The Bible states very clearly that only God knows the heart, and salvation is a HEART issue. So, ultimately, it seems to me that if we are saved by faith alone, the whole "works" issue is basically a dead issue. For example, the Bible (and life) plainly reveals that many people profess Christianity and demonstrate good works (all people demonstrate some kind of good works) who in fact are NOT saved. Moreover, the Bible reveals that salvation can occur at the very moment of death--before any good "works" can be demonstrated by the saved person. Please understand, I definitely believe that a person can know if they themselves are saved, but I do NOT believe that works, in and of themselves, have ANYTHING to do with ANYTHING. That is, they do not save and they do not reveal. In fact, if I were the anti-Christ, wanting to deceive the entire world, I would be an evangelist--speaking and acting according to the words of Christ, professing boldly the Christian doctrines and giving away much to philanthropic missions. This, I believe, is precisely why Luther was so opposed to works--he saw that they neither save nor reveal the condition of a person's heart. God bless you all.
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