"The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God." – Genesis 17:8
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Today it’s all about grace. We don’t need to seek God any more, we just need to ‘rest in His grace.’ It’s not important to serve more, we just need to have confidence in Christ’s ‘finished work.’ Don’t allow yourself to think that you should pray more or start fasting, those are just self-righteous works of the flesh. I’ve heard ministers warn people about feeling like they need to serve more, pray more, or read the Bible more. They act like the only reason someone would feel that way is if they’re being guilted by Satan. But what of conviction? It may very well be God’s Spirit pushing on you to get you back to the basics of what Christianity is all about.
The fact is, Biblical Christianity is not obsessed with grace to the exclusion of everything else. It’s true, we cannot earn our salvation; however, that doesn’t mean that once we’ve come into God’s Kingdom that we are exempt from work. Christ’s call was not one of ease and relaxation. This faith is a rocky road, filled with self-denial. Jesus called too many people to give up everything they had. If it was all about grace, grace, grace, then why would he have turned the rich young ruler away? Unfortunately, many people today have gone from believing that grace is needed to make it through the journey, to believing that grace means we don’t have to take the journey.
In the above scripture from Ephesians, Paul emphasizes that salvation is by grace through faith. He lets us know that it’s a gift from God. But he goes on in the very next verse to say “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” In other words, we’re not saved BY good works but we are saved FOR good works. And grace shouldn’t make us feel comfortable in our spiritual lethargy. Instead, grace is what empowers us to go out and preach the gospel by our words, attitudes, and actions. Grace both prepares us for good works and carries us through those good works; it doesn’t give us a permit to forego those good works. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”