He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, June 27, 2016

Saved By Grace - Not Works

I was astounded in a Bible Study class one evening, when a prominent person in the church and group, expressed the opinion that their good works would get them into heaven.  This person had been raised in the church, taught Vacation Bible School to hundreds of children and adult classes, yet missed this part of God’s grace and His salvation.
Talking with a young man recently about our faith and working out our salvation, I was reminded of the time Jesus responded to questions about entering heaven.  Jesus told his listeners “the road was broad but the gate narrow.”  Jesus explained even some who said they prophesied in His name, drove out demons and performed many miracles in His name, would not enter the gate. He told them he would say, “Depart from me.  I never knew you!”  (Matthew 7)
            Their outward actions were on target, but they had “heart problems.”  They were going through the motions, but all their work would be counted as nothing and told to depart, because even though they knew in their mind who Jesus was, they didn’t believe it with their whole heart.
We are told in God’s word, even the demons know who Jesus is.  Lucifer knew Jesus, but he still fell and his eternal resting place will be in Hell.  So it’s not about knowing who God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is.  It’s about a heart change.  And when there is a heart change, then our lives will reflect that.
I read a news article recently that says Donald Trump just accepted Christ as Savior.  I hope that’s true.  But until his life reflects such a change how will we know?  We are all identified by the “fruit” we bear.  And sometimes, even when our “fruit” looks good to others, there is “rottenness” on the inside. 
We are a culture who wants to fit in, but if there is “work” involved, very often we take the easiest road to follow.  Commitment and change come hard.  We love the things of this world.  But this world is ruled by evil princes and principalities.  God is still Sovereign, but as humans, our hearts are turning away from God.  As a people, we are becoming more and more like those who lived in the days of Noah.  We have allowed Satan to thrive!
How often do we, like my friend, go to church every Sunday and any other meeting time, participate in all church functions, know The Word, and miss important information?  How often do we read God’s word and not hear what it is saying?  It’s all about repenting of our sins with a sincere and contrite heart, accepting Christ as Savior for our salvation through His grace, and then living a life that honors God with a true heart. 
It’s through the act of asking Jesus to live in our lives and hearts every single day, every single moment by faith, that we receive his grace.  Nothing more.  Following this with an honest effort to always please him through our works is a result and demonstration of this faith.

So I challenge you to search your heart.  Does your acceptance of Him come with an honest commitment to pick up your cross and follow Him in obedience, no matter what the world says?