Luke 17.7-10 – Salvation through grace, not works
Posted: 20 August 2010 in Luke

But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

The thrust of these verses from Luke is obviously that, since we are under an obligation to obey all of God’s commandments, and to live as he would have us live, God can never be put in our debt, and salvation cannot, therefore, be through works. Even if we did manage to live a perfect life, we would still have done no more than fulfill our prior obligations to God. Since we are fallen creatures, we do not, in practice, manage to do even that. Any idea that we can place God in our debt must be put from our minds. The reality of the situation is that we are permanently (and sinfully) in God’s debt, and we never live as he would have us live.

The thought which must particularly be put from our minds is that salvation can be achieved through works. If salvation is to come to us at all, it must come as an unmerited gift from God, and as a free act of his love. He can in no sense be thought of as fulfilling an obligation to us.

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