for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 NIV
I’m a grace girl. I believe, I know Jesus’ offer of salvation is a free gift – He died for my sin and He’s my Savior.
However….the debate of faith and works always comes up.
There appear to be two camps – those who believe we are saved by grace alone – no works required and those who say not only are works required but commanded by God.
I’ve always been offended by those who insist works are required.
I’ve gone as far as telling those who say it they are offering a false gospel.
To me, they are saying Jesus isn’t enough. If works are required, then why did Jesus come?
I say things like, “I rest in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross.”
I call those people things like legalistic and Pharisee.
I feel offended for Jesus and sad for these obviously misguided Christians – they are in bondage and under the law.
Obviously they don’t understand grace or freedom in Christ.
Then God in His grace, showed me I am wrong.
Don’t you love that?
Warning – Some of you are not going to like this – it can be a hard truth.
Deep breath dear friend – consider what God showed me. Let it rest in your head and heart.
My grace/works journey started with a scripture – actually it started with a fight – a fight with a now dear friend.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life,
and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14 NIV
The question is raised – If all you must do is accept Jesus as Savior, why does the Bible warn of a wide door leading to destruction and only a narrow road leading to life?
If the Jesus transaction is all you need, wouldn’t the road be wide and open instead of narrow?
Then this scripture:
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:22-23 NIV
Three times it says, “in your name” – referring to religious activity done in the Lord’s name by those who believe they are Christians.
Those who performed external activity without internal commitment or relationship.
What does it all mean?
It messed me up – then God helped me gain a better understanding.
Basically, actions speak louder than words.
Ever had a friendship, a relationship where you did all the work? You did all the calling, arranging, made all the effort?
It’s exhausting and unfulfilling.
If I don’t hear from you unless I do the reaching out, I don’t feel loved by you.
People who love me seek me out – if I go off the grid, they come looking for me.
It’s the same with God.
If I never talk to Him, serve Him, seek Him – if He’s not a priority in my life and heart, am I really in relationship with Him?Walking into church doesn't make me Christian any more than walking into a garage makes me a car. Click To Tweet
God reminded me of Abraham:
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:3
How do I know Abraham believed God?
I know because of what Abraham did.
• When God told Abraham to go – move to an unknown place, he went.
• When God said his 90 year old wife would give birth, Abraham believed.
• When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his long awaited son, Abraham took every step to do so believing God would make a way.
Abraham shows the relationship between faith and works – what he did – his actions and deeds demonstrated his faith.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. James 2:18 NIV
Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE my son. I don’t have to tell them, they see it by what I say and do. In the same way, when we love God, love Jesus, it is evidenced by what we say and do – by our actions, our deeds.
Works aren’t a requirement of salvation – they are evidence of my commitment or lack thereof.
Imagine if I tell everyone I love my son yet never spend time with him, take him to the doctor, wash his clothes or do anything for or with him.
You know what’s real, what’s true by the fruit – actions speak louder than words.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? James 2:14 NIV
You believe there is one God – Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder. James 2:19
I do not believe I must work – or it’s even possible to earn salvation.
I do believe Jesus exchanges His life for mine – if I live without seeking, serving and obeying Christ, to whom do I belong?
What I do, how I live, whether I obey or ignore His commands matters to God.
I cannot serve two masters – I can’t serve self and Jesus – I must choose whom I will follow.
Even Bob Dylan knows you’re gonna have to serve somebody – the question is who will it be?