Why We Work

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Not all employers are happy with a generation of young employees who were raised receiving “participation trophies” for being on an athletic team. Older generations were taught that showing up and doing one’s best was normal—a responsibility not deserving of a trophy.

There is a parallel in the Christian life. There are things expected of us as Christians. But we do not receive the “prize” of salvation for doing those works. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that we are saved “by grace . . . through faith,” not by works. Young athletes can take pride in the trophies they win for hard-fought victories. But if we were awarded the prize of salvation for our works, our pride would be a problem. There is only one “work” that has ever earned salvation—the death of Christ out of obedience to the Father. But His death did not earn His salvation; He didn’t need to be saved. Instead, His death earned salvation for us. And our works are an imitation of His—our gratitude for His obedience.

Work hard for Christ! But work for the right reason—a “Thank You” for the gift you have received by faith.

The church is a community of the works and words of Jesus. Donald English

The Trials of Life

1 Peter 1:6-7

Most likely, you’ve heard the age-old question, “If God is good, how can He let bad things happen?” Since the fall of man, life has always included hardship. Though trials are painful, understanding the Lord’s purpose can bring joy and hope.

The Word of God is clear that suffering is purposeful. Primarily, the Lord is conforming His children to be like Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18). When a person is newly saved, he or she still has many “rough edges.” Sanctification, which takes place from that point on, is the process of becoming holy—and few things build character like sorrow. Unfortunately, people rarely mature during pleasant times. Instead, pain brings impurities to the surface and forces people to see the reality of their life.

Another reason the Father allows trials is to test the faith of His children. Of course, He doesn’t need this for His own information—it is the believers who benefit. Tested faith is stronger and more reliable than untried faith.

Furthermore, God allows hardship in order to reveal His character, love, and power. During life’s storms, people who cling to their heavenly Father will find Him trustworthy and real. When the next difficulty arises, they’ll remember His faithfulness during the previous trial and will rest confidently in Him.

While no one wants to suffer, experience and sorrow will mature the believer. We can learn certain things from books and other people’s stories, but most growth occurs during trials. So, when problems occur and sorrow seems piercing, thank God for His purpose in your suffering.

Prophetic Accuracy

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)

The Bible records many detailed prophetic predictions. If one prediction is accurate, it might be called coincidence. When dozens (even hundreds) come true, the odds become astronomical.

There are hundreds of fulfilled prophesies related to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For instance, Micah 5:2 foretold the birthplace of Christ (Bethlehem) centuries before the Lord was born. Isaiah 53:9 tells us where and how the Lord would be buried.

Ezekiel 26:4-5 predicted that the walls of the island fortress of Tyre would be destroyed and scraped clean and become a place for fishermen to dry their nets. When Ezekiel was living, the island fortress of Tyre had not yet been built. Two hundred years later, in 332 B.C., Alexander the Great conquered Tyre by building a causeway from the old mainland city, scraping away everything but bare rock.

Of course, many prophecies remain to be fulfilled in the future. For example, an amazing prediction was made in Revelation 11:9 that many nations would view the same event within a few days’ time. When that prophecy was recorded, communication and transportation across the Roman Empire took months. Today, billions of people from around the world simultaneously watch the same event over television.

“I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:9-10). HMM III

Adapted from Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis by Dr. Henry Morris III.

Saved by Grace Only

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. —Ephesians 2:8-9

Nobody has ever been saved, from the day that Abel offered his bloody lamb on a homemade altar, down to the latest convert made today, except out of the goodness of God. Because of God’s grace, His mercy, His lovingkindness, His goodness and graciousness, His cordiality and approachability, He kindly saved people. We’ve taken the word “grace” and made a technical term out of it.

The people in the Old Testament were not saved by keeping anything, because we deserved hell, and if God had acted according to justice alone, He simply would have pulled the stopper out and flushed us all down to hell and been done with it. But God out of His lovingkindness graciously forgave those who would come according to the conditions God laid down. Everybody is saved by grace. Abel was saved by grace. Noah was saved by grace—”Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). So was Moses and all the rest down to the coming of Jesus and His dying on the cross. All were saved by grace out of the goodness of God. And everybody’s been saved by grace out of the goodness of God ever since.

Lord, thank You for Your wonderful grace, which saved me from the judgment I deserved. May I remember that it is a gift extended to me out of Your lovingkindness. Amen.

More Than Just Consolation

Blessed is the man… his delight is in the law of the Lord. (Psalm 1:1-2)

It is my judgment that too many of us go to church on Sunday for the same reason that a child climbs into its mother’s arms after a fall or a bump or a fright—the child wants consolation!

We have fallen upon times when religion is mostly for consolation—for we are in the grip of the cult of peace. We want to relax and have the great God Almighty pat our heads and comfort us with peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of soul. This has become religion!

According to my Bible, there should be a people of God, a people called of God and subjected to a spiritual experience by God. Then they are to learn to walk in the way of Truth and the way of the Scripture, producing the righteous fruit of the child of God no matter what world conditions may be.

But there is a great misunderstanding among us. Too many tend to think that we get the flower and the fragrance and the fruit of the Spirit by some kind of magical shortcut, instead of by cultivation. Meanwhile, our neighbors are waiting to see the likeness of Christ in our daily lives!

How independent of outward circumstances the Holy Ghost can make the Christian!

How independent of outward circumstances the Holy Ghost can make the Christian! What a bright light may shine within us when it is all dark without! How firm, how happy, how calm, how peaceful we may be, when the world shakes to and fro, and the pillars of the earth are removed! Even death itself, with all its terrible influences, has no power to suspend the music of a Christian’s heart, but rather makes that music become more sweet, more clear, more heavenly, till the last kind act which death can do is to let the earthly strain melt into the heavenly chorus, the temporal joy into the eternal bliss!