Saved For Good Works
Pastor Steve Ellison
Ephesians 2:8-9 is well known to those of us in the “saved by grace” camp. We are very familiar with “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, so that no one may boast.” However, it seems that quite often we fail to pay much attention to the very next sentence, verse10, which says: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” NASU
Paul began the chapter by reminding his readers that they once “walked” in step with Satan doing Satan’s “works”. Then in verse 4, Paul wrote those two blessedly beautiful words, “But God”. All Christians once walked with Satan. If God had not intervened in our lives, we would still be walking with Satan even now. Verses 8-10 give us a clear description of salvation especially that it is a gift in every sense of the word. However, these three verses also show us exactly what the Christian life is. These three verses move us beyond justification and on to sanctification.
The Christian life has rightly been described as “walking with the Lord”. The Bible commands us to: walk by the Spirit, walk in the light, walk in love, walk in newness of life, walk by faith not by sight, walk in a manner worthy of our calling, walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, etc. Here in Ephesians 2:10, we are told to walk in good works. This walking in good works is not to earn our salvation but rather is a result of our salvation.
I would like to add one more point regarding verse 10. The NIV translation in this verse is unfortunate. Verse 10 clearly means that we are to “walk” as opposed to the “doing” of the NIV. Almost all other English translations read “to walk”. Robertson and Vincent render it that way as well. This chapter clearly sets up a contrast between “walking with the Lord” as opposed to “walking with Satan”. “Walking” describes the Christian life far more accurately than “doing”. It seems obvious to me that God who “prepares the works beforehand” is the one who is “doing”. We simply “walk” in what He has already done. I can’t do anything on my own. I cannot sanctify myself anymore than I could have justified myself. It is all a gift from God.
Ephesians 2:10 shows the necessity of a changed lifestyle as evidence of a changed heart. God did in fact create the good works ahead of time and that our walking in them requires a choice on our part. I have long been aware that God made physical and spiritual laws for our benefit. Following those laws always brings positive results for us. The Bible tells us in several places that God sets life and death before us in a choice to obey or disobey His commands. We are told that obedience leads to prosperity and disobedience leads to adversity. Surely there are personal benefits which result from “walking in the good works prepared beforehand by God”. God surely knows what is best for us and wants what is best for us. I am intrigued and thrilled by the thought that God in His infinite wisdom, mercy, and grace created good works for me so that I can walk in them and this will result in good for everyone including me. When the Holy Spirit bears fruit through me, as I walk in the good works created by God Himself, this will not only bless others but me also. Just as obedience blesses me and others, so walking in good works blesses me and others. Great is the Lord! May He be forever praised!