Did Jesus emphasize works as an essential part of man’s relationship with God, or did He emphasize “faith alone”? Please notice what Jesus said to the seven churches of Asia:
I know thy works…Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent…I know thy works…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life…I know thy works…I know thy works…and thy works…I will give unto every one of you according to your works…And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations…I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God…I know thy works…I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth (Rev. 2:2, 5, 9, 10, 13, 19, 23, 26; 3:1, 2, 8, 15, 16; emp. JPH).
What was the problem with the churches of Asia? Had they stopped believing in Jesus? No, but several of them had “fallen” from a good relationship with Christ because of their actions, or the lack thereof. Belief alone was not enough to keep them in God’s favor!
Notice that some of their works were good, and some were bad. When it comes to the judgment of God, “every work” is taken into consideration, “whether it be good or bad” (Eccl. 12:13, 14; 2 Cor. 5:10). Therefore, the Bible teaches that men will be judged by what they did, not simply by what they believed! Nobody can earn salvation, and salvation is not obtained through works of the Law of Moses (Eph. 2:8-16), but one must actively love and obey God to become saved and remain saved (Matt. 7:21-23; 22:36-40; Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3:5; Acts 2:37-41; 10:35; Rom. 6:3-5, 16-18; Gal. 5:4, 6; Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 1:22; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; 1 Jn. 1:6—2:6; Jude 21).
One’s love for God will be demonstrated by his “works” of obedience (Jn. 14:15, 24; Jam. 2; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 5:3), and Jesus commands Christians to be busy working in His service if we want to go to Heaven. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).
(See also Matt. 25:14-46; Mk. 16:15, 16; Lk. 6:46; 9:23; Jn. 8:31; 14:15; Gal. 6:7-10; Eph. 2:10; Php. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1:3; 1 Tim. 4:13, 15, 16; 2 Tim. 2:15-18; Titus 2:14; Heb. 4:11; 6:10; 10:23-31; Jam. 2:14-26; 2 Pet. 1:10; Rev. 14:13; 22:12).