You’ve heard me say before that we are not saved by our good works, but we are saved for good works. Well, I don’t ever want to say anything without backing it up with scripture, so let’s look at what the Bible says about this concept. We always go to Ephesians 2:8-9 but let’s add verse 10 to the mix. So, Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us, “8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
This passage lays to rest any false teaching that we might be saved by our good works, let’s look at it. Verse 8 starts out by telling us that we are saved by God’s grace, through our faith in Him. We know that grace is a gift that we can’t earn, it is unmerited favor. So, if I give you a dollar, that’s grace, but if I give you a dollar for raking the leaves in my yard, I have a very small yard, that is not grace, it is payment for services rendered. So, if we get salvation as a result of the good works we do, it isn’t grace its payment.
Okay, so what about faith? Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” This is telling us that faith is believing in something that we can’t see. But, as we’ve discussed before, faith must be life-changing. Too many people today are trusting in their faith instead of the one they are supposed to have faith in. Faith that is not life-changing is not faith at all. Matthew 7:22-23 says, “22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” So, clearly believing isn’t enough. In fact, this tells us that there are church leaders and even people working miracles and casting out demons who aren’t even saved. How is this possible? James 2:14-17 says, “14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” In fact, James 2:19 tells us that Satin himself has faith, look what it says, “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.”
So, the Bible is clear that we are saved by God’s grace, and the salvation comes as a result of our life-changing faith, but it even goes further. He goes on to say that you can’t take credit for it. And why is that? Because “it is a gift from God”. And, he says that, since it is a gift from God, you can’t brag about it either. Let’s face it, if you earned your salvation by not sinning, then bragged about it, you just committed a sin and are no longer worthy of the salvation you earned. That system wouldn’t make any sense.
Like I was saying at the beginning, we usually stop there, but let’s look at verse 10 in conjunction with these verses. Verse 10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” This is the good stuff. “We are God’s masterpiece”, isn’t that amazing? He isn’t talking to all humans. He isn’t saying that our bodies or our minds are God’s masterpiece, he is saying that our redemption is His masterpiece. Because, He has taken us, these broken and even dead blobs and made us a new creation. That is truly beautiful!
But, why did He recreate us? He recreated us “so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” And, what are those good things? To answer that we need to go back to long ago, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” God recreated us to carry out His plan…to do the good things He has planned.
The Picture at the top of this blog is me and my oldest grandson, Micah. He is five and a half years old and accepted Christ as his savior this year, he is a masterpiece. Isn’t it truly awesome how God made salvation so simple that even a child can understand, and not only that, but He said that we must come to Him as children? We must trust Him like a child trusts a parent.
These three verses make it infinitely clear that we were not saved by our good works, but we are saved to do the things He planned for us long ago, we were saved for good works!
Matthew 5:14-16 tells us, 14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Now more than ever the world needs to see our good works. We must be that shining city on a hill. We must become the beacon of God’s love to the world. We must be His masterpiece. The only hope for our world today is a Great Revival, another Great Awakening, and the only way that will happen is if the Church will tear down their walls of division and come together as the Body of Christ. Then, and only then, will we be that light to this dying world.