“Isn’t grace unmerited? How do works enter in?” Grace is always unmerited. God out of His love chooses to work among those who have crucified His Son. By His grace, He chooses to save us when we put our faith in His Son.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).
Many of His rewards and blessings, however, are merited, in this life and in the one to come.
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another . . . not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
“For he who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:8-12).
Peter took a verse out of the Old Testament to make a point to Christians who were undergoing persecution. If they wanted to inherit a blessing, refrain from evil and do good. This implies that there will be evil-working Christians who will not receive a blessing, and good ones who turn away from evil. The Lord will bless our prayers if we love our fellow Christians, but will shut His ears to those Christians who continue to do evil.
Grace enters in when we find that He will forgive and heal our waywardness and sin, and help us into the path of blessing. Works enter in when we respond to His call to repent and do His will.