I was looking at your website, and I wonder if you have read the book of Romans. Among other things, it says that “by the works of the law no flesh (human nature) will be saved, for all have come short, missed the mark of holy perfection God requires to be saved and live with Him for eternity.” Please reread this for yourselves.
Please ask God to reveal His truth to you, lest you fall short of salvation by not obeying God’s way of salvation through Jesus His Son. For Jesus said of Himself: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” The power to become the sons of God is growing to be conformed into Jesus’ image after a relationship with God is already established through faith by grace, not of works!
You have presented a very good summary of what is widely believed to be “the way” of salvation outlined in the Bible. However, we find that if we accept that line of thought, we have to close our eyes to the many passages of Scripture which place responsibility on us as individuals for our conduct, and which indicate that our conduct is a condition of our salvation.
We want to say only what we find taught in the Bible. Permit me to comment on a few of your statements briefly, this will not be a complete answer. For deeper understanding, please refer to our booklet, “The Atonement.”
When Paul said that “by the works of the law” no flesh would be saved, what law was he referring to? In chapter 3, Paul begins to discuss the advantages of the Jew over the Gentile. He is very specific that the Jew had the oracles of God, the rite of circumcision, and special favor from God (Rom. 3:2-4). Paul says very definitely that none—Jew or Gentile—are righteous by nature, that we are not naturally good; but he is making the point especially that “by the works of the law (Moses’ law) no flesh could be saved.” We need Christ’s law of righteousness, which we must believe and obey. Read carefully the book of Romans, and you will find he is constantly comparing the ineffectiveness of the law of Moses with the superior law of Christ (the gospel, the law of faith).
When the apostle Paul says in Rom. 2:6-7 that God will “render to each one according to his deeds,” that He will give “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality,” we feel compelled to believe it. If He will “render to each one according to his deeds,” how can He give salvation on any other terms? Jesus Himself indicated that salvation would be at the end of the course, not at the beginning. He said, “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). He could have said that He would give salvation to all who accept Christ, and then later reward according to one’s doings, but that was not His statement.
Jesus described the way to life as a narrow road, traveled by very few; and the road to destruction as a broad thoroughfare having many travelers (Matt. 7:13-14). When His disciples asked Him, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” He answered, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:23-24). Why would this be the case if each was given salvation when he was converted? Seven times Jesus said there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when the unworthy are thrown out of the Kingdom of God while the select remain, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out” (Luke 13:28; See also Matt. 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30).
How do we become “sons of God”? You are correct in saying that we cannot “earn” salvation. We could not earn everlasting life if God asked us to serve Him for five hundred years or five thousand years. Any service we can give is far from an equivalent value to what God is offering. If God asked us to sit in prison our whole life, or to live on bread and water, or any other physical requirement, in no way could the value of the sacrifice ever equal the value of what He is offering. His salvation would always be a gift out of all proportion to our service.
But He does have qualifications, minimum standards which He requires of those who will receive His salvation. There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that salvation is free for the asking. The apostle Paul compared it to running a race, where the prize is given to the winner. Only he noted the most important difference: That in this race for eternal life, everyone who runs can win. But he was well aware, too, that not everyone will want to run, and not everyone who runs will win. As for himself, he was giving his best effort, running full force, because he wanted to win. He said, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified”(1 Cor. 9:24-27).
We cannot earn salvation, but neither is it free for all. Jesus’ words are definite: “he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). Why? Because Jesus said it, and Jesus spoke only the words of His heavenly Father.
We realize this is not the popular thought, but if you study the Bible seriously and with an open mind, we believe you will come to the same conclusion.
*Note: The phrase, “that be saved” would be more correctly rendered “that are being saved.” The Greek word, sozomenoi is a participle, and “The Greek participle corresponds for the most part to the English participle, reflecting “-ing” or “-ed” being suffixed to the basic verb form. The participle can be used either like a verb or a noun, as in English, and thus is often termed a “verbal noun.”—Pierce, L. Tense Voice Mood. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship. It is rendered “being saved” in the original Greek. (See the 26th edition of Nestle Aland Greek new New Testament with McReynolds English Interlinear and The Complete Biblical Library.)