"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
Hmm! These two verses seem to contradict each other.
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" and then Ephesians says, "you have been saved by faith, through faith -- not by works, so that no one can boast".
How do we reconcile them?
Which one is right and which one is wrong?
That's a trick question, of course! They are from the Bible so they both have to be right - and they are!
Your salvation is an inside job accomplished by Christ's atoning death on the cross and activated in your life through your faith. So, salvation is done by God for you and in you when you confess your sinfulness and trust Christ for your salvation.
BUT, since salvation is a private and personal decision it must bear testimony in public demonstrations. As James says, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds." James 2:17-18
Here is how it works! Through your faith in Christ God gives you His salvation within you. But then it is up to you to live out that salvation in your daily decisions and deeds. As we have been reading, " For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness".
God, through the grace of Jesus Christ and His righteousness, puts His goodness in you but then it is up to you to make decisions consistent with His goodness every day of your life. You must live out His salvation with your moral integrity and courage.
That's how your salvation is designed to work! He places it in you and your live it out!
Do you know His salvation? Are you living it out in such a way that others know it?