On April 7th we will begin our new series on grace. Come along with as we explore this eternal truth. It will be a fascinating journey.
Today, we know we are saved by grace and justified by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ. The Lord's grace remains a consistent, liberating power in our lives.
We must never forget that salvation is the gift of God. As it is written, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
God knew us before we were born. Before we knew Him, He was working in us in secret, drawing us to Himself.
Christ delivered us from a religion about God and brought us into a family fathered by God. We are not working for acceptance or to earn our salvation. Such a difference is profound.
Yet, the revelation that salvation is not based on our works should not be interpreted as though the family of God is a "work-free zone." God has not liberated us from the realm of works, only from self-generated, religious "dead works." As new creations, the Holy Spirit dwells in us in an eternal relationship. His presence is a living reality, capable of speaking to us, inspiring and directing our lives to fulfill God-inspired works.
Thus, just after Paul explained our salvation is not "of works," he writes, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
We are not saved by our works, but neither are we saved from works. The truth is, we have been "created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand." So we are saved by faith, but God has a plan for us that requires that we work with Him to see it come to pass.
God is producing something in each of us that fits into the grand scheme of His will on earth. It may be a life vocation or a prayer ministry or feeding the poor or developing spiritual gifts or editing for a Christian writer or raising godly children. The list is as endless as it is varied.
But whatever God's will is for us, Paul says, "...work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).
"God is at work in you." This is such an amazing reality. It does, indeed, inspire fear and trembling, yet it is also the source of great confidence. For if it is God who is working in us, He will soon be working through us. It will look like us working, but it will really be God manifesting His works through us.
You see, our lives are the outworking of God's grace.