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Pointers along the way #738

God is still righteous!

- Jacob Ninan

An exaggerated view of grace has deceived many Christians into believing that since they have been saved by an undeserved favour from God, they need not bother about having to 'earn' anything from God. When you read 'earn' just now, if it totally shocked you, it may show that you too have come under that influence. We have been taught to believe that there is nothing we can every earn from God but that everything we receive is a gift of grace from God. There is a subtle difference here, and let me try to make it clear now.

No one can earn favour from God and no one can qualify for God's acceptance. Those who try to keep the law hoping to find acceptance from God fail (Ro.10:3). Knowing that every single man has sinned and disqualified himself from God, God has made the way of acceptance entirely dependent on His grace unmerited favour which we can receive when we repent from our sins and put our trust in Jesus. But then, once we have been justified by grace we enter into the lifelong process of sanctification where God works along with us. It's not done entirely by God and how much we get sanctified depends on how much we work out our salvation (Php.2:12,13). Our faithfulness is involved here, and God is righteous and just to rate our reward on how faithful we have been (Mt.25:21). Depending on how faithful we are to put to death the deeds of our body with the power of the Holy Spirit God gives to us, that is how much we will partake of God's nature (Ro.8:13). If we sow bountifully we shall also reap bountifully (2Co.9:6).

But if we imagine that since God started by giving justification freely He will do everything else for us freely, we make a big mistake. If we sow according to our flesh, we will reap corruption (Ga.6:7,8), and this will have eternal consequences. It is only if we 'endure' that we will 'reign' with Him (2Ti.2:11,12). When we all finally stand before the Lord, some who shone here will hide their faces, and some whom others didn't recognise will receive great praise from God (Mt.19:30).

God hasn't stopped being righteous and just. Is it possible that in being taken up with His grace we lost sight of this? Did we think that now that we have been made children of God and promised a place in heaven there was nothing we needed to do except to enjoy ourselves?

But Jesus made things very clear. He said that if we wanted to follow Him we would have to take up our cross daily, deny ourselves and follow Him (Lk.9:23). If we loved anything or anyone or even our own life more than Him He wouldn't consider us worthy of Him (Mt.10:37,38).

The question is about our love. If we love Him we will obey Him (Jn.14:15). We will love Him once we see how much He loves us and what He has done for us because of that. But if we think because He loves us He will do everything for us freely, we don't really know Him properly. Perhaps we have been deceived by false preaching through a spirit of lawlessness.

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