Monday, July 8, 2013

Only in the Dictionary

By Adam Faughn
     "Work" is a word that many people do not like to see. We like to think that we can get certain results without work, but such is not the case.
     Only in the dictionary ...
Does "love" come before "work."
Does "trust" come before "work."
Does "growth" come before "work."
Does "heaven" come before "work."
     These are just four examples of things people want to achieve without really working for them. Obviously, love is is an emotion, but real love takes a lot of work to build and maintain. We only gain trust from others when we put forth the work necessary to build that trust (which usually takes some significant time, too). A relationship, business, effort, or congregation will not grow unless there is a great deal of work involved.
     But, what about heaven? Can we go to heaven without working? When we preach that one must be baptized in order to be saved (cf. Acts 2:38), we are often told that we are preaching a "works salvation." It is said that we are preaching that one can earn his or her way into heaven.
     Nothing could be further from the truth! God's grace saves, but He still requires us to do certain things (cf. Philippians 2:12). Most of those who state we preach works salvation will teach that one must believe in order to be saved, and some will teach that one must repent of sins. Are these not works, too? They may not be quite so obvious outwardly, but they are just as much a work as is baptism.
     And, when we think about it, baptism is really passive compared to the others. I believe. I repent. I confess. But, I am baptized. Someone must baptize me!
     The Bible also makes it clear that we must continue to work for the Lord throughout our life if we want to be found faithful in the Day of Judgment (cf. Revelation 2:10). We cannot "pile up" enough good works to ear heaven, but we must humbly submit to the commands of God to be found faithful. "Heaven" only comes before "work" int he dictionary!

- Adam Faughn serves as the pulpit minister for the Lebanon Road Church of Christ in Nashville, TN.  He may be contacted through the congregation’s website at: 

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