In our article on
Salvation we explain that salvation of the soul from
damnation is only available by Grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) as it
is the gift of God. And in
Ephesians 2:9 we read an explanation thereof:
Based on the Word of God a
person can do nothing of themselves (meaning they can't perform any
works, rituals, duties, efforts, or keep any laws or whatever) that
would be acceptable/pleasing to God to obtain salvation, instead it is
according to His mercy that He saves us (Titus 3:5). The only
condition to obtain God's gift of salvation is to believe (trust)
in Jesus Christ as the only Savior (Acts 4:12,
As we're free-will individuals, He can't force salvation upon us.
Salvation is something that we don't deserve, but because of His infinite love
which was ultimately demonstrated at the cross of Calvary, God made
the gift of salvation available to every person on earth (1 Tim. 2:4).
Also, faith is not a work of
man, but instead it is a gift of God (John 1:9;
Every person on earth has a measure of faith (Rom. 12:3) and it is
up to the free
will of each individual to invest/direct their faith toward whatever they want to or
toward the Creator (Rom. 1:19-20). And once a person hears the
Gospel of Jesus Christ he/she can exercise their free volition with their
inherent measure of faith and through the loving illumination of the Holy Spirit
they can accept God's gift of salvation which He has made available to every person
on earth (Titus 2:11).
The only work that was
required so that God can make the gift of salvation available to us, was
His Finished Work on the Cross of Calvary (John 19:30). Therefore,
it is obvious that based on the Word of God, any human work and endeavor
to obtain salvation is absolutely eliminated. The only condition that God
requires is that we believe in Him whom He has sent (John 6:29).
And this condition is a necessary requirement for salvation, because He created men as beings with a free
will. HE wants us to choose Him with our free volition and God doesn't
want robots. Through the loving drawing of the Holy Spirit, God motivates
every person to make such a once-in-a-lifetime decision for Him through
the testimony of creation (pointing to the Creator), through God consciousness and finally through the
communication of the glorious Gospel. Salvation of a soul from damnation
is by Grace--there's no other way! It's absolutely and without question a
complete work of God and a gift from God available to all men.
Now, that's when lots of folks get all excited and apparently don't get
it as they miss the mark. Suddenly, once a person is saved, lots of
preachers jump right into the works-performance-duty trip for the
Christian. They often say that a person made it into the kingdom of God by
Grace, but now let's go to work and let's maintain the salvation. Some go as far as to use the grammar in
the original languages of the Bible to "technically" force such teachings
into their interpretations of the Word of God.
The reality of the Word of
God is that God's
Grace is so phenomenal and so contrary to human nature that it often takes
a thorough cleansing of the mind through the Word of God in order to even
understand some of the basics of pure Grace in life applications.
But the works deception is
nothing new. In fact, the Apostle Paul already encountered this trend and way of
thinking in the churches of Galatia:
"I marvel that ye are so
soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ ...; ...
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey
the truth ...?; ... Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by
the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit,
are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" ―Galatians
One verse that is often
misunderstood and therefore used as a premise to teach
the works-performance-duty concept for the Christian is found right after the great
Salvation verses of
"For we are His
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." ―Ephesians
Of course, this verse is
true: it is the eternal Word of God. But the emphasis in this passage and
verse is not on our own effort or responsibility to perform such works, but instead
the Bible makes it absolutely clear that only Christ can perform any such works in us.
"For it is God which
worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." ―Philippians 2:13
"Being confident of this
very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it
until the day of Jesus Christ." ―Philippians
Yes, God works in us and He
lovingly motivates us through His Word and through His Holy Spirit to be available
to Him to let Him work in and through us, but it's all Grace and there's
nothing man can do in his own strength and efforts to please God. As a free-will being
of course, a Christian is responsible to make positive choices toward the
Word of God and His leading to be available to let Christ work in and
through the individual. And automatically as the Christian allows Christ
to work in and through him/her, the evidence of His work in and through
the Christian are the fruits of the Holy Spirit and the good works (His
works that He performs in and through us) which
Ephesians 2:10 talks about.
While Grace provides immense
liberty in Christ, does it mean that Grace can be used as a license to
sin? In Romans 6 we read that for the Christian sin isn't even an option and pure Grace can
never be a license to live in sin. In
Jude 4 we read that some have even
tried to turn the Grace of our God into lasciviousness, but then pure
Grace wouldn't be Grace anymore. Why? Well in
Titus 2:11-12 it is crystal
clear that the Grace
of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Therefore, pure
Grace has nothing to do with ungodliness, worldliness or legalism. The key in
understanding God's Grace in practical application is that we continue to
focus on Jesus Christ. Meaning, we obtain the specific mind of Christ (Phil.
2:5) through studying the Word of God as the Holy Spirit makes the
written word alive to us (as we receive a Rhema). The faith that we receive through hearing and
reading the Word of God is a gift from God. It's just impossible for a
human being to glory in his/her own endeavors and achievements.
The Grace of God has a
purpose and that is to glorify Him. We have the privilege of getting to
know Him here on earth every second of our lives and at the moment of salvation the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts
(Romans 5:5). As we have the
mind of Christ in us (1 Cor. 2:16) we're focusing on Christ and we
live Spirit-filled lives and therefore fulfill the purpose of Grace. As
Spirit-filled Christians we'll be occupied with Christ and His purpose on
earth, namely to seek and to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10).
But it will be God who works in us both to will and to do and the flesh
profits nothing (John 6:63).
"So then neither is he
that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the
It's all God or it won't be
worth anything as
1 Corinthians 3 goes on to explain. It has to be all
Christ or it will be burnt in the end. It's either all Grace or it's all
"But if it is by
Grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise Grace is no
longer Grace. But if it be of works, then is it no longer Grace: otherwise
work is no longer work." ―Romans
Therefore, it is important
to understand that only Grace (Christ in us) is acceptable in the
sight of God. And if a work is performed by a Christian it must be the
work of God in and through him/her, which then is a true work of Grace.
The responsibility of works can never be put on the Christian. But the
choices of a Christian are his/her responsibility
because each person is a free-will agent, but the actual
performance of Christian work rests solely on God alone. As we already
mentioned, God will motivate us through His Word and His Holy Spirit to make
the proper choices to be available to Him for His work.
Based on the essential truth
regarding this subject found in the Word of God, all teaching that puts
the emphasis and the responsibility for the performance and/or work of a person
based on them executing it by themselves, is not of God. Such false teaching originates once again from the father of all lies who is the
devil and who deceives the nations to take the focus off of Christ and
produces a self-centered lifestyle. The Abundant Life and the eternal rewards for the Christian are
a gift from God and are a result of pure Grace for the believer who is
available to receive it from Him.
The false teachings that a Christian can
perform any kind of work on earth based on their own natural ability to
please God and the threat that a true born-again Christian can lose
his/her Salvation and/or their eternal rewards based on their performance
here on earth comes from someone who mostly likely doesn't really know the
nature of God and who has not yet obtained/received an
understanding/illumination of the pure Grace of God. And of course,
there's no condemnation for such ignorance, because the illumination of
His Grace is a gift and it can be received freely by those who seek Him.
Since Grace is free and available to every person right now, why not go
for it and receive a total Grace immersion today!
Here for an interesting article titled "Covenant Theology vs.
Dispensationalism: A Matter of Law vs. Grace" by Bob Nyberg (Head
of the Phonetics Department at the New Tribes Language Institute in
Check out these very helpful
Books to explain the subject of Grace in greater detail: