related a conversation with my daughter concerning the eternal fate of atheists who persist in their belief system, I received a few respectful responses from fellow bloggers of the atheistic worldview.  I decided to place my reply in a post because the commenter asked several good questions and I thought my response was a little long for the comment section.  The gentleman takes issue with the concept of God’s judgment being based on belief rather than action.  He asks:

“Are you okay with people being judged on belief rather than actions? Are you comfortable with that? Does it seem just to you?”

My reply follows:

The only way anyone can be comfortable concerning God’s righteous judgment is by belief rather than action.  If my justification depended on my actions I (and everyone else) would be doomed to damnation.  For who has led a perfectly moral, unselfish life free from hatred, jealousy and strife? I would much rather be judged on the basis of belief, if by belief you intend to convey a trust and faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  See, my belief in Christ is based on actions he performed on my behalf for my eternal good.  In a nutshell, here are three important actions Christ performed:

1.  Jesus dwelt on the earth to fulfill the righteousness of the law that I could not live up to.

2.  He died the death I deserved to die so that I never have to experience the pangs of Hell.

3.  He rose from the dead for my justification, that I might be raised to eternal life with him.

I will be judged for my belief in the actions of another.  Christ’s acts of righteousness are imputed to me and my sinful actions were imputed to him on the cross as he made satisfaction for those sins with his shed blood. Our justification can come no other way. The cross of Christ was necessary to both fulfill God’s justice and to extend mercy to his people.
So, my answer to all three of your questions is a resounding ‘Yes!’

Note:  The above concerns the judgment of believers, however, the judgment of unbelievers is very much based upon actions.  Those who don’t trust on the work Christ performed will be forced to account for their own works.  The bible plainly states that men will be judged for every idle word spoken and for every deed done in the flesh, whether good or evil.  Their unbelief is just one of many sins which they will have to give account for on the Day of Judgment.   All the protests of the wicked will forever be silenced when they stand before the majestic glory of a thrice holy God.  They will know the full extent of the wickedness of their own hearts; not one person can decry that God is unfair or unjust.

In summary, God’s judgment is fully based upon belief  – in someone’s actions.  Will we trust in our own actions to please God and fulfill all his righteousness or will we trust in the actions of the Son of God, who did what we are helpless to do in order that we may receive the gift of eternal life that we do not deserve to live?

Sola Fide!

4 thoughts on “Are We Saved by Belief or by Actions?

  1. “If my justification depended on my actions I (and everyone else) would be doomed to damnation. ”

    Doesn’t that suggest too high of a standard?

    It also seems, at least to me, to be the strangest combination of arrogance and masochism rolled into one. (Not you personally, but the doctrine itself.)

    It just doesn’t pass muster to me as just, fair, or even to make that much sense.

    If some being, divine or otherwise, will torture me and others merely because I didn’t believe that it existed or because I wasn’t absolutely perfect in my actions, that’s not a being I would like to spend an eternity with. Let alone worship.

  2. I agree with morse here. There are probably millions of people who have died never even hearing the story of Jesus. How is it just for these people to be tortured? If the creator of the universe really is this unjust god, the more noble action is to spend eternity in Hell. I would rather go to Hell knowing I did my best with the evidence provided. I would rather endure everlasting punishment beside Gandhi than sit up in Heaven watching him being punished.

  3. Pingback: A Three Year Pilgrimmage « A Peculiar Pilgrim

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