Grace, faith, and works.
Incompatible? Or irretrievably interwoven?
While grace and faith pair well, works have been the odd man out when it comes to salvation. Yet your concordance will show extensive lists of verses for all three. Have you considered their relationship? Let’s focus on just a few verses that show the tension created by this trio:
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV): “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Grace, faith, and works. Side by side by side.
God gives us grace. He enables us to respond in faith. He prepares good works in advance for us to do.
Simple, right? Thanks, Paul.
But then James and Jesus Himself chime in.
James 2:14, 17 “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” and “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Can dead faith save? Sometimes. (Ex. Thief on the cross)
Matthew 7:21-24: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Works without relationship looks dead too. (Ex. Pharisees)
One more just for fun. (This one helps.)
1 Cor. 3:10-15: “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
God’s gift of grace enables our faith.
What we believe affects what we do. What we do will be tested and has consequences (of some kind) for eternity.
Demonstrate your faith response that followed that grace.
Let your living faith lead you to look for the opportunities God has already prepared.
Nail your spiritual workouts this week and change your corner of the gym.
Workout for the Week: Grace, Faith, and Works
Memory Verse: Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Meditation Passage: James 2:14-26
Just Do It: Work out your salvation.