Supposed Evils Answered (II)

Larry Ray Hafley
Plano, Illinois

Advocates of the impossibility of apostasy say that the doctrine of the possibility of apostasy makes one "depend on works for salvation, when the Bible teaches that salvation is by grace, Eph. 2:8-10; 3:20; Gal. 2:16; Rom. 11:6."


1. None of the passages cited above teaches that: (a.) the possibility of apostasy makes one dependent on works (b.) one is unconditionally saved by grace. Salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8, 9). But faith is a work, something we must do (Jno. 6:28, 29; 8:24). If conditions of salvation make a doctrine "evil," the doctrine of salvation by faith is "evil," for faith is a work. Does the fact that one must believe mean one must look to his faith instead of to Christ for salvation? I could 'say that the doctrine of salvation by faith makes one depend on faith for salvation "when the Bible teaches that salvation is by grace."

The saved are kept "by the power of God through faith unto salvation" (I Pet. 1: 5). The faith contemplated is an obedient faith (I Pet. 1:9; Heb. 10:36). "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Heb. 4: 11). If all works, activity, are excluded in salvation by grace, faith would be excluded on the part of the saved because it is a condition, a requirement (Heb. 11:6).

Ironically, the passage most frequently used to bar all activity, Eph. 2:8-10, is the one that demands work of both the saved and the unsaved! The unsaved must believe in order to be saved by grace, and the saved are "created in Christ Jesus unto good works".

2. Works That Cannot Save:

a. Our own-Eph. 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5; 2 Tim. 1: 9.

b. Works of the law --- Gal. 2:16.

c. Works of the Devil - I Jno. 3:8.

d. Works of the flesh--Gal. 5:19-21.

e. Works of darkness-Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5: 11.

3. Works That Can Save:

a. Christ saves the obedient - Heb. 5:8, 9.

b. One's soul is purified by obedience to the truth - Acts 15:9; 1 Pet. 1:22.

God accepts all who fear him and work righteousness - Acts 10:34, 35.

d. One must "do" the will of the Father - Matt. 7: 2 1.

e. The saved must "give diligence" to make their calling and election sure, for if they do these things, they shall never fall - 2 Pet. 1: 5-11. (Was Peter teaching an "evil" doctrine of salvation by demanding "all diligence"?)

4. If there are no deeds, no works necessary for salvation by grace, how could God "reward every man according to his works" (Matt. 16:27)?

5. The same writer who so eloquently set forth salvation by grace without works is the same writer who so forcefully declared the need for "the obedience of faith" and "faith which worketh by love" (Rom. 1: 5; 15:26; Gal. 5:6). The one who said that we are not saved by our own works of righteousness said "work out your own salvation" and "be always abounding in the work of the Lord" (Phil. 2:112; 1 Cor. 15:58). Salvation, then, is the gift of God bestowed without any consideration of obedience to one's own works, and yet it is the gift of God that is not bestowed without obedience to the works of God.

October 7, 1971