“1And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
It is a wonderful passage, very familiar to most Christians-here is mentioned that Grace by which we are saved through Faith, “and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
We do nothing to facilitate our being saved, beyond believing; and once saved, none of us can be more ‘righteous’ than another, as our only righteousness is that of Jesus Christ, Who is unchanging and perfect. We become more sanctified as God’s Holy Spirit works in our lives, but it is impossible to be ‘more righteous’ through our works.
“25‘If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.”
Charles Spurgeon in his devotional, “Morning and Evening” sees in this verse a warning against our adding anything to the Gospel: “The proud heart of man is very anxious to have a hand in the justification of the soul before God; preparations for Christ are dreamed of, humblings and repentings are trusted in, good works are cried up, natural ability is much vaunted, and by all means the attempt is made to lift up human tools upon the divine altar.”
‘not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.’ Believe it or not, elsewhere in Scripture we are indeed called to boast, but not in ourselves, out abilities, our faithfulness, prayer-warrior status, etc.
23Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.