“Do you remember,” Stan asked me one morning, “when we talked about the Holy Trinity and the other three-part things that can get in the way of walking the path God intends?”
“I do,” I responded. “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the Holy Trinity. The other two you mentioned were ‘the world, the flesh, and the devil,’ along with ‘Me, myself, and I’.” [Note: See Posting Number 64, “The Wrong Trinity”.]
“Well done, my friend,” Stan replied. Continuing, he added, “I was in James’ letter earlier this morning and was touched by another statement about three parts that are essential to my walk with God.”
“What three parts?” I asked.
“Conversion, transformation, and works,” Stan replied. “And be sure to note that they are to occur in that order. There can’t be transformation until there is conversion, and the works are to follow as a natural consequence of the process of the transformational walk towards spiritual maturity.”
“What about the idea of ‘working my way to heaven’?” I asked.
“Can’t happen,” Stan replied. “Salvation is the free and gracious gift from God through the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross. There’s nothing that can be done to earn salvation. Either accept it or don’t have it!”
“However,” he continued, “as we have talked about before, and will probably talk about again because it’s important, conversion is not the end of the story. It’s just the beginning. Because I have the assurance of salvation, the knowledge that I’m going to spend eternity with God when my time here is done, something is to follow that assurance.”
“And what’s that ‘something’ supposed to be?” I asked.
“Transformation leading towards spiritual maturity,” Stan replied. “And a part of that transformation is supposed to include works.”
“Works?” I said, “What do you mean?”
“Doing what and being who God intends as the reason He’s leaving me on this side of eternity.”
“While you wait for the train,” I commented.
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “I don’t think God has left me on this side of eternity just so I can sit around and think about how great it’s going to be to spend eternity with Him. No, I don’t think that’s what salvation is all about. Life eternally with God when it is time, yes, but there’s much to be and to do before then.”
Bible verses to consider:
Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. James 2:17.
Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the free and gracious gift of salvation through the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross. And thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit to live in me to help me on the path towards transformation and spiritual maturity. Thank you for the truth that being who and doing what you intend is an essential part of transformation. I confess that too often I focus on what I want to be and to do apart from you, rather than being fully surrendered to you and to your leading. Please help me in following your lead in working out the salvation that you have worked in. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you have the assurance of salvation by having accepted by faith God’s free and gracious gift? If no, why? What is standing in the way? What does “working out the salvation that has been worked in” mean to you? In other words, how would you explain to someone the difference between working out salvation and working for salvation? If you think you understand, how are you doing with that “working out”? If you sense changes may be necessary for that, how are those changes going to happen?