Salvation is not “of works” but “unto works.”
B. B. Warfield helped me understand this distinction a little more the other evening while reading Zaspel’s, Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel (Theologians on the Christian Life).
8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.
The Apostle Paul is very insistent that our good works accomplish nothing with respect to our salvation.
He is, however, equally as insistent that the saved life lives to the end of accomplishing good works.
We are not saved by our good works.
We are saved by God to do good works.
You can’t justify unrepentant rebellion by appealing to worksless salvation.
Your salvation is justified by works.
Easy killer, let me explain.
Jesus said it this way,
…Wisdom is justified by her deeds.
Jesus is not here saying that wisdom is made righteous by what it does, but rather that wisdom is proven to be wisdom by what it does.
Saved people produce good fruit from their new, reborn, regenerated hearts.
Like a grain of wheat, they die, deny themselves, fall to the ground and raise up again to produce a harvest of fruit.
We are not saved because we produce.
We produce fruit because we are saved.
Jesus summarized it this way,
17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.