Unfinished: Believing is Only the Beginning - Friday, July 18, 2014
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:22–25)
Food for Thought
The third dimension for us to consider is how people of the kingdom, organized into communities of the kingdom, must now embrace the mission of the kingdom: going into the world as God’s ambassadors.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20).
I want to again underscore that the entire story of Scripture is that of a rescue mission—God seeking to reconcile and restore fellowship with his children. And we who have responded to Christ’s invitation, we who have been rescued and have become disciples, we who have chosen to live under God’s rule in kingdom communities called churches are now called to go and invite others to come too. As World Vision’s late president Ted Engstrom loved to say, “Our job is simply to populate the kingdom of heaven.”
Even when we read perhaps the strongest statement in Scripture of salvation by faith alone and not by works, we find in the very next verse the outline of our kingdom mission to then go and do good works:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:8–10, emphasis mine).
We are saved by faith, and we are saved for works. And God himself has prepared specific people for specific good works. He chooses us for a mission, and he chooses a mission for us.
Question for Reflection
What motivates you to do “good works”?
Father, thank you for freely saving me. Please help my gratitude for your love, your way of life, your worldview drive me to share it with others through love and good work.