Two Types of Works in Grace

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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…(Ephesians 2:8–10 KJV) 

Do our works matter or not? No, they don’t, because we are saved by grace, not by works, as Ephesians 2:9 above says. But yes, our works matter because scripture also teaches that God pays attention to our works, as Ephesians 2:10 above says. Both answers are correct. The key is to understand that there are two different types of works in the revelation of grace: works of the law and good works. There is a third type of work, works of the flesh, which we will not discuss in this devotional.

The first type of works is what Paul calls the works of the law. In Ephesians 2:10, he says we are saved by grace and not by works. These works are the things we do to obey God’s commandments and meet His standards. So the purpose of these works is to earn God’s favor or meet His requirements. He says no one can ever be justified in His sight by the works of the law ( Romans 3:20).

The second type of works is what Paul calls good works in Ephesians 2:10 above. Note how he beautifully discusses both types of works in the same passage: we are saved by grace, not works, but unto good works. Good works result from the new life in Christ and reveal our new nature, glorify God and carry out His will. Therefore their purpose is not to earn God’s favor or blessings. Furthermore, good works are important to God because they are critical for fulfilling His purposes. In fact, God will reward good works in heaven.

So though our works of the law do not save us, our good works matter to God.

Read more: Two Reasons Why Your Works Matter.


What are the two types of works described above?

Apply the Word

Now you understand that works play a crucial role in fulfilling God’s purpose in grace. Our works matter. Stay away from the works of the law, but increase in good works.


Ask the Father to show you how the types of works above are playing out in your life. 

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What are the Works of the Flesh?
Grace in the book of Ephesians.
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