Q. I believe we are saved by grace alone and we have no requirement other than faith. My question is, are some of my dear friends who believe they have some responsibility in maintaining their salvation by their works not saved?
A. It’s not for any of us to say whether another person is saved or not. Setting aside the fact that the Bible offers numerous very clear rebuttals to their position, if a person believes they are even partially responsible for either achieving or maintaining their salvation, they’ve entered into a “saved by faith kept by works” arrangement where the Lord fulfills part of the requirement, leaving them to fulfill the rest.
His contribution is complete, but theirs is not. Therefore whether they wind up being saved or not depends totally on their own effort. They’re in effect responsible for keeping themselves saved, which is humanly impossible. At it’s best our efforts at righteous works fall so far short of God’s requirements as to be offensive to Him (Isaiah 64:6).
But even if it was possible, there would be no way of knowing until it’s too late whether their contribution has been sufficient, because there’s no way of knowing how much effort is required. They can never be certain, therefore they can never rest, and will live their lives in fear of falling short without knowing it. The Lord has shown He doesn’t grade on the curve in this matter. Any careless thought or action could disqualify them and they won’t know until it’s too late. This is not the freedom for which the Lord has set us free (Galatians 5:1).