For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. – (Philippians 2: 12-13 ESV)
Nothing good that you could ever do can add anything to what God has done in Jesus Christ on your behalf. Human effort cannot produce the life of God in our lives, it’s all a gift of grace. Salvation is a free gift from our Creator. The radical gospel frees us from seeking to appease God with our religious good works. The very essence of man-made religion is an attempt to keep a set of rules and regulations to earn favor with God.Those who seek to live moral lives in an effort to earn favor with God are missing the point of the Gospel. The Gospel is a declaration of Jesus’ sinless life, death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. This is really good news for mankind!
By placing our trust in Him and turning from our own sin as well as our good works, or attempts to please God with good moral behavior – we enter into the life of God. Jesus took our sins on the cross and gave those that trust him as Lord and Savior, his righteousness. This is called the “great exchange.” Our moral transformation is called sanctification. This is the process of working out our salvation (deliverance from sin) with fear and trembling. The transformation of our moral lives involves active participation with the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The proclamation of the Gospel when believed and received in the heart, brings us into the family of God. Religion produces fear and an orphan mentality but the Gospel produces, sons and daughters. We become the family of a loving Father that leads us in paths of right living. Simple trust in Jesus leads us away from fear based religion into a place of peace. Does your religion give you peace? If not, place your trust in Jesus and follow him for he is the Prince of peace.