The Order

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

            The other day I was talking to my friend Jackie about these verses.  I’m not sure if she’s born again, but she told me she enjoys hearing what I share with her from the Bible.  Her husband came to know Christ shortly before he died, and I keep hoping and praying she will, too, and be definite about it.  I thought you might benefit from a key point I shared with her.

            There’s a definite order of events that must take place in a Christian’s life: grace, faith, then works.  First, there is no salvation without the wonderful, marvelous grace of God.  Nothing we do can get us saved or keep us saved.   The first six chapters of Romans makes that quite clear.  Reading them through in one sitting changed my life.  As for the verses quoted above, notice that God’s grace comes first, then faith.  Our faith for salvation and beyond isn’t something we can whip up within ourselves.  It’s put there by God’s grace.  “…and that (faith) not of yourselves.” (v. 8).  It is a gift from God.  Have you ever worked for a gift?  If so, you received wages and not a gift.  Salvation and the whole Christian walk are both made possible and empowered by God.  Otherwise, we’d have something to brag about.  “…Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (v. 9).

            Notice that works come last.  That doesn’t mean they’re unimportant.  In v. 10 we learn we each were created for the purpose of doing good works.  God had this in mind for you and me from the beginning.  He has a purpose for each of us.  Isn’t it humbling to think we’re His workmanship?  I knew a man who made grandfather clocks.  Those clocks were his workmanship or craftwork.  We’re God’s craftwork inside and out.  He’s not through with us either, so be encouraged.  Don’t give up.

            Eph. 2:10 suggests good works are to be our walk or lifestyle.  What kind of works can you do where you are right now?  Simple things count.  It’s not required that your works be anything spectacular.  Focus on becoming, not just doing.  For example, what’s your attitude toward others?  If you read chapters 4-5 of Ephesians you’ll note Paul tells us to put on a new man in Christ.  Why did he tell fellow believers not to do certain things?  Because they were doing them, and they were to change their ways.  That can only be done with the ever present help of God in us, the wonderful Holy Spirit.

            It’s so important to understand this order of grace, faith, then works.  Many deceive themselves into thinking they’re Christians by putting works first.  Doing good things won’t ever get a person saved.  It has to be God’s way or no way.  James 2 points out that faith without works is dead, but it’s only when we have that grace-given faith that the result is we can demonstrate God’s presence in us through good works.  I hasten to add that good works in themselves don’t indicate that a person is a Christian.  I have known “good” people who have been so upright and moral that, when I was a young Christian, I got tripped up and looked down on people I knew who were truly born again.

            Remember the order: grace, faith, then works.  If you’ve been born again, it was God’s grace that gave you the faith to receive Christ, and He will enable you to do the good works He has planned for you to do.  He’s with you and will see you through.

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible Study, Christian Life, Salvation, Thoughts from John

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