Righteousness and Good Works

dandelionLast week I talked about being content. But I can’t stop there. I tend to err on the side of being too content.

I’m meant to be serving God with joy, but that has softened into happiness. Which melted down into contentment – not with myself, but with my place in life. I’m often satisfied with living a socially acceptable life and letting God’s grace fill in the gaps. I’m not zealous for the Lord! I’m just satisfied with where my life is going, and that is not the same thing at all. There must be love for God’s Word, fear of His holiness, and zeal for walking in the Spirit.

Matthew 6:5 says:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
For they shall be filled.

And the Westminster Confession tells us that good works are the fruits and evidences of a true and living faith.

Good works must come from a heart that is humble and right with God. A good work can only be what is commanded in the revealed will of God. And it must be done for the kingdom and glory of God, with the intention of loving God and my neighbour.

Good works come from the Holy Spirit’s influence, but we mustn’t always wait for His special leading. Instead, we must be diligent in stirring up the grace of God in us.

“Why should we do good works if we have been saved? What purpose can there be in struggling against the flesh when salvation is sure?” you might ask. Well, I know how hard and even hopeless striving for godliness can seem in this broken world. But here are the reasons given by the Heidelberg Catechism  – and, sister, these are biblical reasons!

86 Q. : Since we have been delivered by grace alone through Christ, why must we yet do good works?

A. : Because Christ, having redeemed us by his blood, also renews us by his Holy Spirit to be his image, so that with our whole life we may show ourselves thankful to God for his benefits, and he may be praised by us.
Further, that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and that by our godly walk of life we may win our neighbours for Christ.

The Westminster Confession Chapter 16 says that by doing good works, we show thankfulness, strengthen our assurance of salvation, edify our fellow believers, adorn the profession of the gospel, deprive our opponents of arguments against it, and glorify God. Great!

NB I am not talking about salvation by works, but life after salvation by grace.

Advertisements

The World We Will Inherit

The world being built…
is the world we will inherit…black.tree.2

Have you ever thought about that? Just last evening in my catechism class, the elder who was taking it said to us:

I think that the world in the time you will live in will be  even worse than in mine

Help! I hadn’t thought of that! I’d always imagined my life ahead as being, while not exactly a bed of roses, pretty easy. I had seen my life stretching ahead of me, just waiting to be lived. I hadn’t considered the persecution, the sorrows, the battles to be fought on every side.

Every month, it seems, there is some fresh attack against the family, the church, the Bible, and ultimately, God Himself. More and more the leaders of our nations are straying in their ways, and so leading us away from God also. Our Western civilizations are nearing their ends. Of course, this is a result of six thousand years’ disobedience. Many other causes can be mentioned, but, as always, the matter comes back to the heart. Our leaders’ hearts are turned away from God.

But  we can’t let all the blame rest there. It’s time to look at ourselves. Who are we? What are we doing? Where are we going? Do we understand our world, the way is now, the way it has been, and where it is headed?

Let’s not be content with the direction our world is going. There’s no gain in being fatalistic. Jude verse 3 says “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

We MUST fight the good fight! God will be pleased when we serve Him in desiring his will for all the world.

Life as an Actress

file7781250177228Girls, did you know that you are an actress? You are performing your own life, live on your own personal stage.

Your audience consists mainly of your director. Others come and go, but they do not fully understand your performance. The director instructs you, and gives you guidance when the script is blank. This play is a one-off event, and at the end, you will either gain admittance to the director’s mansions, or be sentenced to eternal death. The director’s son is also watching. He is a perfect man who has acted his play, and is seated with his father.

As you live, you are acting. But you are not reading the script. It is in your hand, but you pay little attention. The script has all you need in order for you to act the play correctly. It is, literally, ‘at hand’, but you ignore it altogether. You see this as your play, and have no intentions of obeying the orders of anyone else. You have your own ideas about what you should be doing and only glance briefly at the script when you are at a loss for what to do or say next. You have no wish to follow the director’s instructions.

Your director is totally repulsed by your performance. You are not following the script at all. In fact, you are doing the complete opposite of what is written! Only occasionally do you do something which vaguely resembles your instructions. The director can only give you a mark of zero and condemn you to a place far removed from him. It is a place where you, among many others, will wander, eternally doing your own thing. Always you will be there.

On stage, your heart grows faint. You realize the futility and absolute worthlessness of your performance, and you have an inner assurance that, when you take your final bows, there is no future for you but listlessness and eternal nothingness. You can feel the full weight of all your misdeeds on your thin shoulders. You fall to the ground, bowed down with anguish and completely humbled. All you can do is whisper,

‘Sir, I can do nothing but to ask you to remove this burden…’

The director stands, and calls out,

“Son, be there!”

The Son comes onto the stage. Gently He lifts you to His shoulder, and begins to act your part. He gives you strength, and you cry, with utmost gratitude, from the depths of your soul,

“Abba, Father!”

How do You Spend Your Time

file000274328404How do you spend your time? And how much of it do you use to read the Bible?

As a young woman living at home, I often find myself with time on my hands. And until recently, I would often use that time to read young adult fiction books from the public library.
We read in 2 Timothy 3 these verses:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work,”
The word ‘adequate’ here means perfect, or complete, and therefore my understanding of this passage is that the Bible is plentiful for everything.
All we need to know about God and how we should live in response to His glorious goodness can be found there. If we devote our time to reading the Word, we can discover God and His will for our lives.
So, if the Bible can answer all these questions, and all we have to do to find the answers is take time to read the Scriptures, the question is,

Why don’t you?

When this question was asked of me, it as if a dagger had pierced me to the heart. It hurt so much. My immediate response was outer silence, accompanied by an inner guilt.
The next day, realizing that I had never actually read the whole Bible, I started reading at Genesis 1:1. I read the book of Genesis in three and a half days, and a week after beginning, I had also read the whole of Exodus.

Although I have slowed down a little, the fire still burns within me. And while I don’t expect everyone to follow my example to the letter, I pray that this post will inspire you to place the Bible high on your priority list.
The Bible is indeed the Word of God, which He has given to us, so that we may be equipped for every good service. And I’m sure it pleases Him when that service is full of joy!