We have been saved, not of works, but for good works. How vast the difference and essential the apprehension of that difference for the Christian life. Not of works which we have done have we been saved, but for good works, as the fruit and outcome of salvation, as part of God’s work in us—the one thing for which we have been created anew.
The deeper our conviction that we have been saved, not of works, but of grace, the stronger the proof we should give that we have indeed been saved for good works.
Not of works, for we are God’s workmanship. If works could have saved us, there was no need for our redemption. Because our works were all sinful and vain, God undertook to make us anew—we are now His workmanship, and all the good works we do are His workmanship too.
So complete had been the ruin of sin, that God had to do the work of creation over again in Christ Jesus. In Him, especially in His resurrection from the dead, He created us anew, after His own image, into the likeness of the life that Christ had lived. In the power of that life and resurrection, we are able, perfectly fitted, for doing good works. As the eye, because it was created for the light, is most perfectly adapted for its work; as the vine branch, because it was created to bear grapes, does its work so naturally, we who have been created in Christ Jesus for good work may rest assured that a divine capacity for good works is the very law of our being.
By obedience to Christ Jesus, we can and will be fruitful unto every good work.
Prepared beforehand. We have been prepared for the works, and the works prepared for us. Think of how God foreordained His servants of old, Moses and Joshua, Samuel and David, Peter and Paul, for the work He had for them, and foreordained equally the works for them.
Likewise, the Father has prepared for the humblest of His children their works as much as for those who are counted chief. For every child God has a life plan, with work apportioned just according to the power, and grace provided just according to the work. And so just as strong and clear as the teaching, salvation not of works, is its blessed counterpart, salvation for good works, because God created us for them, and even prepared them for us.
Created in Christ Jesus for good works. In its light we shall learn what a glorious destiny, what an infinite obligation, what a perfect capacity is ours. Our creation in Adam was for good works. It resulted in entire failure. Our new creation in Christ is for good works again. But with this difference: Perfect provision has been made for securing them.
Adapted from “Working for God” by Andrew Murray, published in 1902. Work is in the public domain.
The Scripture quotation is taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version.
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was a South African missionary, preacher and author who served the Dutch Reformed Church, becoming a champion for both global missions and greater devotion to Christ.