As Christians, we are not saved by good works; we are saved by grace. Grace is Godâ€™s unmerited favor towards us through the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross. He paid for our sins, and when we accept that payment we receive redemption. To redeem something, such as a coupon, it must be acted upon. So weâ€™re not save by Christâ€™s sacrifice until we see our need for it and then accept it.
However, once we become Christians, our works are very important to God. They are evidence of being a child of God. Iâ€™ve written before that a stingy Christian is an oxymoron. We should be the most caring and giving people in society, and for the most part we are. It pleases our Heavenly Father when we do good works:
â€œBut do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.â€ (Hebrews 13:16)
Our acts of benevolence are seen by God as sacrifices. I must admit this is the first time I actually realized that. In part, thatâ€™s a good thing because we should show kindness out of a caring and grateful heart. So when you reach out to someone and give them a helping hand, it is considered a sacrifice in heaven. Thatâ€™s what I call an eternal investment.
When we are good stewards of all the Lord provides, He will provide more. When we show that we can be trusted with a little, God will trust us with more. When we are focused on serving the bride of Christ, then the Groom will hear and see our needs and bless us:
â€œAnd whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.â€ (1 John 3:22)
You may not have much disposable income to where you can monetarily help someone, but you have time. You can sit and listen to someone who is going through a bad spell. You can help a neighbor do a two-man project when heâ€™s doing it by himself. You can bring a meal over to a family in need or that is ill.
We see families and communities in turmoil and most times those at odds with each other double down on their combativeness. Perhaps if we showed kindness to one another, then the strife would melt away. There are always exceptions; those who want to be perpetually mad. However, a little bit of kindness goes a long way with even our enemies.
Our Lord commanded us to love and pray for our enemies. I confess this is one of the hardest commandments for me to keep. I am by nature a warrior and will naturally war with those who attack me. Nevertheless, Iâ€™ve learned that I always lose whenever I respond in such a way. Conversely, when I obey Jesus and have a heart of love for my enemies and pray for them, that pleases my Lord:
â€œWhen a manâ€™s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.â€ (Proverbs 16:7)
Something the Lord has showed me in this study is that my benevolence towards others is an act of purity. So often we equate purity with sexual or moral behavior. While those are the most common areas where we fail, disobedience to Christâ€™s commands stain us.
When we are striving to live a life pleasing to God, then we will be keenly aware of His commandments and diligently follow them. If we are not growing thusly in this area, then we are not being sanctified. God cannot set us apart for His work if we are disobedient to what He has already commanded of us. Our walk with Christ grows when we obey His commandments to be caring and loving to others:
â€œFinally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;Â for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.â€ (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2)
I challenge you to join me in looking around and seeing where I can bless others. I can do it with a smile, a kind word, and a helping hand. If youâ€™re not sure where to start, you can ask your pastor if there is a ministry need of someone that you can meet. You can ask the Lord to open your eyes to the needs around you.
That step alone will be pleasing to the Lord.
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Copyright Â© 2016 David Jeffers