God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT
These words have been etched in my memory since a youth and they have guided my understanding of salvation. God's grace (unmerited favor) has been shed abroad to those who trust (have faith in, believe) His Son Jesus. The passage here tells us that this is a gift. A gift doesn't cost the recipient anything. A gift is paid for by the giver. To the recipient, it is free. In God's great kindness, He has provided a way for us to be saved. The price has been paid. No one can claim that they got to Heaven by their "good deeds". We can't be good enough on our own. In fact, without Jesus Christ, we aren't good at all!
Romans 7:18 says it this way: “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.” NLT.
In our carnal flesh we are evil, wicked. We are certainly not "good" like we suppose ourselves. We must recognize that we are inherently evil, lost. The only hope is to trust in the One who is good!!! His name is Jesus Christ! When we place our trust in Him, God imparts to us everlasting life.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT.
Once we are "born again" we are now poised to do good things. Through Christ we are able to live a life that produces good things. Good deeds are not a prerequisite (a prior requirement) for salvation. On the contrary, they are the product of salvation. Have you ever seen a cart pulling a horse? I don't think so!! We cannot put "good deeds" in front of Christ. They are a subsequent product of His saving grace!!!
Any good that we do springs forth from Him. He is God, the Giver, and the Gift!!!
Rev. Curtis Norris