Friday, February 22, 2008
DO GRACE AND WORKS EVER MIX?
Many people cannot reconcile the reality of God's grace in salvation with the responsibility of believers to obey God's Word, be careful and zealous in good works, and to strive diligently to be conformed to Christ in our character, thoughts and conduct. Some see grace as canceling out works altogether. Others see works as canceling out grace altogether. Most try to mix or confuse grace and works in salvation, but that will never do.
"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (Romans 11:6)
The fact is that in salvation and in God's Word grace and works are never mixed or confused. In God's Word grace is always the GROUND of salvation, and works are always the FRUIT of grace.
The reality of grace is that ALL of salvation was conditioned on Christ, and He met ALL the conditions by His obedience unto death, leaving NO conditions to be met by the saved sinner as to attaining or maintaining salvation. The reality of grace is the sinners' best efforts to believe, obey, and persevere, do not and cannot save him, keep him saved, and cannot make him holy and righteous before God. The reality of grace is that Christ is our holiness and righteousness, not our works. The reality of grace is that God by His Spirit sets within our hearts and consciences the desire to please and obey Him, not to be saved, but because He has saved us by His grace through Christ. All efforts at obedience and to Christ are to be the motivations of Grace, gratitude, and love to God. This is Paul's subject in the next verses - to motivate God's children who have been saved and who are preserved by His grace to be obedient and holy.
By Bill Parker