16. Why is salvation obtained by faith and not by works?



I answer this question of yours with the following words of Paul, who still speaks even though he is dead: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore, the reason is this: so that no one may boast or glory before God. For if salvation were by works, those who receive it could say to other people, ‘I have been saved because I deserved to be saved: I made many sacrifices, I renounced to many things, I suffered many things, so God saved me!’ But God, in His wisdom and righteousness, has decreed that a man can be saved only by faith in Christ Jesus, that is, freely. Christ Jesus, “became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30 – NKJV), which means that Christ, through His atoning sacrifice, did everything that was necessary in order to make us wise, to justify us, to sanctify us and to redeem us, in the sight of God; and we, having believed on Him, became wise, just, holy and were saved. What do we have to boast about before God then? Nothing, because all this does not come from ourselves, but from God. We are exactly like our father Abraham, that is, we don’t have anything to boast about, for Abraham also was justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Therefore we Christians can glory, or rather must glory only in the Lord, as it is written: “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31 – NKJV).