We Can Work It Out
It is natural to assume we are saved by our own good deeds. We learn as children we must not fail, lose, or fall short, or we face the consequences. We assume God grades on a curve, too, so we had better perform or we will face His rejection. We feel we are never quite good enough to please God and that He is always angry with us about something. On the other hand, some live as if it is our business to sin and God’s business to forgive. Neither extreme promotes the mind of Christ.
In Ephesians 2:1-10, Paul uses the word grace to describe salvation. We do not deserve, earn, or merit God’s love. Our good works (deeds, self-effort, or self-righteousness) are insufficient. We cannot do a thing to save ourselves. Instead, God’s gracious actions in Jesus Christ save us. We are completely at God’s mercy. Scripture is clear that the way of salvation has never been by promoting our own self-righteousness. However, we get to contribute to our salvation. When we abide in Christ, good things naturally follow. Salvation is not just something that happened one-time years ago—it is a continuous and ongoing action now. Birthing a baby is a wondrous thing. However, there is more than just a new birth. The baby must grow and become a functioning adult. Something is wrong when growth does not happen.
Paul says to “work out your own salvation.” We work it OUT, we do not work it IN. Grace is God’s gift to us. We do not work FOR our salvation by striving or achievement. Salvation is not part of a “self-help” improvement course. We do not have to make promises to God that we will clean up our lives so we will be good enough for Him to save us. A drowning swimmer needs a life preserver, not swimming lessons. Working out our salvation is us cooperating with God’s love. Because God’s power has entered our lives, we can work it out in practical ways. We can become teammates and supporters of Jesus. We can allow God’s grace to help us be salt and light in His world. Those who learn to work out their salvation are the ones who enjoy their faith the most.
We are not passive in our workout routine. We don’t just watch the teacher, we engage. We are active partners. We are “response able.” Like the icing on a cake—it “adds to” the final outcome.
Speaker: Tom Harrison
June 26, 2022
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