Friday, April 20, 2012

Get to work

We have all heard the phrase, “faith without works is dead.” This is a quote from James 2:26. While true, it is also often twisted to mean something very different than intended.

As Christians, we all share some things in common. The most important of these is the fact that there was a point in our lives where our eyes were opened and we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. We, at that moment, claimed our salvation in the blood of Jesus. From that moment we have been able to deal with life in a new way. We know without a doubt that our victory is assured through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:7
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, though faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast

Our salvation is complete in and of itself. We were saved very moment we surrendered ourselves to the Lord. That is it, the price is paid. Nothing more is required.

This being said, take a look at the very next verse.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do

There is that work that drives everyone to frustration and confusion. We find ourselves asking questions. What is this work? If my salvation is complete, then what is this all about?

We are now going to revisit that famous quote. Only this time, read the verse in context. Read James 2:14-26 Yes, pull out your Bible. It’s good for you. I promise.

This verse we often hear quoted does not speak of works as a prerequisite for qualifying faith. Your place in heaven is already assured, purchased by the blood of Jesus. What this does tell us, is that our lives should be different after we are saved. We have accepted Christ as the Lord and Savior. It is time to start acting like it.

Consider these definitions for “work”.

- an act or deed
- a sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result
- a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being part or phase of some larger activity

Our first task is to take our salvation seriously and make a change. In John 8:11, Jesus tells the adulteress to go and leave her life of sin. She is forgiven. Romans 12:2 tells us that we are to no longer conform to the pattern of this world. We are to be transformed.

Think about this for a moment. Yes we are called to more. As we grow in faith, the nature of our “work” will grow and expand. God has a calling for each and every one of us. At the beginning of our walk in the Lord, our work is all the same. This portion of our work never goes away. It is the challenge every day as a Christian. We are to put forth an effort to be different. We are to strive to please our Lord and Savior by keeping His commandments. It is a work of love and faith, not a need to prove anything. Is our work evidence of faith? Yes. Does God need this evidence to know our hearts? No. Remember though, in Christ we are more than conquerors. It would be good if we would get to the task.

Romans 8:37
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

We have been called to more. It is not a check in the box to make sure we “make it” into heaven. It is the privilege of all citizens of heaven, to take advantage of our time here one earth to make our lives, and through them, this world, resemble our future home. We are to live our faith. This is our work.

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