Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good Works - the branch life

" without works is dead” (James 2:20)

Since discovering the message of grace I have learned that works are not the root of our salvation.( And by that I'm specifically talking about the mixture of law and grace where we think we have a responsibility to maintain our right standing with God through ongoing good works). No, we are saved by faith through grace alone (Ephesians 2:7-9)! Works are simply the fruit of our salvation. In other words, right faith is the cause and right living is the effect.

But what if you have faith and there are no works folowing?

Tony Sutherland on his blog expounds:

"....if we aren’t detecting outward indications of inward faith then it is a telltale sign we are putting our trust in our own behavior to earn favor with God. In other words we have become self-conscious rather than Christ conscious. When we are self-conscious we trust in ourselves resulting in ‘dead’ faith. This kind of faith begets worthless works. Remember, God justifies us the very moment we believe, thus making our faith and works inseparable. The first produces the second, and the second is the evidence of the first. We are justified by faith in God and the work of His Son thus demonstrating it by our works towards man. It’s not rocket science people! I repeatedly emphasize that we are not saved by faith plus works. To accept this is to believe that the blood of Jesus is not enough thus blaspheming the atoning work of the cross. If it were possible to be saved by faith plus works, then Jesus alone would not be our Savior. In effect we would also need another savior… ourselves. However, the whole of the New Testament (particularly the Pauline epistles) is crystalline… Faith in Jesus alone is what saves us and keeps on saving us. I will not cease in persisting to adamantly hammer home this truth… We can only be saved by the kind of faith, which results in a life of good works...."

"....In light of all of this we must once-and-for-all put to death our self-righteousness, receive God’s free gift of grace by faith and stand firm in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free (Galatians 5:1). When we do this we will end up living for God better accidentally than we ever could on purpose. A great paradox, according to Paul, is that we should diligently labor to rest (Hebrews 4:11). The basis of the Christian life is to rest upon the finished work of Christ and lay down our striving in order that HIS power can live in and through us."

Below are some real golden nuggets pondered from Bertie Brits live webcast tonight:

As a Child of God, God is FOR you, not against you.

*Whatever vision God has given you, know that HE will empower you and give you the favour you need at the right moment. Be free to be yourself and be busy with only that which He invites you to do TODAY.

*Under the new covenant, living out of our new nature, we are not under obligation to do ANYTHING…not that which defines “good citizenship“, not even that which is spiritual in nature. We simply rest content in God’s love, and allow Him to be himself in us and through us. He will naturally bear fruit in our lives and our part is to simply stop resisting it. We have been saved into good works. It is who we are (God IS good) and when we see it manifest it is a confirmation of the truth of the indwelling life of Christ. It is He who is at work in us to desire good and do good! Honour God and His work in you by yielding your members to Him. Let God BE……!

* Good works manifested by His Spirit preach! They declare the power of God, the goodness of God, the provision of God, the love of God, the mercy of God!!!!

*Do not seek to grow stronger in “positive thinking”. Do not pursue good habits (born out of willpower) which is man‘s ability and attempt to do what is right. That produces nothing but DEAD WORKS! Instead be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might. Our strength is in our faith in Jesus and the power of his resurrection. Be strong in the reality of whose you are and who you are!! God is not angry with us , however, our resistance to His Spirit working in us will result in defeat and emptiness and then our hearts and the enemy (not God) will condemn us. God has so much more for us. He has promised us a future and a hope. Jesus, who performed miracles, and lived a life of love, and forgiveness, and possibilities, said, "Truly I say to you, He who puts his faith in me will do the very works which I do, and he will do greater things than these(John 14:12)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Letting go of the old and Coming into the new

I don't know how or why but something significant occured in my heart today. Somthing fell off and something healed. I wasn't looking for it and I didn't see it coming. A moment in time. A small wonder and a huge miracle.

Today I discovered myself. unexpectedly. Through his eyes.

My name is Cirra.
And today I am coming out.
Out of a cocoon of fear and shame.
Out of the old place of groveling on my belly. Face to the ground.
Uncomfortable in my own skin.
Moving towards a destiny that I didn't understand....
but moving still, by the rhythm of a heartbeat that propelled me stumbling forward.
Into a new freedom.

My Father named me.
He named me Clear; bright; famous.
In my mothers womb He knew me. He delighted in me and said that I would be light-bearer. He identified me as his own, for HE alone is light. He alone is Clear and bright and famous. Not yet born, He called and chose me. To be his beloved. To be identified with him. And like tapestry he weaves the circumstances and desires of my heart. Creating something beautiful, in His time and for His purposes.

I am letting go of the old house. Saying goodby to those faulty foundations and walking barefoot onto the Solid Rock that is Christ, my identity. I am embracing the freedom He is calling me too. Embracing myself the way I finally now see He does. No longer regarding myself or others after the flesh.