Think ye works will save?

Couldn’t resist the King James language. Part of the problem being a tuliphead is that you can get too wrapped up in the irresistable grace arguments. You can assume that when the Holy Spirit calls you to Jesus, all you need do is doze through it; it’s somehow automatic. You needn’t lift a finger.

Sorry. You’ve also got to want to come to Jesus. Nothing you can say or do could stop the Holy Spirit; God is sovereign, and, well, irresistable. If it is God’s will that you are among the elect. If not, then nothing you do matters. If so, then God’s grace will move you to do…good works. And this I believe to be an inevitable consequence of receiving the call.

Does God really care that you do good things in this life? Yes, of course. Jesus’ earthly ministry is our best, and perfect example of what is expected of us. But it is, of course, insufficient. Faith without works may be dead (James 2:14-26), but God repeatedly tells us through Scripture that our works are not really what He needs of us. Rather, as the Psalmist tells us in Psalm 40, He wants His law to be within our heart:

6Sacrifice and offering you have not desired,
but you have given me an open ear.[a]
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”

Or, what Paul tells directly in Romans 3:

27Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Apart from the fact that Scripture so informs us, why should we believe this? For the simple reason that we are all sinners, and it is impossible to satisfy all of the law all of the time. In fact, Jewish lore has included the thought that the messiah would come when all of the 613 traditional mitzvot, or commandments, were carried out in a twenty-four hour period.

The Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth who became The Christ, showed us that what God told us of old is the truth — “your law is within my heart.”

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