Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
This passage of scripture outlines for us the fact that salvation is a free gift from God to us, and therefore cannot be earned or purchased by works of the law, no matter how good and upright those works may be. There many good charities and foundations in modern society, which serve very good and practical purposes. Schools are built and scholarships are given, and animal shelters save many puppies, and much clothes and food is distributed to the poor and needy.
All of these things are very good works of the law and are to be encouraged and commended, but in the final analysis, they do not translate into a passport to heaven. Salvation and eternal life are gifts from God and can only be accessed through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
A prime example of what the scripture is saying can be found in the experiences of Cornelius. He was a devout man who did much charitable work in the community where he lived, and prayed always to God, and The Lord recognized his work as coming from a sincere and honest heart. His sincerity was honored by God because The Lord desires that every member of the human family should do genuine good, as is written in the scriptures. Let's read:
Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
However, Cornelius needed to understand that grace and salvation come only through Christ, and that they are the gifts of God, and so The Lord instructed him to send for Peter so that this all-important truth could be explained to him. After Peter pointed him to the Lamb of God who alone can bring salvation, Cornelius acknowledged the free gift and was baptized into the kingdom of God.
In our day there is a growing tendency to place a heavy emphasis on good works of the law to the neglect of obedience to all of God's commandments. That which is in and of itself good work, is often made incomplete because Christ is not made the center and object of our efforts, through a lack of obedience to all of His commandments. Good works by themselves do not save anyone and they are never to be regarded as a substitute for obedience, that's one of the reasons why in the book of revelation, a heavy emphasis is placed on obedience to God's laws, since it is the aspect of the gospel that is most neglected in our generation.
We sincerely encourage anyone who, like Cornelius, may be involved in active service and charitable work in our communities, not to leave Christ out of the equation, for all of our good work will not warrant us a place in His kingdom if we do not accept Him as Lord of our lives. We therefore end with a passage of scripture that should refocus our attention on the free gift given to us in Christ so that our efforts to do good would spring from the right source. Let's read:
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
May this be the theme of our song as we travel along life's pathway. God Bless!