Eph 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
The Greek word translated as “for” in these passages of scripture properly means “to assign a reason,” according to Strong’s. Paul clearly states here that the reason we are saved is grace. Our salvation (divine deliverance and preservation) is the direct result of grace (especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life). The vehicle that brings us to the knowledge of our salvation is faith (especially reliance upon Christ for salvation). Paul makes it quite clear that this faith is not something that is inherent to man.
The faith that gives us the joyous confidence in the saving grace of God does not come from us. This faith is the gift (a present, or specifically a sacrifice) of God. Faith that is the gift of God is unmerited; it is not a reward nor does it come from our stores. There was a great sacrifice made for this faith that is our witness to the mighty power of God in raising Jesus from the dead and bringing salvation to His children. It is not according to any deed that we have done.
Man is, by nature, a boastful creature. If we do something that we feel has merit, we want to be sure people know about it. By our nature, we are not above trying to take some credit for things we really had nothing to do with. These scriptures assure us that man has no room for boasting concerning our faith in Jesus. We cannot truthfully claim that we made up our minds to believe in Jesus. We did not have faith until God gave us faith.
How can I boast of choosing to have faith when I did not exist as a creature of faith until I was created in Christ Jesus? We are the workmanship of God. We do not have the ability to perform any labor or service in God’s kingdom until He, by His power alone, creates us in Jesus. When we are made new creatures in Jesus, we then can work and labor in God’s kingdom according to His will and purpose.
We should certainly be zealous of good works. Once the quickening power of God has made us alive in Christ, we should be diligent in God’s service. However, we cannot even claim that the good works we do are something we decide on. We are God’s workmanship, created in Jesus unto good works. These good works are ordained of God before we were ever created in Christ. We should certainly walk in good works, but part of walking in good works is to give God the honor for the goodness of the work. How could we ever aspire to claim any goodness of our own? Even Jesus asked the question “Why callest thou me good?” He went on to declare that only God is good (Mat 19:17).
May we honor Him by acknowledging that our salvation is by grace through faith; that we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works; and all of this is according to the will and power of God and not man!