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A Biblical Understanding of Grace and Works
By Pete Grasso   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, October 11, 2010
Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010

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For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)

IF GRACE WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD,
THEN IS GRACE NULLIFIED BY WORKS?

 

To understand the doctrine of Grace, we must dig deeper within the scriptures.

 

One of my favorite quotes from Milard Erickson concerning this topic is that “Works are NOT meritorious [concerning salvation]. However, they are evidence of a relationship with Christ and of his grace already operating in us.”[1]  It is the fruit of the branch that abides in Christ of which is a reflection of the virtues and essence of  the vine. Ephesians 2:8-10 further illustrates this as the scriptures states, “8 For it is by grace you have been savedthrough faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

The key to this scripture is in v8-9, whereby it is affirmed that our salvation was by “grace through faith” not of works so that NO ONE could boast in their own merit.  Furthermore, v10 is also very key whereby the ability “to do good works” is a natural product of those who are “created in Christ Jesus”.  For those who are created in Christ Jesus are those who are saved, by grace through faith [and purposed] to do good works. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose [Philippians 2:13].” 

 

As Millard Erikson eloquently stated, “even the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and then kissed and anointed them”, when Jesus stated that her sins were forgiven (implying faith by works), his parting words brought forth the true clarity of his meaning in Luke 7:50 when he stated, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace”[2].

 

Ed Hindson and Ergun Caner insightfully expounds upon one of the doctrinal tenants of “Elective Grace”, which means that it is “Sufficient Grace”, whereby salvation by grace through faith is both now and forevermore (Jude v24-25)[3]. This is a key apologetic; for if our works were by any means the requirement for salvation, we would be in violation to the "Law of Non-contradiction" as it pertains to  the scriptures [Acts 15:11; Ephesians 2:4-8; 2 Timothy 1:9]. If works were at all required for salvation, then salvation by grace would be in vain, and the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as our redeemer would all be without meaning or significance.

 

"Faith" and "Works" going hand-in-hand; with works not being the guarantor for salvation but the product of it.  Erickson expounds upon James 2:17; 26 to state that the “Genuineness of the faith that leads to justification becomes apparent in the results that issue from it. If there are no good works, there has been neither real faith nor justification”[4]  Erickson then provides reference to Romans 8:1-7 to give weight to his presupposition[5]. In particular, give verses 5-7 further consideration.

 

 5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 

 

Therefore works are a result of God’s Grace.  For even our greatest, most Nobel works are just a “filthy rag” [verses good fruit] (Isaiah 64:6) when we are not abiding in or not being led by the Holy Spirit as stated in John 15:3-5 (NKJV).

 

John 15:3-5 (New King James Version)

 

3 You are already clean because of the word [salvation by grace] which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

 

Amazing Grace indeed…  Hallelujah Lord JESUS!

 

Blessings in King Jesus,

Minister Peter

 

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2009), [emphasis mine], 1023.

[2] Ibid, 1024.

[3] Ed Hindson, Ergun Caner, The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2008), 257.

[4] Erickson, 973.

[5] Ibid.


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Reviewed by John Clark 3/6/2013
Thanks for this article. I hope you get a lot of readers.
Reviewed by John Domino 10/29/2010
Dear Peter,

A great inspirational piece! What a wake-up call for all. For if it were not for the grace of God we would all probably be down under. Those who turn Biblical scripture to suit their sin not only keep on breaking God's commandments, they are constantly breaking God's heart.

Yours in the love of Christ,

John Michael Domino



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