“But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and by my works I will show you my faith.”
— James [2:18]
FAITH AND WORK
I love the snow. As I was getting ready to shovel for the last time the driveway of the house we had just sold, I thought about why I loved shoveling in the dark of an early morning. It is a time when I can be alone in my mind. The systematic process of shoveling snow inspires my thoughts. The stillness of the morning, surrounded by a moment of pure white. I am bundled up and warm and I know my driveway well. I know where to start and how to finish. This rhythm allows me to reflect on God. I connect the events of my life and silently both pray and am thankful.
“I ask, is this the way Jesus would want me to do it?”
I am glad to do this task that helps my family. When they wake up, the cars are clean and they can safely go about their day. Both my parental and husbandly instincts are satisfied. I take pride in making everything just right. I work hard to do the best job. I ask, is this the way Jesus would want me to do it? And when I finish, I rest and look at my good work. I make the sign of the cross and move toward the house. My work is done.
“Through faith we receive the grace of God. It manifests itself in our good works for others.”
Buried deep in the New Testament is this seldom read verse. We venture into the Gospels. Talk about the mighty writings of Paul. We recite and memorize the Psalms. But this little verse contains both the assurance of faith and its outcome. Through faith we receive the grace of God. It manifests itself in our good works for others. This grace is bestowed upon us from God without merit. But with this grace and faith we work, and our works become a reflection of this faith and grace.
Over the centuries many wars have been fought over whether it is through grace that we are saved or through works. Martin Luther believed that it is only through grace. This became one of the major tenets of the great Protestant revolt. But others will say it is only from our works. However, two things are clear. We are given unmerited grace, and our faith inspires our works.
“While none of us will always be completely faithful and none of us will always do good work, we are saved by the good work of God through grace.”
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
How strong is our faith?
How does this faith manifest itself in our work?
Are we always faithful and do we always perform good work?
What does grace mean?