Daily Devotional

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Good Equation

I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone. Titus 3:8

The equation turns out to be fairly simple. God is good, God saves us, therefore, we go on to do the good work of God. For countless generations there have been questions about what it takes to receive eternal life. The question has turned into heated arguments at times. Are we saved by good works, or are we saved by the grace of God? During the Protestant Reformation, the answer that was offered was that human beings cannot do anything to deserve God’s grace and love—we can only receive it. In fact, Martin Luther encouraged his followers to “sin boldly,” and some have taken that to mean that you can do any sinful act you want as long as you pray for forgiveness. By the grace of God, that forgiveness will be granted to you without compromising your eternal reward. This kind of thinking has left many a person of faith wondering about the integrity of a belief system that so diminishes good works. If we are saved by grace, how do good works fit in to the equation? The Bible is wonderfully balanced on this point. Thanks to the goodness of God, we are all extended grace and forgiveness, but once we have accepted the grace and forgiveness of God, we should respond to those gifts by living in ways that reflect God’s goodness. God is good. By the grace of God we are saved. Our response should be to do work in the world that reflects God’s goodness. Fairly simple.

What good works do you do?

Lord, perhaps the equation of our faith isn’t as easy to accept as it might be, because we struggle to understand how you could choose to love us and save us before we have even done anything to deserve your graceful attention. We live in a world where work is done for a reward. But that is not the equation of faith. You love us in the hope that we will share your love with others. You are good, and your desire is for us to be like you. Help me to do good works today in response to the grace you have already afforded me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.