...not by works, so that no one can boast.
When someone gives you a gift what is your typical response? Is it to ask, "How much do I owe you?" Of course not. Our only reply should be, "Thank you very much." Scripture describes salvation as a gift. Yet many Christians, following salvation, still think they must work to earn or pay for their acceptance into God's family. Our only reasonable and meaningful response to God's gift of salvation should be gratitude and praise for His indescribable love and the incomparable richness of His grace expressed in Christ. Not to ask, "What work must I do?"
Many people wonder why God doesn't require us to work for our salvation. Paul explains in our passage today, "So no one can boast." God has designed His plan for the salvation of humanity, in such a way, as to eliminate any pride and boasting about how good we are or have been. Salvation by grace brings all the focus -- praise and glory -- to God and not on human endeavors. Think about it, if we had any part in the salvation process, then we could (and would) boast about the greatness of our own accomplishments. When we accept that we are no better than anyone else (regardless of our conduct), and the only way we gained peace with God was through the sacrificial act of Christ, then there is no room for boasting.
Pride is the source of many divisions we see in the church today. Have you become a little prideful lately? Do you compare your work for the kingdom to others? Where do you think this attitude will lead? (Proverbs 13:10: "Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.")