Read: Ephesians 2
Consider: Grace can be defined as ‘unmerited favour’ and, as such, it is clear that it is based on God’s gift to us, rather than us earning it through works. This irks some people who think that they must be able to do something to earn their salvation. It irked the rich young man who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life (Mark 10:17).
Our human nature tends to assume that if we work hard at something, then we should be able to benefit as a result. This view is reinforced by parents as children grow up, by teachers at school, lecturers at university and by employers at work. It is not surprising then that some people think eternal life should be based on how good a person they have been during their life. They think that if they are ‘weighed in the balance’ at the final judgement, provided their good works outweigh the bad , then they should receive eternal life.
Looking at what Paul says in Ephesians, it is clear that the world’s view of earning salvation through good works is incorrect. We can see that salvation cannot be earned by us and that it is God’s gift to us. Even knowing this many Christians find themselves on the treadmill of good works, not to earn their salvation but to ensure that they keep themselves in credit with God. This again loses sight of the nature of the gift of salvation – we can do nothing to earn it, nor is there anything we can do to justify God giving us the gift. Think of it this way – when you commit your life to Christ your account with God is put in credit based upon Christ’s death and resurrection and as you live day-by-day your account remains in credit, based on Christ’s sacrifice and not on your good works. Of course we must recognise that as Christians we will want to be involved in good works, not to earn our salvation or place in heaven, but as a natural outworking of our new found faith.
Pray: Father, we thank you for the gift of salvation that you have given us through your Son’s sacrificial death. Help us to understand that we are justified by faith and not by good works. Protect us from the treadmill of good works, but may we have a heart that is willing to live a holy life, expressing love to you and to others. Amen