Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace...
Thoughts for Today:If salvation did not come by faith we would constantly run around -- working on this and that -- always wondering and worried if what we had done was enough to be saved. What a horrible existence it would be. Imagine Sunday mornings: Every request from the pulpit would result in hundreds coming forward so as to not place their salvation at risk. There would be massive numbers of people re-baptized every week; the parking and children's ministries would be fully staffed with a long waiting list of others wanting to serve; and the tithing plates would be filled to overflowing.
Not such a bad image? I think there are some in church leadership who would have us believe we must do works in order to retain our salvation (maybe that's how they think ministry positions are filled). James tells us in James 2:17: "Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." Paul's theme has been the same -- just in reverse order: Works without faith is dead. The key is once we understand how much God has done for us the more we want to serve Him -- not out of obligation, but our loving response to His sacrifice. In other words, works based in faith AND faith demonstrated in works -- both necessary and operating in concert.
When we understand salvation comes by the Father's grace and is based upon our faith -- not by what we do or don't do -- then salvation is not something we are afraid of losing -- we are thereby freed from the bondage of obligated service.
Questions to Ponder:Psalm 115:1: "Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness." I think this verse is a pretty good test if the works you are doing are based upon obligation, pridefulness, or love. Are your works for God's glory and in response to His grace, love and faithfulness or something else?