In theology there is a constant tension between grace and works. There are two teachings that seem to repel the other.
On one side we have the truth that we are saved by grace.
(Ephesians 2:8 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:All Christians believe that salvation is a gift of God. It is not something that we can earn by a certain number of good works or sacramental rituals. God chooses to save. He cannot be coerced or forced. It is a gift not a paycheck.
At the other end is the demand for obedience to the commands of God.
(Matthew 16:27 KJV) For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.You cannot live in rebellion and disobedience and expect to have eternal life.
This seems to create a tension for some people. In my mind one does not rule out the other.
Use a bicycle to illustrate this tension.
I was hard for me to learn to ride a bicycle because I could not wrap my head around the concept of a gyroscope. I thought that everything depended on my ability to balance. Not so. The thing that keeps you upright is the spinning wheels, not your sense of balance. The spinning wheel gives stability. It is a gift that keeps on giving.
Leaning, however, is up to us. Leaning gives direction, not turning the handles. That was another lesson that was hard for me to learn. A little bit of leaning can make a lot of change in direction. While the spinning wheels kept me upright through some miracle of physics the direction I threw my hips could change the direction of the spin.
If not moving it is impossible to stay up. If not obeying it is impossible to be saved. The two go together. Also once you learn it you never forget. That offers some kind of eternal security, I guess.
Like all analogies it only goes so far and has gaping holes. That is okay. I am not trying to be infallible, just grabbing at little bits of understanding.
homo unius libri
I always thought that those who can't separate work from salvation simply can't understand the existence of phony Christians. Works merely prove your existing salvation by your desire to please the Lord.ReplyDelete
If it is automatic then why is it a command? The foundation is that salvation is a gift. The fact is God is free to chose. The troubling question is how does He chose?ReplyDelete
Grace and peace