By Faith, by Grace, or by Works? It seems that many fall short of God’s perfect plan by shifting from one end of the spectrum to the other, when God is always to be found in the balance. God’s word is clear and simple, though many try to complicate it for the sake of building their own following at the expense of God’s.
The truth is that all three have a part to play in the plan of salvation and the living of a life of faith. No one can be excluded and the others still apply. This is very simply laid out for us in the book of Ephesians, chapter 2. It clearly lays out in simple terms that we are saved by grace through faith, and works have nothing to do with our getting saved because there’s nothing we can do that would be worthy to earn it. It is the free gift of God to all that wish to receive it. That’s the only right and fair way. Yet once we have acted in faith and received the grace of God, good works must follow. Why? Because good works are the evidence of true faith, and the manifestation of God’s grace flowing through us. If there are no good works then we do not truly have faith or grace. It is the byproduct (or evidence) of your faith. This is why Jesus said that we will know the true from the false by judging their fruits (Matthew 7), which are the evidences of the good or bad works they produce. And also why James (the brother of Jesus) said that Faith with out works is dead (James 2). So understand that no work will cause you to be saved but faith in Jesus Christ only, which allows you to receive God’s grace (or favor and power), which causes us to produce good works (obedience to God, His word, and living with Christian Character or the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5). If any one of the three is missing in your life then you don’t truly have the others either. If this applies to you, then you need to examine your heart and give it fully to God.
True Faith will cause a desire to be obedient to God, true Grace will empower you to walk in that obedience, and when you are walking in obedience to God, you will by default produce Good Works. Not “your” works and desires, for their is nothing good in you (Romans 7:18), but rather God’s works being manifested through you by the power of His Grace and the acting upon of your Faith (or trust) in Him. It’s that simple.
Let’s make it even simpler. Trust, submission, obedience. It all comes down to humbling ourselves before God and letting Him be Him through us, without any of us (or our pride) getting in the way. Pride caused the fall and only humility can redeem us from it. The humility of putting our trust (or faith) in Him, the humility of acknowledging that we need His grace (power and favor), and the humility of walking in obedience to His will, doing His Work, which is the only “good works” we can do. We have to lay down everything that is us, and take on all that is Him.
“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 2:10
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” – Ephesians 4:22-24