One of the essentials of the Christian faith is this. We are saved by grace through faith. It is not because of our works, or anything that we have done. We don’t earn our salvation. It is a gift that we receive through faith.
God does the work. We receive through faith. I like the way that the New Living Translation states this truth in Ephesians 2: 8-9:
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
We start off with faith. But then, something happens to us. We know that we are saved, not through our works, but through His gifts. But somehow, after conversion, we think that we have to do everything.
Yes, He saves. But we think in our minds that we have to make ourselves holy. Paul was dealing with this in Galatians. Listen to what he says in Galatians 3: 1-3:
1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! 2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?
Paul says, yes, you were converted by grace, but now you think your life is about following the law. No! You came to faith through grace and faith, now you will come to holiness through grace and faith.
Not through the law. Not through works.
We are not saved by faith and perfected (or made holy) through works, we are saved and perfected by faith. We never earn any of it, either our conversion or our growth in Christ.
It’s all His work through us through grace. Our job is not to make ourselves perfect, our job it to chase after His grace. And as we follow after His grace, He will make us into who He wants us to be.
Don’t put the pressure on yourself to make yourself perfect. It’s not up to you. Your salvation wasn’t because of you (it is because of Him) and neither is you “being a better person.” God cleans us all up. It’s up to Him.
You trusted Him for your salvation. Trust Him with all your life. He will not fail you!