Thursday, February 28, 2008

Back To the Basics (3)

John 3:19-21, "Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (NIV)

There are a few deep truths that can be discerned from this text. First, that the Gospel is the truth. The context tells us that the Gospel is meant here; verse eighteen says, "Whoever believes in him [Jesus] is not condemned." Second, that deeds will be exposed and scrutinized, either here on earth, or in heaven. Those who follow the Gospel of Jesus the Christ are willing to have their lives scrutinized. Why? "So that it may be plainly seen that what he has done has been done through God.

The preceding is a very important point. What is being said is that good works do not come from within the person himself, but from God. Those who live by the Gospel, live through the agency of the Holy Spirit. So God himself equips us with that which is needed to please him. Remember Hebrews 13:20-21, "Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever." (NASB) Both passages elude to the work already being done in Christ. Good works, or better put works that please God, can only come from God himself. Left to our own devices, we will surely fail, just like Adam. Christ has lived perfectly and stands in our place. Only his work can please God and as he represents us and we trust in him, our works are declared clean and good.

Let us see, then, that the best we can offer is wicked and vile in God's sight, revealing evil hearts. Yet it is not our works and strength we are to rely on. We perform works to the best of our ability, realizing that they are not worthy, and we look to Christ to perfect them. The Holy Spirit causes us to trust, and causes us to perform good works. Without him, human works are in vain. What hope! We do not have to rely on ourselves! We rely upon God to work and to will within us through his Spirit. Those who are in Christ are given both the will to work and their work is seen as Christ's, as they are his body.

So do not look to yourself for salvation. Do not look to yourself for good works. Do not think yourself righteous. Only Christ is righteous! If you put your faith in him (ongoing), it will not be your work that is accepted, but Christ's, the one who works through you.

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