Producing Good Works

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Producing Good Works

Producing Good Works

Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

This passage lays out the way of salvation and the fruit of salvation in three verses. Verses 8-9 explain the way of salvation. That way is by God’s grace to those who exercise faith in God. The sinner needs to trust in the promises of God in order to be saved. Those promises in this context are the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life.
No person is saved because they were seeking and seeking to be forgiven.

Romans 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

No lost sinner cares about God. Every lost person wants to live for themselves. They have their own imaginary heaven and since it is based on their imagination, of course they believe they will go there. It is at the moment of death that the true shock will set in.
By the grace of God some lost sinners get saved. God’s saving grace is at work in every lost person’s life. Most have packed so much junk into their lives that they push the work of the Holy Spirit to the back and they trample His work until it is too late.
I spoke with a man yesterday who said he has a brother who is a musician and he likes to go to different “churches” to “jam” and maybe have a few words. This man has no idea of what a true church is. We do not have a “jam” session in our church. We sing hymns of praise to God. We are selective in which hymns we sing. We try to make sure the theology is correct and that the hymn is giving a right message. We would welcome this man to attend our church, but he can leave his guitar at home. He needs to hear the Gospel and get saved.
As we see in our text, salvation is a gift of God. It cannot be earned. It is not something that is reserved to a certain elite group of people. In I Corinthians 1 God directed Paul to remind us that not many wise will be saved. The intellectually wise person is not interested in God’s truth. He believes he is too far advanced to accept some “out-dated” book as his authority. He may listen to some Bible but he will be analyzing it with his corrupt mind and drawing his own conclusions from it. This will keep him in the dark.
It is important for us to note that the saving grace of God is not a licence to sin. It does not offer man the opportunity to dabble in sin and be considered good in God’s eyes. The saved person that wants to live carnally, will be chastened by God. The Biblical fact is that at times, every true child of God will be tempted to sin. Hebrews 12 promises us that every true child of God will face chastening from the Lord at times. No born again Christian will always submit to God’s will. We will all need help to humble ourselves and be saved. It is important to note God’s purpose for the chastening:

Hebrews 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

God’s chastening is not fun. It has a specified purpose. God never does anything just because or without His designed effect. The born again Christian does not boast that he is under God’s chastening. He will struggle under that chastening and either turn back to where God intended him to be or he might die suddenly due to his refusal to listen to God.
It is important to note that not all death is the result of chastening. There are younger people who die of cancer or other things that are living for the Lord. The truly saved person facing these challenges will know if it is God’s chastening or a part of living in a sin-cursed world.
Verse 9 reminds us that no true child of God has any right to boast. No true child of God would even care to consider boasting of their salvation. Any true child of God would understand that salvation is a gift of God. They would want to exalt God and Jesus Christ, but not themselves. God is good and He blesses those who are saved with His gift of salvation. He wants all to be saved, but sadly, most refuse to be saved.
Verse 10 of our text tells us what the fruit of God’s salvation will be. This verse does not tell us that some will be created unto good works. Those who are saved are created in Christ Jesus unto good works. This is similar to what we looked at yesterday. It is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us of sin. It is the blood of Jesus Christ that provides the means for forgiveness of sin. When a person is saved, Jesus Christ changes them. The same God who created the world out of nothing, has the power and the wisdom to create a new creature out of a wretched sinner.
We see as well that God has ordained that the true child of God should walk according to that which he is created to be in Christ Jesus. Every true child of God can please God. Every true child of God has been changed so that they want to please God.
The true child of God has been fundamentally changed. The changes are authored by God. The saved person must obey the Lord Jesus Christ. They have the capacity to do that and they also have the desire to do that due to the changed nature they have received. As we have already noted, no true child of God will always immediately obey God. However, God is not content to leave His true child in the cesspool of sin. He wants others to know what true salvation is and that is why He works in the heart and life of the saved person. God’s gift of salvation is more precious than we will ever fully understand in this life. The more the child of God grows in the Lord, the more they will appreciate God’s work in their heart.
God shows us in His Word that He is never content to have His child rebel against Him. The Bible teaches us that the saved person needs to be obedient to God first of all, and they need to be obedient to God in seeking to help other professing Christians to walk obediently with the Lord. No true child of God has the authority to set up his own standards of righteousness. The Bible teaches us what the standard or righteousness is. It is a holy standard that is only attainable by the true child of God.
As we noted in other devotionals, those who are saved do no one a favour when we try to cheapen God’s gift of salvation. Those who are saved are not burdened with keeping God’s Word. The indwelling Holy Spirit is working in the heart of the truly saved person and there is a joy in serving God faithfully.
The true child of God does not look at his life as a life of things he cannot do. The true child of God looks at life and he thanks God for His power to avoid the filth of this world. Lost people mistakenly look at the true child of God and they see things that the Christian cannot do. The devil lied to Eve and deceived her into thinking that God was cruel. Eve bought the lie. Adam chose to accept the lie even though he knew better.
There are thousands of people today who look at the Christian life as a life that would restrict them from being able to live a fulfilled life. They have accepted the lies of the devil into believing that sin is good for them. Occasionally a lost sinner gets saved and they are changed and they sing a new song. They then know that God’s gift of salvation is designed to keep the saved person from regretting the many sins that the devil has cooked up.
If you are reading this, and not truly saved, you can choose to listen to the truth and be saved. You cannot change yourself, but if you would humble yourself before God and accept His gift of salvation you too will be changed in an instant of time. You will then be motivated to serve God. You will seek out a good church and you will want to get involved in a good Bible study that can help you to grow in the Lord. This is all the work of God in your heart. It is His blessing to you. Embrace it and grow in the Lord.
Pastor Bartel

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