As Christians, it should be refreshing to know that we are under a new covenant, which is a grace-based covenant through Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus has done the work for us; we do not have to work for our salvation. Jesus has finished the work of salvation for us! We are saved and made right with God through our belief in Him. As a result, we are adopted into a glorious, heavenly family!
Unfortunately, there are Christians who have an “old covenant” mentality. They believe they have to do certain works or deeds to win God’s acceptance and love. They also believe that if they are “good” enough God will accept them. However, God doesn’t require us to be “good” through our own ability. If we could, we wouldn’t need Jesus. Yes, we miss the mark at times, and during those times, it is easy to think that we are no longer right with God. That simply is not true. Don’t misunderstand me —
God does not want us to live a lascivious, sinful lifestyle. However, He does want us to know that when we miss the mark, it doesn’t mean that He will no longer accept us as His own. Our failures will not undo what Jesus has done.
We must understand the functionality of our own efforts or “works” now that we are under the new covenant of grace. Although the work has ultimately been finished, there are spiritual activities that we must do that are born out of our faith and love for God. So, I am not saying that we simply sit back and do nothing in our Christian walk. Grace is not an excuse to make no effort whatsoever toward developing and growing spiritually.
We are the just, because of Jesus, and the just live by faith (Romans 1:17). What then is faith when it is inactive? The Apostle James compares it to complacency as it concerns a brother or sister in need, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, 'Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well' —but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” (James 2:14-17, NLT). Our faith in our Lord and Savior produces good deeds!
We must not get the works of the Law and the works of faith confused. The Law could never do what grace has done! People who depend on the Law to be justified have fallen from grace, and the saving grace of Jesus Christ has no effect on them (Galatians 5:4). Why? Because they are proving they do not trust the finished works of Jesus Christ. They trust in themselves to earn salvation. However, it is by grace through faith we are saved, not works.
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