We saw that the grace of God is the willingness (favor) and the capability (power) of God to bring humanity from death to Himself (salvation). He was willing when we were unwilling due to our sinful nature and He was capable when we were incapable of doing anything because we were dead in our sins. This same power (grace) that lifted us from death also raised us up and seated us with Jesus thus securing our inheritance in Him. This is the full extent of His grace towards us which we will fully grasp in the next age when Christ returns. This is what Grace did for us; this is one of the gifts of grace and seeing this we surely have no grounds to boast but only left with our head and hands lifted up high in worship and in gratitude for all He’s done for us. This is Ephesians 2:1-9 in summary.
Grace (God) works
Paul then wrapped all this up with one short sentence in vs 10; For we are God’s handiwork (workmanship), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I think it’s very interesting that Paul finishes his thoughts on God’s grace towards us with us doing good works. You know before man ever got themselves in the mess of sin, God had originally designed them for good works. This is how it was from the beginning; before sin, curses and suffering came into the world, there was “works”; good works, Adam was put to work straight after God created him; Gen 2:15;19. But of course Adam worked from acceptance, from approval and from a position of being loved. Work/deed is therefore not a “dreadful or unnecessary thing”, it’s part of our nature and even part of God’s nature because God works. As you well know the idea of “work” took a whole new term in the wrong sense when Adam sinned.
So what do I mean by works? Well, work as in work; like actively doing something physically or mentally to archive a result which includes your simple daily being and living. This could be anything from simple little good deeds to what you do as your primary occupation. This is something we all understand; in fact work is so part of being human that many defined themselves or get their identity from them.
The main point I wanted to make here is that “work” is good because God himself works. I’m not sure where this idea originate from but some look at the spiritual realm as though it’s this intangible, boring realm with nothing to do but just sitting on a fluffy clouds for eternity. I do not know all that God does in heaven but one thing I do know is that If God were to take a break, the universe will run into chaos, What I meant is He’s at work in our physical realm all the time. I like what Jesus said in John 5:17; Jesus said to them “My Father is still working all the time so I am working also.” NLT.
I get so fascinated about the way God works sometimes. God is a being who can simply speak things into existence; but when it comes to things in this world/realm such as our salvation He works for them. This is why we should think twice before way say things such as “salvation is free”. Nothing in this world is ever free. If someone gives you something for free; sure it’s free to you but not to the person whom it came from. It’ll cost somebody something for you to have something for free. And since none of us came out from our mother’s womb with a gift box in our hands; everything *good therefore sources from God. Grace worked for salvation and then placed it on a silver platter for us in order that we might become who we were meant to be and do the works we were meant to do.
You also must work
Before I continue, let me just simple make this statement “Once Saved, Always Saved” is not biblical; meaning taking the Bible as whole does not suggest that or even implies that. OK, read on, you’ll understand why I say this.
Also let me first paint the complete picture of salvation, which will help clarify things. Salvation is in three parts (stages) just as the human beings are framed;
- Salvation is our spirit, being awaken or brought to life that we may know and worship God intimately. This is what happens when we got born again or like we commonly say it when we gave our life to God. This was instant and nobody can tell you exactly how this happens cos it took place in the spirit. I’ll call this Spiritual Salvation. John 3:5-9
- Salvation is our soul (i.e. mind, will and emotions) being renew/transform to become like Jesus’. This means, thinking, being and living like Jesus did in this world. We have to willingly submit to the Holy Spirit to form Christ characters in us. This is a process and takes time and it will be fully realized when Christ returns. This i’ll term as Soulish Salvation. 1 Peter 1:6-9; 13-16
- Salvation is our physical body being changed to be like Jesus’ (i.e. after His resurrection), that we may be able to live in the New Jerusalem (heaven). This will be instant and will take place in the future at the rapture/first resurrection when Jesus comes to rule the earth. This i’ll call Bodily Salvation. Romans 8:23, Philippians 3:21
When all three of these occurs that’s when we will be fully save. This is why throughout the New Testament you hear phrases such as “the hope of our salvation”, ” Our inheritance to come”, “the grace to be brought us”, “glory to be revealed” etc. Like Paul ask in Romans 8:23:25, “Who hopes for what he/she already has?” but since we don’t have it yet we hope and wait for it patiently.
Therefore it’s safe to say that we are not fully saved yet, But our spiritual salvation guarantee us our full salvation. That’s why we’ve been given a guarantor as a deposit (pledge or down payment) so that we can be 100% certain that we will receive the full measure of our salvation. This guarantor is the Holy Spirit. (2 Cor 1:21-22, 2 Cor 5:5, Eph 1:13-14).
SELAH: WOW…the deposit/pledge of our salvation is the Holy Spirit, who is God. Now if the third person of the Godhead is the deposit then what/who would be the fullness/completeness of our salvation? SELAH
Spiritual salvation put us in the position God has always wanted us in, that we may do the good works we were created to do like Paul put it in verse 10 of Ephesians 2.
God is really smart you know; after taking away our sinful nature and wiping away our sinful deeds, He then placed His spirit in us, which now gives us a new nature and a new desire. He’s pretty much taken ownership of us by doing that (2 Cor 1:22). It’s His Spirit (new nature & desire) that directs us to do the good works God had prepared in advance for us to do.
The good works God prepared for us is not limited to our ministry calling/assignments but rather the daily prompting He gives us such as walking in obedience to His WORD or giving a cup of cold water to someone in his name. Therefore all the good works boils downs to one thing; believe or trust in Him. John 6:29. For if you trust Him, you’ll be inclined to obey anything and everything He ask or requires of you.
Remember; there’s nothing you did to be spiritually save, you didn’t even have the desire for it, which means your salvation (fullness) does not nor will it ever depend on your own works. There’s no greater insult to God than to think that now that you’ve been saved, you can do works/deeds to add to your salvation or even maintain it. Gal 3:1-3
Good works or deeds are the extension of your spiritual salvation, they are the outward manifestation of what has taken place inwardly. You do the good works because you’ve been saved (spiritually) not to be saved (fully). This brings us to the other face of grace. Remember nobody can tell that you have been saved simply by looking at your physical being, but your works will definitely shed a light on what had taken place on the inside. Gal 5:22-23. And again good works here is referring to everything to do with your daily christian being and living (i.e. from your waking up to your going to work and everything in between).
God’s Spirit in you is His grace or power to enable you to do the works He’d prepared for you 1 Cor 15:10. Just like your spiritual salvation, It is impossible to carry out the works of God in your own strength. Even though you’ve been made new spiritually, you still live in a fallen sinful world and therefore without the help and leadership of the Holy Spirit, you’ll simply just succumb to what your soul (mind, will and emotions) had been trained to do; which is living and doing things in your own way; a root definition of sin. The same grace (power) that brought your spirit-man alive is now living inside of you to bring your soul-man also alive in so speaking. Eph 1:19-20.
Therefore, the grace of God is also God’s sustaining power for you to live and do His works (i.e. to live the Christian life; 1 Peter 1:15). This is soulish salvation and it’s known in biblical terms as sanctification or maturity in Christ. Remember soulish salvation is being transform to think, be and walk like Jesus did in this world; so the good works God prepared for you at least in this age are the means by which He trains or retrain your soul to submit to the Spirit so that Christ characters maybe formed in you (i.e. in your soul). Gal 4:19, Eph 3:16-17.
For this reason your obedience to the works God prepared for you will bring you into maturity in Christ (i.e. salvation of your soul) which in fact are the proof of your spiritual salvation. Acts 26:20. How does is it proof your spiritual salvation? Because only those saved (spiritually) will be led by the spirit to do His works. Rom 8:14. Even before you were born God had already prepared in advanced your works ( Ps 139:16, Eph 2:10, ) and therefore your part in it is simply by cooperating with the Holy Spirit (obedience) as He prompts and leads you. This is the progression work of the grace of God in you until He submits you pure and blameless before Christ Jesus as your bridegroom and God the Father as your father. 1 Thes 3:13
Fallen from Grace
OK, this is a topic on it’s own but let me just hint on it in this article. Can someone loose their spiritual salvation? The
straight forward biblical answer to that question is YES.
The book of life in which those who are saved spiritually get their names written in are referred to five (5) times throughout the Bible;
By Moses Exodus 32:33-32
By David Psalm 69:28
By Daniel Daniel 12:1
By Paul Philippians 4:3
By Jesus through John Revelation 3:5
On three (3) of these it is said of people’s names being erased from the book of life; The truth that someone name could be erased from the book of life means they had been written down previously; which suggest they were spiritually saved. So if it could be erased then it’s clearly shows that people can loose their salvation. For scripture plainly says those whose names are not found in the book of life will not enter the New Jerusalem Rev 20:15 ; 21:27.
So the next question is can New Covenant believer’s works/deeds lead to having their names erased from the book of life? The plain answer is NO & yes. Keep in mind that the New Testament epistles were written for believers and not for unbelievers. Paul in Romans said that those who are led by the spirit of God are children of God (vs 14) and anyone without the spirit of God does not belong to God (vs 9).
NO; a true child of God can never have their names erased: The Holy Spirit in your life is the distinctive mark that
NOTHING in all creation can draw you away from your secure position in God. I’m so glad Romans 8:14 didn’t say “those who obey the spirit of God are children of God”. In my opinion I don’t think anyone of us walk in 100% complete obedience to the Spirit (some people might I don’t know). And like I’ve said throughout this article, the mark of our spiritual salvation is being led by Spirit of God to do His works; Our obedience does not proof our salvation, our salvation (spiritually) is proven by the fact that we are being led by the Holy Spirit. Of course being led by the Spirit and obeying the Spirit is completely different thing which is why all Christians will stand before the Judgement seat of Christ to give account of their walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit (I’ll talk about this next – The rewards of good works). But that’s has nothing to do with our salvation.
Therefore as children of God there’s nothing we can do that could undo the work of Christ on our behalf for our spiritual salvation. God’s promised to David about His son who will succeed him as King reminds me of this “...I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul,whom I removed from before you.” This is how God treats His children. He disciplines and punishes those He accepts as sons and daughter through the leadership of the Holy Spirit Pro 3:12, Heb 12:5-8, Rev 3:19, but never would He cast them away from His presence.
Note that when Jesus made the reference of erasing peoples name from the book of life in Revelation 3:5; He said it as an encouragement and a even a reward to the overcomers/victorious and not as a warning to the unfaithful ones.
He could have said in vs 3….Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not repent/wake up [I will blot out your names from the book of life…] but rather He said in vs 5;….
The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. SELAH
Yes, people can have their names erased if they do not have the Holy Spirit leading them; which means they’re illegitimate children Heb 12:8, who has simply return back to what they used to be before they were brought alive spiritually. The most scariest thing for a christian to be in is when he/she commits sin and then finds security & strength in the fact that nobody knows about it or thinks God doesn’t care about it, because when He/she continues to do the wrong things nothing happens and it even seems to get blessed anyway. Call it what you want but i’ll guarantee you that’s not the grace of God. God will never ever approve of our wrong doing. His acceptance of us as people is not His approval of our sins. This is why He caused His Holy Spirit to live inside of us. Our wrong doing will go against the nature of the Spirit in us Gal 5:16-18 and for that reason we’ll know on the inside that God does not approve of them. And His children will run to Him in repentance and for strength to walk free from such sins. Does it this mean those who don’t sense the spirit leading them when they disobey God, have lost their salvation? Absolutely Not. I’ll simply say there’s a big question mark on their walk with God. Because people can shut their hearing of the Holy Spirit by their continues refusal to obey Him.
Like I’ve said many times the spirit leadership in a persons life is the prove of his/her salvation, and the bible makes it clear that people can commit sin/s that can lead the Holy Spirit leaving them. Mrk 3:29, Matt 12:32, Heb 10:26-27, 1 Jhn 5:16. I don’t really know if anyone actually knows what this exact sin is but in my personal opinion taking the new testament as a whole, it is not a single act of sin but a deliberate continues rejection of the Spirit leadership, which leads them doing things in blatant defiance of the Holy Spirit but still falsely securing themselves with “the grace of God”; Simply put it it’s like someone saying I became a Christian for the benefit of what God can do to improve the life that i want now, and therefore if God leads/asks me to do things that does not benefit me or goes against my desire; i won’t obey Him. Of course no christian will ever articulate this but their choices & decisions in life will clearly speak that loudly Jude 1:4.
Let me put some of you mind to rest here; If you living in condemnation or fear of committing this sin because of something bad you’ve done; that in itself proves that you have not committed the “unpardonable sin”, because if you had you will not be bothered/troubled about having done it.
We should note that Jesus spoke about the “unpardonable sin” in the context of learned, strong willed and self-righteous pharisees who claimed to be experts in the laws and ways of God and therefore anyone who thinks differently from them is wrong/sinner or of the devil. They even associate the good works of Jesus to that of the devil. This is not to your “average Joe” who in ignorance/confusion to God and His ways say something bad about the Holy Spirit.
The Rewards of our works
So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10
We are Justified (i.e. made right) by our faith but we will be Judge by our works.
Follow on with The way of Judgement & Reward