The 'Reflections on Repentance' I sent out today has been a particularly challenging one to me. On one hand, God is a God of grace and love. There can be no denying that.
But for us to dismiss the need and responsibility our Lord has put on us to be about His kingdom work in our lives, and to the lost of this world is a grave omission on our part. Far too many of us look past the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 24 and 25 and go on believing that God will save us even if we go about living our lives on our own terms. Yet, as I look at these teachings, we betray our Lord and ourselves by thinking this way. For the unfaithful and unprepared, there is a notable end, and it is not one we will be happy with!
This all seems to come down to the age old question so many wrestle with: Is God a God of grace and love and we are saved only by the finished work of Jesus on the cross, or do we have to work to gain our salvation? As I read scripture for what God is wanting me to learn and understand, I believe the answer is 'Yes' and 'Yes' to both questions.
'Yes,' we are saved, completely, irrevocably saved by God's love and grace poured out for us on the cross of Jesus Christ! Without that finished work, there is no hope for salvation for mankind. None at all!
'Yes,' we are created for good works. All the teachings of Jesus and His apostles clearly support this.
A few years ago, I wrote of a 1953 Corvette, the only one still around of the first 5 made as prototypes. The Lord showed me a very important lesson in that car while I stood admiring it. The owner had restored it meticulously with all original parts. It is a beautiful car, and a very valuable one. But it has been made into a museum piece, trailer-ed from one car show to another for people's admiration. It never gets driven. And that is what it was designed for.
Like that '53 Corvette, we too are created and designed to be driven, to be used of our Lord for His kingdom work. We are to be multipliers and disciplers, always working to add to our Lord's kingdom. Our Lord Jesus makes it clear that He finds great joy when His people, called by His name, join Him in the work of His kingdom.
The works we do, do not save us. Yet, at the same time, we enter into the joy of our Lord when He finds us doing them. Trust me, there can be no greater feeling in our lives when we know He is pleased!