Salvation by Grace – Judgment by Works?

While it makes void the gospel to introduce works in connection with justification, nevertheless works done in faith, from the motive of love to God, in obedience to the revealed will of God and to the end of his glory are intrinsically good and acceptable to God. As such they will be the criterion of reward in the life to come. This is apparent from such passages as Matthew 10:41; 1 Corinthians 3:8-9, 11-15; 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:7.

We must maintain therefore, justification complete and irrevocable by grace through faith and apart from works, and at the same time, future reward according to works. In reference to these two doctrines it is important to observe the following:

  • This future reward is not justification and contributes nothing to that which constitutes justification.
  • This future reward is not salvation. Salvation is by grace and it is not as a reward for works that we are saved.
  • The reward has reference to the station a person is to occupy in glory and does not have reference to the gift of glory itself. While the reward is of grace yet the standard or criterion of judgment by which the degree of reward is to be determined is good works.
  • This reward is not administered because good works earn or merit reward, but because God is graciously pleased to reward them.

(John Murray, Collected Writings, vol. II, p. 221)

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