By Carl A. Allen
“For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory,” Eph. 2:8-9. The writer of the Ephesian letter attributes salvation to two things — grace and faith. The first is what God has done for man, the latter is what God requires of man.
Grace, simply defined is “favor bestowed.” It includes his love (John 3:16), his power (1 Pet. 1:5), his mercy (Rom. 11:32), Christ’s life, and his death, and also, the blood that was shed. All that is listed has to do with that which God has done for man; hence, the grace of God.
Faith, is a term used to show man’s part in salvation. Belief only is not taught in the Bible and when we read that man must have faith, it is a mistake to add the word only. The Bible teaches that man must hear the word of God (Rom. 10:17), he must believe (Rom. 10:10), he must repent (Acts 2:38), he must confess (Rom. 10:10) and he must be baptized in water, unto the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Paul says that when one has done this, he walks in “newness of life” — he is born again, or has the remission of sins (Rom. 6:3-4). The word faith stands for man’s part and what is expected of him to obtain salvation.
“Not of works lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:9). If this passage excludes all works, we are in trouble. Peter says one must “work righteousness” (Acts 10:34-35). Paul uses the expression “good works” (Tit. 3:8-14), and Jesus said that faith was a “work of God” (John 6:28). Now if all works are excluded, then Peter was wrong when he said we must work righteousness (Acts 10:34-35). It is true there are some works we are not to do — “works of the Law” (Gal. 2:16), “works of darkness” (Eph. 5:11), “works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19), “works of the devil” (1 John 3:8), and “works of man” (Tit. 3:5). There is no one that can do these works and go to heaven.
We must conclude that there are works that are included and works that are excluded. The works that are simply what God has commanded us to do. When we do this, we are working righteousness (Acts 10:34-35). When a man conforms to God’s will it can then be said: “We are saved by grace through faith.”
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