Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Text: Eph 2:4-10 (emph. verse 10) “10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Dear friends in Christ Jesus,
We all know Ephesians 2: 8-9. Many of us have it memorized. Maybe it’s your confirmation verse. It's one of those staples of the Lutheran Church. In fact, it's practically the mantra of the Lutheran Church, the very treasure that Martin Luther set out to return to the church, that it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God! Not by works, so that no one can boast.
Could it be any clearer? Could there possibly be any question about who is responsible for our salvation? If we are going to believe the Scriptures, as we say we do, then we have got to heed the word of our text and know that salvation comes by grace, God's unmerited favor: God’s Riches at Christ's Expense…
And that grace comes through faith, faith that comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. It's a gift of God, by the Holy Spirit through His Word. This is not from yourselves. Once again, it's a gift...
…Not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ok. Are we clear on this point? As I said before, this is our Lutheran mantra. But please notice that Martin Luther did not make it up. It's right out of the Bible, a quote from the Holy Scriptures! And it's a good quote. However… there are those who will take this quotation from Scripture and use it for their own purposes. They will use it to say things like, “Since I'm not saved by good works, then good works don’t need to be part of the Christian life.”
Actually, they're probably more apt to put it this way, “I don't have to do good works in order to be a Christian. All I have to do… is believe.”