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New City Catechism 33.2

Question 33: Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works, or anywhere else?

Answer: No, they should not, as everything necessary to salvation is found in Christ. To seek salvation through good works is a denial that Christ is the only Redeemer and Savior.

We bring glory to Christ when we refuse to trust in our works, even in the tiniest way, to save us. Our faith in Christ rightly recognizes that he alone is qualified to be our Mediator before God, and that we have no hope apart from him. If we trust in our own works, we deny glory to Christ by denying him the trust that he rightly deserves as our Savior.

The same is true for anything that lies outside of Christ, not just our own good works. If we trust in ideas or practices of other religions, or in the wisdom of the world, or in Mary and the saints, we implicitly deny Christ the glory he deserves. We must beware not only of trusting in our own works, but also of adding to the gospel in any way with non-biblical teachings that would bind us to things that detract from Christ’s glory. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul makes this point very strongly, and thus it would benefit us to read and think deeply about what Paul teaches in that letter.

Suggested passage for family or personal reading: Colossians 2:6-23. What does this passage teach us about Christ, about worldly teachings, and about the danger of adding to the gospel? How might it apply to our lives today?

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