God’s grace and our faith work together for our salvation. Which comes first is a matter of theological debate. I tend to think that it is God’s grace that he pours out on us. This grace enables the depraved mind to choose God. However, this response is an irresistable response to God’s grace in saving us. God saves us. We do not save ourselves. It is grace. This means that the goodness and riches of God are a free gift from God, not a merited choice. That is my opinion, but there are many who differ with me.
The official line and my church also focuses on response. I believe if you look for it on the web, you’ll find it uner ‘responsivist’. The furthest view from mine would be a works-based view that good people are good-enough to be saved. We act in faith, which is in itself a gift from God. The gifts of God are unmerited. It is by grace through faith that we are saved.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
- How would you describe to someone Paul’s ideas about new life in Christ?
- How did people in Paul’s time live before they were saved?
- Why is it important that people see they do not work their way toward God?
- How have you worked your way toward God? Have you boasted about your role in getting saved?
- How can a misconception of God’s plan lead to a passive life?