Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good Works - the branch life

"....faith 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)

7 comments:

sparrow girl said...

God is for me...I am free to be myself...I am not under obligation...! Those words are so full of relief and comfort! Seeing I am free from the law just brings so much joy! Cirra do you mind if I add your blog to my bloglist at Under the Waterfall?

silent wings said...

Please do!! :) And I yours?

sparrow girl said...

Yes!

The Lewis Family said...

'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!!'

I like that! Sometimes it's easy to even strive to believe - if you know what I mean. . .

lydia said...

EXCELLENT!! Oh watch out world our Cirra is most definitely BACK!!!

What struck me afresh was the verse, "He is in us, both to will and to do" HELLO!!! That is a power packed phrase straight from Scripture - I take great comfort in that!!

I may be linking this...............(if that's ok?)

The Lewis Family said...

Hey you,

This is irrelevent to the post at hand, but I thought I'd tell you that I noticed the book: 'Families where Grace is in Place' on your shelf. I've read all the other ones (other than Joseph Prince) and they are my faves so I figured that Family one should be good too. So, I ordered 2. One for a friend who comes from a controlling fam and is having troubles with her 11 yr old and who has yet to experience the grace of God in a clear manner. I figured it would be a great way to help her out. . .

silent wings said...

Lydia,
Don't mind if you do...they aren't my thoughts anyway...lets spread the word! :)

Becky,
That IS a great book! It was the first book I read that opened my heart to grace (before I understood the gospel)I helped me see that there was a better way and I believe was key to softening my heart to the good news of grace. :) It won't give you the how to but definetly the why to. You've also read "Loving your kids on purpose" then? That one solidified it for me! And the tools were very helpful. haha