For it is by graceyou have been saved,through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9not by works,so that no one can boast. Eph 2
This is one of the foundation verses of the gospel on which all else is build. In the Bible there is a clear separation between grace and works for they are as different as chalk from cheese. Works belong to the Old Covenant, while grace has been given under the New Covenant. Works belong to the Law, while Grace belongs to the Cross.
Works is what we did to earn Gods favour, while Grace is a Gift. Scripture teaches that there is a great gulf between the two in relation to redemption. Yet we in our wisdom tend to merge the two together and we attempt to walk under works for a time while we believe we are walking in grace. Many of us walk between the two extremes as if we are trying to bring, what God has separated, together.
The Bible is so clear that the cross is the basis of grace and that Jesus is the only channel to obtain grace. Secondly is only by faith that we receive grace. Grace has begun with God's love and will end with God. Let me say that again. Jesus is the only channel of God's grace, for only through the death of Jesus has Gods Favour been made available to us. God's grace cannot be explained for it is un explainable – it can only be appropriated by faith.
Grace is God's gift to mankind for it is only by grace that we have been put right with God. Anybody who lives believing that they we will receive Gods favour by doing something is in error. The difficulty with most religious church goers is that they live their Christian life trying to earn Gods favour. But grace by its definition is a free gift. If you are trying to please God by works you will never receive Gods grace for it cannot be earned.
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift,but as an obligation.5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. Rom 4
Too many church goers have become complacent and their walk as a disciple consists in following the rules and regulations that their particular church deems as necessary to be a good Christian. For some it is the way they dress, for others it is how devoted they are to their church. Growing up in my small town Baptist church it was – females do not wear makeup, neither did we go to the movies, or dances or really mix with the neighbours. But in following these unwritten rules to please God we considered ourselves better than the Methodists for they had youth dances in their church hall – for goodness sake!
As a side note I am not saying we should not have denominational rules and regulations, nor should we not follow them; but if we are doing this to gain favour with God; it is un scriptural. Interesting that the more 'works' that we follow to please God the more doctrinal divisions we have.
Nor does the cult of trying to gain Gods favour rest with non spiritual things, but the moment any believer boasts that they have studied the scriptures thoroughly, that they read their Bible diligently and pray regularly and have all knowledge of scripture the truth is not in them.
The Bible is clear works does not gain Gods favour. Salvation and grace only came by the death of Jesus for there is nothing; absolutely nothing that we do will gain Gods favour. We are saved by grace and we live to Christ through grace.
The Bible clearly teaches that Grace is only available because of the death of Jesus.
1. Paid the penalty of our past sins (Rom. 3:25; Col. 2:13)
2. Did away with the law (Rom. 10:4; Col. 2:14)
3 Settled Satan's claims against us (Col. 1:13, 2:15)
4. Put away sin (Heb. 9:26)
5. Executed our carnal nature (Rom. 6:6; Gal. 2:20)
Law/works commands the 'old man' from without; but Grace writes on the heart of the 'new man.'
All salvation and blessings are a gift from God – we either accept this as a gift or go without.
Though I was not a Baptist, the "list" from your youth looked strangely familiar. In that denomination it was called "advice" but most of the time it was treated as "doctrine". I think people meant well but it also caused a lot of criticism, gossip, fear and when you think about it, social isolation which truly, when you think about it, can have a profound affect on you during those critical growing up years, especially if the congregation size is small and the members don't exactly live right down the street.
Works are the by-product of someone who has received and cherishes grace. For example, we don't help others in order to receive or earn grace. We help others because as recipients of grace, we desire to show our gratitude to God by attempting to live the way Jesus lived. He reached out to those in need and therefore, we find great joy in doing likewise.
You're right. It is grace, grace and always grace.
Great word. It is only by God's grace we are saved, it all begins and ends in Him. Only by the cross of Christ and clothed in His righteousness, may we enter the wedding feast. Grace freely given to all who choose to receive reconciliation to God through Calvary.
I think of the Keith Green song with the lyric ... On grace in which I stand.