It is, alas, possible for grace itself to be abused. We may forget that, while we are justified in the sight of God by faith alone, a real faith must be evidenced by works. We have to bear in mind that while law-works are denounced and demolished in manifold parts of Holy Scripture, life-works are diligently and constantly insisted upon.
If we profess to have life, this life must express itself in something more tangible and forcible than mere words. There is an appalling amount of empty profession—shallow, powerless, worthless talk—today. We have a wonderfully clear gospel; we see very distinctly that salvation is by grace, through faith, not by works of righteousness, nor by works of law. Blessedly true, and our heart praises God for it! But when people are saved, ought they not to live as such? Ought not the new life to come out in fruits? It must come out if it be in; if it does not come out, it is not there.
The apostle Paul says, “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” (Eph. 2:8,9). Here we have one side of this great practical question. Then comes the other side, to which every true and earnest Christian will delight to give his attention: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (v. 10).
Here we have the whole subject fully and clearly before us. God has created us to walk in a path of good works, and He has prepared the path of good works for us to walk in. It is all of God, from first to last. Thanks and praise be to God that it is so!
—From Miscellaneous Writings by C.H. Mackintosh
Oh, what a blessed contrast is liberty to bondage! How precious it is to be free—free from sin, from law, and from the world! Liberty is not a license for us to do as the flesh dictates; this is really lawlessness, not liberty. —Byron Crosby