Do good works cause faith or does faith cause good works?
Faith, as with all our salvation, is a free gift from God. We cannot obtain faith on our own, it comes from hearing the gospel. Some may think that if they do good works, they must have faith and therefore, God would have to save them. Nothing in the Bible leads to that conclusion. Those who think their good works will earn them a place in heaven actually don’t believe they need a Savior. If it were true that our good works could earn heaven, then Jesus’ death on the cross was in vain.
Regardless of how good we think we are, our destiny is hell because of our sins. So it is impossible for us to enter heaven through good works. God says we need to be sinless to enter heaven and that is exactly why Jesus lived a perfect life and died on the cross in our place. Now, our sins are gone and God sees us as perfect humans without any sins, heaven is our home. God has done everything perfectly for our salvation by himself.
Even though Jesus had to die in order to save us, God wants us to be joyful with his free gift of eternal life. This is priceless! It is in this understanding that our hearts and minds are changed and our faith grows. Now we desire to thank God. Following his commandments, repenting of our sins, praying regularly, serving our neighbors, helping the poor, sharing his Word, are some ways we can daily thank God. He knows and sees what’s in our hearts and minds; we cannot hide our motives from him. He says that those who do “good works” and do not have faith, are condemned. This means that God will not save “really nice people” who justify themselves through their good works. He saves the sinners who repent and believe they need a Savior. God tells us in his Word that we are justified through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin. What joy Christians have knowing that God alone gives a saving faith and justifies believers through this faith to enter heaven!
God’s Word on Faith: NIV:
Romans 5:1,2: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace……
Romans 10:17: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, …..
Also see: James 2:14-18, John 15:5, Eph. 2:10, Heb. 11:6, Ps. 119:32, Gal. 2:20,
Phil. 2:13, 2 Cor. 5:14-15, Titus 2:14