The Work that Saves

Dec 2, 2015 1060

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life. but the wrath of God rests upon him (John 3:36).

Let us consider what believing is, and is not. Believing is not repenting. We can’t even repent of ourselves. The Bible calls repentance a gift. We can no more repent without the Spirit of Christ to awaken the conscience, than we can be pardoned without Christ. We can no more repent perfectly than we can live perfectly.

But the cross is the wonder-working rod that can bring water out of the rock, and repentance from our hard hearts. Repentance does not make us see Christ, but to see Christ makes us repent. That’s what it says in Acts: “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31 ). “Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Rom 2:4).

The gospel is the opposite of legalism. Legalism says, “If you are good. God will love you.” The gospel says, “Though you are not good, God loves you. Believe it and he will make you good… We’re not to look for holiness in order to be accepted of God. We are to accept our acceptance, and that will bring holiness.

So faith isn’t repenting and faith isn’t reforming either. One might just as well try to leap over the moon as serve God in the flesh. Whatever is not of faith is sin. Any attempts to reform oneself before one has accepted one’s acceptance is sin.

In other words. all our attempts to reform are so many splendid sins unless we believe what God has said about his love for us and Christ’s death for us. No one is ever saved till they give up trying to save themselves. It is like someone drowning. He has to give up his efforts, give himself up to the Savior who has gone out to help him. We have to give ourselves up to Christ. Faith isn’t reforming. It isn’t trying. either.

Faith is trusting, and trusting is reposing in the arms of Jesus, realizing that he has done what we could never do – believing that as we’re not saved by our good works, neither are we lost by our bad works. Yes, we are saved by works, but not our own. We’re saved by Christ’s works. The Bible says the gift of God is eternal life. Don’t try and buy it. It’s a gift. Love that is bought is prostitution. God is not in that business.

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