The work of saving grace

“Grace and faith are congruous, and will draw together in the same chariot, but grace and merit are contrary the one to the other and pull opposite ways, and therefore God has not chosen to yoke them together.” (Spurgeon)

We are not made righteous by our works but counted righteous through our faith. Our faith is manifested through the grace freely given to us by God. Our salvation is through our faith of the death and resurrection of Christ as grace given to us for forgiveness of our sins. It is this faith that counts us as righteous. It is this faith that begins our actual changing to righteousness. And it is this faith that makes us fully righteous at our own ressurection.

Works is not faith but faith without works is dead. (James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.) May sound contradictory but think of it this way; true faith brings about change. It is not change that brings forgiveness but forgiveness that brings change. It is not our good works that saves us but because we are saved we want to do better and be obedient.

“All true believers, like Abraham, obey. Obedience is faith in action. You are to walk in the steps of the faith of father Abraham. His faith did not sit still, it took steps; and you must take these steps also by obeying God because you believe him. That faith which has no works with it is a dead faith, and will justify no one.” (Spurgeon)

Obedience to God’s word is faith that God’s word is true. Being forgiven for falling short of God’s word is where our faith in grace steps in. That is where our joy comes from. Grace!! It is not the obedience or the works that saves us. Therefore, falling short of perfect obedience and works does not condemn us. Faith in the grace and love of our Father and His mercy through Christ brings out our love for Him that changes our lives!

He considers even how the wild flowers grow

Luke 12:32-34
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Jesus spoke of selling our possesions and giving to the poor. This had me thinking about all of us Christians that are blessed with possessions. Is Jesus instructing us to sell it all, live on the streets, and minister to others without a possession to our name? Man, I struggled with that. Not over the selling all my stuff but where do I find balance? How do I balance a desire to improve my situation with keeping to this scripture? In other scripture we are told that you can’t be luke warm with one foot for the world and one foot for Jesus. How do we know we are luke warm? Is striving for a bigger house or even being more physically fit making us luke warm? You will find in the bible poor as well as wealthy believers. Neither their financial status nor their physical appearance mattered, so, how do I wrap my head around this?

I think we find the balance in that last sentence of the scripture above. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Do you treasure Jesus more or your possessions? When Jesus returns are you only going to be able to show Him your possessions? “Look at what all I gained, Jesus! Aren’t you so proud of me?!” Our treasure shouldn’t be aimed at how much more we can get but how much more can we give. Sure, there are times a bigger house is needed and God wants us to be happy and care for our blessings, but let it not become the treasure in our heart. We are to give to others, and this does not mean only financially or possessions. Poor doesn’t always mean poor in money. Poor also means poor in faith. So, how can we give to those that are poor in faith if all they see us doing is worrying over our possessions? Does that not make us just as poor in faith? Whether you have a little or a lot this worry is useless. Earlier in this chapter Jesus taught:

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

What did He call worriers? “You of little faith!” I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be a little faith follower. Will having little faith get me into heaven? Of course! We have all heard the verse of having faith of a mustard seed. But I want to sell my possessions and follow Him in grand, bold faith!! For me that means I want to sell my worry over my possessions and give to the poor a lesson in peace and contentment in all things because I follow a Father who considers even how the wild flowers grow.

Am I perfect at this? Ha! Far, far from it. But you know what? Jesus knows my heart. He knows I desire for my comfort to come from Him and not things of this world. He knows I desire contentment in having a little or a lot because He is my provider that I trust. He knows I desire to walk courageously knowing He is my protector and no enemy can come against me that won’t end up serving His purpose.

We may have to lay down our worry and take up our cross every single day….every single second on some days…but laying down our cross to keep our worries is such a heavy burden to bear. The cross of Jesus is so much lighter than carrying the worries of this world.

Matthew 11:28-30
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Testing of faith

When God tests your faith it is not a pass or fail to prove anything to Him. He already knows how far you have grown in your faith. It is a test to prove it to you. So you will see how much you have grown and how much more you can grow. It is not a test of our own works but the test of God working in us.

“Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns.” — 1 Peter 1:7

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The faith of Isaac

I just watched a tik tok with a guy asking why Isaac didn’t fight back when Abraham put him on the alter. I have often wondered how Isaac felt about his dad putting him on the alter. Was his feelings hurt? Did he think his dad lost his ever lovin’ mind? This guy pointed out that Isaac could have fought back but didn’t. That means he willingly got on the alter (Just as Jesus willingly got on the cross. Also, notice how Isaac carried the wood up the mountain that was supposed to be for his sacrifice just as Jesus carried His own cross). Seeing that point of view made me realize, Isaac had his own faith. On the walk up there Isaac asked where was the sacrfice? Abraham told him God will provide. That is all Isaac needed to hear. He knew he would be fine. He knew his father was walking in God’s plan and Isaac trusted God with, quite literally, his life. I pray over my kids that they have the faith of Isaac. Their own faith. Their own relationship with God so their strength, trust, and faith don’t have to rely on me. They see me walk with God now but I am flawed. I also can’t always be with them. I pray they trust God, quite literally, with their life.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Lord, please give my children and grandchild the faith of Isaac. Lead me where you want me to set the example and where you want me to step back for their own faith to grow. Teach me when to speak and when to be quiet. When to step up and when to back off. I ask You to make up for the years I didn’t teach them in the way they should go. I thank You that you are able. In Christ name, Amen