Sometimes Christians are misled about salvation, thinking they are saved by their good works. The Bible speaks very clearly on this subject. We are not saved by our good works, rather we are saved by God’s grace unto good works!
Our salvation is a gift of God—a gift of God’s grace. We cannot earn this salvation. It is given to us by God’s unmerited (undeserved) favor. It is by God’s grace and what He accomplished by His Son, Jesus Christ, that we can be saved, and not because of our own personal good works.
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.
We are saved through faith—the faith of Jesus Christ. This faith is the bridge that spans the chasm between the natural man of body and soul and God Who is Holy Spirit. This faith became available to us through what God accomplished by Jesus Christ when all was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost almost two thousand years ago.
When we confess Jesus as lord and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9), we are saved and receive the faith of Jesus Christ. God creates within us His gift of holy spirit, which is Christ in us, and we are born again. We then have the spiritual ability that enables us to truly do good works, works we could not do before because we lacked holy spirit. We are saved by God unto good works.
For we are his [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
The preposition “unto” in Ephesians 2:10 is the Greek word epi. Here it is used with a noun in the dative case (“works”) and suggests that we are created in Christ Jesus for the purpose of good works. The word “good” is the Greek word agathos and denotes an inner harmonious perfection. So we are created in Christ Jesus, by God, for the purpose of doing works of inner harmonious perfection—works that demonstrate the Christ in us. Because of God’s awesome gift of Christ in us, we now have the ability to do these awesome works! And these good works bring glory to God.
Verily, verily, I [Jesus Christ] say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Jesus Christ spoke of works even greater than his that the believers would be able to do! These are the works we can do—the works of Jesus Christ and greater.
Let’s see a Biblical example from the Book of Acts of good works that Peter did, which we have been enabled to do also. In this record Peter is carrying out Jesus’ command to preach and testify as to who Jesus is. He is speaking to the house of Cornelius.
And he [Jesus Christ] commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost [the gift of holy spirit] fell on all them which heard the word.
And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost [gift from the Holy Spirit, God].
For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God….
Peter spoke God’s Word to the end that the hearers believed what he spoke and were born again; they were saved by God’s grace. They received the gift of holy spirit and manifested this gift by speaking in tongues. What they spoke magnified God. Now that’s a good work! We, too, can do this good work and lead others to the new birth.
By God’s awesome grace—by His unmerited favor and not by our own works—we can be saved, born again. We can believe on the Lord Jesus and receive God’s gift of holy spirit. This creation in Christ Jesus is for the purpose of good works that God would have us to do. So let’s do them! Like Peter, let’s do good works that bring glory to God.