This is what we read in the Orthodox Study Bible in this regard:
"He who believes and is baptized will be saved" Mark 16:16.
"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, NOT by works or righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He save us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" Titus 3:5.
As far as the works go, yes, we MUST work - it can't be otherwise. But we can't work FOR our salvation. It is the same thing with pretending to un an unborn child to work for his/her birth. Not so. After we are born again (John 3:3 and Titus 3:5) we become children of God (John 1:11-13). Then, as children yes, like in the biological realm, we start to eat, later on to stand up, to walk... till we become fully developed as human beings. Then all that we do is a result of being born by our parents. This is why we read in Ephesians 2:10 "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we shoud walk in them".
No one here is saying that we work FOR our salvation. This is a straw man argument.
What is at issue here is this: what happens to those who have been born again and over the course of their life, quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thess 5), insult the Spirit of Grace and trample on it (Heb 6 and 10) and in the end remain barren instead of fruit-bearing (John 15)? Read John 15:6 to find out, they are thrown out and burned.
Christ is LORD. And as Lord, He is coming back to judge the church first and those outside second. And when He judges the church what criteria will He use?6
He also spoke this parable: “A certain man
had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7
Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit
on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8
But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9
And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.
But the fruit
of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23
This fruit is borne by servants who consider themselves as unworthy of their justification.
So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.
So you can see Ernest that whatever is done by the one who received the grace of God by faith, is done out of a sense of gratitude and humility. The idea that these are 'working' for salvation is so foreign to their thinking that it is strange that it is even brought up. And yet this is the straw man argument levelled at those who reject Protestantism.
Note carefully that the servants say whatever they did, it was their duty.
That duty is not one borne out of compulsion or coercion or a "Oh no, I must earn it now" but rather one borne out of great thankfulness and rejoicing and a sense of great honor which is now being returned to the benefactor of Grace. This is the patron-client understanding of Grace that 1st century jews and gentiles had implicit in their culture. When a patron rescued a slave and provided a job for him, the latter did not respond with an attitude of "Oh no, I must earn my master's favor now!". He had already been granted favor through no effort of his own. And it is precisely because of that benefaction, that the slave would be willingly loyal and faithful to his master, as a servant merely doing his duty.
You use the image of a child growing up to eat, stand, walk. Yes, this is a good analogy. But remember, even children rebel against their parents, against the very ones who birthed them. There is nothing deterministic about grace, if there were it would no longer be grace.