Grace and Works
Most folks believe that we are saved by the grace of God, for the Bible says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). However, most folks do not understand the necessity of the works of faith.
Must one do or perform any works to be saved? Some will quote this verse, "Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:9) and conclude that one doesn't have to do any works to be saved. What does Paul mean by "Not of works"? Let's study our Bibles together and see what God says.
Notice first of all that there are different kinds of works mentioned in the Bible.
1. Works of the flesh. "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21, emp LS). One can plainly see that the "works of the flesh" will not save anyone. In fact, Paul said that "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God".
2. Works of the devil. "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil" (I John 3:8, emp LS). The apostle John calls the "works of the devil" sin. Surely we see that one does not need to do the "works of the devil" to be saved?
3. The work of making a living. "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth" (Ephesians 4:28, emp LS). Does the saving grace of God mean that a man doesn't have to work for a living? NO! Notice what Paul says, "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (I Timothy 5:8) and "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should eat" (II Thessalonians 3:10). So, we DO have to do some work!
4. Works of the Old Law. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16, emp LS). What did Paul say? He said that we are NOT justified by the "works of the law". What law is Paul talking about? The context bears out the law spoken of here is the Old Testament Law, that is, the Law of Moses. One does not have to keep the works of the Old Mosaic Law today to be saved. More next time.