3525  Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone : 910-867-2113
Sunday Services: 8:45 & 11:00


Salvation Through Your Own Efforts?

August 13, 2020

Many Christians today live believing salvation may be earned through their own efforts. This is not a new concept. It was a major issue in the church in the 4th century. Pelagius advocated that salvation resulted from good works. Augustine countered that salvation was the work of God and humanity in no way could earn God’s favor. This debate continues today. Today I hope you will understand salvation is by grace through faith. That is, I will attempt to explain how a person may be made right in the sight of God (justification). This doctrine is a lynchpin of the Reformed Tradition and was a significant motivator in the Reformation. The idea of works righteousness or salvation by works is once again becoming more prevalent. Let us read together Galatians 3:22-29.

22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

First let us understand that God promised Abraham that through him all nations (families) of the world will be blessed through you. God spoke to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). This promise of God is fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus, a descendant of Abraham and the only begotten Son of God.

Paul explains for us the purpose of the Law (TORAH). The TORAH was given by God because of transgression or perhaps more correctly to define what is sin so that there would be no doubt or ambiguity regarding the nature of sin. Paul asserts, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in God’s sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). Therefore we know, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This shows us our need for an intermediary, a Savior. One who is able to save us from God’s wrath.

Furthermore, because we have the Law and then know that we are in need of a Savior we can agree with Paul when he writes, “The Law came so that the transgression might increase, but where sin increased, grace abounded even more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21).

Consequently, our attempts to keep the Law will always fall short. They fall short because we are unable to secure our salvation by our efforts. Our best efforts are ineffective and impotent. Jesus asserts, “Many will say to Me on that day (of judgment), ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me you who practice lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:22-23). Jesus speaks to those people who were busy working but failing to believe.

So then how can anyone receive salvation? One is saved not on the basis of one’s effort, but rather because of God’s kind intention. Paul teaches, “When the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, God saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:4-5). We must also understand, “It is impossible to please God without faith because you must first believe that God is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Subsequently, we can begin to understand that it is, “By grace we are saved through faith, and that it [salvation] is not [what we] ourselves did, it [salvation] is a gift from God; not as a result of our works, that way none of us can boast” [about how good we are] (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Therefore we know the truth that under girds the statement from God; “Because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The truth is that the only way to salvation is faith in Jesus Christ; because we believe by faith in Jesus we are also heirs to the promises God made to Abraham.

Are you busy trying to please God by your hard work? Do you believe that you can acquire salvation on your own initiative? If you believe this, when will you ever know if you had worked hard enough? The truth is you will never know. You will never have the assurance of salvation. This assurance only comes from a relationship with God based upon His grace towards us and our response in faith believing that Jesus was crucified for us. Jesus declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Will you accept the truth? Will you follow the way? Will you know the life that Jesus offers you now, by faith? Pray with me.

Gracious Lord and Savior, I thank You for everyone who believes You. Send Your laborers into Your fields ripe for harvest so that those who do not know Jesus may come to know Him unto salvation. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

The Law reveals sin. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin.

Until the nets are full

For past devotionals, please check under the Bulletins/Newsletters tab in the lower right corner of the main page


Please Pray with Us

Join us in prayer each week for the ministries of MacPherson Presbyterian Church and the Fayetteville community.

Devotion for June 8: Philippians 2:1-11

Planning and preparation for the “Welcome Back” worship experience

I. Admin/Personnel/Property
Staff position searches: what does MacPherson really need? How can these perceived vacancies by filled effectively? Do we need three part-time positions or one full-time?
Interior repair
Plan for the phased replacement of aging HVAC systems

II. Christian Education Concerns
VBS July 17-18 and Youth Summer Camp August 3-7
Improve small groups and encourage online participation in Bible 101, Wednesday Bible study

III. Congregational Care Concerns
For the sick and shut-ins of the church.
For Stephen Ministry: We need volunteers to be Stephen Ministers & Leaders

IV. Evangelism & Mission Concerns
Outreach to the community
Russia Mission Partner Transfiguration Baptist Church
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat Homeowners: current & future
B Street Neighborhood: For the safety of the B Street families and their neighbors.
Operation Inasmuch
Migrant Farm Workers Ministry & Cabell Lincoln Workcamp 2021

V. Finance
For God’s exceedingly abundant provision, especially during this pandemic
Effective stewardship practices including encourage use of online & e-giving

VI. Long Range Planning
Nursery volunteers
For the Sunday/Wednesday night children’s ministry (M & Ms, craft time)
Construct sound room

VII. Physical Security
Parking lot cameras

VIII. Worship & Music

Online Worship & Devotions & Fireside Chats

Remember to give thanks to God for answered prayer!

Rev. James Randall

3525 Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone : 910-867-2113
Fax : 910-867-1142


Church  Secretary
Rene Bahrenfuss

3525 Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone : 910-867-2113
Fax : 910-867-1142


Director  of Christian Education, Youth, & Family Ministries

3525 Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone : 910-867-2113
Fax : 910-867-1142


Director of Music Ministry
Beth W. Walters

3525 Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone : 910-867-2113
Fax : 910-867-1142



Macpherson  Presbyterian Church
3525 Cliffdale Road
Fayetteville, NC 28303

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