An important religious topic is the role a person’s good works play in their salvation. We will look at this all week.
Today we look at Ephesians 2:8-10. Note how it mentions works twice:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”Ephesians 2:8-10, emphasis added
It says salvation is “not of works”. Rather, it is a gift of God.
Sometimes people say these works are the ones prescribed for the Old Testament Jews. The context, however, shows that’s not true. In the verse immediately following, it addresses the people as Gentiles, non-Jews. These works are the ones which everyone considers good—things like being a faithful spouse and doing good to others. These things don’t save us.
Now look at the last sentence. Once a person is created in Christ Jesus through faith, they are to do good works. In other words, good works are the result of being saved. They are not the reason why a person is saved.
Assigning works their proper role is a life and death issue—an eternal life and death issue. God does not look kindly on anybody who, in any way, relies on their works to be saved. Instead of blessing them, he curses them.
“Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”Galatians 3:10
Note how inclusive this is. A person can’t just want to keep the commandments. They must do them. And not just some of them. All of them. And not just some of the time. They are to continue to do them. If they fail in any part, they are cursed.
The only way to be saved is to rely solely on what Jesus did for us.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”Galatians 3:13
Friends, trust solely in Jesus. See that good works are not the reason people are saved, but the result of their being saved.
How can we pray for you this week?
Where do you turn in times of trouble?
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Additional Questions You Might Have
Do my works mean anything for my salvation?
One way I like to picture God’s holiness is as strong radiation. His holiness constantly is radiating out from him. By its very nature, it destroys anything imperfect with which it comes into contact.