Works-Based Salvation vs. Formational Work
Work and Soteriology
This Sunday, me and my friends helped a woman move across town. And while riding the U-Haul down the highway, my friend got to talking about how this work, annoying as it was, was salvific.
Yes, the work was salvific.
But when I say that, the idea that jumps into our modern heads is that I’m saying I believe in works-based salvation; that I just need to do enough works to be saved. Or, at least, that I need to check that box in addition to a bunch of other ones.
That’s certainly the wrong mindset about it.
No, when I mean that the work is salvific, I mean that it is forming me into a better person. I am practicing living out the virtues that Christ has inspired me to. Patience. Charity. Fortitude.
This work is not recompense; it is not transaction. It is not punching a ticket. It forms me into someone able to be in closer relationship with the divine. This work is formational, not penitential.
And that is why we ought to do works - not to earn heavenly brownie points, but because the works shape us into the sort of beings that would love God more fully.