And what He empowers you to do for Him
Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, August 7, 2017
This is devotional thought number 45 in our devotional series, “Essentials of Faith.” Our subject is: Growth in Him
Here’s the question for consideration: What part of my salvation and spiritual growth do I accomplish on my own?
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4–5).
Relax While We Discuss God’s Grace
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nakas. Nenio. Lutho! There’s absolutely nothing that we can accomplish with regard to our salvation or spiritual growth without Jesus.
Sometimes people get antsy when discussing salvation because they either loathe the idea of what’s called cheap grace, which means God is permissive and does everything for us without any action from us; or because people fear the legalistic view that we have something of value to offer in this context.
From where has our either/or mentality come? Why does everything need to be so black and white all the time, for us to accept it? Do you want to know the truth? Grace is not cheap. Jesus purchased it with His blood. That grace, dearly purchased by Christ provides power to do all He commands.
This discussion was my soapbox many years ago. I used to say, “All that God requires, He first supplies.” I still agree with me. If I ever hope to be saved, I must repent. The Bible says that God gives us repentance as a gift (Romans 2:4).
If I ever hope to be saved, I must love God with all I am and all I possess. The Bible says that God is the cause of our reciprocal love (1 John 4:19).
If I am to be saved, I must keep His commandments holy. The Bible says that Jesus accomplished that while living in human form so He could fulfill that requirement within us if we are led by the Spirit (Romans 8:3-4).
If I ever hope to be saved, I must have faith in God. The Bible says that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).
If I ever hope to be saved, I must work out my own salvation reverently before God. The Bible says that God not only gives me the will, but the ability to do all He requires (Philippians 2:12-13).
The First, and Best Move Comes from God
Doesn’t the Bible say that if I do my best, God will do the rest? Uh…nope! If fact, God demonstrated in the Garden of Eden, a valuable principle. Before we even are able to make a move toward Him, He must make the first move.
After Adam sinned, he hid in the bushes. God, on the other hand, approached His son to alert him of his true condition, as God prepared to move him and Eve through the salvation process (Genesis 3:8-19; 21). This is exactly what the Holy Spirit does for us today—brings us into a spiritual awareness of our standing with God (John 16:13). What further evidence do you need that all God requires, He first supplies?
All this leaves one issue still open. Does this mean that God is permissive since He does all the real work? What is our part? Well, Matthew 25 gives a great exposé on the matter (read it when you can).
When God entrusts anything to our care, He expects us to return it to Him with interest. The fact that He supplies all to us first, actually increases our responsibility to Him. Can you imagine facing the King of the universe in judgment when He asks what you’ve done with the love He entrusted to you, and your response is, “I squandered it”?
Whatever God gives you, please use it to His glory and the benefit of others. And with the essentials I mentioned today, it’s a matter of being saved or lost. God accomplished the work we need as our spiritual foundation. Anything good we do in response is done only through His power. Use it wisely.