8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
After reading the above Scripture, it’s natural to think that good works are no longer required in our society, and as a result, we tend to get confused about how good works are related to salvation.
But even in those situations, where our level of interpretation of the Scripture is limited, we shouldn’t just rely on our own understanding, but rather, we should seek help from the Holy Ghost to reveal the true meaning of the message God is sending to us.
So my understanding of the above message is that, God through Paul is telling us that there is nothing we can do to be completely holy before Him (The Father) and no work from us would be good enough to grant salvation to the humanity; therefore, it is clear that we are saved by His Grace and Mercy through our faith in Jesus Christ.
But this doesn’t mean that our good works are not required or are meaningless in God's plan for the salvation of mankind - otherwise He wouldn’t be promoting love among people; neither would He be sending you into the world to spread the gospel.
What He (God) wants is for us to understand that our good works are counted to Him only if what we do is done in humility, and not in a boastful manner; acknowledging Him as the source of all good works in our lives, realizing that without Him we can do nothing good.
He wants us to always remember that whatever knowledge we have acquired, or whatever possessions we have achieved in life, it was thanks to God’s grace and mercy; and therefore, whatever good works we do, is done for the Glory and Praise of God and not ours.
As you continue reading, Ephesians 2:10 (NABRE), Paul tells us;
10 ”For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.”
Another Bible Scripture that tells us that faith without works is dead, can be found in the book of James 2:21-24 (NLT) which reads;
21 "Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.
23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.
24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone."
People of Nineveh Spared from Death!
Remember how our Merciful Father saved the people of Nineveh from death, when they humbled themselves in fasting before God and He decided to spare their lives? Jonah 4:9-11 (NABRE)
Tobit Healed from Blindness!
Also, do you remember how our Merciful Father healed Tobit from his blindness because of his good works? Tobit 12: 11-15 (NABRE)
11 "I shall now tell you the whole truth and conceal nothing at all from you. I have already said to you, A king’s secret should be kept secret, but one must declare the works of God with due honor.
12 Now when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and likewise whenever you used to bury the dead.
13 When you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner in order to go and bury that dead man,
[14-15] I was sent to put you to the test. At the same time, however, God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord.”
In conclusion, while no action or work we do can help us obtain salvation before God - especially if it is done in a boastful manner, thinking that it was done through our own efforts; nevertheless, our willingness to serve others with a spirit of humility, can help us to shine before the world for the Glory and Praise of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Matthew 5:16
Father in heaven, who alone is God before all gods, the Preserver of all things, the Father of Mercies, we come before you now to give you thanks and praise for sending Your One and only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ into the world, to redeem us from sin and misery, and to obtain for us everlasting life.
Accept, O gracious God, our praises and thanksgivings for your infinite mercies toward us and for sending your Holy Ghost to reveal the thruth of your Scripture to us.
Teach us, O Lord, to love you more and serve you better, through Christ our Lord. Amen.