Are We Saved by Works?
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ephesians 2:8-10
This verse says we are saved by grace and not by works, but it also says we are created for good works. Do these statements sound contradictory? James 2:26 states, For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. We are created to do good works, but we are not saved by works, so how does God view our works?
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) Whatever work we are doing for the Lord he is looking at our heart, which reveals our attitude and motivation. Ephesians 2:8 above states we are saved by grace through faith. Does our heart reveal love for the Lord that gives us the faith to trust him to lead our lives? If you love me, keep my commands. (John 14:15) A heart that pleases God is a heart filled with his love that seeks to obey his commands, a heart that always strives to give our best to the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (Colossians 3:23)
How is saved by works go with our worldly nature? When we are working on a task, we tend to feel content and satisfied when successfully finish. This may feed over to our good works for the Lord. We may seek to do good works that appeal to us, and only do those works that we feel good and comfortable about. This is a dangerous position because it can lead us to justify only works that we choose.
We are to be Christ-like, and if we look at the life of Jesus we see he did everything the Father told him to do. He ministered to everyone and showed love to everyone. We have the love, faith, and courage to go wherever the Spirit tells us, and show God’s love through a caring compassionate heart. In conclusion, we are not saved by works we are saved by having a heart that allows Christ to do his work through us. Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6)
Today examine your heart from God’s perspective and ask him to fill it with his love and compassion. Make an extra effort today to show the Lord’s love and compassion, seeking someone that needs an encouraging word, and try to gently lead the conservation toward Christ.
Prayer: Lord, let me see the people around me through your eyes and your heart. Give me a caring compassionate heart that strives to help others. Help me to surrender my life to you today, walking in your love, wisdom, and power. In Jesus name, Amen