Ephesians 2:8-10 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.
There is not a single religion on the face of this earth that I know of, that does not set forth the importance of its followers doing good works.
But when we consider the question, “Where do good works belong in salvation?”, we get different answers. Virtually all religions teach that good works need to be performed in order to earn or merit salvation. And although the Roman Catholics say they “believe” in the work of the Cross of Christ and “grace”, they also say that nobody is going to Heaven except that they build on top of the work and grace of Christ by their own good works: attending Mass, etc. This deadly error of one's good works being partly the ground, cause or means of obtaining our salvation has now come upon the scene of conservative Presbyterian and Reformed churches in a new way in our day: through the Federal Vision movement. Its basic error is that it teaches that God's covenant is conditional, i.e. in some way dependent on the believer. Accordingly, the believer's justification and salvation is dependent on his own good works.
But how radically different the sound of grace in Scripture is! Twice, and within a short space of 2 verses, we are reminded that salvation is “not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” and “not of works, lest any man should boast”. God knows our sinful nature will want to keep extolling itself in that we had a part to play in obtaining our salvation, and so, added these two negative statements after setting forth the wonderful truth that we are saved only by His wonderful grace!
For Meditation: Where, then does God's Word and the Reformed faith place good works in the Christian life? Not in the second part of our Triple Knowledge, but in the third part: gratitude to God following salvation (cf. Eph 2:10, LD32). For of ourselves and prior to salvation, we are “wholly incapable of any good” and “inclined to all wickedness” (cf. LD3, Rom 3:10-12, Eph 2:1-3). Is that your confession, and do you diligently live it out?
Rev. Dennis Lee (Wife: Foong Ling)
Ordained: April 2006
Pastorates: Edgerton, MN - 2006; Bethel, Roselle, IL - July 2010Website: wvvw.bethelprc.org/
Address1047 Florida Lane
CityElk Grove Village
State or ProvinceIL