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The Workin' Man's Blend

There is a philosophy that encourages salvation, or spirituality, through works done in the flesh. We are consistently encouraged to pray more, fast more, study and read more, and make financial sacrifices all under the implication that doing these things actually makes a person more assured of salvation. Of course, none of these works are insignificant and each of them has merit, but none of them should be enforced upon church members as a means to salvation.

First of all, there is nothing you can do in your own flesh to create the salvation process. Jesus alone saves us. Our requirement to receive this salvation is to believe on Him. The work is done through His sacrifice at Calvary and it is His effort that moves us from one side of the great gulf between God and sinful man to the other. Once there, He has established ways for us to draw closer to Him and continue in growth in Him, which includes obedience to His Word.

There seems to be a fear that if spiritual leadership teaches salvation through Christ's work of grace, the listener will not be interested in the needful works of prayer and reading. The assumption is that they will believe that if they are saved by His work, then as Christians they need do nothing at all to receive salvation. As is common in the realm of error, there is an imbalance in the instruction. People are being taught that works save them and not that these works are encouraged in Scripture to improve the relationship between the saved and the Salvation Giver. (Please see a previous study on Relationship found in the "Regular" link in this website.)

What is infrequently taught is that the great things we can do to know God better, such as reading His word and talking with Him in prayer, are actually ways to improve the relationship between you and God. In the physical realm we must talk to and study the people with whom we intend to have relationship. The same is true spiritually. However, guilt should not be associated with randomly failing to participate in these things. If a person never reads the Bible and never prays, chances are that his relationship with God is not where it could be. If he has a heart for God and a desire to know Him, these things will take care of themselves.

It is comparable to working for a boss who is never satisfied with your work. You always have a feeling that you are never quite reaching the bar and that you never really will. You keep scurrying about day in and day out trying to do the work, but you never feel that he accepts you and your efforts. This is a philosophy that affects us spiritually as well. You can never pray enough. You can never read enough. You'll never match up to what God really wants from you. Too many times this guilt results in a person giving up entirely in their attempts to know God more. God can't be served out of guilt. He is served out of love and a desire to know Him.

Unfortunately, what we fail to realize many times is that God has already done the work. The salvation work is complete. It's a matter of you accepting it. He simply picks you up from one side, the life of sin, and moves you to the other side, a life of freedoms, just like that. Once you've accepted His work, He wants to help you grow in Him and do your best to live a Christ life. This includes repenting of sin, every day, and realizing that we are human and we will regularly mess up. This includes being baptized according to the abundant Scriptural examples we have so that the inherent sin of mankind is washed away from your life. This includes being filled with the Spirit of Christ which will help you so much in your attempts to understand His word, overcome temptation, and find strength and encouragement in times of trouble.

In no way am I suggesting that we merely accept God's grace and His work of salvation and do nothing about developing our walk with Him. Read the Bible. Talk to God. Build your relationship with Him. But don't relegate it to a work - a checklist of things you have done that will assure your earning of salvation. You have done nothing to earn salvation. Christ brought that to us by His mercy. Do works to know Him, not to be saved. And there is no guilt associated with these positive things. Allow no one to make you feel guilty for not meeting their demands on you to equal what they perceive to be spiritual. You are responsible to seek God yourself and show others the way. Guilt is gone. Guilt is what you felt when you were living in sin. Accepting salvation and walking toward Him in an effort to know Him more is far from guilt. It brings release and freedom - especially in the fact that you are not the one required to pay the great sacrifice. Jesus paid the price for us. Don't let anyone judge you by their measurements of spirituality. God is your judge and He alone. Know Him. And enjoy what He did for you. He did it. It's all Him. I want to know Him. My knowing Him through relationship, my obedience to His Word out of love, and a desire to be like Him will save me.