Recently a friend shared this quote with me from the great British preacher Charles Spurgeon: “Of what value is the grace I profess to have received if it does not dramatically change the way that I live? If it doesn't change the way that I live, it will never change my eternal destiny.” That’s an amazing statement that challenges us to take what we say we believe, and put it into practice. In other words, to demonstrate our faith by our actions.
As I’ve been pondering that today, it’s occurred to me that one of the biggest challenges in living out this truth is spiritual legalism. Here’s what I mean - in the modern evangelical world there is a strong emphasis on God’s grace being at work in our lives. The result is that we’re regularly taught that we can’t earn our salvation, and that being adopted into God’s family comes by faith alone. The good news is, that’s all 100% true. We can not earn our own salvation. The bad news is, when we tend to focus solely on God’s grace in our lives, we can easily forget about the responsibilities that come with that grace. And when we ignore the responsibilities and just take God's grace, we're not living how He's called us to live.
So the next question for us to consider then is: “What are our responsibilities as Christians?” Well, the answer to that could probably fill a thousand of these devotionals, but the one God reminded me of this morning is found in 1 Corinthians 6:11 which says, “Your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God and for His purposes”. In this verse, the Apostle Paul reminds us that we have been washed clean by the power of the Holy Spirit, AND set apart for God’s work.
One of our primary responsibilities as Children of God is to carry out the work God has set aside for us to do. And what is that work? Jesus answers it very plainly in Matthew 22:37 when He tells us that the two greatest commandments are to love God, and love others. When we do both of those things, our lives will reflect the grace that we’ve received, as it’s passed along to others. So “demonstrating our faith by actions” is not about being legalistic in following God’s rules. It’s about sharing the grace we’ve received with others.
So today, let’s do that. Let’s take seriously the responsibilities God has given us, and live how He’s called us to live - staying focused on Him, and His plans. Through our obedience to God, and our love for others, let’s show the world that we belong to the God of grace.