Well now, you obviously do not understand what a work by a man consists of.
That is actually a very funny statement. Because though it might be that he does not understand what a work by a man consists of, clearly you do not understand what Paul was talking about when he said, "not by works".
Those work mongers of Acts 15:1,2 could use the same argument to Paul that you used to me. After all, what part does a man have in his own circumcision? Most likely LESS than a person does in water baptism~yet Paul rejected any and ALL works that a person uses his ENERGY in be it ever so little...ANY ACT that he has an ACTIVE part in, is a work of the flesh/commanded by a law...which said...THIS DO and LIVE, refuse and die in your sins!
There is nothing in Acts 15:1-2 about baptism. The only thing discussed there is whether or not one must be circumcised as Jew. There is nothing there whatsoever about not being baptized. There is nothing there whatsoever about not doing something. When Paul, or others, spoke of "not by works", it didn't mean that there is no need or requirement to do something. Clearly circumcision is not required, but that doesn't say there isn't something else that might be required.
The first question that one must ask is, "Why not by works?" After all, God went to a lot of trouble to give the Jews His rules and regulations about how they were to live. Those very rules and regulations not only specified what it was that they were to do, but not doing them was the very definition of sin. So would we expect that should anyone actually follow God's rules and regulations as He laid them down and therefore not sin, that God would nevertheless condemn that person to eternal damnation? Only if you are a Calvinist-type. The whole point here is not that the law could not save. The failure is not in the law. Paul said, "So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means!"(Rom 7:12-13)!
So what then is the problem? Paul goes on to say, "it was sin" (v,13)
He said, "It was sin, producing death in me through what is good..."(v.13)
In other words, sin brought death to him; and had he not sinned there would have been no death produced in him.
And that is the key here. When Paul says, "Not by works"
, he is not saying that works can't save. What he is saying is that works can save provided there is no sin. But that means perfect works. James clarified that when he said, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it" (Jas_2:10).
So the "Not by Works"
is not a weakness in works, it is a weakness in man. Paul confirmed that when he said, "so death spread to all men because all sinned--" (Rom 5:12)
Paul's words then are, effectively, Keep the law perfectly and live; commit even one sin, no matter how serious, and die. It has nothing whatsoever to do with any conditions that God can require upon being saved, and staying saved for that matter. If God says believe and be baptized to be saved, that does not contradict His statement of "Not by Works"
God is free to require whatever he will. It is only the Calvinist-type who says, "No, I won't let God do that. God can't make me jump through hoops to be saved". Such foolishness.
Here is the truth. God says, "Either keep the law perfectly and live or do this instead and live." Given that none of us can keep the law perfectly, then what is the "instead"? That is not a tough question. Peter laid it out in the first gospel sermon, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit...."(Acts 2:38) The whole of the NT expands on that theme, but does not change it.
And by everything that God has said in his word, receiving the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit is receiving eternal life, i.e., salvation.