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Page 254


Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

- James 2:17-20


How do all religions which teach that the whole or part of man's reconciliation with God must be based upon man's works, lower God and exalt man?

Why is the perfect atonement and righteousness of Christ the only God-honoring and God-satisfying solution to man's need for reconciliation with God?

Salvation by grace does not exclude good works. Good works are necessary in the lives of all true believers; but they are a fruit and result of justification, not its meriting cause. The meriting cause of a sinner's justification is God's grace, justification based upon the perfect merits of Jesus Christ, being applied to him. (For additional information regarding this truth, refer to Chapter 17 on Sanctification.)

The great aim and purpose of all religions in the world is the restoration of man into favor with God. While both the gods and the methods may be false in many religions, their goal remains for man to be restored into favor with God. Man's conscience informs him that there is a God, that he has sinned, and that he needs to again win God's favor. Only true Christianity, however, provides a perfect and complete answer to man's need for restoration with God. It testifies of a totally perfect, justifying righteousness being purchased for, and applied to, a sinner through Christ's merits. Only true Christianity provides the perfect answer required by a perfectly holy and righteous God. The perfect holiness, life, righteousness, and death payment of Christ provide the only God-satisfying and God-honoring solution to man's need for reconciliation with his Creator.

    Rev. George Burder once observed the public hanging of three convicted criminals, two of which were murderers, and one a money counterfeiter. He observed something at this hanging which taught him an unforgettable lesson, one which he frequently used to illustrate the truth of man's need for more than his own righteousness, the need for Christ's.

    Rev. Burder observed the counterfeiter continually repeating the following statement of hope, "I never killed anybody. I never hurt anybody -I hope God will accept me." With this hope he died.

    Pharisee-like, this man compared himself to the other two he died with, and found some self-righteousness. Our self-righteous spirits also seek self-righteousness. Why?

    Why can man's righteousness never justify him before God?

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