8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
We are simply saved by grace through faith. The moment a person places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, asking forgiveness for their sins and acknowledging their need for a savior is the moment they are born again. We are not saved based upon any works we have done.
Many have fallen into the deception of legalism in which they believe that they somehow earn God’s love and favor through their works. Or some how they keep themselves saved by the works that they do. This is simply a deception of Satan and when we come to understand the truth that we are simply saved by faith, we learn to rest in Christ finish work and we come to enjoy and experience the freedom we have through Him.
But God has created us for works to do. The works that are created for us to do were established before the foundations of the earth. The Lord knows every heart that will turn to Him and has chosen every heart that will turn to Him before anything was created. Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who draws us to the place of salvation and it is the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to the truth of who Jesus Christ is and our need for a savior.
The works God has created for us to do fit within His sovereign plan and purposes. He has so designed us and gifted us to be equipped to fulfill every plan and purpose He has for us. Nothing happens by accident and nothing is random with the Lord. But the purpose that God saves us and brings us into relationship with Him is to glorify His name through us.
We have been called to be vessels of His glory. This happens as we draw near and are transformed by the power and might of the Holy Spirit. As our lives are transformed, He opens every door that is according to His will. Every door that is open is opened and we are equipped for it. When we understand that God has chosen us and that His love for us is eternal and unconditional, we learn to rest in Him and enjoy the freedom we have in Him. We stop striving and we simply start living and existing in Him.
The difference between a true relationship with Jesus Christ and simply religion is religion is based on man’s efforts to some how reach God in his own strength and wisdom and is an endless cycle of disappointment and condemnation as we never live up to perceived demands we believe are placed on us because we are living in our own strength. But a relationship with Jesus Christ is one in which it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives through us. That it is the Lord who lives within us and empowers us for all things. Every battle is placed in His hands and we simply walk in victory in all things. This is the abundant life that Jesus spoke of.