Calvinist "Works" Teaching
There is a powerful teaching abounding in Christendom, that all of us are "PREDESTINED" to be in one destination or another after death; often loosely termed "Heaven or Hell". This is based on the teachings of various Groups since the Reformation, which has an approx. date of AD 1530. Some purists state that the exact date is AD 1505 and linked to England's Henry 8th with some justification. The result of Henry's resistance to Rome was the Church of England (C of E). Leaving aside the internal political struggle in England, by those trying to restore The Roman Church, many Church leaders were not content that the C of E was sufficiently radical in its separation from Roman Church's Doctrines.
As Rome had become increasingly corrupt, and had reached the stage of selling "pardons" before a sin had been committed, and "post-mortem absolution" for a price; and many other perversities, the re-examination of "Doctrines" was logical. Martin Luther had already started the ball rolling by his declaration of "justification by faith in the finished work of Christ Jesus", and had put his life in danger with his affirmation at the Imperial Diet of Worms. He was destined to be burned alive by the RCC, but for the intervention of a rich and powerful German Prince.
The dissatisfaction of some of the leaders of the C of E and elsewhere with the state of its teachings and doctrines, led to a Europe wide debate on particularly the Doctrine of Justification by Faith (in Christ). All Protestant thinkers obviously accepted that Rome's definition was/is corrupt, and from that beginning, many variations of doctrine emerged. The notable effect of Rome's dominance for approx. 1,200 years of the definition was/is the intensity of its re-evaluation! The many definitions, and as many men, since to now is bewildering, and many have become internationally known Names.
There is no doubt that the many Definitions cannot all be correct. However, the Definitions adopted by various Groups have become the founding Articles for the Various Denominations. Many, if not most have become almost as powerfully defended as the corrupt RCC, with enflamed passions of their adherent in discussion and history.
Before moving into a discussion on the definition of “works”, "election" and "Salvation", it is worth mentioning the writers view on the conduct of the participants of such debates. Where bad or threatening language is used, or where personal innuendo or obviously bad attitude is displayed, together with deliberate distortion of what has been said or written; then that person is disqualified from veracity, and has no qualification to be heard or debated! In the writers view, they are clearly not indwelt with the Spirit of Christ, but a counterfeit spirit of His Enemy! They have no place in honest debate! The above mentioned behaviour and attitude have been experienced by many, such is the passion of many participants, both current and in history.
It is true to say, that no Name on Earth has such effect on people and Satan's spirits, as the Name of Jesus! (Christ Jesus is His correct Title after His Resurrection). His Name provokes some to repent, some to swear, and others to wonder. That's not surprising as He was/is the Anointed/Elect of God the Father for purpose, and is now seated at the "Right Hand of The Majesty" in Heaven!
It has to be remembered, that Calvin refused to sanction the Definitions that bear his name, but stated prior to his death that "Election is related to the person and work of Christ"; which all true Christians will agree with as Christ Jesus is the "elect" of God; and we as His Body are therefore also "elect" (see: Isa. 42:1 and Rom. 8:33)! See: The Elect Calvin onwards.
The Calvinist teaching misses the Dispensational changes at the end of Acts, and therefore the wonder of the "Mystery Body"!
Taking "Salvation" first; The Biblical definition is clear. Acts 4:12: (KJV), "Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved". This verse in context refers to Acts 4:10-11. The name in point is, Christ Jesus!
As regards "Election", to avoid repetition the following Links give clarity:
As regards "works", Scripture is clear that all works of mankind as regards their Salvation "are as filthy rags" Isa. 64:6. That none are righteous, and that Christ Jesus has on the Cross of Calvary achieved what is the impossibility for men!
One of the great myths, and therefore confusions used by false teachers such as extreme Calvinists, is that of the definition of "works".
They say that any work by the individual to seek and find the Truth of Jesus the Christ, is works, and therefore invalidates that person and their seeking efforts! What a travesty of interpretation and intellect! They use Eph. 2:9 (not of works, lest any man should boast), as their foundation Text, and construe it wrongly.
In context, the verse clearly states that the "work" refers to Christ's on the Calvary Cross, and that it cannot be added to, or diminished. It is the ultimate "finished work"!
Why then do some religions say that "works" cannot achieve Salvation? The short answer is because they either inadvertently or deliberately misinterpret Scripture, and confuse the "work" of seeking God/Christ with that of doing "good things", which suits their "Theology"!
God has made it clear that He WANTS people to work towards Him, to work at Scripture, to work at prayer; and to find Him in Christ Jesus. The following verses from Scripture make the point!
In Scripture, there are a number of texts that show that God has pleasure in those that seek after Him: Zeph. 2:3, Dan. 10:12, Heb. 11:6, Acts 17:27, Jer. 29:13 & Rev. 22:17, and more besides. These show that "working" towards knowing God is pleasurable to Him, and not as some say and teach, that it is a "works based activity", which is not allowed in their "rules"!
An incontrovertible point is made by Jesus Christ Himself when asked what the works of God are; "the works of God are that you believe in Him whom He has sent", (John 6:28-29)!
The "work" is done by Jesus, the "Offer" is made by the Father to the world's people, we decide with our "free will"!
The conclusion of the matter is, as Martin Luther said, "Salvation is by faith in Christ Jesus"; which was the cry of Habakkuk ("the just shall live by faith"), in approx. BC 500, during a time of apostasy in Israel's history. Then as now, Satan has the Truth in denial, and as our Lord stated, "Satan is the prince of this world" but only for a short time!
The major "signal" for Christ-Ones to watch for, are the events affecting Israel! With many of men’s religions teaching that “the Church is the new Israel”, (see: Replacement Theology) it is a "work" in itself to keep differentiating the Truth from the constant lie in this context alone!
The many and complex formulae concocted by men between Luther and now, and incorporated into the many "religions" of men can be safely ignored where they do not concur with the Holy Spirit. The Christ-One, (Christian True) can be at peace in the knowledge of the True definition of Salvation, from the Bible the Word of God!