Working out what God works in

By Dan Richardson
Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015
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“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).”

Back in World War II, the Nazi’s forced prisoners to build structures to strict specifications. Once built, the prisoners were forced to watch their structures destroyed. The Nazi’s would then order the structures be built again. An average job was not tolerated. It had to be perfect. Working hard while knowing their craft would be destroyed and never used added cruelty to the torture.

The belief that one must earn God’s acceptance through good works produces the same hopelessness. No matter how hard one tries, sin destroys the work. Many good things are done only to be corrupted by sin. Our nature sinful taints every good work with sin. Such is why the LORD does not consider good works meritorious. The only work that earns God’s acceptance is the work of His Son. God’s plan credits Jesus’ good works to those who do not trust in themselves, but in Him. Followers of Jesus gain God’s acceptance not on their works, but on Jesus’ works (Romans 4-5).

The work of Jesus’ followers is as a tree producing an apple. The works are directly caused by the life and power supplied by God’s Spirit.

Before one comes to Christ, his life of selfishness is supported by an evil spirit (Ephesians 2:2). When the same person is born again by God, his life is empowered by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8). These spirits are not forces. They are beings that think, will and do things similar to what we do. An example is teaching. While the Holy Spirit teaches truth, the evil spirits teach lies.

Both spirits inform us with ideas and cause us to do things. The question is, “what path of life do you follow?” Do you love Christ? Do you think of ways to serve Him? Is Jesus precious to you? Do you owe Him your very life? Holiness is not about perfection, but direction.

Contrary to many false religions, good works are not meritorious. They are simply necessary evidences one needs to know God is working in his life. Works are important to the Christian.

“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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10).”

Godly Heritage Quote of the Week
“Take due care that all laws made and provided for the suppression of vice and encouraging of religion and virtue, particularly the observance of the Lord’s day, be duly put into execution.”
—Governor Basse of the New Jersey Colony, 1697 (source: presidentialprayerteam).

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