“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” I Corinthians 6:9. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.
Salvation and good works go hand in hand. Once we are saved by grace through belief in Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, we will have a corresponding drive to pursue good works which involves allowing God to work them through us. Our good works will not save us but will be a natural outgrowth of our salvation. “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” James 2:18.
Bonhoeffer puts it this way – “Grace and active obedience are complementary. There is no faith without good works and no good works apart from faith. If the Christian would be saved, he must do good works, for those who are caught (habitually) doing evil works will not see the Kingdom of God…. But ultimately there is only one good work; the work of God in Christ Jesus. Through God’s own action in Christ we have been saved and not through our own works…. Good works then are ordained for the sake of salvation, but they are in the end those which God himself works within us. They are his gift, but it is our task to walk in them at every moment of our lives, knowing all the time that any good works of our own could never help us to abide before the judgement of God.”
We are saved by grace through faith but through our salvation are ordained to walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10). In contrast, as Bonhoeffer said, “If any man chooses to persist in sin, let him not presume upon the grace of God.” Walking in good works evidences our salvation and we, as Christians, should pursue holiness by walking close to and submitting to God which will allow Him to perform good works through us.