Days 74 & 75: Grace and Works

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV

 

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

John 6:28-29, ESV

 

One of the things that many have misunderstood down through the years is the relationship between grace and works. Some have concluded that works are unnecessary because Ephesians 2 tells us that our salvation is not the result of works. However, Jesus is recorded in John 6 as stating that the work that God requires us to believe in the One He sent... so which is it? We all know that belief is required for salvation, but Jesus Himself calls belief a work, and the Apostle Paul said that salvation was not a result of works, but grace. Does the Bible contradict itself on this?

 

The answer of course is no, because the Word of God does not teach error. The point of the two passages above, I believe, is that works are needed, but can never be enough by themselves to save. That's where grace comes in - it fills in the gaps between the work that God requires us to do, and the state of perfection that God also requires, but that our works can never be enough on their own to maintain.

 

The reading for these two days is from John 6 & 7. It contains many teachings that Jesus made to help us to better understand the relationship between God's role in salvation, and ours.