Is Salvation by Faith alone or with works?

On this question, the answer becomes understandable after addressing the confusion that arises from what one understands about:
A. What is the mechanism of salvation? Are we saved already or is this still future?
B. How do we “show fruits” of the Holy Spirit towards salvation?
C. What salvation is and from what?
Answering these questions requires reconciling the following verses. Comments are made after quoting them:

A. Mechanism of salvation, saved already or yet future?
It helps to start with Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”




COMMENT: Salvation is indeed by grace of the Father and a gift, not by our own works, so no man (even Jesus) can boast of what he did,i.e., crucified for us. Mankind has been alienated from Father God because of sin (Gen. 3), so egregious and a seminal event that deserved eternal death. Everyone’s sin reverted or defaulted to, by imputation, to Adam’s sin, one man,((Rom.5:12-21), so that his eternal death, as a consequence thereof, could be imputed to Jesus’ eternal death, also one man. But, the proximate result/effect of the death of Christ is to reconcile us to Father God, i.e., his death did not proximately or actually save us. It restored us back to the state of Adam before he sinned. It justified (just-as-if-did-not-sin) us in the eyes of the Father . As Rom 5:10 states, 
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God (through the death) of His Son, much more, having (been reconciled), we shall be saved by His life”. 



Notice, Adam’s/mankind’s eternal death was imputed to Jesus’ eternal death which then reconciled/justified us to Father God, but still we (shall) be “saved by his life”, i.e., we will (still) need to be saved (future) by “his life“. Meaning, after his death and our reconciliation, Jesus (on his belief) has to be resurrected to “life” before we can be saved. But, why did Jesus need to be resurrected? Notice in John 16:7 
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart (to the Father), I will send him unto you.” 



And, after resurrection and departing to the Father, what would Jesus do: Luke 24:49 
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be imbued with power from on high.”

The “faith (of) man-Jesus” in the Father is evidence-based as he was with the Father before the world began and he knew him as the source of power and wisdom. Predicated on that evidence-based faith, Jesus then trusted the Father and hoped, that:
 (1) His death would bring “reconciliation/justification“for mankind, 

(2) At his resurrection, the Spirit would be gifted to be “in us“,through Jesus, as promised, and 

(3) For the ultimate purpose of “bringing many sons to glory“(Heb. 2:10). 

It was prophesied that from a “stony heart”, figuratively “tables of stone“, that we had before, the Spirit will get into us to reside in the “fleshly tables of our heart” to write his laws (2Cor.3:3;Ex.31:18; Ezekiel.11:19, 36:26; Jer. 31:33) changed from “stony heart” to “fleshly tables” of our heart, now open for learning, guidance and “wisdom“. As Pharaoh was “hardened and blind” (Ex 9:12), so were we “deaf and blind” spiritually (Jn 12:40; Mk 4:12; Isa 6:10) until the Spirit was given to us, starting on chosen people at Pentecost. The Spirit is sorely needed by us, that Christ had to die, because “the flesh is weak” (Matt 26:40-43). Without this Spirit, we will not have “the empowering tool” for us to “see” even with our physical eyes, nor “ears” to hear, even with our physical ears. Yes, we are “blind and deaf” to spiritual things without this Spirit of God. Just remember that Peter did not know who Christ was until the Father “revealed it to him” by the Spirit (Matt. 16:15-17), the empowering tool. This is the principle and importance of having the Spirit in us, for guidance, safety, protection, nurturing, yes, sanctification.
B. How do we “show fruits” of this Holy Spirit towards salvation
Consider James 2:17-18
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”


COMMENT: The context was about “showing“, our faith. The Spirit of God in us, molding the “spirit of man” (breath of life in Genesis) will have “fruits of the spirit”(Gal 5:22-23). True faith will then show or manifest in “good works“. These “works” however are “works of God” through us by the Spirit given by grace and as a gift because of the “faith of Jesus”. Any “good work” that emanates from us, are as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) to God; it has to be a product or “fruit of the Holy Spirit” in us. No one can therefore “boast“, even when our personal faith is required, as from “faith (of Jesus) to our faith“. Notice that in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus followed, not his will, but the will of the Father (Lu. 22:42; Jn.4:34; 6:32-44). So must we, as empowered by the Holy Spirit. Indeed, not our “own works“, but the “works” of the Spirit given to mold us “like clay being shaped” (Isa 64:8; Jer 18:1-23; 18:2-6; Rom 9:21) into the mindset of Christ, the Head of the “body of Christ”, the church. Without these fruits manifested, how then can one be sure about the presence of true faith? Indeed, “showing” translates to expression seen in “good works”.
C. What salvation is and from what?
In Gen. 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.  



COMMENT: The death referred to here, is that death wherein there is no resurrection, the 2nd death, eternal death. There are 2 kinds of death:
1. The death from which there is resurrection, aka, “sleep“being temporary. This refers to natural death and buried in “hades“(hell/grave) from which there is coming resurrection. Many examples of man dying but resurrected back to life:
A. Elijah raised the son of the Zarephath widow from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-22). 

B. Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman from the dead (2 Kings 4:32-35). 
C. A man was raised from the dead when his body touched Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:20, 21). 
D. Many saints rose from the dead at the resurrection of Jesus (Matt 27:50-53). 
E. Jesus raised the son of the widow of Nain from the dead (Luke 7:11-15). 
F. Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Luke 8:41, 42, 49-55). 
G. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44). 
H. Peter raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-41). 
I. Eutychus was raised from the dead by Paul (Acts 20:9, 10). 
All were resurrected to live again on earth but died again. 

2. “Second” death or “eternal death” from which there is no resurrection (Rev 2:11; 20:6, 7- 14; 21:8). Rev. 20:14-15 ” And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”



Notice that those in the end who overcame through the power of the Holy Spirit in them, will participate in the 1st resurrection and the 2nd death has no power as they have eternal life. Those who are alive and those dead prior to the start of the Millenium, will be changed from mortality to immortality “in a twinkling of an eye”(I Cor. 15:52);  the first resurrection. Those who did not participate in the 1st resurrection will still be in the grave/hades and stay dead, but will resurrect to mortal life, their “first resurrection“, after the Millenium. At that time, God will give them their first chance to receive the promise of the Holy Spirit to sanctify them. As to whether they “submit themselves” (Eph. 5:1-33 ) freely and be “one” with God, depends on their choice; mandated but not forced down their throats. 
The second death will be at beginning of the Millenium when Christ returns and will be to those who fought against him, i.e., 7th Head of Babylonian remnant, the Woman, and their minions. This is repeated and exacted after the Millenium when Satan will be released from “prison” (hell,Tartaros) and will again attempt to deceive the world; Gog and Magog will suffer this. This is the death from “Gehenna fire” in the “valley of the son of Hinnom” outside Jerusalem, on current earth mentioned in Matt 5:29-30; 10:29; 18:9; 23:33; Mk 9:43-50; Lu 12:5; James 3:6; Rev 20:14). Gehenna fire’s death is clearly a punishment from which there is no resurrection; eternal or second death. Being mortal, their lives will cease , unlike Satan who will be “living in torment”, being a spirit-being.
There is “first” death which is a reversible death that can be resurrected from into “physical life” like Lazarus, et al (John 11:14; Lu.7:15; 8:51-56;Acts 9:40-41;20:9-12).

This is why from “mortal” we need to be changed in a “twinkling of an eye“(I Cor. 15:52) to “immortal bodies“. All who died naturally will be resurrected, as in, “it is once appointed for man to die, then the resurrection“(Heb. 9:27); this refers to the “physical resurrection“. N.B. “Valley of dry bones” (Ezek. 37:1-14) prophesied for those mortal who died and to be restored as Adam before committing sin. Lazarus and some others died a “natural death” and physically resurrected by God’s power but died again into as “appointed“. 
Consider the following:

Gen. 1:26 “And God said, Let …make man…image, after likeness (of God): and let them have dominion over every … thing …upon the earth.”   
Also, I John 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the (begotten) sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”



COMMENT: Humans were created to be in the God-kingdom, not in the plant-kingdom nor the animal-kingdom. There is no “physical missing link” that is intermediate between one kind to another. As stated, each has to stay within and “after their kind” (Gen 1:11-13,21), a principle of Genetics. The “missing link” is spiritual that comes through the Spirit. We were created to be “like him” and we will be so, at Jesus’ second coming, the “first spirit-body resurrection”. After which, they that participated in this “1st spirt-body resurrection“, (firstfruits) will not die, an eternal life with God. The “latter fruits” of believers and overcomers will later come/latter harvest, after the Millenium. 
SUMMARY:
Salvation is being saved from the “second death” (Rev 20:14), where there is no resurrection. Mortals who were given a chance (pre/post Millenium) to bear fruits of the Holy Spirit but instead rejected or did not follow the wisdom of this power (unpardonable sin;Mk.3:29 , Matt 12:31) will be thrown in Gehenna fire. Salvation is indeed by grace, a gift to us by the Father. This came about, not by “our works or our faith”. Rather, by man-Jesus’ belief/hope/trust, based on faith/evidence,  in the promises of the Father and his works as “fruits of the Holy Spirit” in him. Yes, faith and works (through the Holy Spirit) of man-Jesus. Because of Jesus’ death, we are then accounted as reconciled to the Father; justified. After resurrection to “life“, the Holy Spirit gifted to Jesus, post-resurrection, was given and dwelt in us, as it did to man-Jesus in the river Jordan at baptism. Having been imbued with this Spirit, we, like Jesus, will then voluntarily manifest the “fruits of the Spirit“. Faith without works is not shown and therefore dead, i.e. without proof that it existed in us. The actual first realization of our salvation is still future at “the twinkling of an eye“(I Cor 15:52-57), at the second coming of Christ; the “firstfruits”, afterwards, the latter-fruits. True faith in God has to have works, manifested as “the fruits of the Spirit.” From faith-to-faith (Rom..1:17), i.e., from faith (of) Jesus (in) the Father, to our faith (in) Christ that transcends to the Father. And, while many, we will all be “one” with the Father, as Christ is “one” with him.
Original Post:April 10, 2015

Revised:January 10, 2018

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