As a healthy church community, we must never forget that God’s abundant blessings are gifts of His Grace. Free for all who will come, and whosoever wishes to, may come without reproach. This is why God sent Jesus into the world, to save us all. (See John 3:16-18) However, we must accept His gift. Never forget there is nothing to earn or do for salvation; we freely receive grace and blessings from His benevolent hands because He finished the work on the Cross for us even though we were still in our sins. (John 19:30; Romans 5:8; Hebrews 9:24-26)
Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesian 2:8-9) This makes salvation in no way connected to our works of any kind. The scriptures are clear. In Isaiah 64:6a, we read, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…” There is no way to earn our way to heaven.
However, this does not negate that we are to be doers of the Word, for Paul continues, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Yes, there are things for us to do for our King Jesus. We are part of His kingdom, and He has clearly and directly revealed His will for us in His word, the Bible. James says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22). This means we need to take care not to get the cart before the horse.
We as a church family must make clear the good news of the Gospel and the gift of salvation received by faith alone in Jesus Christ and Christ alone to everyone we meet. There is no work to do; only faith is needed to believe in Jesus. Remember, the smallest seed of faith is greater than our mountains of doubt. (see Matthew 17:20-21; Romans 10:9-10)
This means that you and I must be diligent as a faith community to emphasize what God has done for us and not what we should do for God. Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3). Therefore, we must teach and model God’s blessings and direct people past man to Jesus Christ—not looking to or dependent upon man for salvation and blessing but upon God alone. Faith must come before obedience.