It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
— Ephesians 2:8-9
This passage helps us to understand some very important things about salvation.
We are saved only by God’s grace to us in the finished work of Christ, not through any works of our own. And we receive this wonderful salvation through faith. Also, we are not saved because of faith, but through faith.
Three truths can be highlighted about salvation: first, its cause: grace. Second, its instrument: faith. Third, its consequence: good works. We are saved by grace through faith in order to do good works.
We are not saved by any work we do for God, but by the work Christ did for us on the cross and through his resurrection. And we do good works not to be accepted by God but because we are saved through grace. Good works are not the cause of salvation; they are the result of salvation. We have been saved to do good works that God has prepared for us to do. And the Spirit of God empowers us to do them.
Grace, faith, and good works are like a tripod that illustrates our salvation. All three are accomplished by God himself, for grace, faith, and good works are God’s operations in us and for us.
Compassionate Father, the greatness of our salvation in Christ is revealed in your grace to us, in your gift of faith to us, and in your good work through us in our everyday lives. Guide us to live faithfully for you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.