Introduction: What separates true Christianity from every other
religious belief system in the world? It is that Christians
understand that they are saved by faith alone, and not by their
works. Other religious systems involve some sort of work to “purify”
your life or please the god that you serve. True Christianity is
especially hard for those who live in a culture that believes hard
work will be rewarded with success. How can you have a philosophy of
work that is so opposed to your theology? It is difficult. That is
why so many Christians are unwittingly serving Satan when they write
articles suggesting that Christians who do not meet their rigorous
religious standards are lost. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible
and learn the difference between salvation and the Christian walk
towards holiness!

  1. The Path to Salvation

    1. Read John 14:1-4. If you were listening to Jesus, what
      should you immediately ask yourself? (I would check to be
      sure that, in fact, I knew “the way to the place” Jesus
      was going.)

    2. Read John 14:5. How would you rate Thomas’s question? (I
      give him an “A.” Have you noticed that some unpretentious
      student will ask the question on the minds of all of the

    3. Read John 14:6. Thomas believes that the answer to his
      question is a physical destination. That is what I would
      have concluded had I been sitting next to Thomas. What
      does Jesus say is “the way to the place where I am going?”
      (It is not a place, it is a person: through Jesus. The way
      to heaven is through Jesus.)

    4. Read Romans 10:1-2. Were these Israelites hard workers?
      (Yes! You would look at them and say they are “observant.”
      They are on the “straight path.”)

      1. Is there something wrong with this? (They are not
        properly educated. They do not understand God’s

    5. Read Romans 10:3-4. What is the defect in the knowledge of
      these zealous followers of God? (They think righteousness
      comes from their own works.)

      1. Are they rebels against God? (Yes. As strange as that
        label seems, the Bible tells us they did not “submit”
        to “God’s righteousness.”)

      2. Is keeping the law the path to righteousness? (No.
        This says that “Christ is the end of the law,” so
        that cannot be the path to righteousness. Instead,
        the Bible says “so that there may be righteousness
        for everyone who believes.” Belief in Jesus is the
        path to righteousness.)

    6. Read Romans 10:9-11. How is this belief that saves us
      described? (You confess that Jesus is God. You believe
      that by Jesus’ life, works and resurrection you are saved.
      This confession and belief is the path to heaven. If you
      trust Jesus for your salvation, “you will never be put to

    7. Let’s go back and read a text we recently studied. Read
      Revelation 22:12-15. What is it that the righteous, who
      hold a pass to enter heaven, have done? (They have washed
      their robes. Revelation 7:14 makes it absolutely clear
      what this means: “They washed their robes and made them
      white in the blood of the Lamb.” They relied on the
      perfect life and the atoning death of Jesus.)

      1. Look again at Revelation 22:15. What have the wicked
        done? (A whole list of sins.)

      2. Have heaven’s pass-holders done the same things?
        Could these things describe them? (Apparently this is
        irrelevant for the Bible does not say. We don’t know
        what specific sins have been “washed” out of the
        robes of the righteous. We are told two things: these
        works entitle you to eternal death. Washing your robe
        in the righteousness of Jesus (whatever the original
        condition of your robe) gives you a pass to heaven.
        The saved understand and accept this. See Romans

    8. Read Matthew 7:21. Does this text cast doubt on our
      understanding of what we have been reading? (It might. So,
      we need to understand it.)

    9. Read Matthew 7:22-23. Are these people, who will be denied
      a pass into heaven, all talk? (No. They have done some
      tremendous works. These works are more impressive then the
      works of most Christians I know!)

      1. What should these lost individuals have done? (Known

      2. Let’s revisit Jesus’ conversation with Thomas. Re-read John 14:6-7. What is Thomas’s problem? (He does
        not know Jesus. He does not understand that “no one
        comes to the Father except through Me.” You do not
        come to the Father by your own tremendous works.
        That is why Jesus tells those who claim their
        (powerful) works as the basis for salvation, that
        they do not know Jesus. They do not understand the
        path to salvation runs only through Jesus.)

  2. Understanding the Path to Holiness

    1. Let’s continue with the disciples’ conversation with
      Jesus. Read John 14:9-14. This is a long reading, but I
      think we need read the verses together to understand
      Jesus’ instruction. What is the purpose of the miracles
      Jesus performed? (To inspire belief that Jesus is the
      Messiah, the Son of God.)

      1. If these miracles are to prove that Jesus is the
        Messiah, why does Jesus say that His followers will
        do “greater things than these?” Are we showing people
        that we are with God? (That misses the point. Verse
        13 tells us that the miracles we do result in “the
        Son” bringing “glory to the Father.”)

    2. Read John 14:15. Why do you think this is true? I loved my
      parents, but sometimes I did not obey them. (Consider the
      context. Jesus is discussing how we can bring glory to
      God. Obeying God’s commands brings glory to God. If you
      love God, you will want to bring Him glory.)

    3. Read John 14:16-17. Why does Jesus immediately speak of
      the Holy Spirit? (The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us
      the insight, the conviction and the power to obey – to do
      the works.)

    4. Let’s skip down a few verses to tie this together. Read
      John 14:26. How does this describe the role of the Holy
      Spirit in our lives?

    5. Read John 14:23-24. What is the additional value of
      obeying God? (God will love us and make His home with us.)

      1. I thought that God loved everyone! Romans 5:8 says
        that God loved “sinners” so much He died for them.
        How do you understand John 14:23? (I think this means
        more than the general love that God has for all
        sinners. This means that God will bless your life
        with His presence.)

      2. Read Psalms 91:14-16. What details does this add to
        the idea that our love relationship with God improves
        our lives?

    6. Read 1 John 2:3-6. Why do you think John used the term
      “walk” to describe the life of someone who loves Jesus?
      (This is the progressive life. A life in which you advance
      towards holiness.)

  3. Preach It!

    1. Read Revelation 14:6-7. What does this say should be done
      with the “eternal gospel?” (It should be proclaimed to
      those who live on earth.)

      1. How does this angel describe the eternal gospel? (To
        fear and worship God. The Creator God is Jesus. John
        1:1-5, 14.)

      2. What else does the angel ask us to do? (“Give Him
        glory.” Our obedient life gives glory to God.)

    2. Read Revelation 14:8. How are the lost described? (They
      have drunk the “wine” of adultery – infidelity to God. Do
      you see how this is a call to make a choice? It is not a
      discussion of whether you have committed specific sins.
      The line dividing the good from the bad has to do with
      allegiance. Recall our discussion of Romans 10:9-10. Have
      you accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior?)

    3. Friend, don’t miss this message. You are saved by grace
      alone – none of it has to do with your works. But, once
      saved, you want to bring glory to God because you love
      Him. You do that by being obedient. The great thing about
      obedience is that it blesses you. Obedience results from
      your love for God. It is not the key to your salvation.
      But, your life should reflect a “walk” towards greater
      obedience, a walk towards holiness! Do you understand your
      assurance of salvation is based on accepting Jesus? If so,
      confess and believe in Jesus right now! Then ask the Holy
      Spirit to help you begin your walk towards holiness.

  4. Next week: Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary.