When Paul wrote to His young disciple, Titus, he told him that God’s grace trains us to live godly lives and makes us “zealous” for good works (Titus 2:11-14). Doing good things won’t make a person right with God. It is by “grace” we are all saved as Paul instructions the Ephesians in Chapter 2:8-9. But the Grace of God that has appeared once and for all in the person of Jesus Christ is a tremendous motivation for living a life that’s pleasing to God by using our gifts to serve others. Verse 10 of Ephesians chapter 2 also connects God’s grace with living lives of service to others. Verses 8 and 9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” But we should keep reading, for the next verse completes God’s purpose for his creation: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

We Christians are the creative work of Christ’s marvelous grace. Knute Larson writes in one of his commentaries, “We are new creations formed and shaped by Christ’s death and resurrection. Good works, deeds born from the goodness of God’s Spirit, characterize those who belong to God. Christians should never have to be cajoled into service, nor should they follow God’s commands as a duty. We should be zealous, eager, and passionate to please the Father by extending his goodness to others.” The places of good works and God’s favor have reversed themselves in Christ. Under a dispensation of law we are to do good deeds so we can receive God’s favor. But under grace, it would be stated that we do good deeds because we’ve already received God’s favor.

Grace motivates us to give grace to others in the form of good deeds. M.R. DeHaan understands Jesus call in Matthew 11:28-29 to be a call to unbelievers and believers. The first part, “come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” is the part for non-believers. It’s a call to rest your salvation in the hands of Jesus and trust in Him. The second part “take my yoke upon you” is for believers. DeHaan adds, “Now that you are saved, get busy and go to work, and you will find an additional rest and peace, over and above the “rest” of salvation.” He goes on, “Failure to distinguish to whom the Scripture is addressed results in confusion, and as a result we have preachers urging people to work, give up things, sell all they have to give to the poor, as conditions of salvation, which is a denial of salvation by grace. Salvation for the sinner is by doing nothing but receiving the grace of God. And then works and progress must follow.”