“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians2:8-10)
Salvation is God’s gift for all mankind, some accept it, some don’t. One of the biggest misconceptions about Christians is we somehow think we are perfect, and this is nowhere near the truth. We are human beings and therefore we make mistakes, but what sets Christians apart is that we seek God’s forgiveness first by confessing our sins to Him with penitent hearts. This means we are sorry for whatever we have done and seek not to repeat it. It a “turning away” from sin and back to God.
God’s intention for us has always been that we do good works helping others. Works do not earn us right standing with Him. Works are not done to gain praise from people. Good works are done because faith in Christ has made us new creatures whose very nature is to do God’s works.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, You put us in positions to perform good works that You already had set us on a path to accomplish. Works by themselves will not earn us favor from You; instead, the works we do honor our relationship with You and we seek to remain in relationship with You always. Your grace of forgiveness and mercy, is a gift that can only come from You, Abba. This we appreciate and seek to reveal to others by our words and our actions with and towards others. In Jesus’ name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Your kind words today may be cherished by someone forever.”
“First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” (Acts26:20)
Beloved, discipleship is not a word game played to impress other people. It is conversion to a new way of life. When you live in the world, you act and talk and work like others in the world. When you accept God through His Son Jesus Christ, you are changed. You become aware of the change in your life’s direction and become filled with the Holy Spirit and seek to please and honor Him alone. Paul preached to everyone, Jew or Gentile, that repentance as well as faith must be proved by deeds. The difference is, that we do not perform deeds for our salvation, it has already been given to us. So our deeds and even words, become our way of honoring our relationship with God through Christ Jesus.
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you say to him or her, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his or her physical needs, what good is it?’ In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—-and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:14–26)
Christians as devoted as Martin Luther have been troubled by this passage when comparing it to Paul’s teaching of justification by faith alone. Faith is not repeating words even demons can repeat. Faith is commitment to Christ, depending on Him and not on human achievement for salvation, but also serving Him as directed by His Spirit. Paul and James agreed. They simply emphasized different point in he salvation experience and different components of Christian faith.
Mere profession of faith accomplishes nothing. Faith is completed and attested by the actions it prompts. Faith without such actions is dead,, and no one can be saved to a life in Christ by a dead faith. A Christian is saved and justified before God by faith, but it is a live faith through which God accomplishes His purposes by good works.
Second Thought of the Day:
“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother and sister, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has give us this command: ‘Whoever loves God must also love his brother or sister.’” (1st John4:19–21)
God’s love is the source of our love. Those who say they love God whom they have not seen, but hate their brothers or sisters whom they have seen, are liars. One of God’s commands is that those who love Him love their brothers and sisters also.
A person who loves God loves other people. Those are John’s blunt, inspired conclusions. Every professing Christian needs to hear and consider them. Christian conversion leads us to love others. It has been often said, that one that chooses to be a Christian, has chosen a hard path. It is often hard to love everyone, but this is the path that we ourselves chose. Therefore, for those we struggle to love, we must pray about what it is that keeps us from loving them, until we find the answer and make the necessary changes, so that we can love them.