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Saved By Grace, But Kept Saved By Works?

When You're Saved By Grace, But Kept Saved By Holy Living

Jamey Escamilla • October 22, 2020

Do you believe that the grace of God saves us?

Do you believe that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin?

Do you believe that because of our faith in Christ, we are righteous?

If you do, you’re in good company.

Almost all of us do!

But where do “works” come in?

What role does “holy living” play in our lives?

Ask anyone on the street if they believe that we’re saved by grace.

Their answer will most definitely be a resounding YES.

Think about it.

You will never get any other answer than GRACE.

Even the most hardcore, holy-living, legalistic, separated Christians believe this.

But there’s definitely a group of believers that I call:

“The Grace-But People”

Grace-But people say:

“Yes, we’re saved by grace, but…”

“Grace saves us, but we all need to live holy lives to stay saved.”

So probably one of the core beliefs among Christians is this:

We are saved by grace, but we are KEPT saved by works.

This is an interesting statement to make, but there are very understandable reasons to believe this.

So while everyone agrees that we’re saved by grace, my question is:

“Are we kept saved by works?”

I think the Bible is very clear: we are not kept saved by works, and I’d like to briefly explain why.

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First, I think that saying that we’re saved by grace but kept by works is a clever, but destructive way to continue to enforce holy living for salvation in people’s lives.

When we believe this way, salvation is like being promoted to a manager at work.

We get our promotion by being a good employee.

But we’re KEPT as a manager ONLY if we continue to perform well.

If not, we get demoted… or fired.

By believing that salvation is this way, we’re able to still hold onto the doctrine that we are unquestionably saved by grace alone.

“Yes, I believe we’re saved by grace! The Bible says it!”


They’re able to believe in salvation by grace alone, yet still say that works play a part in that.

I get it.

But is that how God’s salvation works?

In my opinion, this is STILL salvation by grace AND works.

Because our salvation is STILL dependent on our works in the end.

So out loud, we’re saying: saved by grace, BUT kept by works.

But on the down low, what we’re really saying is: saved by grace AND works.

The other thing I would say about this belief is that it just doesn’t make sense.

If works keep us saved, then we have a problem.

We’d be constantly losing our salvation almost on a daily basis.

Jesus said that even though we avoid actually doing big sins, we still think them.

And if we think them, we’re rotten in our core, anyways, and have sinned in our hearts.

Jesus also said to be perfect, and cut off your arm if it causes you to sin.

Paul said that ANYTHING that is not of faith is sin.

Peter said that they (the holy apostles), nor their fathers, could keep the law.

So if works keep us saved, we’re all unsaved.

The reason why all these things were said is to show us that we CAN’T depend on our works for anything.

It’s why Paul said, “In my flesh dwells no good thing.”

So where do we get this belief from?

Like I said, I can see WHY people would believe this, but we have to examine it.

There are many scriptures that talk about holy living.

That’s not up for a debate. We all agree on that.

But the question is WHY? Why are they there?

Does the Bible mention holy living because we need to do good works to keep our salvation?


The Bible talks strongly about holy living and good works because those are the FRUITS of our salvation, not the ROOTS that keep us saved.

If you pay careful attention to the epistles, you’ll notice a flow.

Paul begins his letters by reminding the people of who they are – saved and holy.

He THEN moves on to scriptures about living holy, and reminds them to do good works…

… BECAUSE they’re already saved.

Living holy is the natural byproduct and expectation of a life in Christ.

“But if I don’t do good works, will I lose that salvation?”

Again, if I could lose my salvation because of this, it IS salvation by works.

So no, you cannot lose your salvation by sinning or not living holy.

But if you’re truly yielding to God, you WILL do good works.

If you’re not, you WON’T live holy, and you won’t be living in the abundance of God.

You won’t be living in the will of God for your life, and you won’t be bringing the kingdom to the earth, which is your mission.

1 Peter 1:3-5 says it best:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation…

Does our inheritance fade away? No.

How are we KEPT for salvation? Through faith, not works.

“So we can sin as much as we want and still be saved?”

Honestly guys, this question always fascinates me.

It’s like asking, “So I can touch the hot stove? You’re saying it’s OK to touch the hot stove?”

Technically, yes you can.

But truly yielding to grace also means that you WON’T.

It also depends on what you mean by “OK”.

Is it OK to sin?

Of course not.

It grieves God, distorts your mission, ruins lives, and has real consequences.

But can you sin and still be right with God?

Yes, because our salvation is not dependent on our works.

It’s dependent on what Jesus did.

Otherwise, he would still be counting are sins against us.

I hope that we’re all wise enough to comprehend what this blog is saying.

I hope that you see my heart and understand.

Because works do NOT keep us saved.

But I’d love to hear what you think!




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