Core Value 05: Grace, Faith and Works…In That Order

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Core Christian Value

First God’s grace to you, second your faith in Jesus Christ and third, your works, those things you do to respond to His love. We need to know that the order cannot be reversed.

What is Grace? Grace is a word that describes God’s love toward you. The Bible says in 2 PETER 3:8-9TLB “But don’t forget this, dear friends that a day or a thousand years from now is like tomorrow to the Lord.” He isn’t really being slow about His promised return, even though it sometimes seems that way. But He is waiting, for the good reason that He is not willing that any should perish, and He is giving more time for sinners to repent.

That means that God is very serious about His promises and very patient with His children. God does not want one single person to perish, that is, for their spirit to be separated from God and His people, forever. God wants us to repent, that is, to turn away from sin and to love Him, to turn towards Him. But sin did come into the world when Adam was disobedient (with Eve’s encouragement). Adam’s sin did not surprise God. Nothing ever surprises God. Our God in omniscient, that is, He knows the beginning from the end and He knows what choices man will make.

Since God will not let sin come into His presence, He provided a way for each of us, as well as any person who ever sinned, to be cleansed, to be washed as white as snow so that we could stand in His presence, just as if we had never sinned.

He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a sinless life among men. Jesus, as a result of being hung on a cross by an angry crowd who did not believe He was the Son of God, died. He died that we might, by believing He is the Son of God, be forgiven and cleansed of our sins. All we have to do, to have eternal life, is to humbly and with sorrow confess our sins, to turn away from sin in the future and to rely upon the power of the risen Christ in us so that we can, by faith, experience on a daily basis, God’s protective love. Then God expects us to love Him and obey Him.

Some people call the obedience part “works”. That just means doing things that God has commanded, such as loving other people, being Baptized, praying to Him about every decision and about our needs and hopes and the needs of others. Works that are rooted in faith please God. Works, simply intended to earn points with God, do not please Him. Faith in Jesus makes your works noticed by God. There you have it! First God’s grace to you, second your faith in Jesus Christ and third, your works, those things you do to respond to His love. We need to know that the order cannot be reversed.

Discuss why works alone will not bring you eternal life. For instance, if someone is doing a lot of good things, even going to church and tithing and being good to their neighbor, have they yet done the one thing that makes their works lead to eternal life? Why do you think God’s grace must precede faith in Jesus? A way to think about that question is to ask yourselves, “what if God had not sent His only Son to take our sin upon Himself.” Could we be in God’s presence if our sin was still with us? First, it was God’s grace. That means, God’s riches at Christ’s expense, are ours. Are your good works earning you favor with Jesus or do you do good works because you love Jesus and have faith that He is the Son of God? Do you think good works that are not particularly motivated by your faith in Christ are as meaningful as good works based on your love for Jesus? What do you think it means when the Bible says, “do all things as unto the Lord?”

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