Christian Church of God - Grand Junction, Colorado

We Believe that Salvation comes through Grace alone and that we will be Rewarded according to our works which we allow Christ to perform in and through us. (Eph. 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.” Found in the second chapter of Ephesians, it is perhaps one of the most familiar and oft-quoted passages in reference to the matter of the means of our salvation. However, a not so familiar passage follows, one that is largely ignored, yet it’s one that completes the thought. The passage continues: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works which God has before ordained, that we should walk in them.” In order to correctly understand this matter, we must allow the entire thought, as written, to factor into our consciousness.

Salvation IS a Free GIFT: Though a universally accepted truth, yet not all who accept it are fully aware of how salvation comes to us. Too many regard the 'grace' that they see as having been extended to them as an effective ‘carte blanche’ to continue in sin. This betrays an important misunderstanding.

We must recognize that Salvation is expressly dependent upon forgiveness of our sins. There is no salvation where there is no remission. Remission of sins is what creates a situation referred to as “Justification”-- being rendered into a state of consideration in God’s sight as though we had no sin. One can easily see the impossibility of our being “Justified” by any effort on our own part. Also, there is no remission where there is no repentance. There’s a pre-condition to receiving God’s Grace -- that is, we must repent of our sins, which poses an enigma to those who maintain a disconnect in their minds from the obedience to those things which “God has before ordained, that we should walk in them”!

In the various persuasions within greater Christianity, there is what is labeled as ‘the liberal element’ and ‘the legalist element’. Some have, in their minds, done away with the Law, despite Christ's specific instruction that we are NOT to think that, (Matt. 5:17-18) while others insist we must keep the Law as a condition for being ‘saved’. How do we explain which approach is correct? Well, the answer depends on whether we are looking to law-keeping as the means of or as the result of our salvation.

Not BY good works, but Unto good Works: Two contrasting and seemingly contradictory verses are found in the book of Romans. Chapter 2 verse 13 says, “(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified,” and chapter 3 verse 20 says, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Is this a contradiction? In one statement, it appears that keeping the law is a pre-condition to being Justified. In the other it seems irrelevant. What clarifies the matter is the issue of MEANS versus RESULT. Doing the law, doing good works (as God does them in us) is not how we earn a Justified condition, rather, it is the result of our attainment of it.

Once we have been Justified, we must allow Christ to perform His works in us. We must BE His Workmanship. Once we repent, turn from our law-breaking, and become forgiven, we then must allow Christ to mold and reshape our character, from being a law breaker into a replica of His perfect Character, who left us an example to follow, who did no sin! (1st Peter 2:21-22) He does that through the power of His Spirit working in us! Would God’s Spirit create a law breaker? After all, we were that before conversion!

There IS a Reward: The idea of there being a reward is another consideration that causes some to become confused. Especially when reading that such reward is conditioned on our ‘works’. Most represent a view that NO WORKS are involved in Salvation, that it a free gift. Ephesians 2:8 provides a prime source of that premise. While it is in fact TRUE, that salvation is a free gift, yet we are faced with clear scriptures that show that works factor into salvation in some manner. Places such as Revelation 14:13 and 22:12 give us serious pause. Chapter 14 says, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them”.

This is directly from heaven! And what ‘works’ are those? The previous verse answers: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus’. The benediction in Revelation 22 re-emphasizes the promise, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 11:14 shows that the time of this reward is to be at the Second Coming: “and the time of the dead, that they should be judged,…

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