Friday, August 19, 2011

What are you trying to earn?

Philippians 3:1-3

     Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters may the Lord give you joy. I never get tired of telling you this. I am doing this for your own good.
     Watch out for those dogs, those wicked men and their evil deeds, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. For we who worship God in Spirit are the only ones who are truly circumcised. We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done in us.

     There is nothing we could ever do to “earn” salvation. We are saved by God’s grace through faith, plain and simple. Before Jesus Christ came to earth and offered himself as a living sacrifice for all, only Jewish people who strictly followed the Old Covenant law were acceptable to God. One of the Old Covenant laws was that a male baby was to be circumcised eight days after his birth. This law or requirement had been in existence for many, many years in the Jewish community, and now that the Old Covenant had been replaced with the New Covenant (being made acceptable to God through the blood of Jesus Christ), some new Jewish converts to Christianity were preaching/teaching and requiring all male Christians (whether Jew or Gentile) to become circumcised in order to receive salvation.

     Paul was very angry about this teaching. Not that it was necessarily circumcision, but the fact, that there were not to be prerequisites to salvation, other than faith and repentance. Right actions in wanting to please God after salvation were to be a result of faith.

     The practice of circumcision to receive salvation doesn’t necessarily continue today, but there are many other so-called requirements that some say are needed, and they are simply not true. God is not looking at how we dress, what we have pierced or tattooed, or how big our Bible is. He simply looks at our heart. We will never be able to earn salvation through our actions or deeds, regardless of what anyone may try to tell us. Once we receive salvation, we are then motivated to change our lifestyle to line up with the Word of God because of the new love of Christ and the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Human effort never has and never will make us right with God; it is only through the free gift of salvation given freely from God through His son, Jesus Christ.

     Have you ever thought that by “doing” right things would earn you a place in Heaven? Has today’s teaching challenged your way of thinking and believing? Today, I challenge you to stop trying to “earn” your way into right standing with God, and simply receive His salvation by accepting the fact that Jesus Christ loves you and died for you. Build a relationship with Him rather than trying to prove that your “good enough” to be accepted by Him.

Have a great day!

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