Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus FOR GOOD WORKS, which God prepared beforehand, that WE should WALK IN THEM.”
By God’s Grace
Ephesians 2:8-9 is probably one of the most quoted passages of Scripture of the New Testament. But it is largely quoted absent of verse 10 and absent of the overall context of the book of Ephesians and the whole of the New Testament. And it is used often to teach a false doctrine of salvation from sin which teaches that Jesus does everything for us and we do nothing.
It is true that we can do nothing at all in our flesh to earn or to deserve our own salvation. No amount of works we can do of our own thinking and doing will ever be good enough to earn favor with God. We can only be saved from our bondage to sin and be able to walk righteously before our God because of what Jesus did for us on that cross in putting our sin to death with him.
But we need to understand here that Jesus died on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, and not just so we can go to heaven when we die, but he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He put our sins to death with him on that cross so that we might be delivered from our slavery to sin so we might now be slaves of God and of his righteousness, by his grace, and in his power (1 Pet 2:24; Ro 6).
Also, it is by God’s grace we are saved THROUGH FAITH. And we can’t make up for ourselves what that faith means, either. The Bible is very clear on that subject. For our faith comes from God, it is gifted to us by God, and Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith. And we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to believe in Jesus Christ.
Now, what this means is actually the meaning of the word “faith,” for it means, in this context, to be persuaded by God as to his holiness and righteousness, as to our sinfulness, and as to our need to turn away from our sinful lifestyles to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). We know this, too, by reading the rest of the Scriptures.
So, since this faith originates with God then he is the one to determine what that faith should look like, not us. So we can’t just say, “I believe in Jesus and now all my sins are forgiven (past, present, and future) and now heaven is guaranteed me when I die regardless of how I live on this earth.” It doesn’t work that way. Men are teaching this, yes, but the Bible does not support that teaching. So, we need to read what the Bible says.
All throughout the New Testament the picture we get of faith in Jesus Christ is more than just words we say or things we acknowledge. It is what we adhere to, what we follow in practice, like the people in Hebrews 11 who by faith did what they believed God wanted them to do or what he specifically commanded them to do. These are our examples of people of faith.
Doing the Will of God
Also, Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. And he said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 9:23-26).
For Jesus and the apostles taught that to love God/Jesus is to obey him and that if we do not obey him we do not love him and we do not know him and we do not have eternal life with him. The same is taught with regard to sin. If we do not forsake our sinful practices, but we continue in them, and if we do not love our fellow humans, that we will not inherit eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:16; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Php 2:12-13]
And then we have verse 10 here in Ephesians 2 which goes right along with verses 8-9 which let us know that works are not absent in our salvation. For we are saved to do the works of God which he prepared in advance that we should walk (in conduct, in practice) in them. For Jesus gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14).
So, don’t just read Ephesians 2:8-9 and stop there and then just walk away and use this as your doctrine of salvation. Read all of Ephesians and all of the New Testament one word and one verse and one chapter and one book at a time prayerfully, carefully, and with hearts ready to receive the truth from God’s word and with hearts ready to obey what his word teaches.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23]
You are Loving and Forgiving
An Original Work / February 19, 2012
Based off Psalm 86
You are loving and forgiving,
Jesus, Savior, King of kings.
You provided our redemption.
By Your blood You set us free.
You are gracious; full of mercy.
No deeds can compare with Yours.
Great are You; there is none like You.
Glory be to Your name.
Teach me Your way, and I’ll walk in it.
O Lord, I will walk in Your truth.
May I not have a heart divided,
That Your name I give honor to.
I will praise You, O Lord, my Savior,
For great is Your love toward me.
You have delivered me from my sins.
Your grace has pardoned me.
You, O Lord, are full of compassion,
Slow to anger, bounteous in love;
Faithful to fulfill all You promise;
Glory be to Your name above.
Hear, O Lord, and answer Your servant.
You are my God. I trust in You.
Turn to me and grant Your strength to me.
You are my comforter.