Summarize Ephesians 2:8-10 in your own words. What do these verses tell us about the relationship between grace and good works?
The Bible tells us that among other things, we were created to worship God and to serve others. Only in our imagination can we try to understand what these acts would be like in a sinless environment.
For now, because of sin, we know only a broken and fallen world. Fortunately for us, God’s grace, expressed and enacted in Jesus’ sacrifice for the sins of the world, opens the way for forgiveness and healing. Thus, even amid athis broken existence our lives become more fully God’s workmanship, and God uses us to partner with Him to seek to heal and restore the damage and hurt in the lives of others (see Eph. 2:10). “Those who receive are to impart to others. From every direction are coming calls for help. God calls upon men to minister gladly to their fellow men”. – Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 103.
Again, we do not do good works—care for the poor, lift up the oppressed, feed the hungry—in order to earn salvation or standing with God. In Christ, by faith, we have all the standing with God we will ever need. Rather, we recognize ourselves as both sinners and victims of sin who are, nonetheless, loved and redeemed by God. While we still battle with temptations to self-centeredness and greed, the self-sacrificing and humble grace of God offers a new kind of life and love that will transform our lives.
When we look at the Cross, we see the great and complete sacrifice done for us and realize that we can add nothing to what it offers us in Christ. But this does not mean that we shouldn’t do something in response to what we have been given in Christ. On the contrary, we must respond, and what better way to respond to the love that has been shown us than by showing love to others?