No work, only grace

When you look at Christianity as a set of rules to live your life in hopes to one day be acceptable in the eyes of God, it’s off putting and is usually thrown to the back burner. The standard it seems to set is unrealistic and the burden of constantly asking for forgiveness for all the wrong you’ve done doesn't seem worth it. Those who try to keep up with the “Do enough good and live the best life you can” motto, eventually start brushing things off, lose track, and end up not caring about a system that seems irrelevant, cut and dry, tiring, and above all else HARD. The concluding rationale is “Well, I'm not hurting anyone and intentionally seeking out to do evil; so in the sight of God, if there even is one, I should be fine.”

It’s easy to adopt the works based perception because as humans we’re in a constant state of working for the things we want and need. It’s a system we were born into that the world operates by, so surely something as important and valuable as eternal life and security requires some great deal of effort to obtain. In this piece, five minutes of reading, you’ll see how that's not at all what scripture teaches. The work has already been done for you and that’s the beauty of Christ.

` Ephesians 2:8-9 reads, “ 8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” I love how the verse uses the word gift to describe salvation. If something is gifted to you it comes from a place of grace, meaning you didn't work for it, earn it, and in this case, don't even deserve it. Romans 11:6 breaks down grace perfectly, it says “ And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

Through the love of God and his mercy, he provided a way for us to gain access to him through the work Christ did on the cross and clearing the debt we were meant to pay. Colossians 2:13-14 "13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." He provided a solution to a problem we can't solve on our own even if we tried because according to James 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” So the good works live by the rules point system doesn't hold up because according to this verse, one strike you’re out. And as humans, we strike out almost everyday. Also, if we could do it on our own, there would be no need for Christ in the first place. Galatians 2:21 “I do not frustrate the grace of God. For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Not only does this verse point out that if we could gain our own righteousness (salvation) through our own efforts that Christ's death is in vain, it also points out that the grace that God showed us isn’t to be frustrated. Frustrating and stressful like the works based salvation described at the beginning. Romans 10:4 says the same in different words, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” and Philippians 3:9 “ And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

So we see that it’s through faith we receive the righteousness of Christ and that it’s not about how much good we do, but through Christ and Christ alone we are saved. John 14:6 “ Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” And once you have faith , a personal decision needs to be made where you acknowledge you can’t do it on your own and that you are a sinner by nature in need of a savior. Romans 10:9-10 “9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

A one time decision that if made genuinely, lasts a lifetime, you can never lose it. Although you still struggle with sin because as humans the burden of the flesh remains; Romans 7:22-23 “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” and 1 John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

But aside from the human part of us, our soul is what is made new to God, 2 Corinthains 5:17 “ Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” And that is an irreversible state, 1 Corinthians 6:11 “And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God.”

Now, I want to give a few more verses on this last point of it being an irreversible state. It’s extremely important that eternal security and sanctification is emphasized because there are many false teachings that say you have to maintain it and keep up with good works to be sure you don’t lose it. If you are gifted something and the person giving it to you says that it lasts forever and it's yours forever, it would be hypocritical for them to later take it from you. Here’s some more scriptures that help prove this point. John 10:28 “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.” Ephesians 1:13-14 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise. 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Romans 8:34 “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” And lastly and one of my personal favorites, Romans 8:38-39 “38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, shall be able to separate us from the life of God, which is Christ Jesus our Lord.”

To sum it all up, you are saved by the grace God showed you by sending his son to take the place that every one of us was supposed to be in. And he bore and worked off the burden that none of us could do on our own. Jesus said right before he died on the cross, John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” The work has been finished, all it takes is faith that it has to receive the promise he grants all who trust in him. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It’s that easy and it’s sanctification and justification that can never be altered.

The world does not offer truth, it does not offer guarantees, it does not offer peace; all of which is evident more than ever today. Deep down you know there’s more to life and to the world around you than what society would lead you to believe. You know you’re more than an accident, than evolved pond scum. You know through the precision of creation from earth to the microscopic bacteria, there’s more. There’s an objective meaning and purpose to life and it’s to know and love God. Most are like the person described in 2 Timothy 3:7 “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” And this is the truth, the world is falling apart and will continue to but Christ is the light of the world and the safety,security we all look for. John 16:35 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Follow the light.