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  • Writer's picture~Kimberly Oden

Goodness Doesn’t Equal Salvation

Years ago I had a conversation with someone about salvation. They insisted that if a person lived a good life, their salvation must be secure.

The premise was that this person couldn’t be that good without God, so surely the goodness was evidence of salvation.

I understand the logic, but I often think that logic can be a stumbling block to receiving God’s grace-filled, free gift of salvation.

We think if we live a life “good enough” that we will secure our place in heaven, but here’s the thing about goodness:

It is the EFFECT of the grace of God & thus cannot be the CAUSE of our salvation!

This idea of “work” is the very antithesis of “grace”.

Work involves a claim. If someone owes you a debt & then pays it, it wasn’t done by favor or grace. You have a claim on what they owe & there’s absolutely no favor when they pay what is due. It is purely transactional.

Grace, on the other hand, cannot be grace unless it’s free. What comes from grace isn’t connected to debt, but given IN SPITE of debt owed. It is free favor doused with unmerited love & is purely relational!

Here’s a simple Simon summary:

WORKS - I do work, I get paid. 

GRACE - I do NO work, yet my tremendous debt is paid.

Paul writes about this contrast in Romans 11, concluding that grace & works cannot coincide as causes of salvation.

If a person is saved by work, it’s not a matter of favor, but of debt. It contradicts the very idea of saved by grace!

We’re saved by God’s free & undeserved grace alone. It’s His great pleasure to grant us His grace because of His (often unrequited) love for us!

And here’s the kicker…we ALL have sinned in some way & carry a sin debt we can’t pay.

But God in His inherent goodness, sacrificed His sinless Son SO THAT our debt CAN be paid, free of charge, no work involved, but simply receiving His free gift of salvation. That’s it! 

Jesus, when we follow You as Lord, Your goodness overtakes us in such a remarkable way that the effect of Your Presence becomes visible in our lives! Onlookers might call the effect good works, but we know that it is tangible evidence of God’s grace & Your Lordship! Use our lives to lead many to God’s loving place of undeserved grace!

2 CHRONICLES 19:1-20:37

ROMANS 10:14-11:12

PSALM 21:1-13


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