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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

D is For...

I was thinking after I did C is for Contentment yesterday, that there might be some readers who have a skewed idea of what a Christian really is, and I could have easily done a post entitled C is for Christian. For those readers, I highly suggest viewing Andy Stanley’s series, What is Christian? He says it much better than I ever could, and why reinvent the wheel?

Moving on to today’s topic, D is for Deeds.

Unless suffering from self-esteem issues, most people think they’re pretty decent. They don’t steal, they don’t murder, they don’t cheat on their taxes… They try to be good neighbours, sons, daughters, spouses, friends… They try to be kind to others and help those who need it. Some don’t believe in God at all, but believe in karma – what goes around, comes around. Some just want to leave the planet better than they found it, and find their sense of purpose in doing good. Others think that if they’re good enough on earth, God will let them into heaven.

The Bible says

Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:9)
If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. (Romans 4:2)

Since God’s standard is perfection, and no one on earth is perfect, our deeds cannot save us. This has led some Christians to minimize the importance of deeds altogether, using passages like Romans 10:10

For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” (Acts 16:31)

But deeds are important, no doubt about it.

James 2 says

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? (14);
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (17);
Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” (18);

And Jesus Himself said

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:16)
“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)

The truth is

He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. (Titus 2:14, emphasis mine)

True faith reveals itself in action, amen? 

Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. (Matthew 7:20)

Today’s prayer: God, let me be like a tree that bears good fruit. May I be transformed by a living faith that results in positive action – not for my own glory, but for Yours.

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