Most Christians are not aware of how serious it is to add to what Jesus Christ has finished. It could be the difference between whether or not that person is saved or not. I am not saying that works are not important because they are evidence of a person that has become a new creation in Christ. We are not saved by works but for works and if a believer has no works then you might question that person’s salvation.
I have heard some tell me that they are “carnal Christians”. One man I have known for years indicated that he was saved but he watches X and R-rated movies, swears, cusses, and never attends church. What worries me is that on one day when he and others like him meet Jesus Christ they might here, “Depart from Me, I never knew you!” I am not perfect. I still sin. But listen to this serious warning from Jesus Christ to those who profess the name of Christ yet have no fruit in Matthew 7:16-23:
By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
That is a wake up call for many who say they can know Christ and yet do not abide in the vine. They never attend church. The do not read their Bible. They have no fruits. Fruits can grow only if they are attached to the vine. This is clear in John 15:1-8”
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
As Jesus said, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.” Vines that are not attached are cut off destined for the burn pile. Vines that remain in the vine God will prune. There are no lone ranger Christians to be found in the New Testament church.
Please understand me that works do not save anyone and neither does perfect attendance in a church but if there are no fruits, no abiding in Christ and no evidence of a changed life then a person may not really be saved. I know this may offend some. It may make someone mad, but a person’s eternal destiny is worth saying this.
The Salvation that God has provided through Jesus Christ is by grace. “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9). We can know we are be saved by His faith if we simply believe in Him (Acts 15:11). In other words, eternal life is not received by, or attained by, or kept by a person's conduct or behavior (works). Jesus didn't condemn people for their sins. He went to the sinners, not the (self-) “righteous”. Neither does he come to the “religious acting” either. They have justified their own self’s by their works. God will not accept this. But when a person was saved in the New Testament they joined with the Body of Christ, the church.
Our “religious works” profit us absolutely nothing and can actually take away the sacrifices effect because His atonement is sufficient once and for all, and for all sins. Once a person accepts Christ as Lord and Savior, there isn't anything else they can do to improve on it. How can you improve on Christ’s perfection; in His perfecting gift of His own life? It is all sufficient in His propitiation. But certainly our works will naturally become better by the new nature in us, but we are not saved by those or any works. We are not saved by works but we are saved for works.
I thank God that holiness is not the way to Jesus…Jesus is the way to holiness; otherwise I would be worried. It is not all your responsibility; it is your response to His ability. It is your response in accepting Him as Lord and Savior under.
For more read “What is the Unforgivable Sin? A Biblical Analysis”