"For it is by grace you are saved; through faith--and that not of yourselves; it is the GIFT OF GOD--and NOT BY WORKS, so no one may boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Jesus Christ for GOOD WORKS, which He has prepared in advance for us to do, so that we may walk in them."
In Ephesians 2:8-9 Paul is referring to the initial grace of justification and not about our ongoing and final promised justification. Salvation according to the Bible is a process, not a single event. As long as we continue to cooperate with and not reject His grace, (or repent, if we do not) we will be saved. Every step in the process of salvation requires and depends on God's grace, so it isn't earned in the way you have in mind. It is faith working through love (Galatians 5:6). We also believe in the necessity of bearing fruit to be saved but nevertheless, everything depends on God so it isn't earned.
Paul distinguished between works of the law and good works. Here in Ephesians 2, he is talking about good works not saving us.
Yes, I agree with you on this that Paul distinguishes between two types of work that being works of the law and works of righteousness.
He writes we are created IN Jesus Christ for doing good works...what does it mean to be created IN Christ Jesus, Mesenja?
2 Corinthians 5:14-16
14 For the love of Christ compels us because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
To continue:"He saved us, NOT on account of works which we have done in righteousness, but on account of His MERCY...." (Titus 3)
There are no good works which we could have done in righteousness prior to our initial salvation that entitled us to a reward. The means by which God gives us this justification is through the waters of baptism, and by the Holy Ghost, which is attached to the rite of baptism, interiorly giving us a new birth, a new spiritual essence, making us sons and daughters of God.
Righteous works would be good works, wouldn't they?
Yes, righteous works would be good works.
So, Paul is excluding BOTH works of the Law AND good, righteous works as salvational.
No Paul is only excluding works of debt (Romans 4: 1-2) not the good works "which God has prepared in advance,for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)
It is God's grace through faith in His One and only Son that saves us--not any works we may do.
"We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
"For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building" (1 Corinthians 3:9).
"Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain" (2 Corinthians 6:1).
We do works of Love IN faith, IN salvation. Not FOR salvation. I hope someday the Mormons on here come to understand the difference.
From such teachings, we conclude that the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.
The Challenge to Become Dallin H. Oaks Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles