Now I can hear some sincere law-abiding person saying:
"But wait a minute. All this sounds good and great, but the Bible clearly teaches that we are going to be judged by and rewarded according to our works. Certainly this proves that our obedience plays a part in our salvation.
It proves no such thing. What it really proves is that God is more gracious than we can ever fully grasp or appreciate.
While He saves us wholly by His free grace, He will actually reward us as though we had shared in the accomplishment of our salvation and deserved credit for it.
"Although we have no merit in ourselves in the great goodness and love of God we are rewarded as if the merit were our own. When we have done all the good we can possibly do, we are still unprofitable servants. We have done only what was out duty. What we have accomplished has been wrought solely through the grace of Christ, and no reward is due to us from God on the ground of our merit. But through the merit of our Savior, every promise that God has made will be fulfilled, and every man will be rewarded according to his deeds" Welfare Ministry, p. 316.)
Remember what we learned in chapter four of this book. It is more accurate to say that good works are inevitable for the Christian than to say they are necessary for salvation.. While it is true that we're not saved by obedience to God's law, it is also true that the true Christian will have a victorious lifestyle. And because salvation will manifest itself by producing holy aspirations and a life honorable to Christ's name, ultimately we are judged by our works, not because they possess merit, but because they bear testimony to our genuine acceptance of His saving grace. Obedience, good works, victory over sin--these are not the means by which we gain salvation, but rather they are the inevitable manifestation of the salvation we have so freely in Christ alone.
The one who has truly encountered and yielded to the love of Christ does not reason, "Well, if I'm saved by grace through faith alone, then I can have the pleasures of sin and eternal life too."
Not at all. A much higher motive than personal gain has taken hold of the heart that has embraced the cross To the one who has tasted the sweet release of Christ's pardoning love, the purpose of holy living is as clear as the sun at noonday. The honor of God, the glory of Christ--this is the flaming passion that burns brightly in the soul. Yes, it is true that we are saved by his mercy alone, but as you see that in this precious reality itself is all the reason in the world to live... and live...and live for Him?
Good works for the Christian are not payment, but praise. Obedience for the Christian is not law-keeping, but love. Victory over sin is not mere duty, but shear delight.
(Isn't the gospel good news and simple? We don't need a philosopher's brain to understand the gospel. A small child could understand it if put in his language. Are you praying for enlightenment and understanding? I am, and I know God will help us through this to His glory and praise. Grandma Joan.)