Good Works Follow Saving Faith
The Bible tells us that we have been saved only by God’s amazing grace, but what does it have to say about good works? Steph Nickel continues her series on Ephesians 2.
Saved By Grace, Not By Good Works
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Last time we talked about what God has already accomplished in our lives. We focused on the middle portion of this passage. From God’s perspective, Christians are already seated with His Son, Jesus, in heaven. We are no longer slaves of sinful desires.
And all of this is an act of God’s great grace. We could never earn or deserve any of it. As the passage says, it is “not a result of works.” There is nothing we could do that is good enough to earn us right standing before the Lord—nothing!
We Should Rejoice Every Day!
This gives us reason to rejoice every day God gives us breath and then for all eternity. We can rest in what He accomplished for us. We can thank Him that He’ll never change His mind about those who come to saving faith in what Jesus Christ accomplished by dying for our sin and rising victorious over sin and death.
We must hold firmly to these truths. The order of things is crucially important here. If you’ve come to saving faith, it is because of God’s grace. If you have yet to do so, only His grace will save you—not your good deeds, no matter how noble or selfless. We must realize this. We must believe it 100 percent. And then we must go on to consider the end of this passage.
As Christians, There Are Good Works We Should Do
Let’s read it again. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Why did God save us?
Because He loves us? Yes.
Because He is kind and merciful? Yes.
Because He is gracious and forgiving? Yes.
Because He has things He wants us to do? Also yes.
What Good Works Are You Called To Do?
Some Bible scholars believe these good works are the same for every believer. To a certain extent, I agree with them. All Christians are called to pray; to fellowship together; to share their faith with unbelievers; to study God’s Word; and, enabled by God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, obey the other directives and commands we find in the Bible.
But this won’t look exactly the same in every believer’s life. Some devote hours each day to going before the Lord in prayer. Some pray as they move from one task to the next to the next. Some followers of Jesus gather with fellow believers numerous times each week. Some are only able to do so on rare occasions. Some devote their lives to taking the gospel to unreached people groups in remote locations. Others seek to be good witnesses of Jesus in their homes, their neighbourhoods, their workplaces.
Saved For The Purpose Of Accomplishing Good Works
So beyond those good works that apply to all of us, I believe God has specific ways for each of us to accomplish these things. Many days I pray that the Lord would enable me to accomplish the good works He has planned for me to carry out that specific day.
It’s important to study God’s Word each day. Second Timothy 3:16-17 says,
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Two things I want you to remember: 1) we are saved by God’s grace, not our good works, and 2) He saved us for the purpose of accomplishing good works that He prepared for us even before we were born.
Steph Beth Nickel is eclectically interested and eclectically involved. In all she does, Steph seeks to nurture and inspire. She is currently working on the first book in a nonfiction series. Nurture and Inspire LOVE is a compilation of the first devotionals she wrote for HopeStreamRadio.
Steph is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books. Deb and Steph are working on a follow-up book.
You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
Visit Steph’s contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.