Is it true that if we emphasize the fact that we are saved by grace through faith, it means that we can forget about the law of God – that we can forget about being obedient to God? Of course not!
Perhaps the most famous verses on salvation by grace through faith apart form works are found in Ephesians 2:8-9. But to get a more complete understanding, we need to keep reading through verse 10.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”
Adrian Rogers, said, “If you will get these verses correct, you will never get skewed. You will never get confused.”
You remember your high school English, right? You remember what a preposition is, right? There are three key prepositions in Ephesians 2:8-10. If we will keep them straight, we will keep our theology straight. To keep the faith-and-works relationship biblically correct, remember 3 prepositions.
These three prepositions are: by, through, and for. Let’s say them: “by, through, for.” Say them one more time: “by, through, for.”
We are saved by grace through faith for good works.
If we have real faith, it is going to be for good works. We are not saved by good works. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. We are not saved by good works. We are saved for good works.
You cannot save yourself. Good works, a little or a lot, don’t save. They don’t help save. You could no more save yourself by good works than if when you were drowning you could reach up with your hand, take yourself by the hair, and lift yourself out of the water.
We are saved by grace alone through faith alone but the grace alone that saves through faith alone never stays alone. We are not saved by faith and works; but we are saved by a faith that works.
So, the way you can tell if your profession of faith is real is by looking for the good works that are produced as a result of the faith.
Some who say that they have faith have the kind of faith that is not working. No one around them would ever think they are saved. If your religion hasn’t changed your life, you ought to change your religion. You’ve got to swap pseudo faith for saving faith. You’ve got to trade in your fake faith for true faith – a faith that changes everything.
Think of a road with two ditches. The devil doesn’t care which side of the road he wrecks your car on.
On the one side is the ditch for those who think they can work their way to heaven – that God is somehow making a list, checking it twice, like Santa Claus. And when we die, He is going to see if our good works outweigh our bad works. Some are trying to be justified by works. It won’t work.
The other ditch is just as dangerous. Some say, “We’re saved by faith? Well, I believe. Jesus died for my sins and rose again? I believe.” But it’s an intellectual, casual, nominal belief that doesn’t change anything in their lives. They never bow the knee to Jesus. They never turn and trust. They never really come to know Christ personally. They simply have a “say so” salvation. But they don’t have a “show so” salvation.
Both groups need to be saved by grace through faith for works.
So what is the way that works and faith connect?
Faith is the root of salvation. Works are the fruit of salvation.
Faith is invisible, the root beneath the ground. Works are visible, the fruit above the ground.
Faith is the foundation of our faith. Our work is the building that is built on that foundation.
Faith is inward. Works are outward.
Faith is the provision of our salvation. Works are the proof of our salvation.
Faith is the means of our salvation. Works are the marks of our salvation.
Are you saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for works?
Salvation by grace through faith apart from works actually fuels our gratitude and obedience to God. We are amazed that we have received so great a salvation! Being saved by grace through faith doesn’t make us want to ignore God or disobey God. It makes us want to serve Him, please Him, love Him, and work for Him!