Faith Alone (02-04): Good Works, Faith, And Grace

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Faith Alone (02): Saved For Good Works

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  (Eph 2:8-12)

You are saved by grace alone through faith alone. For all those who put their faith in Jesus, the Day of Judgment will be a day of vindication. But faith changes more about your life than just your eternal destiny – it changes your life in the here and now. From the first moment when God grants you faith, the Holy Spirit is at work in your heart, sanctifying you. Your desires are molded by God’s grace so that rather than continuing in rebellion, you want to obey the moral law God established. Faith turns the commands of God from an unwanted burden into a glorious gift.

The Reformed faith places such a large emphasis on salvation by grace alone through faith alone that there is often confusion about the place of good works. Good works do not save you, but you cannot claim to be truly saved if your faith does not produce good works. You have been saved by grace through faith for good works. For if you truly believe the gospel you will respond to God, in the Holy Spirit, with joyful obedience.

 

Faith Alone (03): What Is Faith?

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  (Eph 2:8-9)

You are saved by grace through faith, but what does it mean to have faith? Saving faith “is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word, by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened,” (WCF 14.1b). Faith is a work of the Spirit of God. It is not something that men can do in their own strength or power. The origin of faith is God Himself, working supernaturally to give life to dead souls, who are completely incapable of acting without His intervention. Yet, though it is miraculous, the means which God uses to give this saving faith are decidedly ordinary.  Faith is fed, shaped, and nurtured by means of Word, Sacrament, and prayer. The faith that is granted through supernatural means grows and is nurtured through the diligent use of the ordinary means of grace.

Faith Alone (04): Saved By Grace

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  (Eph 2:8-9)

You are saved by grace through faith. Faith is the mechanism by which God saves the believer, but the origin of salvation is the gracious and loving will of God. “…God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto; and all to the praise of his glorious grace.” (WCF 3.5b) This is not dry, academic theology but the very root of joy for the Christian. God, by His merciful grace, has chosen you from before the foundation of the world to be His own son or daughter. What could be a more solid foundation for resting and trusting in God than the fact that your salvation depends not upon you, but upon Him!?

Written by: Mr. James Hieter
(All quotes from the NKJV unless otherwise stated.)