The Bible teaches that Christians are saved by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8) for there is nothing anyone can do to earn salvation (Isaiah 64:6). But the Bible also teaches that Christians don’t do good works to be saved but because they are saved. Works are not a cause but an effect of salvation. So “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31).
Jesus taught, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). So, faith in the Lord must produce good works through His enabling grace. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10).
It is true that “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17), but it is equally true that works unaccompanied by a sincere and living faith are also “dead” (Heb. 11:6). Those who didn’t get the chance to know the will of God are not held accountable for it (Luke 12:47, 48), but those who have heard God’s voice speaking to their hearts and yet persist in ways of their own choosing “have no cloke for their sin” (John 15:22).
And Jesus added, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:22,23). Even though some may perform miracles in Jesus’ name, they are declared “lawless” and sinful (“sin is the transgression of the law” – 1 John 3:4) in God’s eyes because they failed to allow the Lord to produce the good works in their lives – the works that are in harmony with His law (Philippians 2:13).
In His service,