Sunday, July 12, 2009
Faith vs. Works
Luke 18: 9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about[a] himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
My husband and love to read and study scripture. We love to help build with each other and encourage one another in the faith. Married friends, let me encourage you to do so. This is how you grow together in the Lord and in your marriage! Dig in the word together!
Anyway, Luke 18:9-14 spoke volumes to him the other day, therefore he shared it with me. He even briefly talked about it on his new blog, The Berean Mindset. There he says, "We cannot obey to be accepted; we can only thank the Lord that by Christ’s blood we are accepted, therefore we obey."
Long after we read this scripture together, it was still resting in my thoughts. I realized quite a few things. We have to be very careful about thinking we are that much better than others. None of us are perfect and it is only by the blood of Jesus and God's grace that we are where we are.
I'm going to be real with you, Ladies. It's easy to think that because we are actively serving the Lord in ministry that we are better than other people. Some people even think that because they give so much to their ministry or various charities that this gives them extra points with God. The truth is, our good works are not what brings us closer to the Lord. We are not justified by works, but by Faith.
Sometimes, I would even catch myself thinking that because I'm writing Christian material and live in a Christian household that I'm earning extra points with the Lord. I admit to thinking this way before. But, clearly this is wrong. I don't want to be like the Pharisee. I don't want to approach the throne with arrogance like that. I want to be like the tax-collector and humble myself before the throne of grace!
We are justified by Faith, Not by Works!
Romans 5:1 " 1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"
Romans 4:5 "5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness"
What about the people who give large contributions to the needy? Well, those people are doing such wonderful things and I'm sure God appreciates it. But, the bottom line is, their works will not secure a spot in heaven.
I always reference this scripture: Matthew 7:22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
The things we do are clearly what we should do anyway...and we should do them because we love God and have a heart to serve Him- not to try and show off.
My motto scripture is Hebrews 10:24, which says "24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
I've selected this as a motto scripture for the writing ministry because this is something I believe we should all do. It is very important that we encourage each other in the Faith and to move forward in service to God. This was even the reason behind my book "Simply Wisdom:Tid Bits of Inspiration for Your Journey". It's intent is to put an extra spark in you so you can get off your butt and move forward in God's will! But, as you move forward in service, I encourage you to never forget why you do what you do and to remember that your works alone will not get you anywhere. Your relationship with Jesus Christ is what matters.
Heavenly Father, Sometimes it's so easy to get wrapped up in ministry. Lord, I humbly ask you to teach me how to keep my priorities in line. Help me to focus more on my intimate relationship with you and not more on the work that you've called me to do. God I realize that there is a huge difference- though both is pleasing to you. But, I want my time with you to take priority over everything else in my life. Teach me the way Lord, and I'll follow. In Jesus Christ name, Amen.