Faith and Works

In the NT the believer’s confidence in and acceptance of what Christ has done to make reconciliation with God possible is called faith. Conversely, what someone may attempt to do, through compliance with ritual requirements or by charitable deeds, to earn merit with God as a means of salvation is called works. In this sense, faith and works are seen as mutually exclusive, as are light and darkness. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians is the apostle’s classic reply to the theory that Christians, who presumably have found salvation by faith in Christ, can better their standing with God and become more eligible for His grace by efforts of their own—specifically, by complying with the ritual requirements of the Jewish religious system. Paul’s categorical censure of the Galatians’ attem...

From the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Published with permission from the Review and Herald Publishing Association.