Ephesians 2 gives a great balance to some order that a lot of people have screwed up.
Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Let’s take it bit by bit.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NET
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.
There was a time when people asked Jesus, “What is the work that God requires?” and Jesus’ answer was almost too simple: “Believe in the One that He sent.” Faith is the closest we come to salvation by works. Faith that God did what He said He did is all that is required of us to be saved. In Romans 10:9, Paul says “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” So there is no work on our part to get ourselves saved.
Ephesians 2:10 NET
For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.
If I make something beautiful–if I brew up for you the best cup of coffee you’ve ever tasted, who gets the credit? Does the coffee get the credit for tasting good? NO‽ I get the credit because A.) I made great coffee and B.) I gave you some.
It is the same way with Christians and God. He saved us by grace SO THAT we could work for Him and bring Him honor, glory, attention, fame, etc. Our works are a result of our salvation, not the road to salvation.
BUT our salvation isn’t just a happy face and a get out of Hell free card. Our salvation is a commissioning. Our salvation is an inauguration.
We are saved in order to do the works that God wants to do! Not that He needs us, but that He wants to share in the action with us.
That is the double extra grace of it all. Not only do we get be with God, but we join Him in His glorious work!