Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Imagine a situation. You’ve been called into a meeting because you’re an expert. Your past success shows you’ve handled what others can’t. Your turn comes to speak. Based on your experience, you give your expert opinion on several approaches to solve the problem. Then, without even considering your advice, someone says, “Thank you, but that’s not going to work.” While you’ve demonstrated success in the past, for some reason, this person has no faith in you or your approach. They’re going to do things their own way despite good advice to the contrary. While frustrating – like trying to break through a wall by beating your head against it – this happens.
I can imagine God might feel this way sometimes. On account of sin, brought in by a couple of “I’ll do it my way” types, every one of His human creatures is doomed. But God has the plan that will save them – His Son, His sinless life, His death, His resurrection. All people need to do is have faith in His plan of salvation (John 3:16). Faith in Jesus Christ alone and His work on the Cross is what saves us all from eternal death.
But many of the “so-called experts” around the table say, “No, that’s too easy. I’ve got my own way.” That way is called “works”. Paul reminds us, “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” (Romans 4:4-5)
Works are done to earn something … faith is a gift. No amount of works can save a person because they’ll always be outweighed by sin. But faith in God’s gifts of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus … that always saves. Then, in faith, we show our appreciation to God for His gift by doing the things He calls us to do – not to earn our salvation, but in thanks for our salvation.
Your Brother in Christ,