QA: Does being ‘Saved by Grace’ contradict being ‘judged for works’?
Rom 2:6 “(God on Judgment Day) will repay each one as his works deserve.”
Rev. 20:12 “(In the Judgment) the Books will be opened which are the record of what they had done in their lives, by which the dead are judged”.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the Gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Your question reflects the expectations of the majority of Christian believers, namely, that one “just has to accept the Messiah’s Offer of Salvation and then one is through – all the Way to the Kingdom and Eternal Life”. The Law of God is done away with, they say. One is saved by Grace only.
Like all other Truths or Lies concerning “The True Way” – this concept or conclusion is based on the Truth wrapped in a Great Lie – or A Great Lie enwrapping the Truth.
Let us look at the Salvation Plan of God, the way Scripture seems to proclaim it, by way of an example: If you are pulled off the road in your car, by a traffic controller for committing a grave error, and after warning you, he lets you go, without prosecuting you – this does NOT mean that you may now continue breaching the Law and driving irresponsibly.
Messiah RELEASES us from certain Eternal Death which our Law-breaking life
style in the past will be earning us. This is awarded to us by an Act of Grace which only God can authorise, as it concerns breaking of His Law and the Divine Penalty decreed for such which is Eternal Death – banned from the Eternal Kingdom of YHVH. Through this Release, He reconciles us with YHVH and sets us up anew, gives us a new start. To continue ignoring and discarding His Law and System? Certainly not!
The Bible speaks of “The Book of Remembrance” which records all our deeds
(Rev. 20:12, Dan. 7:10) and which will be opened at the Judgment, to be used to judge us by. This Book will NOT reflect our misdeeds BEFORE our acceptance of His Grace Offer. But it will certainly reflect our deeds AFTER this, for our salvation or our condemnation!
The whole Salvation Plan is reflected in the seven Sacred Feasts of God – which
Christianity has lost most of. God’s Intentions are also mirrored in the history of the nation which He has chosen for this purpose – Israel, the Jews.
Accordingly, the Israelites were led out of Egypt, their place of slavery and bondage (reflecting our bondage by sin). This great event of the Exodus occurred on the very day of God’s first Sacred Festival – Pesach, The route was to lead to the Promised Land (as we are heading for). It led through the desert, where they were still receiving tribulation, even after their release from Egyptian slavery – so much so, that they often would have preferred to return to Egypt (as the ‘saved’ believer often returns to his/her old ways). On the 50th day after their release (A Sacred Feast day again – Shavuot or ‘Pentecost’), they arrived at Mt Sinai where God RENEWED His Covenant with them and gave them His Law written on 2 tables of stone. Moses then was educated for 40 days by God Himself, in the rest of His Laws and Customs, with the purpose for Moses to teach the nation. For 40 years they wandered through the desert on their way, prevented from entering because of their invalidation. Even Moses was prohibited from entering the Promised Land and was only allowed to see it from afar! This point should be a warning to the ‘Grace’ teachers who proclaim such an easy Way of ‘Only Believe’.
1st Feast – Pesach (Passover)
Significantly, Messiah (depicting our Pesach Lamb) was crucified on the Sacred Feast Day of Pesach which is merely the first of seven Sacred Feasts – thus only the start of our Salvation, or our ‘trip’ to the Promised Land. By using the term ‘only’, it should not deflect from the mighty extent of this Divine Act, in which the human Manifestation of the Almighty Creator God was brutally slain by His own creation – by His own ‘household’!
The Salvation Plan does not end with the Reconciliation depicted by the First Sacred Festival. It continues with phase 2 reflecting the onus of the believer, and phase 3 mirroring the Final Judgment and Rejoicing of the ‘conquerors’ (those who comply) with God in the Kingdom.
2nd Feast – Unleavened Bread (7 days following Pesach) – laying off of sin
(NB AFTER Release)
3rd Feast – Shavuot – Revelation of the Law
4th Feast – Rosh HaShana – the ‘Start’ of the time of our real Salvation
5th Feast – Yom Kippur – Judgment Day
6th Feast – Succot – Festival of Salvation
7th Feast – The Great Last Day – eternal life with God in His Kingdom
Festivals 1 & 2 fall in the FIRST month of the Sacred Feast Day Cycle, depicting RELEASE from bondage of sin, and the initial requirements placed on the reconciled believer.
Festival 3, 50 days later, signifies the Covenantal responsibility of the now progressing believer, empowered by the indwelling Spirit of God.
Feasts 4-7 fall in the 7th month (7 depicting perfection) and signifies the conclusion of God’s Purpose on earth – the establishment of His Eternal Kingdom.
This Festival Cycle also follows the harvest time in Israel – the first month yielding the first wheat harvest, followed by the first ripe fruits. The 7th month sees the end of the fruit harvests.
Correct interpretation of Scripture has therefore no problem with contradiction. To cancel the Divine Decree of earning the Penalty of Eternal Death for not complying with His requirements, requires Divine Grace through a Divine Act of Reconciliation. The final lot of the reconciled and the unreconciled will be determined in the Judgment, ‘according to their works’. (Rom. 2:5-24 – note verse 12 & 13).