Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We are saved by grace through faith, apart from works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:20-28; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; Acts 2:38-39; 13:38-39; 16:30-33; Romans 4:15-25; 10:9-10). If works are necessary for salvation then grace is no longer grace (Romans 11:6), but debt (Romans 4:2-5). If we add works to faith as necessary for salvation, we frustrate the grace of God (Galatians 2:16-21) and run the risk of making Christ of ‘no effect’ (Galatians 5:1-4). Yet, faith without works is dead (James 2:17-26).
Obedience is a core doctrine of the New Testament (Matthew 19:16-17; 28:19-20; Luke 10:25-28; John 12:50; 14:15, 21; 15:10; Romans 15:18; 16:26; 2 Corinthians 2:9; 6:14-15; 10:3-6; Ephesians 5:6-8; 1 Timothy 6:13-14; Hebrews 5:9; James 1:22-25; 2:8-26; 4:11-12; 1 Peter 1:2,13-14, 22; 2 Peter 2:7-22; 1 John 2:4; 5:2-3; 2 John 1:6; Jude 1:3-21; Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14), which reveals the work of His Spirit in the life of a believer (Galatians 5:22-26; Jeremiah 31:31-34; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Romans 3:31; 8:2; Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:26-27; Psalm 119:32; Isaiah 30:21-Deuteronomy 5:32-33). We are saved by grace through faith UNTO good works (Ephesians 2:5-10; Colossians 1:10; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 13:20-21). We are not saved by works unto faith (Galatians 3:12; Romans 4:9-25).
We are saved by grace through faith, but judged by our works (2 Peter 2:10-11; Hebrews 4:11; 1 Corinthians 3:8-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; 1 Kings 8:32; Psalm 9:7-8; 62:12; Proverbs 24:12; Isaiah 3:10-11; Jeremiah 17:10; 32:19; Ezekiel 18:30-32; Matthew 16:27; 1 Peter 1:17; Romans 2:5-13; 14:10-12; Galatians 6:7-10; Revelation 2:23; 20:12-13; 22:12-14). Those who are saved by grace through faith, that walk not in obedience as they should will lose their reward, but will still be saved (1 Corinthians 3:8-13; Matthew 5:19). If one believes in Christ and is seeking to walk in His Word/Love (according to their understanding) they are walking in obedience although they may be doing so imperfectly (Romans 13:10; Hebrews 11:35; 1 Corinthians 15:35-42; Daniel 12:3).
Christ in us is our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27; 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Peter 1:3), not our works or knowledge (1 Peter 1:18-21). Christ in us (Colossians 1:27) is His Word in us (Psalm 119:49-50, 81, 144; 52:9; Colossians 3:16; 1 John 2:14; Hebrews 8:10), His Spirit in us (Ezekiel 36:26; Romans 8:9-11; John 15:26; 14:16-18). It is Christ dwelling in us that gives us hope, it is this hope that purifies us (1 John 3:2-3), and saves us (Romans 8:24) not our works or knowledge (Psalm 143:2; 146:3; Jeremiah 17:5; Romans 3:20, 28; Titus 3:5; Acts 13:39; Galatians 2:16; 3:10-11). Good works are the effect of salvation (Christ/Word dwelling in us), Him dwelling in us is the cause (John 15:1-10; 1 John 3:9-10; Hosea 14:8; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:11).
Works of the law/religion does not bring Messiah into our hearts (Galatians 3:2-5), faith does (Galatians 2:16). The law was designed to lead us to Him (Hebrews 10:1), revealing our sins (Romans 7:7) and condemning us (Romans 7:5-23; 1 Corinthians 15:56) that we might turn to Him by faith and receive His gift of grace unto salvation (Romans 5:20; 7:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:57). Through faith in Him, we receive His Spirit (Galatians 3:5, 14) to work through us (Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 3:20; Hebrews 13:21) and guide us (John 16:13; 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13) that we might walk by the Spirit of the law unto life, becoming His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9). If we walk in the letter of the law by our own power (works of the law) we will die (Galatians 3:10; 2:16).
We can only be pleasing to Him, and hear Him say ‘well done good and faithful servant,’ (Matthew 25:21-23) if Christ is living through us, the hope of Glory (Psalm 147:11; 33:18; 1 Peter 1:1, 13; Jude 1:21). Messiah always did the will of the Father, the things which were pleasing to Him (Luke 3:22; Matthew 12:18; 17:5; John 5:30; 8:29; Psalm 40:7-8). We are to submit our lives to Him (Romans 6:13) that He might live through us (John 17:21-23), just as the Father lived through Him (John 14:10; 15:1-10; 2 Corinthians 5:19).
We perform His will by Him working through us, not by our power/works/knowledge (Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:21; Mark 16:20; Ephesians 1:11; 2:9-10; 3:20; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Corinthians 12:6). Did we receive His Spirit by faith or by works (Galatians 3:2-7)? Through faith we have an unction/anointing of His Spirit (1 John 2:20), Christ’s Spirit dwells in us (Romans 8:9-10) and we are guided by Him (John 16:13). If we don’t have His Spirit then we don’t belong to Him (Romans 8:9). If we are not doing our works by His Spirit, then we are doing them by our own power (Galatians 3:5) and we are walking in the works of the law, we are denying Him (Romans 9:32-33; 10:3-10; Galatians 2:16-21) and going down the path of destruction (Galatians 3:10).
We are to take up our crosses (Mark 10:21; Luke 14:26-33), dying to the self (Philippians 3:10; Romans 6:4; 1 Corinthians 15:31; Galatians 2:20; 5:24; 6:14-15) that He might live through us (John 11:25; Romans 6:7-18). If we refuse to die to ourselves and continue to walk by our own power, we will die (Romans 8:13). If Christ dwells in us, sin is dead and we are new creatures (Romans 6:7-18; Galatians 6:14-15). Sin is the transgression of the law/Word (1 John 3:4), hence if we walk in Him (the Word made flesh) we will not walk in sin (1 John 3:9-10; 5:18; 2 Timothy 2:19). If we do sin, it is sin dwelling in us (Romans 7:17-25), not Him. It is the old man which has already died with Him (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). If we do sin, we have and Advocate with God (1 John 2:1). As believers, we should be walking in the footsteps of this Advocate (1 John 2:2-6), helping others out of sin while considering our own weakness in the flesh (Galatians 6:1-3).
“If you have to add anything to what Christ did for you, then His death on the cross was in vain.” – Dr. J. Vernon McGee
We are saved by grace through faith in God’s love (Ephesians 2:1-7; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:3-8; 1 John 4:9-10) which is a free gift (Romans 5:15-18; 6:23; 2 Corinthians 9:15; John 3:16). Good works are the effect of salvation (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:8) not the cause. If you add anything to this formula for salvation, whether it be works of the law, sacraments, etc., the free gift is no longer free, and it is no longer grace (Romans 4:2; 11:6). No man can boast before God for all have fallen short (Romans 3:19-23; 11:32; Galatians 3:22; 1 Corinthians 1:29-31) and can only hope in His free gift (Romans 3:27-28).
No flesh can glory in His presence, so then where is the boasting? Where is the justification for pointing the finger at others (Romans 2). There is none. There is only hope in the grace and mercy of the Most High, given through His Son (1 Timothy 1:1; Colossians 1:27; 1 John 3:3).
We are saved by His grace through faith where we become His workmanship that He can work through us performing good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). These good works are light (Matthew 5:16), His Word (Psalm 119:105), the Spirit of His Torah (Proverbs 6:23; Isaiah 8:20) shining through us (Psalm 27:1; John 8:12; Isaiah 60:1-2). These good works are performed by Him, through us (Philippians 2:13). We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) as He works through us, convicting us by His Spirit (John 16:8) on how we are to walk in His Word. It is The Most High who works through us, causing us to grow in maturity in His Word (Psalm 57:2; 18:32; 138:8). As a result, we are not to judge one another on how we walk, for we are all His servants and stand by His power, not our knowledge or works (Romans 14:4-5). We must remember that if a believer is sincerely following the Lord, it is He that is guiding them. This is true regardless of the failings we perceive in them.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
We have all fallen short (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10) and see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12) so we can’t judge fellow believers for their shortcomings (James 4:11-12; Romans 14:4, 13). Our understanding of the Word and our success in following this understanding is not what makes us His people, it is our faith in the Messiah (Romans 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:14). What justifies us and saves us before the Father is faith in Messiah, not “obedience” to the Torah (Galatians 2:16; 3:11; Romans 3:28; 5:1). We receive the Spirit, who guides us on how we are to walk, by faith not works of the law (Galatians 3:2, 5).
When asked why we do what we do, we should be prepared to give an answer for the hope in us in meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15), not in condemning and finger pointing which comes not from the spirit of meekness but of pride. Each of us should be fully persuaded in our minds as to how we are to walk with the Lord (Romans 14:5), letting His Spirit guide (John 16:13), convict (John 16:8) and teach us (1 John 2:20, 27).
If we can remember that we are all saved by His grace through faith and stand therein (Romans 5:1-2; 2 Corinthians 1:24), we will be able to better abide in His “first love” (Revelation 2:4) and extend His mercy and grace to others even when we disagree with them. If we remember that we all see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12) we can better abide in His faith, hope and love.
The Lord is transforming us from glory to glory by His own power (2 Corinthians 3:18), not by our religious doctrines and movements. It is His job to perfect us and recreate us in His image, not ours (Psalm 57:2; 18:32; 138:8; Ephesians 4:4-13). It is not our job to overcome the flesh by our own power. Our job is to yield unto Him that He might work through us (Romans 6:7-19). Hence, all praise and glory and honor belongs unto Him (Romans 6:17; Revelation 5:12-13; 7:12; Isaiah 42:8).
When we come to faith, our job is to yield ourselves to the Lord that He might work through us (Romans 6:13-19; Philippians 3:21). We are to present ourselves as living sacrifices unto Him (Romans 12:1) that the body of sin might be destroyed (Romans 6:6-12). Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4), dying to the sinful flesh that we might walk by faith does not nullify the law, it establishes it (Romans 3:31). We must put the law in its proper perspective. It is not our means to salvation and righteousness (Romans 10:3-4), if we walk according to this we frustrate the grace of God and demean Christ’s sacrifice (Galatians 2:21). The law convicts us as sinners (Galatians 3:22) that we might come to faith in Messiah (Galatians 3:24-25) as new creatures in Him (Galatians 3:26-29). He is the Word/Torah made flesh (John 1:1, 14) and is forming us into His image (1 John 3:1-5) from glory to glory by His Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).
We can yield/submit to Him that we might become His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 10:3-4; Philippians 3:9) or we can attempt to establish our own righteousness by our own power (works of the law/religion) and fall into condemnation (Isaiah 64:6; 57:12; Galatians 2:16; 3:10).
If Christ in us is the only way we can please Him, where is the boasting (Romans 3:27)? Where is the uplifting of self over another? If we are boasting because of our works, we are making Messiah of none effect and are bringing ourselves into condemnation (Galatians 3:10). He alone is to be exalted (Isaiah 2:11, 17), we are to bend the knee in the same manner as everyone else (sinner and saint alike) (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10). Our knowledge of doctrine and the performance thereof, if gained and performed properly, comes from Him, not by our own strength/righteousness/worthiness (Philippians 2:5-13).
Our only boasting should be that we know Him (Jeremiah 9:23; 1 Corinthians 1:31), yet even that only comes through His grace (Galatians 1:15; John 6:37-44), not our worthiness (Romans 3:23). We are only made worthy through His work (Colossians 1:22; John 17:19; Acts 26:18; Romans 5:19), and God working in us to present us blameless and sanctified in His sight (Philippians 2:13; Jude 1:24; Ephesians 5:26-27; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
All will bow down before the King and give an answer or defense for their lives (Romans 14:10-13; 2 Corinthians 5:10). None can save their own lives, we can only look towards the Messiah who was given to us as the provision for salvation (Isaiah 45:22-23). There is no room for boasting (Romans 2:23; 3:19, 27; 1 Corinthians 1:29-31). There is no place for condemning of others (Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37; John 12:47; Romans 14:13; James 4:11; 5:9). There is only place for humbling oneself before the Lord (Philippians 2:10; Romans 14:10-11; Isaiah 45:23-25).