Salvation by faith and works?

On this question, the answer becomes understandable after addressing the confusion that arises from what one understands about:1.What salvation is and from what?

2. What is the mechanism of salvation?

3. Are we saved already or is this still future?

In reconciling the following 2 verses, I will make comments after quoting them:
A. 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. Mankind has been alienated from Father God because of sin. Everyone’s sin reverted or defaulted to, by imputation, to Adam’s sin((Rom.5:12-21), so that death, as a consequence thereof, could be imputed to Jesus’ death. But, the proximate result of the death of Christ is to reconcile us to Father God, i.e., his death did not proximately or actually save us. 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, mankind has been reconciled to God by Jesus’ death but still (shall) be saved by his “life”, i.e., we will (still) need to be saved (future) by “his life”. Meaning, Jesus has to be resurrected to “life” before we can be saved. But, why does 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, I will send him unto you.”
And, after resurrection 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) Jesus” was for the Father after his death and resurrection, to provide the Spirit to be “in us”, as promised. 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” (2Cor.3:3;Ex.31:18; Ezekiel.11:19, 36:26; JeJer 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” (Jn 12:40; Mk 4:12; Isa 6:10) until the Spirit was given to us, starting on Pentecost. The Spirit is sorely needed by us because “the flesh is weak” (Matt 26:40-43).
Indeed, not our “own works”, but the “works” of Jesus’ dying and 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.

B. 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 r apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

COMMENT: The context was about “showing”, our faith. The Spirit in us, molding the “spirit of man” will have “fruits of the spirit”(Gal 5:22-23). Our faith will then show or manifest in “good works”. Without these fruits manifested, how then can one be sure about the presence of faith?

In summary, salvation is being saved from the “second death” (Rev 20:14), where there is no resurrection. It is indeed by grace, a gift to us by the Father. This came about, not by “our works or our faith”. Rather, by Jesus’ works and faith in the promise of the Father. Yes, faith and works (of) Jesus. Because of Jesus’ death, we are then reconciled to the Father. After resurrection to “life”, the Spirit 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 will then 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 realization of our salvation is still future at “the twinkling of an eye”(I Cor 15:52-57), at the second coming of Christ. 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.

Did God die, since Jesus died?


Great question. The answers to this question maybe correct, but may get confusing because of one’s concept of “What is God?” and what comprises “death”.

To begin with, there is no “upper case” in the original Hebrew word “elohim” translated from Old Testament to an English word that starts with capital letter “G” as in “God”. Moreover, the word “elohim” beginning in Gen. 1:1 and on, is a generic or common name. It can refer to the only true God the Creator to be worshipped, false gods to be avoided, god as angels (like Lucifer the god of this earth/world), rulers, even ordinary man: see Concordance and definitions of elohim as well as https://fact-s.net/2014/06/29/what-is-god-2/.

Much like the common name Smith, the proper name John Smith identifies which particular Smith is referred to. In Genesis 1:1, the “common name” of the Creator God is “Elohim” and was specifically identified with a “proper name” in Gen. 2:4 as “YHVH ELOHIM” or Lord God in English. This YHVH ELOHIM is numerically one, “above all gods” (Ps. 95:3; 135:5) and the only Lord God commanded to Israel to be worshipped and not any other; this became the basis of Israel’s SHEMA doctrine ( Deut. 6:4).

The immortal Creator God “elohim” or YHVH ELOHIM/Lord God is also named LOGOS in John 1. He incarnated into man-Jesus to die for Adam’s and mankind’s sin to reconcile us to God the Father. This particular Elohim was the God referred to in the O.T. Whereas, the Father was the God referred to, in general, in the N.T. They are indeed different, yet “one”, as we are all different, yet “one” with our Lord God Jesus and our God the Father ( I Cor. 12:12; 12:20).

Without this incarnation into “mortal flesh” like Adam, the spirit-composed and immortal Creator God would not have died. This is an absolute expression of love and faith “of” Jesus (Rom. 3:21-22) for him to “give up his divine/ spirit composition”(Phil. 2:7) and be human to die. Indeed, there is no greater love than for one “to give his life for another”(Jn.15:13). As man-Jesus, a mortal flesh, he is still .”god”, as in John 10:34.

Regarding death, the mechanism can be understood by going back to the “creation of man”. Remember that Adam was formed “from the ground, and it was good” but became “living” or alive only after the “breath of life” was breathed into him (Gen. 2:7; 7:21-22). Presence of this “breath of life” in “mortal flesh” defines life or death. Functionally, we observe this among newborns; unless there is spontaneous or artificial breathing, they are dead.

This is why death happens when the “breath of life”, (the “spirit of man”) leaves the “mortal flesh”, goes back to God the Father and our physical body becomes “dust”. See Eccl 12:7. What happens to that ” breath of life/spirit of man” depends on what the Father decides. Without that ” breath of life” restored into another body, “physical or spirit- composed”, for practical purposes, the person is dead. Consider all “data” in the computer can be downloaded into a “thumb-drive” and you can take the “thumb-drive” anywhere you go. The computer may be buried/ destroyed but the “data/ memory” in the ” thumb-drive” can be “restored” in a “new” computer, thus like being “resurrected”.

With the context laid out in the preceding prolegomenon, Jesus is the Creator God YHVH ELOHIM, Logos and eternal, the “same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). As a Creator God and Logos, he is immortal. But, as incarnated “mortal flesh”, yes God “died” for our sake

Jesus, Author and Finisher?

To understand this verse, let us examine the original Greek translation from the verse, get the other English rendering of the words in question, parallel that with other writings of Paul for context and then get through the historic effectivity of what has happened on our “way to salvation”(Jn. 14:6).

Heb. 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author (archegos) and finisher (teleiotes) of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The English translation “author” connotes “originator” and may not be accurate. It appears that the essence of “archegos” may actually be the “beginner” and not with connotation as an “author”. “Author” comes from Greek word “archegos” which also means chief leader; one that takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an example, a predecessor in a matter, a pioneer. 
While the Son started it, a well-established truth is that it was the Father who planned all and the Son that executes the plan. This truth is proven by :
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God (Father) sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”(Galatians 4:4-6).  The Father did not just do the “sending” but also established the “time” when the Son will be sent or incarnate through ” a woman”(Mary). 

Even all creation, while actually done by the Logos/Creator God/YHVH (just saying the “word”) was also because of and planned by the Father (I Cor. 8:6; Jn.1:3; Col. 1:16). 
Moreover, Peter and Jude confirmed that it was the Father who orchestrated salvation in the covenant. Election, and foreknowledge (I Pet. 1:2), and Sanctification (Jude 1) refer to the initial act of God whereby He chose those whom He loved and set them apart to salvation before the foundation of the world. 
God(the Father) foreknew people,”For whom He did foreknow…” (Rom. 8:29). God’s choice of a people before the world began was based on His own initiative to establish a covenant relationship with those whom He loved: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God…” Those whom He loved and chose, He also set apart for Himself, that is, He sanctified them (Jude 1). 
Similarly, the Father “sanctified” the Son (i.e. set Him apart in the covenant of grace) and sent Him into the world (Jn. 10:36, He also sanctified His people (again, He set them apart in the covenant as His own special people) and “sent redemption” to them: “He sent redemption to His people: He hath commanded His covenant for ever: holy and reverend is His name ” (Ps. 111:9). It was precisely this group of people, i.e., those set apart in the covenant, who were redeemed by Jesus Christ: “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). 
The Galatians passage presents God the Father as the great Choreographer of salvation, dispatching (sending) the Son (v.4) and the Spirit (v.6) at the precise and appropriate time, in order to bring us into his family as His adopted sons. The Father who initiated the covenant also orchestrates and deploys the covenant requirements for salvation (Eph. 1:5).
As to “…finisher (teleiotes) of our faith”, consider the following:
While it was Jesus who started/began, as in  “And I am sure of this, that he who began (enarchomai) a good work in you…”

He will also “bring it to completion (epiteleo) at the day of Jesus Christ.”(Philippians 1:6)

enarchomai: to begin,commence

epiteleo:to fulfill further; to complete,to bring to an end, to make perfect.

Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:28-30), and through Him we receive the promise of the Spirit (Gal 3:13-14).
“Finisher” is from “teleiotes”:a perfector; completer, consummater, one who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before us the highest example of faith.
” For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.    For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,    Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.    And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” (Heb. 2:10-13)
“And being made perfect, he became the author (aitios) of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”(Heb. 5:9) aitios: that which is the cause of anything resides, causative, causing.
In summary, the Father planned everything and the Son concurred willingly with the strategic plan and executed his Father’s will. This occurred even before creation of “invisible and visible things”. The promise of the Father to Jesus (because of the “faith of Jesus”) has come true, viz., 
1. Jesus’ death would  be imputed as mankind’s death to reconcile mankind to the Father. 

2. That Jesus would be resurrected by the Father so the Holy Spirit would be sent. 

3. That the Holy Spirit will imbue us (as it did Jesus at river Jordan) to seal us and sanctify us, so all of us will be “one” with the Father(yet many) through his Son,…us being the “body of Christ”. 

4. That as the “flesh is weak” it needs the Holy Spirit “written in the fleshly tables of our heart” for all of us to follow the Law of Love which summarized the Ten Commandments .”written in tables of stones”. 

Those who have faith and works will reign.