Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grace Works? (Part 1)

I know some people worry that those who believe in grace don't think works matter.  So what place do works have in the life of grace?  Do "grace people" care at all about seeing Christ's life show up in their outer lives?  Don't the letters of Paul contain commands of things to do or focus sometimes on works?  These are questions that have come to me at times.  Here are my humble thoughts on these questions..

Works do matter and He will bring them out- He will actually do them in and through us so they can safely be called His works in us!  We can relax.  Doesn't mean we are lax.  We strive/labor, but it's not us but the grace of God in us (1 Co. 15:10).  It's not that we don't care or will go sinning all over the place.  It means we do care because we have a new heart that longs to do right - "we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him", we just realize we can't do that on our own strength and trust Him to bring it about.  We have His seed in us and it will come forth.  That's the law of life.  The promise:  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My ways (Ez. 36:27).

What about the two commands in 1 John - to believe in Christ and love one another?  (Some see this as one command and a result - we believe and that naturally brings forth His love.  We believers have already believed into Christ, who is Love; Love dwells in us and loves through us.)  I think that is the law written on our hearts at salvation.  It's our nature to believe and love.  They are already fulfilled in our hearts and God brings that out in our lives.  That is why the verse in 1 John says "we keep His commands and always do those things that are pleasing to Him."  It's amazing to think we have Christ's very nature within us!  And that nature will shine forth.  Christ is our life and lives the Christian life in us.  Our job isn't to live but to trust (and we even trust by His faith!). 

What about Paul's instructions in his letters?  Paul does talk about actions quite a bit in the second half of his letters, and to me it's building on the first half where he reminds them of who they are in Christ/what Christ has done for them.  Hey, you're new creations!  So why not live that out, just being yourself?  Be who you are, you in Christ, for example.  You are dearly loved, you are children of light, so walk in love, walk in the light. Light and love are what are really in you, so just let that come out, Him loving and being holy in you.  I think Paul's admonitions can always be read in light of what Christ has already made us - new and accepted and righteous people.  He seems to say look what Christ did in making you new!  You're holy and righteous!  Why not live that way, because it's what you really want to do.  Always doing it in His strength, understanding it's Him living through us..Col 3 is a good example of this for me.

Steve McVey says that whenever he reads a command in the New Testament, he sees that as a way Christ is going to live out His life through him.  I like that.  We can see the commands as what Christ is going to look like living through us, and we can trust Him to live through us just like that, working and willing through us to make it happen.

More thoughts to come in Part 2...

                        With love from

No comments:

Post a Comment

May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14