Lazy Grace

The reformation brought a heavy emphasis on salvation by grace alone, which is completely true.However, this huge emphasis on grace alone, has caused a catastrophic rejection of works. No, it is obvious that scripture does not teach works based salvation. However, scripture does teach that we should work. Grace is not a gift that promotes laziness, but rather grace is a gift that equips us for hard work. 
In Revelation John delivers this message to the church at Ephesus, “But i have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4). Most people focus so much on this point that they forget what he says next, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not I will remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5). Love does not appear to be an emotional feeling that the church once had but then lost. Rather, love seems to be an outworking of affection. In 1 John 3:16-18 we read, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. but if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” We are commanded to love God and love others, and the way we fulfill these commandments is by action. 
The mental and emotional experiences in life are very closely connected with the physical action side of life. They influence and are influenced by each other. Here is a grossly simplified example. If I known in my mind that the presence of the little red light the stove indicates that it is hot, than I will not touch it. Therefore my thoughts influence my action or lack there of. Now here is the other side. If I touch the stove while the little red light is on and burn my hand, than my thoughts and feelings about the light will change completely. I will know that the light means the surface of the stove is hot, therefore my actions influenced the way I think about the light. If this remains true with our service to God, than my beliefs ought to influence my actions. We would all agree to that, but here is the kicker. If thoughts and feelings are connected so closely with action, than my works for the Lord will only increase my affections for, and thoughts about Him. 
Along the same lines, I have been pondering the relationship between actions and belief. James says faith without works is dead, and I think it is also safe to conclude that belief without action is not belief. Peter stepped out of the boat knowing that the water was already acting more like a solid than a liquid, because he saw Jesus walking on it. Real belief is acting as though it has already been done. 
In conclusion, salvation is by grace and by faith alone, but that kind of saving faith leads to zealous work for The Lord. Paul says it best in Romans 12:1-2. In summary Paul is pointing back to the mercies of God, and in view of those mercies he urges the church at Rome to offer their bodies as a sacrifice. Keep in mind this letter to the Romans is what fueled the reformation that so greatly emphasized grace and faith alone. The point is that God’s saving grace is so sweet that we are compelled to, in turn, devote all our actions and behaviors as a sacrifice to him. Works do not save people, but people who are saved work!


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