Paul here says that salvation is purely by grace through faith without works.
8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast.
He said the same thing here:
4 Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as something owed. 5 But to him who doesn’t work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.
Nobody can be saved by the works of the Law (ten commandments, circumcision, sabbath, tithing, food regulations, festivals, good deeds, avoiding sin, etc.) or any other religion or any works at all.
There is nothing we can do to be saved except believe in Jesus.
But what about the Law of Christ?
We see that a believer is saved only if he obeys the Law of Christ.
The Law of Christ is this:
4 For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law, “The one who does them will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness which is of faith says this, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down); 7 or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)” 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;” that is, the word of faith which we preach: 9 that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart, one believes resulting in righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.”
The Law of Christ is this:
23 This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded. 24 He who keeps his commandments remains in him, and he in him. By this we know that he remains in us, by the Spirit which he gave us.
We believe in Jesus Christ to be saved.
We love others to manifest our faith in Christ after we are saved.
My brothers, don’t hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality……if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”you do well. 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith SAVE him?
24 You see then that by works, a man is JUSTIFIED, and not only by faith.“
James did not say that we need to do works to be saved.
James was saying that the saved person will love others and not be hating others.
We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not by works.
True faith will result in obedience to His commandments.
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 BLESSED are those who do his COMMANDMENTS, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
This is the righteousness of God – to believe in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Salvation is about receiving the Holy Spirit by faith in Christ.
This is why the believer cannot boast – this is why we need GRACE through the Holy Spirit. We ask for help and He will surely bless us.
7 “Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or who is there among you who, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, who will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12 Therefore, whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”
Our Lord Jesus commands us to fulfill the law by faith in Him.
When we believe, we obey Christ.
We don’t do the works to be saved.
But we do good works because we are saved.
1 John 2 “3 This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commandments. 4 One who says, “I know him,” and doesn’t keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth isn’t in him.”
This is why Jesus says that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit.
A true believer may stumble but we will not love the sin.
We will come out of it by the grace of God.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.16 By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles?17 Even so, every good tree produces good fruit, but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit.18 A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit.19 Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
Salvation is NOT by works.
Salvation is ONLY by GRACE through FAITH in Jesus Christ.
The true faith will manifest in the fruit of repentance from sin and love for others – not perfectly but at least in some decent measure. The true assurance of salvation is that we love our Lord Jesus and desire to love others and not live in sin.