By grace you have been saved
January 17, 2014
Most religions have methods or rules by which we can be saved. Christianity teaches a different method. Ephesians 2:8,9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any should boast." Jesus was the only who did or can live a perfect life and then he invites us to share the advantages from His sacrifice. I am afraid however, that Believers in Jesus Christ sometimes start to believe that we can gain God's favor by the better works that we do for Him. We start comparing ourselves to other believers and thinking we are doing better by our works than other people and God will love us more than other believers somehow.
I am also a strong believer that there are works we should be doing, but we need to keep the order correct. When we do works for God, we should be doing these works out of gratefulness because God saved us and not so that he will save us. We already have received God's favor through the gift of salvation and he cannot love us any more than he does.
"Works are not a reason for God's grace to come, works are a response to God's grace that has come." Ephesians 2:10 follows the "By grace you have been saved" statement with "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. So there is no question that we should do good works.
Ezekiel 37:3 And He said to me, "Son of Man, can these bones live?" so I answered, "O Lord God, You know." This is how I see the human situation in relationship with God. There is nothing that we can do without Jesus that will amount to anything worthwhile. Everything we do that is worthwhile begins after our coming to Christ, therefore works can have absolutely nothing to do with our salvation or God's grace. The dead bones had nothing to do with their being brought back to life.
With all that said, I would still like to see more believers doing the works God prepared for us to do. It would help us to see who the true believers are. Because if you are truly saved you will be grateful and want to do the works for God's kingdom because you are so happy that you are saved.
Matthew chapter 7 talks to us about not judging others, but it also tells us to look at the fruit that comes out of a persons' life to know if the person happens to be a false prophet or a good person. Jesus tells us that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
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What is the answer? John 3:16 "for God so loved the world (me and you) that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Believe in the Lord Jesus and you, too, will be saved. And then run to Him and let him know by your actions (works) how much you love Him and want to follow Him in all your life. May the Lord bless you abundantly throughout your life.
Pastor Lon Smith of the River Ministries in Coleville is a member of Carson Valley Ministers' Association.