Salvation is free. This is an undisputed fact. Yet time after time, I find myself placing importance on works. Jesus was the sacrificial lamb. John 4:10 (to the woman at the well)Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” Here Jesus is saying it is a Gift. Ephesians 2:7-9: 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. In addition, you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
The big question is should we stop doing good works? Absolutely not. We do good things because Jesus did good things. We are living by his example. The catch is we should not allow our works to become the focal point, Key word OUR. It is hard, because along comes the “I mean well” person and they give you positive attention, and award for the charity work you are doing. The attention feels good. The next thing you know, you want more attention. More accolades. This is the point where the works are being done for the wrong reason. Instead of doing good things for Jesus’ sake, to glorify God, we are seeking our own glory and in fact, we are seeking favor from God. See Me God; See what I am doing for your kingdom. However, Nehemiah 13:31b: Remember this in my favor, O my God. He is asking for God’s favor. There are other examples in the Bible of people requesting God’s favor. Why is it wrong to ask for God’s favor? It is not wrong to ask for God’s favor in our lives. I often pray that God gives us favor in this task or some other task. I do so because the task seems difficult. What I really should be requesting is strength. I should be requesting the financial resources for the task. Well then, why did Nehemiah as God to favor him? The key is Salvation. Jesus had not yet died on the cross for our sins in Nehemiah’s time. You see with Salvation we do not have to ask for favor we have to ask Jesus to live in us. With Jesus, living in us the “favor” is automatically granted because we are children of the one true King. That is the big difference in the Old Testament people had to work hard at doing the right thing all the time- not that we do not have to work hard at doing the right thing; but it is not how we get into heaven. We have a simpler path. All we really have to do is give the invitation to Jesus. We do good works to help win other souls. Because it is through showing the love of Jesus to the world that, others see the Glory of Jesus through us. We are no longer trying to win God’s favor into heaven.