Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 6, 1964

Man's Work Or God's Work?

Bob Franks

"For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:8-10). From these passages we learn it is impossible to be saved by our own works. We cannot merit our salvation but can only be saved "by grace, through faith." From this teaching, many conclude that one has to do nothing in order to become a Christian and if he did, he would be saved by his own works. Also, if one is baptized, it is not essential to salvation, for it it were, he would be saved by water or his own works.

In order to determine the truth of this matter, we must first consider that there are TWO kinds of WORKS, viz., man's works and God's works. Man's works are those that he does WITHOUT DIVINE AUTHORITY. He cannot devise his own plan of salvation and obey his own wishes and expect to be saved. "It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jet 10:23), Because the Bible teaches that we are not saved by our own works, does that mean we are to ignore God's works? Jesus realized the importance of doing the works of God Hear Him: "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work" (Jno. 9:4). When Christ worked the works of God, whose works was he doing? Not his own, but God's! When we obey what God has said, whose works are we working? Again, not ours, but God's!

Is baptism a work of man or God? Who authorized it, God or man? Let Christ answer: "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:18-19). Is baptism a command of Christ? In verse 20 he declared, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I COMMANDED you..." Peter "commanded" Cornelius and his household to be baptized. (Acts 10:48).

Now that we have shown that baptism is a work of God and a command of Christ, we ask this question. Can a man refuse to do the work of God and reject His commands and expect to be saved? Notice the following passages for the answer. Christ said, "If ye love me, YE WILL KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS" (Jno. 14: 15). "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but lie that DOETH THE WILL of my father who is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21). The apostle John declares, "He that saith I know him, and KEEPETH NOT HIS COMMANDMENTS, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 Jno. 2:4). — Lafayette, Louisiana