[quote=CollegeKid]So when an evangelical gives me that oft-repeated line, “You can’t work your way into Heaven,” I should just respond, "Right, but you can work your way out."
Would it be fair to say that in a sense, our works do contribute to our salvation?
Yes indeedy it would be fair to say. Let’s count, for fun, how many times in the NT we are said to be judged based on works vs. by Faith, and then of those found that say by faith, let’s see how many would remain if we took the word or concept of “deeds” away from the verses. The result would be: 0.
What I think is the problem between us, the sentence that the Evangelicals say to you needs to end with “by your own effort”. They would agree with that, and so would we. But, alas, it is not that easy. I am afraid they think, and many I know do, feel that any worry about “what you do” is wasted time! Don’t act like a JEW UNDER THE LAW!! We are judged on faith!! But, not we’re not. We are judged by works. We are saved by Grace, through Faith. Meaning, without Grace, not a lot of good deeds would be happnin on most people, and Faith is the things that keeps that grace flowin’.
And ask them to explain these verses to you as well:
John 5: 28-29
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
2nd Coming…after it all is said and done. So, we are obviously talking about Christians here. And if they start at that point saying that well, all the Christians are gone at that point, because of the Rapture…walk away. Save yourself the time!! No seriously, at that point, you have bigger fish to fry.
Matt 25: 31-46
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.