My experience over the last 8 years has me living in Utah and constantly defending a position that good works can never erase the bad you’ve done and only through a belief in Christ can your sins be forgiven. Once forgiven, God sees you as He sees Christ – perfectly holy, and fit for eternity with Him. Nothing can separate me from God’s love.
However, through all of that effort, I must remember that Jesus has no patience for those who acknowledge Him with their lips but let that be as far as their commitment goes. I read Luke 3 today and this is what was written…
“I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Luke 3:16, 17
See, when the separation occurs, I don’t want to be found as being the chaff…worthless. Not just because of the judgment it brings, but because I love my Savior and what He’s done for me and I want to hear him say, “well done!”. In the sense that good works only come from the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is given to those who believe, I know that in one sense, judgment will come in line with my works. John spoke to the pharisees when he saw them coming…
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
My lineage, my family’s faith, my church’s belief statement, etc – will not save me. Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Do you know what that means? Repentance means turning your life around and living a completely new way…so the fruit of our lives must evidence the change that has taken place or else we must be honest and ask ourselves, ‘has repentance really taken place?’
My prayer today: “God, I am so sorry for the times that I’ve been lukewarm. I am sorry when my ministry has been more about a job and less of a calling. When you separate my life, I want you to find more wheat than chaff. I want you to find a heart after yours and to see a constant process of repentance lived out in all my days. Help me this day to love you more, love my wife and family more, and to serve my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ with more abandon than I have in the past.”