“You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. We are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.” (CEB)
Christians are not saved so that they can just sit in a worldly holding tank until Jesus comes back. Deliverance is only one dimension of God’s plan. We are saved for good works to be done in the here-and-now.
A Christian knows that he is saved from his sin through the forgiving work of Jesus Christ. It’s an act of sheer grace on God’s part. A believer is not born again through her effort any more than a baby’s birthed because of her own doing. It is thoroughly the work of God. Even the faith needed to believe is a gift graciously provided by God.
But that’s not the whole story. God also has some plans and purposes in mind for his people. Christians were birthed into a new spiritual community with new commitments to do all kinds of good deeds. It’s as if sin were a weight or an obstacle that has been removed so that living a life full of goodness can now plow ahead and do its work. To be saved is to be freed for a vigorous moral life.
The great problems of our world are spiritual problems which require believers in Jesus to take the lead in agitating for change. Expecting human governments or corporate systems to take the lead in moral transformation is like asking the fox to guard the hen house.
Christians, churches, and spiritual communities are to labor at the gates of hell for the lives of women caught in sex trafficking; provide uplift and the tools to a better life for those in grinding poverty and hunger; challenge the idolatry of the American gun culture; and, hundreds of other realities of living in a fallen broken world.
At their core, these are not political, social, or cultural issues – they are spiritual. Mass murder violates God’s command to not kill. Hunger and poverty too often result from greedy leaders in power who covet resources for themselves, violating God’s commands to provide for the poor and needy. Sexual slavery treats persons as chattel property and not as image-bearers of God.
God has delivered you from sin so that you can take on the immorality of your world. Perhaps you have a boss who is nothing more than a master of a small world and bullies and manipulates his employees. Maybe your local municipal authorities simply aren’t seeing or purposely turn a blind eye to moral evil in their town. It could be that within your own family there are problems of addiction which need to be graciously confronted and dealt with.
God has placed you in the place you are right now for just this time so that you can do good works, both big and small, taking on an immoral establishment as well as little acts of kindness. Doing good comes in all sizes, and all of us are to share our lives for the betterment of others.
Saving God, you have only good plans for your world and your people. Use me today and every day to be an agent of blessing and goodness, working for the benefit of others who need the power of Christ’s resurrection in their lives. Amen.