Have you ever received a gift that you know you did not deserve? As Christians, we understand this idea and we associate it with the amazing grace of God in our lives. This grace is God’s gift that has been fully and freely given to us although we did not deserve it! This is the reason why the apostle Paul can say the following:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”(Ephesians 2:8-9)
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…”(Titus 3:4-5)
We did not and could not do anything to deserve God’s grace!
So why is it then that Paul continues to say in Ephesians 2:10 that, “…we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”? And why does Paul tell us in Titus 3:8, “… that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works”? If we cannot do anything to merit God’s grace, then why do we have to do good works?
This seeming contradiction becomes cleared up as we develop a fuller understanding of God’s grace. Paul clarifies in Titus 2:11-14:
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
The free gift of grace that God has given us is the privilege to live sober, righteous and godly lives that enable us to shun ungodliness and worldly lusts! Let us keep in mind the complete understanding that God’s grace is not a free ticket for us to do whatever we please (Romans 6:1), but an opportunity for us to serve God as His own special people who are zealous for good works.