Summary: Some might say that there is a conflict that exists in the doctrine of faith, because it says in one place, “Believe, and thou shalt be saved,” and in another place it says, “Ye must be born again.” But both of these things are equally true: the Holy Spi
Salvation by Grace vs. Good Works
Text: "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 2:9, 10.
Portion of text to be read before Sermon: Ephesians 2:4-10
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
I want to call your attention to the ninth and tenth verses: "Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works..."
Take note of the two phrases, “Not of works,” and “Created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”
Our text, at first look, appears to be unreasonable, because it says that good works will not lead to salvation, and yet, they are said to be the product of salvation.
Some might say that there is a conflict that exists in the doctrine of faith, because it says in one place, “Believe, and thou shalt be saved,” and in another place it says, “Ye must be born again.”
But both of these things are equally true: the Holy Spirit must do a work inside to bring life, and the person who believes in the Lord Jesus has eternal life.
I know people who like to debate the doctrine of good works, but I won’t do that.
Instead, let’s keep to the scriptures, and see what they say.
We must stand firm in believing that salvation is, “not of works, lest any man should boast.”
But, on the other hand, we must admit, our experience is that faith in Jesus leads us to do good works.
Where there is no good works, the Holy Spirit is not present.
The faith that does not produce good works is not saving faith.
Salvation is not of works; but, at the same time, the children of God are, “created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”
There was a time, during the Middle Ages, when the common notion among religious people, was that people were saved by works.
But during that time, what we call the Dark Ages, very few people had any good works at all, because they didn’t know the one who is the source of goodness and righteousness.
Religion declined so much during this time, that it was only an empty ceremony.
It was useless; in fact, superstition overlaid the whole truth of the gospel, and it was almost impossible to find it being preached.
Those who were religious were told by the priests, that they must make themselves acceptable to God by doing good deeds.
The church publicly sold indulgences and forgiveness of sins, on the street.
So much was charged for the pardon of one sin, and so much for another, and “his holiness” at Rome, or perhaps I should say “his unholiness” was made rich by payments that were made to prevent punishment to those who were in a purgatory that Rome invented.
Luther, the great reformer, learned from a sacred book, and by the Spirit of God, that we are saved by grace alone through faith.
And when he found it out, he was so possessed by that one truth that he preached it with a voice of thunder.
He used the truth to break down the gates of Papal superstition.
The theme of every sermon was “By grace are ye saved, through faith.”
For many years after Luther, preachers every where followed his example; and they never finished a sermon without declaring that salvation is not by works, but that it is by faith in Jesus Christ.
These preachers were known as Reformers, and for them justification by faith, was the nail that had to be driven home.
It became the foundation-stone, and they did lay it, and they laid it thoroughly, and laid it well.
Today, I want to make just two points:
First, that the way of salvation is something other than works.
Second, I want to speak of the walk of salvation.
We, who are saved, walk in holiness; for we are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”