By what means are we saved? Is it by our own works, obeying commandments and observing Holy Days? If that were so, we would not need a Savior, it would simply be a matter of our own choice. We could be secure in our salvation by making sure day by day we performed according to all the rules. But what if we slip up? Or what if we misunderstand some obscure jot or tittle and performed according to our understanding, only to find out in the judgment that someone taught us wrong?

It is written in Luke 7:36-50,
36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

With that last statement, Jesus settled the question, “How are we saved?” Of course we can say, “I’m keeping the law, because I have faith.” But this woman, who curiously was admitted into the Pharisee’s home, was known by the Pharisee as a “sinner”. And he judged Jesus, saying within himself, that if Jesus was a prophet that He would have known she is a sinner. I have to wonder how it is she was so easily able to go into the Pharisee’s house, unless she had been there before? Did not the Pharisees keep the letter of the law and observe the Holy Days? What got HER sins forgiven, and the attention of Jesus, and not the Pharisee?

Could Jesus have said to the Pharisee, “Your observance to the law has saved you”? Yes, He could have, but He didn’t. The Pharisee was missing it apparently.

What saved the woman? The simple answer was her love. Had she died that very moment, she would have been accepted into the Kingdom of God, though she had not yet kept any laws, nor observed any Holy Days, yet Jesus clearly said, THY FAITH HATH SAVED THEE; GO IN PEACE.

Salvation must surely be the cornerstone, without it we have nothing to build upon, but if our cornerstone is laid on sinking sand, how will the building stand that we build upon it? How many go to church all their lives thinking their attendance buys them a place in heaven? How many say the “sinner’s prayer” and never study God’s Word, thinking that one prayer gets them saved? And how many have no peace in their lives because they know not God in their daily relationship, again, seeing their approval by God based on their works?
They are one day in the valley, and the next day on the mountaintop, up and down, up and down, happy one day, sad the next.

How many people are convinced they are saved because of their WORKS? And of course Jesus said if we are His, we will have good works, for they are the RESULT of being born again. But good works are not salvation, and we must be very careful there.

One asked Jesus, What shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Luke 10:25-37 says,
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Here, mercy was the qualifier, not so much the works, though the works were important in saving the man’s life. But it was the mercy, the LOVE, that prompted the acts of mercy. There are many who have good works, and yet have not love, and without love, the works won’t result in salvation.

1 John 4:1-11,
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
You can probably name a dozen different religious doctrines that sound good, but Holy Spirit of God has nothing to do with. Religious spirits are some of the most powerful, getting us off of the Word of God, into confusion and dead end roads. That’s why we have a world full of different religions and so many denominations within Christianity itself, and so much division, and yet there is no love between them. And you can’t look at UNITY as a substitute for love. There are many heathen religions that indeed have unity, but they don’t have Jesus, and they don’t have LOVE.

2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Some have been taught a false gospel, that if they’re rich in material goods, that they must surely be living right. Well some of the richest on earth are surely not living right according to God, and indeed are some of the biggest oppressors of mankind. So riches must not be the answer.
Some have been taught that if they’re dirt poor, they must surely be holy and are living right. Well, how do you help your fellow man in need if you can’t even feed yourself?

What did Jesus teach? That if we are full of love for God and for our fellow man, THEN we are living right, and that mercy overcomes judgment. He will take care of our needs. We need to be sure we’re walking in His love, and He will take care of the rest.

Like the woman in Luke 7, who knew her sins were many, came in love to Jesus, and He gave her mercy. Her works didn’t earn salvation for her, but rather her humility, even so much as to humble herself to Jesus in front of a crowd. I don’t think she even noticed the crowd, because all her attention was upon Jesus. We would do well to follow her example. Take your eyes off of the world, and let them be stayed upon Jesus. And one day you too will hear Him say, Thy sins are forgiven thee. Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.