Pauline E-Mail – 2

November 23, 1996
by Charles Scobie

Ephesians 2:8-10 – By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any one should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.

Paul's letters can be regarded as E-mail. If his message is basically evangelical then it is equally true that it is also ethical. That term comes from the Greek ethos, meaning habits or customs, thus referring to a person's character or manner of life.

It's easy to misquote or misrepresent Paul, as he himself found out when some people asked, "Why not sin that grace may abound ?" (Romans 6:1). Note how in Ephesians 2:8-10 Paul asserts that we are saved by grace not because of works, yet in the same breath goes on to say that we are created in Christ Jesus "for good works." Too many so-called "evangelicals" simply say, "Hallelujah! I'm saved!", period. They forget that Paul's position is that we are saved by grace, through faith, for works.

That's why, as a reading of Paul's letters plainly shows, he expected believers to follow in their lives the highest moral standards. Ethical living is not the root of salvation but it must be the fruit of salvation. Our faith must be expressed in the way we live and in all our dealings with others in society, a society which shows many signs of having lost its moral compass. Evangelism and social action are not mutually incompatible, for the evangelical must always lead to the ethical.

Prayer: Remembering. O Lord, that we are saved for good works, grant us grace to live out our faith in our daily lives and in all our relationships both with individuals and with the society in which we live. Amen.

About the author:

Charles Scobie
Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada

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