From time to time I am accused of believing in salvation by works. Typically those that make these charges will hold that I believe in salvation but faith and works even through I clearly tell them I believe in salvation by grace alone though faith alone and if faith doesn’t produce good works it is a dead faith or no faith at all.
Their position comes from the fact that I hold that saving faith can only be present when a person has godly sorrow and repentance and that after salvation this same faith will produce good works.
The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone not of works lest any person should boast (For by grace are ye saved through faith… Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph 2:8,9). This faith is worked in our heart only when we have godly sorrow and repentance (For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation… 2Cor 7:10). The faith that we received from God and we are saved through will be a faith that produces good works. If the faith we profess to have doesn’t product good works it is a dead faith (Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Jas 2:17).
When John told the Pharisees and Sadducees to bring forth fruits fit for repentance when they came to him to be baptized (Mat 3:8), he clearly was indicated that they needed to do more than just believe. And when Jesus told the Pharisees that if they were Abraham’s children they would do the works of Abraham (Joh 8:39) he clearly was implying that there will be a changed life if real faith is present.
It is the same today; there is no real faith when there is not a true goodly sorrow and true repentance for sin. And there is no real salvation where there is a dead faith that has no good works.
So I say no to salvation by works but yes to saving faith that will produce good works.