There is a dichotomy inside me, between my understanding of faith and my eagerness to do good work.
On one hand, I understand we are saved by grace through faith alone.
On the other hand, I have this notion my good work must be greater than my sin.
I thought because I am a Christian, my good work is expected from me.
My misunderstanding on the concept of salvation and sanctification drove me to a point where I was burn out and almost left the church.
“Am I a Christian if I stop serving?”
“Am I still a good Christian if I stop doing all that I am doing for God?”
Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9 as plainly as he can, that our salvation is solely by grace through faith.
No amount of good work, or any of our good doing can bring us justification before God.
It is a gift, not something we can earn as a result of our work!
He clarifies this further in Romans 10:9 that when you believe in your hearts that God raised
Jesus Christ from the dead, and confess it in words that Jesus is your Lord, you will be saved.
James 2 tells us genuine faith in God results in genuinely changed lives.
Real saving faith is demonstrated by good works.
A person who claims to be a Christian BUT lives in willful disobedience to Christ has a false or “dead” faith and is not saved.
Frederick Buechner calls the first stage of our salvation process, justification.
In Buechner’s words, Justification means put back into right relation with God.
The second stage of our salvation process is sanctification — the continuous journey of living
out an image of Christ.
Sanctification is not simply about having the right actions.
Sanctification is the process of
- discovering the God who loves you and whom you love.
- understanding what your God desires, and desires of you.
- transforming your life to be like Christ who died for you.
- mirroring the characters of Jesus who you chose to live for.
Our good work is
- a reflection of what we believe in our heart
- a response to God’s love for us
- always the characteristic of one who has been born again
- the evidence of our love towards God
- a mirror image of our faith in Christ
Your action is a mirror image of your faith.