— from The Bible Answers by Harold Smith
QUESTION : If salvation is by grace alone and not by works, then couldn’t Christians live any old way they wish?
ANSWER: Salvation is clearly defined in Ephesians 2:8-9 as being by grace (on God’s part) through faith ALONE (on our part) and “not of works lest any man should boast.” The following verse states, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works…” (Ephesians 2:10). Grace alone saves, but grace is never alone. Salvation is not by works BUT IT WORKS.
We have too many professing Christians who have a salvation that DOES NOT WORK. Paul could say, “I am what I am BY THE GRACE OF GOD” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Salvation is like a person that has a plumbing problem. They know nothing about plumbing. They are absolutely incapable of fixing it, but they know a plumber that they believe can fix it. Their confidence in him is so high that through their faith in him they call him to fix it. They do no more. They leave it all to him. If when he is finished the plumbing works then their faith in him produced it, for had they not called him in it would still be the same.
A person has a sin problem. Their life is all messed up. They cannot straighten it out. They are absolutely helpless (Romans 5:6). So they call in a Saviour. They trust in Him to do for them what they cannot do for themselves. He comes in and the life begins to work right. He is able to save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25). So the plumber comes in and the plumbing works. The Saviour comes in and the life works.
If you have a salvation that does not work it is NOT THE SALVATION THE SAVIOUR PROVIDED. It is a reflection on the ability of the Saviour to profess salvation and live habitually in known sin. Good works have nothing to do with saving; but it is the evidence that we are saved. Titus 3:8: “…that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.”
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12 NASB).