A Recent Experience and Works-Based Salvation
When I was in the office for my internship (an academic requirement), I borrowed a correction tape from one of my co-workers. Careless, I used it until the tape got jammed inside. So thinking it can be fixed, I opened the contraption and tried to solve the problem, winding and rewinding the tape inside. But as long as I’m trying to fix it, the problem gets worse than before.
Fearing that my co-worker will catch me fixing her broken correction device, I resolved to go somewhere else. So I ended up in the comfort room, in one of the cubicles. And there I was, fixing with all my might what I have broken. I thought of confessing to my co-worker and face the consequences, but I quickly shrugged off that idea. I said to myself, “I can still fix this!”
At one point, I was nearing to a solution. But when I was about to, the problem again rose and became worse than before. The contraption was almost in a hopeless state. And by now, I’ve been working on it for lots of minutes (I didn’t notice the time anymore, but I’m sure it was long).
Finally, I gave up. I decided to tell my co-employee and face the consequences. So I mustered all the strength and courage I have and confessed to her. After frightening me with the possible consequences, she let go of it. There was relief at last.
Immediately, I thought of salvation. What if salvation is works-based, like me trying to fix what I can’t really fix at all? And end up not fixing anything at all?
Humanity has been deceived, believing that people can fix what really can’t be fixed. We are sinners (Romans 3:23) and in need of “fixing.” We can’t “fix” our sin problem on our own, for “our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6). Or “filthy rags” (NIV1984). And Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us:
8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
We can’t be saved by our own works, because obviously, it can’t fix what really can’t be fixed on our own. By now, I realize the horror brought by works-based salvation, when one tries to fix what really can’t be fixed.
When I decided to own up to my sin of breaking the correction tape and confess to my co-worker and ask for her forgiveness, it brought me relief. Likewise, when people acknowledge their sins before God and ask for His forgiveness, rather than “fixing” their sin problem on their own, it gives them everlasting peace. That’s why I embrace and love salvation by grace through faith.
I regret that I broke my co-worker’s correction tape. But I’m thankful that I learned a lesson about salvation. It makes me rejoice over the truth that salvation is by grace through faith, and not by works.