ďFor it is by grace you have been saved, through faith Ė and it is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God Ė not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are Godís handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ē (Eph. 2:8-10 NIV).
The purpose of salvation is clearly explained in the above verses Ė to do those good works which God prepared in advance for us. We are saved by grace and through faith. Our deeds cannot save us. Grace is the unmerited favor of God and faith is trusting in God after forsaking all other trusts. The inter-connection between faith and grace is miraculous. Grace is from God for us and faith is the gift poured into us by God to activate His grace. At times, when we advance in doing good, we may feel superior than the rest, but we must know for sure that grace is powerful than deeds. Without noticing our trespasses, without pointing out our iniquities God saved us. Even the faith which helped us have that grace is a God-given gift. We may have many good reports of our good life to tell to others but if we do not have the report of grace we are good for nothing. Our salvation is due to Godís love. The spiritual life we are leading now is due to Godís love. Our eternal dwelling in heaven will be due to Godís love. Godís love is the source of all our blessings.
Many of us wonder how and why did God love such sinful people around the world that He gave His Son for them. Is it because God made them by His own hands? Is it because God breathed the breath of life into manís nostrils? Is it because He thought that hell-fire is too unbearable? What I believe is that God saved us with a purpose in His holy heart. The purpose is that we have fellowship with Him and do good works which He prepared in advance for us to do. Our life will be a total failure if we do not understand this reality. Our good deeds must not be from self but it should be done depending on Godís grace. Many are they who do good but blessed are the minority who do good depending on Godís purpose. Opportunities to boast are many for those who are self-righteous, but opportunities to praise are unlimited to those who are made righteous by grace, through faith. The prompting to do good after being saved is a miracle in itself because that desire is generated as a result of our fellowship with our Father. It is not an inspiration coming from another person, not because we realize that someone needs our help and support, it is the power of God that strengthens us making us capable to do good things. If our good deeds are based on our own righteousness, it is fruitless, stained and incomplete. But if we do good depending on Godís grace, our good works will be fruitful, holy and complete. Lives around the world will be changed if they understand this truth. Many good doers can become blessed provided they do good by grace. What many people do is according to their own character. They desire to grow in self-righteousness. That is why many good deeds are done but because the majority does it from self, Godís grace is mostly unfamiliar. This prevents Godís purpose to be fulfilled in many lives. We may grow in nature and goodness if we do good without grace but we will lose our inner life. So, Christians, let us be an example to those who want to know what doing good really means.