Are good works the result of salvation?


Are good works the result of salvation?

I was in a discussion earlier with someone of the Baptist faith who used Ephesians 2:10 to say that good works are the result of salvation and not required for salvation since Paul is referring to us being saved in Ephesians 2:8-9, then immediately talks about how we are created to do good works after we are saved in Ephesians 2:8-9.

I kinda see where he is coming from because this was written to the church of Ephesus and he is reminding them how they were saved by grace through faith, then he tells them they created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.


In Ephesians 2, Paul points out that we all once walked in sinful ways (Ephesians 2:1-3), but God in His mercy chose to save us by making us alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7). It is subtle, but compare the idea of being made alive together with Christ with Romans 6:3-7 and you will realize that Paul is talking about the Ephesians becoming Christians through the means of baptism.

Ephesians 2:8-9 starts out with the word "for." This is a "flag" that Paul is offering proof of what he just stated. Our salvation comes because of God's mercy and His decision to offer us grace. It does not originate from ourselves. Yet, that gift comes with requirements that we must meet. It requires faith on our part, which is a work done by men (John 6:29). That work doesn't put God in obligation to men. The offer of salvation came first. Men are in obligation to God.

"For" begins Ephesians 2:10 as well. This is Paul's second proof of his point. Men are not creating their own means of salvation because God laid out how men would be saved beforehand; that is, before the world was even created. It is God who requires men to walk in the good works that He defines and not men demanding that God accept their works as good or that God owes them salvation.

Ephesians 2:11-13 give the summary or conclusion to Paul's current point. Even though the Gentiles were lost in the world and were not a part of the covenant between God and Israel, they are still able to approach God through the blood of Christ because of God's mercy and grace. Because God chose faith as the basis of salvation, the way of salvation is open to both the Gentiles and the Jews. It also means that covenant that made a distinction between the Jews and Gentiles is now canceled (Ephesians 2:14-17). Thus, the Law of Moses does not save. Salvation is based on the sacrifice of Jesus (Ephesians 2:18).

None of this means that God doesn't require us to do things in order to be saved. On the contrary, this passage mentions or alludes to baptism, faith, and continued obedience. These are God's requirements and not men's. These don't earn our salvation, they are acts of submission to God's demands. Salvation itself is purely the gift God chooses to bestow on those who do His will. "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, 'You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.' ... You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:17-18, 24).

In answer to your question, good works are not the result of salvation. God prepared the good works to be done before the creation of the world (Ephesians 2:10). We were created from the very beginning to do those good works (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). We are saved when we submit to God's will and the point when we are saved is when we are made alive during baptism (I Peter 3:21).

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