“The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” —Psalm 121:8
WHAT ABOUT WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS?
The Bible is clear that our salvation is not by any works of righteousness we do. Salvation, and every blessing of salvation, is given to us freely based on the righteousness of God in and by the Lord Jesus Christ imputed to us and which we, by the grace of God, receive by faith. Even the work of the Holy Spirit in our new birth is freely given in and by the Lord Jesus Christ Who is our life and from Whom comes our life. “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7). David described “the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works” (Rom. 4:6).
It is true that the Bible describes the good works and service of believers as “sacrifices of righteousness” (Psa. 4:5; 51:19). We are even commanded by God to submit our whole persons unto God as “instruments of righteousness” (Rom. 6:13), and to seek to be “filled with the fruits of righteousness” (Php. 1:11). James wrote of “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:18). All these acts of service, worship, and obedience to God are connected with righteousness NOT because they make us righteous before God and NOT because they themselves are righteous in the sense of meeting the standard of God’s perfect law. They are connected with righteousness for three reasons: (1) They are the fruits of our standing in Christ and union with Him Who is our righteousness; (2) They are the work of Christ within us by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit Who inspires us to seek to be conformed to Christ Who is our righteousness; and, (3) They identify us with Christ and evidence our spiritual life from Him and our union by faith with Him Who is our righteousness.
--- Pastor Bill Parker
“IF YOU CONTINUE IN THE FAITH”
Paul writes to the Church at Colosse saying that they had been reconciled to God through the death of Christ and by His death they would stand holy and unreproveable in His sight. And he adds to that in the next verse, “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” (Col 1:23) He was not making their full salvation conditional upon their doing something. No, he is saying that this is what characterizes those who have been reconciled and this is the evidence of salvation in the lives of the reconciled. They “continue in the faith.” They continue having faith, believing, but they also continue in “the faith.” The faith here is the true gospel which they had “heard” from Paul. He was a minister (servant) of God and to them, preaching unto them the gospel of Christ crucified. Against a rushing stream of error, he stood firm declaring the truth. As he was enabled by God to continue preaching it till his death, those who truly were enabled by God to believe it would likewise continue to do so. Continuing to believe the truth is the evidence of those God saves! If the face of every obstacle, every assault against them for their identifying with Christ, and every attack on that truth, they continue in the faith. Many who hear the gospel and profess it do not continue in it. They are like those hearers that Christ spoke of in Mark 4:14-19: “The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” God's believing people “continue.” They continue in THE faith. They hold fast to the word of the ruth of the gospel. They continue to identify with God's people and those who preach this gospel. They continue in worshipping Christ both privately and publicly. They continue no matter what the trial or persecution, because God gives them grace to! They do not do so in their own strength but through Christ who strenthens them. Those who do not continue in the faith were never really in the faith. They never truly had faith in the Christ revealed “in the faith.”