This significant passage has become to me the bedrock of my hope for salvation--the place where my hope for eternity stands or falls. And like the other significant passages I have listed so far, I didn't discover it until many years after I first expressed faith in Jesus Christ ... but it was active in me unawares.
Ephesians 2:8-9 reads thus:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.We have been saved by the grace of God--the mercy, the unearned favor of God. It is His mercy, completely undeserved by you or me, that saves us.
But what about works? Works of righteousness, offered to God as a form of obedient sacrifice--isn't that what God requires? In a word, no.
As the reformers would say, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Then what about faith? Isn't that the meritorious work that God demands? Again, no.
We are saved through faith indeed--but see the verse again: We are saved through faith, but "that not of yourselves ... it is the gift of God," and the verse specifically declares, "not of works."
So where do works come in? See verse 10:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.Good works are not the cause of our salvation, they are the result of our salvation.