Friday, November 12, 2010

Salvation Series: Faith in Christ Alone vs. Works Pt. 5

Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

This verse has always interested me. Why? It relays how we can be assured that we are in right standing with God. The previous nine verses argued in favor of how we can be saved. Now, verse 10 definitively shows us how we can be assured of our salvation based off of the previous nine verses. So, how does Ephesians 2:10 show us that we can be assured of our salvation? We will be looking at James 2:14-17, because it ties in with Ephesians 2:10 like a cohesive glue between them. Without further ado, James 2:14-17 says, "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."

Now, I may start receiving hate mail after penning this verse. Why, Josh, you said that works takes no part in the salvation of our souls? Yes, I did say that, but hold on. This is a very difficult passage to try and wrap your mind around when you read it the first time. It seems to say that works helps us in regards to our salvation. Works is a part of our salvation. When in reality, it is asking a rather different question that is answered in Ephesians 2:10. What is the motivation behind our works? Are we motivated by our own selfish way of living, trying to prove to God that works is enough to save us? Or, are we motivated by what God is doing and wanting to do all we can to further His kingdom and glory?

If we are truly living our lives for the magnificent, majestic glory of God, we are working, striving to make His glory known throughout the world. We are doing everything we possibly can to fully please God in everything we say and do. This does not mean we are striving towards perfection, because we will never be perfect. We will still continue to sin on a day by day basis. However, our ultimate goal is to continue to conform into the image of Christ, so that other unbelievers may see a drastic difference in our lives in comparison with themselves. Folks, this is our ultimate calling. Ephesians 5:1 says to be imitators of Christ as beloved children and walk in love as Christ loved us. 1 Corinthians 11:1 basically says the same exact thing, but it carries vast implications in regards to actually living the life God has called for us. I will back up to 10:32 for context purposes. It says this, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, nor seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."

We all know that Paul is speaking in this verse, but he says to imitate him as he imitates Christ. Now, I am going to ask a valid question. Would you be comfortable at this moment in going up to a young, immature Christian, who needs to be mentored, and flat out telling them to imitate you as you imitate Christ? Would you? Really, I am not trying to step on anybody's toes here. I am speaking the truth and sometimes the truth hurts. This happens to obviously be one of those times, but try to stamp these truths in your brain. Take heed of these truths and don't squander them. Paul is desperately trying to convey to us here that we need to imitate Christ, that we need to be so completely lost in his love, so passionately pursuing Him, in order that others would see the greatness of God in our lives, and want to imitate us. Our work contains the magnificent glory of what I just portrayed. That is our work. We do not need to set our full affection on working for some other cause, because our work is to imitate Him so others might see the glorious display of Christ in us, and come to a knowledge of the Hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

Now, we can fully grasp the concept of faith without works is dead, which is in the James passage. Faith without the works described above is useless. Our faith is in vain, if we are not working to make Him known as the King of kings and Lord of lords. However, if we are passionately pursuing Him as our most valuable treasure and faithfully living the life that God has given us to be solely used for His glory, then our faith is full of life. Our faith is overflowing with rivers of living water. What it all comes down to is this: what is our motivation behind our works?

In closing, Ephesians 2:10 says that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works. We are created to work for Him, we are created to serve Him, we are created to do everything we can for Him. We have been created in Him, before the foundation of the world, to work for His glory. The final part of the verse goes on to explain that He has prepared works beforehand that we should walk in them. If you are truly saved, you can rest assured that God has prepared works for you. God has set up your life like an open book waiting for the pages to be filled. You need to go out into all the world, imitate Christ, and fill those pages. The appointments are already set. He has already prepared your works. You go and fulfill those appointments and work for His glory.

Sola Deo Gloria!!!!



3 comments:

Michael Gormley said...

WHAT YOU MUST DO TO BE SAVED

To be saved, you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).

However, that's not all. Sacred Scripture clearly shows other things you must also do to be saved:

You must endure to the end. Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13, Mark 13:13.

You must accept the Cross (suffering). Matthew 10:38, Matthew 16:24-25, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, Luke 14:27.

You must be baptized with water. Mark 16:16, Titus 3:5, I Peter 3:20-21.

You must be a member in God's true church. Acts 2:47.

You must confess your sins. James 5:16, I John 1:9.

You must keep the Commandments of God. Matthew 5:19-20, Matthew 7:21.

You must heed the words of St. Peter, the first Pope. Acts 11:13-14, Acts 15:7.

You must eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ. John 6:51-58, I Corinthians 10:16, I Corinthians 11:23-29.

Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to His call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. CCC 1996, John 1:12-18, John 17:3, Romans 8:14-17, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

The only Church that meets all the requirements of Salvation is the Holy Catholic Church.

Josh said...

This is exactly what I needed today Joshua! The Lord spoke to me through this post and I am so grateful...The Ephesians 5:1 verse saying we should be imitators of Christ struck me most, as it is extremely challenging yet inspiring at the same time.
I will be with a group of young people all day long and as always, it will be a opportunity to stand alone; steadfast in the faith, through the grace of Christ alone.

Have a wonderful day filled with God's blessings.
Your Jonathan,
Joshua

Joshua said...

I will be praying for you Josh. Stand Firm even when all is against you. He has laid out the path for you. Accomplish the tasks He has given to you and glorify Him through it all. Love ya bro.

Your David,
Joshua :)