Are we saved by our works?


If we are saved by grace, and by grace alone, then where and how do our good works come into play? Do our works make any difference at all in our walk of faith? Are we still required to have good works in order to obtain and keep our salvation?



Understanding “Saved by Grace”

 Part 1 takes a look at what the bible has to say about our faith, and that we are saved by grace alone.

Act 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.


But we believe – Believe through faith, to understand, to trust in

that through the grace – the grace of God not our grace

of the Lord Jesus Christ – God the Son 2nd person in the trinity

we shall be saved, - to be with God, to reign with God.

Through the grace of Jesus Christ we are saved. There is no mention of having to obtain good works in order to be saved.


Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)


Even when we were dead in sins, - Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not the mere product of any natural abilities, nor of any merit of our own: Not of works, lest any man should boast, Ephesians 2:9. These things are not brought to pass by any thing done by us.

hath quickened us together with Christ, - To which God hath before prepared us.

(by grace ye are saved;) Nothing of ourselves, but by grace.


Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:


This verse ties Act 15:11 and Ephesians 2:5 together. We are saved by grace through faith. And nothing that we have done plays any part in this equation. It is a gift from God.

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,


This reinforces the fact that we are saved by grace from God and not according to anything we ourselves have accomplished. Not of our works or do good attitude. It was given unto us by Christ Jesus




What the Bible says about Works

Now let’s take a look at what the Holy Scriptures have to say about good works. Are good works required, and do we need to maintain good works in order to keep our salvation?

James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?  

It is implied in this question that faith cannot save us (him), for very often the most emphatic way of making an affirmation is by asking a question. The meaning here is, that faith which does not produce good works, or which would not produce holy living if fairly acted out, will save no man, for it is not genuine faith.


James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.


Here we read that if you have faith but do not have works your faith is dead. If you only have faith but not works your beliefs are based on nothingness and are incomplete. These are the people who will say as in Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23)  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.


That is, you who maintain that faith is enough to prove the existence of religion; that a man may be justified and saved by that alone, or where it does not develop itself in holy living; or that all that is necessary in order to be saved is merely to believe. Let the reality of any such faith as that be shown, if it can be; let any real faith be shown to exist without a life of good works.

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.


The human body that does not have Gods Holy Spirit dwelling with in us is dead.

Having faith, without having good works, our faith is dead or of no use.

Matthew 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.


Your life should reflect the presence of the Holy Spirit. People should recognize that you are different, 1 Peter 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Matthew 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.


If the city of Sodom would have contained people who did good works, God would not have destroyed the city.

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.


For the Son of man – This is when Jesus will return to judge the world.

shall come in the glory of his Father - He will come in the glory of his Father the majesty with which God is accustomed to appear

with his angels; - Jesus will return with his saints

and then he shall – or will do or give

reward every man according to his works. – or reward for his actions or choices. Take note faith is not mention.


Galatians 5:19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,


These are works of the flesh, and are not of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.


When we became saved, we become a new creature and Gods workmanship becomes visible in our life. It can be noticed by other people. This change is a direct result of showing forth good works of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.


We are told to resists the works of darkness which is Satan. 1Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


1Timothy 6:18  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;


Our good works should show forth in great abundance.

2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.


That anyone who claims that they are saved and are men of God will also produce good works.

2 Timothy  4:14  Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:


Again we find that we will be rewarded by our works, that is to be recompense for our choices we made while on this earth. The rewards will either be a good or bad reward.

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.


You can not walk with God and show forth the works of the flesh. Either you have the works of the Holy Spirit or you have the works of Satan.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.


We will be judged according to our works. The works that we choose to do while here on earth will be judged by God on judgment day.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.


Again we will be judged according to our works.

John 5:36  But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.


Here Jesus is telling us that he is showing the works of his Father,

We are to do the same thing and show the works of our Father through the works or the existence of the Holy Spirit that dwells with us.

1Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.   

When we show good works, it glorifies God. We are to strive to obtain good works in order to glorify our heavenly Father.



Tying the two parts together


Part 1 Ephesians 2:8 for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Part 2   James 2:14 what doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

The good works that the saints do are not done by themselves, that is by their own will. When a person is saved they become a new creature in Christ; 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ (or saved), he is a new creature (born again): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

So once you are saved and the Holy Spirit takes control of your life and you begin to change. Your complete life’s habits, hobbies, interests and all manor of your behavior changes. These changes are the direct results of the Holy Spirit and are not from the individual person.

This change is very noticeable to those who knew you before you had the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. At this point your old friends might fall away quickly as you stop walking in the ways of sin. These former friends will become your enemy. You could possible be called a “goodie goodie” or much worse. However remember in Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (12)  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

And Luke 6:22  Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.


When a person is saved he or she will show forth the fruits of the spirit. The change is not an overnight change, but as the Holy Spirit slowly continues to grow in your life it will produce new fruit.


Fruits of a saved person Fruits of a Non-saved person





Acknowledge God in all things



Lust after evil things


Fornication, Adulterers


Covetous, Extortioners




Abusers of themselves


Unbelieving, Resist the truth

Flee from idolatry




Holiness with Sobriety





Liars, Covetous

Temperate, sound in faith

Seek familiar spirits and wizards

Brotherly kindness

Lovers of their own selves

Forbearing one another in love

Proud, Boasters

Holy and beloved


Bowels of mercies

Disobedient to parents 


Unholy, Unthankful

Humbleness of mind

Without natural affection 

Speak evil of no man

Trucebreakers, Traitors

No brawlers

False accusers

No corrupt communication

A form of godliness


Corrupt minds


Lovers of pleasures


Despisers of those that are good


Reprobate concerning the faith



Lovers of the Peace

Filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness


If we say we are saved then we should walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Many people say they are saved but do not show the fruits of the Spirit which are goods works. These are the same people who will say: Matthew 7:22 many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?


We read in Ephesians that we are to walk in the light and to show forth good works or the fruits of the Spirit and to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.

Ephesians 5:8 for ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (9) (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) (10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. (11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (12) For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. (13) but all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (14) Wherefore he saith, awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (15) See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (16) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (17) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;


Jesus spoke many times that his power came from his Father. Jesus mentions that all power was given to him from above and did not come from himself, that is to say that when Jesus walked this earth the good works that he performed (healings, feeding the multitude, water into wine, walking on water, power over the trees and the weather) was not done in himself but came from his father in heaven or God the Father the 1st person in the trinity.

John 5:19  Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

Matthew 9:8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

John 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

John 5:36  But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.


God issues a warning to those who do “good works” of themselves to look good in the sight of their fellow man

Matthew 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,


We all are sinners, even after we come to know Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Some peoples think, that after you believe on Jesus you are saved forever and no matter what you do from that point on makes no difference on where you will spend eternity. This is not true. After you give your life to Jesus and are baptized, your walk of faith only then begins, it does not stop there. We are told that we will be tested and tempted by Satan. After being saved we start to show the works of the spirit. As we discussed above you must show forth good fruits which are from the Holy Spirit, That is, if you do not show forth good fruits you do not have the Holy Spirit therefore you are NOT saved.



Life of a Sinner   Life of an engine

Not saved – A Sinner

Is Like

A engine that has no fuel

Giving your life to Jesus

Is Like

Fuel is added to the engine

Your life starts to change

Is Like

The engine starts to run

You are some times unsure what to do

Is Like

The engine is not warmed up, sputters

Good Works – the byproduct of the Holy Spirit 

Is Like

Exhaust -  the byproduct of the engine

Fuel needs to be added – A renewing of our faith by reading Gods word

Is Like

Fuel needs to be added – to keep the engine running

So, to answer the question of do you need works to be saved the answer is yes.

If you are saved you have the Holy Spirit within you. The Holy Spirit is the one who produces the good works in your life not yourself.

If you are not saved you do not have the Holy Spirit within you, therefore you don’t have the works of the Holy Spirit.


An unsaved person can show symptoms of good works but the works are of the flesh and are not of God. Most people only show their good works to be seen by other people. This is like a corporation giving money to a charity. In order to do so the company needs to be recognized by the public, basically saying look at what a good company we are. People also will give donations to charity as a publicity or public relations move usually done by people who have large amounts of money. This gives them a good pat on the back and many times a tax shelter as well a false sense of security.


After we become saved or a child of God, we begin to experience conflicts within ourselves, these conflicts are between the Holy Spirit and the flesh life. Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. This is a type of Spiritual warfare we go through as Christians, we know what we should be doing but can’t seem to find the power to do them. And we know the things we should not be doing but we seem to be powerless to stop from doing them.

This is where we need to ask God for strength and wisdom. We need to fight against the flesh with our very being and with the power of the Holy Spirit. I have found in my experience that as we fight the flesh it will flee from us and we will no longer have a desire to do the works of Satan. The key here is we must not willfully sin: Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

There is a critical key factor here; if you believe you are once saved always saved you no longer have to fight the lusts of the flesh, you are no longer held accountable for your actions and can do anything your heart desires. Anyone who believes this is gravely mistaken. As stated before your walk only starts with accepting God as your Lord and Saviour. If you believe that once you find God there is nothing else to do, your walk of faith at that point stops.


However keep in mind, if you allow the works of the Holy Spirit to shine forth in your life, (and not turn back) there is a blessing for you.

Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:


Support Documents:

Once we are saved are we always saved

** Note all references are taken from the King James Version.