2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, where the gospel truth of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, was 'recovered' and proclaimed. Works do not save, we can not 'earn' salvation.
Yet Christians sometimes struggle with the interplay of faith and good works, to the detriment of trusting in faith alone, or to the detriment of good works. We either downgrade faith and cross the line to a works-based (attempt at) righteousness, or we neglect good works and so fail to 'bear fruit in keeping with repentance.' Ask yourself, have you ever questioned your motives in doing good, and neglected to do the very good you contemplated thinking "My motive here is selfish, to simply do good from obedience, not delight" and then you let it slide?
John the Baptist in today's reading in Luke 3 commanded his hearers to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (v. 8). What might that fruit look like, the crowd asked? In the passage, it meant sharing, charity, honesty and contentment (vv. 10-14).
Christians should work at good works. We should do good. and being conscious of doing good should not lead us to neglect it. Doing the right thing is right and good. Yes, we want to do good from right motives, from thankful hearts to God, a 'grace' response to Grace (capital G!). But we do not 'get out of doing good' by thinking (wrongly) "I risk falling across the line into works-based righteousness...". That would be wrong, but we should check our theology, fall back on grace, and do good.
Paul's words at Ephesians 2:8-9 are well-known and oft-cited: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
But we should not neglect verse 10: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
John the Baptist had it right: "bear fruit in keeping with repentance."
In short, 'Believe true, and do right.'
Derek Butler - I am a Christian, husband, father, son, brother, friend, reader, et al, all inadequately. This blog is a tool to encourage daily bible reading, for myself and others.
Click above to access the 5 Day Reading Plan used here. I am using the 5 readings Monday through Friday, with other postings on topics of interest Saturdays and Sundays.
Some Favorite Sites
Desiring God Ministries
Bible Design Blog
Calvary Baptist Church