A Life of Works or A Life of Grace

grace

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

 
This has been on my mind for awhile, so I thought I would try to put it into words. Several things happened this week that made me think this through. First, I heard a speech by one of our students. She quoted Galatians 3:3 “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

Another thought came to me this morning at Stonepoint Church. Pastor Brandon began a new series that tells stories of Old Testament characters and how they point to Christ. Today, being the first in the series was about the first Adam (Adam in the garden) pointing to the second Adam (Jesus Christ).

Please bear with me while I give you a little background using some thoughts from my life (sorry for doing this, but Lord willing, it will come together). I was raised in a non-Christian family. I was the second child (I guess they are supposed to try harder). I grew up in an atmosphere of always thinking I needed to do the right things and be the right child to earn my parents love. I can’t remember the word LOVE ever being used in our family while I was growing up (although it might have been). I learned early on, that if I did things that my parents approved of, they seemed pleased and if I didn’t, they would show their disapproval. My life of guilt and shame (it seemed like it was difficult to please my parents) went on until I left home at the age of 18.

Then, just before my 24th birthday the Lord graciously saved me. It was wonderful (even I didn’t even own a Bible at that time and knew nothing) and I believed that Jesus paid for my sins and that He loved me, sin and all. But soon after, I heard the word: Sanctification, which I came to know as meaning, growing in Christ and the Christian faith. Unfortunately, I took that to mean I had to work to please God and I just continued with what I had learned growing up, and was soon back into my life of works, thinking that God could only truly love me if I pleased Him. The more I tried, the worse things got. There was no way I could ever please God apart from faith and trusting Him. I prayed often asking God how He could have anything to do with me since I was so weak in my faith and such a sinner. I lived that way for several years.

So here is the point I am trying to make. If you are one like me who is somewhat works orientated (another word for this is “legalist”); if you are living like this I urge you to stop. I can speak from firsthand knowledge on this. As we learned at church today, Adam, the first Adam had a perfect environment and had dominion over all animals and plants. There was one test, one prohibition, “do not eat from the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil.” God really didn’t explain why He had this test. He just told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree.

Man failed the test and sin entered the world. Then came Jesus Christ, the second Adam. Romans 5:15 says, “but the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to many.” I won’t go into everything this means, but here is what it means to me. BECAUSE OF JESUS’ DEATH ON THE CROSS, WHEN GOD LOOKS AT US, HE SEES US AS RIGHTEOUS IN SPITE OF OURSELVES AND OUR SIN.

God wants us to trust Him and follow Him from our hearts, not because we need to earn His favor or make God love us. All the works and do’s and don’ts we make up for ourselves, will not make God love us any more than He already does. Our works for God need to be out of a pure motive of our love for Him and not out of a way to try to make God love us. Do we really trust God in this? Do we believe He really loves us in spite of our sins and weaknesses? Satan is an accuser and a deceiver. Let’s not be deceived by Him. Let’s believe God when He says through Paul the Apostle when He says: nothing will be able separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. See Romans 8:38-39.

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