There was a band I used to love called "Plankeye." Looking back they were pretty good - at least I thought so then. However, their name is profound. Pastor Ben and I were chatting in my office earlier today about Lordship Salvation vs. Free Grace. The question is how much do works play into our salvation. The easy answer is "not at all, read Ephesians 2:8-9." However, then go and read the book of James. You cannot divorce works from salvation or works from faith according to that divinely inspired book.
I think the argument is misleading however. Because ultimately, what we are trying to do by defining the faith vs. works issue is to give us a standard by which we can judge people. How good do they have to be to get into heaven? Can I call them out for their mistakes? Did they pray the right prayer? All those are irrelevant questions. Jesus had a completely different take on this topic. In Matthew 7:3-5,
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
The issue isn't does faith save or works. According to Scripture the answer is a qualified "yes." Both are true to a certain extent. Faith and faith alone saves. But, faith that doesn't produce fruit isn't faith. According to Jesus, Christianity is all about self examination. How are we living? Do we have fruit? If I don't see evidence of fruit in my life maybe I need to start asking some tough questions. If I'm not living it, how can I claim it? If I'm not becoming more like Jesus - however slow a process it is - do I really love Jesus?
I love debating theology. I love the faith/works, Lordship Salvation/Free Grace issues. I hope that these discussions happen among believers as they wrestle with difficult questions. Let us not lose sight of what its all about though - you and Jesus. Did He rock your world like He did mine? Because after what He did for me, I want to make sure I do everything I can for Him!