“How do we find a balance between works and grace?”

Robie R. asks a great question.

The subject of how works and grace relate to each other often produces a broad range of opinions. In my mind, I can already hear the arguments….

On one side we hear: The Bible says, “The Christian faith is grace alone…our works have nothing to do with our faith…if you think working makes you a Christian, than you have to question whether or not you truly are a Christian.”

One the other side we hear: The Bible says, “works are what validate that we really have faith…if your not working…then you have to question whether or not you truly are a Christian.”

So, who is right?

Well, both are. The key to answering this question is that both of the above responses are found in the Bible. If we really want to understand how we find a balance between grace and works, then we have to make sure that we don’t ever pit grace against works. A more accurate way to look at the relationship between works and grace is to say, “our works are a confirmation that we have received grace”.

Here is what I mean by this.

Let’s start with grace. In the Bible, grace is best exemplified in Jesus. God decides to break into the course of human history by sending his son Christ to the Earth. In Jesus we see unconditional love and forgiveness. This unconditional love is so deep that he is willing to die on the cross for us. This is grace at its deepest level. Grace is an unmerited favor. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s forgiveness, or to stay in his good graces. It is solely based on what Jesus did for us on the cross (Ephesians 2:8).

However, while grace is certainly offered to us freely, it came at a very steep price to God. The offer of grace to humanity meant that God would have to sacrifice His son. This sacrifice came at a great cost to God. It meant giving up the life of one whom he loved dearly…Jesus.

The way grace and works interact with each other is really based on how seriously we see the sacrifice of Christ. James tells us, “a faith without works is dead”(James 2:20). Our faith is built on the truth that Jesus lived a life of incredible sacrifice for his Father in Heaven, and without question the human race. If we really believe this to be true, than our lives should reflect the same balance.

The balance being, recognizing that our faith only comes through the grace of God, however the cost of that grace to God should create in our hearts a desire to love God in deeply sacrificial ways, as well as the people around us.


~ by Anthony Orzo on November 4, 2009.

One Response to ““How do we find a balance between works and grace?””

  1. The music and the dance! Check out themusicandthedance.com and the post titled, “about the music and the dance”. I appreciate the clarity of the answer where anthony says, “our works are a confirmation that we have received grace”. I think we can also say the reason works confirm grace is because grace is the source of our works.

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