Not BY but FOR

The women’s Life Group I am in is currently studying Ephesians using the book Paul’s Letters to the Churches. While working on this week’s assignment, I came across this line:

We are not saved by our works but for good works.

And it has been bouncing around my brain ever since.

There is no way to “earn” our salvation. Instead, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Paul continues to make this abundantly clear in Ephesians 2:8-10:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

In understanding that we are saved only by grace through faith, we have freedom from running the rat race of “doing” enough to appease God. Besides whole-heartedly believing in Jesus, there is nothing I have to do to be admitted into His eternal presence. However, I believe that if we truly know and love Jesus we cannot escape from the lure of good works and will desire to bear good fruit!

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The Lord desires for us to love Him and, in turn, love others and serve them according to His purpose for our lives. He provides us with opportunities to live out the faith we confess with our mouths. We are to “live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received” (Ephesians 4:1).

While out and about one day, I heard the song “The 21st Time” by Monk and Neagle. These lyrics again prompted me to recall that simple sentence (we are not saved by our works but for good works):

This is a call for a change in my heart

I realize that I’ve not been doin’ my part

when I needed a Savior, I found it in Him

He gave to me, now I’ll give back to them

So, what is he calling me to?

How can I give back to them?

Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). It is not by loving others that we earn God’s acceptance, but by loving others we demonstrate the love and grace we’ve received.

I have already been saved by faith. Now, to identify and act upon the good works He prepared for me!

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