On Christian Zeal: Part 4

12 Jun

helping2

Christian Zeal is devoted to good works.

Oftentimes we hear the cry, “Deeds not creeds!”  Such cries come as a reaction to the intellectually-driven churches and individuals who spend all their time studying, gaining more information, and oftentimes failing to act on all that information. This reaction, however, swings too far in the other direction, diminishing the distinctive truths of our faith that inform our deeds, for the sake of “doing.”

As we have seen in the previous installment of this series, Christian zeal is ruled by Scripture (what we believe about God, man, sin, justice, redemption, life, death, etc.) and, therefore, is necessary for any works that we might do.  We must know what we believe and why we believe it before we can serve in ways that accurately reflect our beliefs and fulfill the calling God has given His people.

Does this, then, exempt us from good works?  By no means!  As we grow in our understanding of God’s Word, our love for our Heavenly Father grows as well, and out from this flows both a desire for, and the performing of, good works towards others.  We see this pattern laid out for us in Ephesians 2:1-10.  Paul explains the sinfulness of man, the graciousness of God, and salvation by grace through faith, in Christ, and then, in light of these things, states in verse ten: We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.  Good works that were prepared by God beforehand.  Why? So that in light of His gracious redemption in Christ Jesus, we might walk in them, to His glory and the good of our neighbors.

This reveals what our motive should be in doing good works.  In light of the grace given to us in Christ, we should strive to be gracious towards our neighbors in whatever ways we can.  We show love because we have been loved.  We forgive because we have been forgiven.  We serve because we have been served.  And all of this serves as a testimony to the truth of the God of grace, as 1 Peter 2:12 says, “they [Gentiles/unbelievers] may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

And in this way, we also participate in God’s work of restoration.  There will come a day, when Christ returns, and all things are restored to the way God intended them to be.  All things will again be “good”.  The Kingdom will be established on earth, and we will live and serve in worship to God.  Yet, until that day, we see the reign of Christ and the restoration of the earth taking place in the good works God has prepared for us to walk in.

Pray that God would enliven your heart to good deeds as you continue to grow in your knowledge and love of God through the Scriptures.  And may our cry be, “Creeds and deeds, to the glory of God and the good of man!”

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