We believe that salvation is a gift from God, completely and wholly. Salvation is a process that happens by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that our righteousness (or right living) is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Even the person who lives their entire life perfectly means nothing to Christ. So it is completely by grace and not works that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). By the same token, if we are saved our lives should show it. John said we are to bring forth fruit worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:8). Iif you tell God you are sorry and need forgiveness then you are to live your life in a way not to sin again. None of us our perfect and we all sin, so we are all in need of God’s grace. We cannot be perfect or holy, but we are to strive towards holiness. (Romans, 6:1, 2 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Thessalonians 4:7). In other words, if you call yourself a Christian, your life should reflect it. In the same measure, if you are striving to be like God on the inside, it should reflect on the outside. To state it more plainly, if you told me you were a neat freak and your clothes were dirty, you had mud on your face, your hair disheveled and dirt under your fingernails, I would not have you cleaning my house because what you are saying does not match what I am seeing.
So while we cannot earn salvation by our works, a changed heart should be reflected in a changed life. Jesus commanded us to take up our cross and follow Him. If you want to truly follow Jesus, then the only way is to take up a cross. I am not saved because I take up a cross, my salvation, which comes because Jesus died on a cross, compels me to take up a cross. It is by faith alone that we are saved. But James tells us clearly that faith without works is dead (James 2:20,26). If I claim salvation in faith through Jesus Christ, then my faith should be exemplified in my works.