Justification by grace and judged by works - how to reconcile?
KJV Romans 3:25-26 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Justification by grace happens for past sins only not for the future sins. Once we commit a sin after justification, we have to be converted(receive pardon) again.
KJV 1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren
Jesus plainly told Peter that he has to be converted after his betrayal. If once justifies by grace there is no need for rejustification or reconversion, Christ would not have told this.
Every sin must be repented for, confessed and pardon should be received individually. God plainly stated in Ezekiel, previous righteousness cannot excuse currect sin. In the day we sin, all our righteousness which grace bestows upon us will not be counted anymore. We are counted as sinners. Whosoever commits sin is of the devil 1 John 3:8. Jesus confirmed this when he rebuked Simon "But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." Matt 16:23. Then again "Satan has desired to have you". When Peter sinned he had to be born again - born of God, so that he can become righteous again.
Ezekiel 33:12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.
Again and again the Bible warns us:
KJV Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
KJV 1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
KJV 1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
God gives grace which enables us to obey God and follow His will and overcome the inherited and cultivated tendencies/propensities to sin.
KJV Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
The end result of Grace is that we are recreated (born again) in Christ Jesus unto good works. If good works are not seen in our lives, then it means we are not born again through grace.
The credit does not belong to us because these works are empowered by Grace and not by our own power. So God alone is to be credited for His Grace. Not of works lest we should boast.
What are the good works that this verse speaks? The word Good when used in relation to spiritual character, has a deeper meaning - not what we mean by that word in our daily usage.
KJV Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
God's character alone is described as "Good". Interestingly, the commandments are mentioned in the same verse. The Bible describes the commandments as "Good"
KJV Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
Thus the Good works are works which do not violate God's law in the spirit.
TLDR: God justifies the past sins through His Grace. But the same grace gives power to overcome sin and keep the commandments and helps us do the "Good Works" which God has foreordained. One cannot receive Grace and continue in sin. If one continues sinning then he/she is not born of God. For he that is born if God cannot commit sin, for His (God's) seed remains in him 1 John 3:9
KJV 1 John 3:6-10 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
1 John 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
We do not earn salvation by our obedience; for salvation is the free gift of God, to be received by faith. But obedience is the fruit of faith. "Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him." 1 John 3:5, 6. Here is the true test. If we abide in Christ, if the love of God dwells in us, our feelings, our thoughts, our purposes, our actions, will be in harmony with the will of God as expressed in the precepts of His holy law. Steps to Christ 61