This has always been an intriguing dispute to me. I’ll admit there was a time in history where doctrine seemed to be interpreted as one having to earn salvation through works; however, the truth is that the two are inseparable.
The Christian life is about becoming new in Christ. Christ performs works, and through my submission to him as the ruler of my life, he works through me for the good of humankind. So, if I am not working, then how can I have faith? How can I be new in Christ?
Works are the fruit of faith. The problem: it is easier to proclaim faith than to surrender to the God who loves us; to the God who wants to work within us and through us.
The thing that I would caution against is the fact that there is a bit of a line between doing works for our own glory, and really letting God work through us. God’s work comes from a place of humility, even though there is always pride attached to our efforts. We have to be aware of when we seek our own glory, and when we are humbly following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That being said, we should always work, but when pride is out of proportion to our humility, then we have to recognize it, hand it to God, and ask him to help us be more humble next time. We have to ask him to use our prideful works for his glory, despite the sin tainted efforts.
God love us, and wants to use us to bring love to people in need today. May we be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit so that we might be Christ for others today. May his perfect love for us fill our hearts, and overflow into the lives of others.