It may be true, but doesn’t it sound silly to say, “If you are a Democrat, you are not a Republican.” By virtue of definition, if you are the one, you cannot be the other. We might say that the two are mutually exclusive. Life is full of examples of mutually exclusive things: you cannot be a law abiding thief, you’ll never meet a skinny fat man and there are no peaceful wars, … I’m sure you get the point.
Did you know that there are mutually exclusives in the Bible? For example, we know that God gave the Law to govern the lives of His people. To please God required perfect adherence to the Law, out of a perfect heart. What many people don’t realize is that God’s purpose in issuing the Law was to demonstrate that man, in his fallen state, was not capable of pleasing Him. Every human being has miserably failed.
God’s plan was, and is, that we come to grips with the simple fact that we are hopelessly lost in our sin, and unable to remedy the situation by our own works. We need help! And time is short, because our sin will destroy our lives here and afford us a place in eternal Hell.
But there is good news! What we are unable to do by works, God has accomplished by grace (a gift). Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day. He lives at the right hand of God the Father, to be Savior, Intercessor, and Advocate for everyone who will come to Him by faith.
Unfortunately, men and women down through the ages have missed the point. Rather than accept God’s gift through faith in Christ, they continue to try to please God by their own works. My point is simple; grace and works are mutually exclusive. You can not work your way to heaven and receive it as a gift at the same time. God’s way, the only way, is by grace. “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. (Ephesians 2:8-9).”