The N. T. On Faith And Works by Dr. Ben Witherington

“Yes, the Bible is clear enough that salvation is not a human self-help program. Yes, it makes clear that apart from God’s grace no one can be saved. Yes, it stresses that we are converted by grace through faith, and that God’s grace is necessary at all times and at all points in the process of salvation. What the NT does NOT say, is that human behavior has nothing to do with it. Indeed, I would stress that active believing is itself a form of behavior. Indeed it also says that we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling as God works in our midst to will and to do. Last I checked, ‘working out’ involves human behavior. Oh yes, another bulletin from the NT— faith without works is dead.

Put succinctly, while conversion is by grace through faith, sanctification involves both God’s work and our working out our salvation. Sanctification involves human behavior, behavior freely chosen and participated in by us. And if we as Christians freely choose to abuse our freedom (compare Gal. 5.1), which is certainly possible, then we stand in danger of committing: 1) moral apostasy, or 2) intellectual apostasy, or 3) both, and finding ourselves not participating in everlasting life, the final coming of the Kingdom the positive resurrection etc. As many texts, such as Heb.6 warn repeatedly, apostasy, however unlikely for a Christian, is nonetheless possible, and so must be warned against” says Dr. Ben Witherington.


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