What Should We Add to Faith? :: By Nathele Graham

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Any Christian who has studied faith should understand that we can add nothing to what Christ did for us on the cross. He paid the full price for our salvation. After being beaten unmercifully, Jesus had hung on the cross for hours, shedding His blood for our salvation, and it was time for Him to give up the ghost; the battle for our souls was over, and He won the victory.

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30).

Many denominations would have us believe that what Jesus did isn’t sufficient and that our salvation depends upon something we do, such as baptism or dressing a certain way.

Baptism is important, and every Christian should be baptized, but it’s something we do as evidence that we believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our salvation. We don’t do it to obtain salvation – because Jesus did it all for us.

John the Baptist baptized people and even baptized Jesus, but remember, that was before the cross. Jewish requirements had people take a ritual bath called a mikvah for spiritual purification prior to starting an important event in life, such as getting married or in preparation for the sabbath or a holy day. Jesus was baptized prior to beginning His ministry, but it definitely wasn’t for salvation or purification! He was Jewish and didn’t come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17). 

Jesus is the example to follow. Begin a new life in Christ by repenting of your sin, and be baptized to symbolize your new life in Christ.

As for dressing a certain way, the fact is Christians should dress modestly.

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). 

This applies to both men and women. We usually think that a woman shouldn’t dress flashy or provocatively, but there’s an ugly trend today for men to wear baggy pants that slip well below their waist, exposing their buttocks. That should not be a part of a Christian man’s wardrobe. Modesty is encouraged throughout Scripture and should be taken to heart.

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10). 

I knew a very sweet Christian lady who always dressed very nicely. Her manner of dress was very modest without being plain or frumpy. I once commented to her about always looking very nice. She told me she tried to dress with “understated elegance,” and I thought that was an example to follow.

Peter also spoke of appearance. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, or putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:3-4). 

Inward beauty is not flashy, but it is true beauty. These things don’t bring salvation, but our salvation should bring about changes in how we present ourselves.

We cannot add anything to what Christ did on the cross, but once we see that we are sinners with no hope for salvation except through Jesus Christ, we need to repent and turn away from our sin and worldly ways. It’s unreasonable to say that you have accepted Christ for salvation while you continue to embrace the sin from which you claim to have repented.

James talks of how a chain reaction from thought to action happens. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren” (James 1:14-16).

We need to stop associating with old friends who will tempt us back into old habits of sinful lust. Make friends with fellow Christians and help each other to stay strong in faithful living.

Salvation is completely through Christ, and nothing we do can make us any more saved than we are when we first turn to Him. It’s His grace alone that saves us.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Can you think of anything you could possibly do to save yourself? You are not greater than God, so we all need to place our faith in Him and His finished work on the cross. That being said, we can earn rewards by our behavior. The desire of our hearts should be changed, and instead of doing things for our own glory, we need to do all things for the glory of Christ. Our faith should inspire us to do good works.

“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20).

We need to live our faith.

Jesus had done some miracles, and people had been fed with bread and fish. They wanted more from Jesus and knew He was going to the other side of the sea. They jumped in their boats to meet Him there. “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26). 

We may try to fool Jesus into thinking our faith is real. Do we seek Him because we are grateful for what He did for us and want to follow Him? Or do we just want “fire insurance” and have no desire to honor Him with our life? He knows false faith from true faith. He also knows false works from works done for His glory.

Jesus told the group that met Him across the sea, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:27). 

Grace is free, and we don’t have to earn our salvation, but out of gratitude, we need to labor for the Lord.

The people asked what works to do. “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:28-29). 

We only need to have faith. God has made our salvation very easy, but humans try to complicate it. Church doctrines usually have long lists of do this and don’t do that, but God says only have faith. That faith should urge you to labor for God. You may think that you cannot do anything worthy of Him, but you can walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. You can witness to a neighbor, or you can pray for people.

In writing to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul told them how to avoid sin. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). 

Walking in the Spirit is using Scripture as the guide for your life. You may be saved by grace, but the evidence of that faith is honoring God with your life.

The Apostle Peter was a man who had a struggle learning to walk the walk. He followed Christ for three years but didn’t really have true faith until after the resurrection. Jesus made a point of letting Peter know that he was chosen for a very special purpose in spite of his failures. Peter was to be a pastor and care for and teach the people who would come to faith. Peter learned most of his lessons the hard way, but he did serve Jesus faithfully. He wrote letters of encouragement to fellow believers, and we all need to read them and take them to heart.

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4). 

Peter recognized the faith of his readers and encouraged them in their walk. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8). 

Peter didn’t mean that works will save a person, but they grow through our faith. James talked of dead faith, and Peter concurred with him. “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence to make you calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:9-11).

Peter knew that he was soon to be martyred for his faith but left encouragement to his flock and to us. His faith was true faith, and his works honored and glorified Jesus.

We all slip in our walk with Christ, but He is always willing to forgive us when we repent. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Confess your sins to Jesus, not to a priest. A priest cannot forgive your sins. Walk closer with the Lord and always keep Him on your mind. In that way, you won’t fall into temptation but will be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Faith is the foundation on which to build your life. Jesus gave His life for you. Live for Him and honor Him.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

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All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.

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