BY grace THROUGH faith FOR 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, NIV)
Grace is the cause of our salvation. Faith is the means. Works are the purpose. The order is important.
Grace is the cause.
You are saved by grace because there is no other way to be saved. Dead people can’t save themselves. They can’t do anything. We were dead. Along with all humanity, we were suffering the consequences of our sin; facing the death sentence under which we all live.
God didn’t have to rescue us, but because of his love, he did for us what we could not do for ourselves. In Jesus, God became one of us so he could die, rise and ascend to heaven for us as our representative human — a.k.a. Christ. Now we share in his nature because he shared in ours.
God did it by pure grace. You can’t earn it and don’t don’t deserve it, but he did it. Do you believe it?
Faith is the means.
Faith is trusting in who Christ is and what he did on our behalf. We activate that faith when we are baptized into Christ and his family. By faith we are included in Christ. When we share the bread and wine we reaffirm our faith that Jesus is what we need. He is our portion. By faith we are sustained by Christ.
These holy mysteries (sacraments) are often called, “means of grace” because they are tangible means to receive God’s grace by faith. In doing the actions, we express our faith in Jesus. These sacred acts are not “works” we do to earn God’s grace. They are simple ways to receive God’s grace through faith.
Works are the purpose.
The purpose of our salvation is bigger than us. We have a role to play in saving the world. We were saved BY grace, THROUGH faith, IN Christ, FOR good works that God pre-planned for us to do. In other words, you were made to be a channel of his grace to others. You are God’s work, created for good works.
Discovering what good works God planned for you and doing them is the essence of the stage we are calling Responsibilities in Ministry. I’m excited to be back to talk about it Sunday at 8:45 AM and 10:45 AM as we continue our series in Journey of the Soul! – Todd