I hope at least a couple of you are wondering why I haven’t posted in a couple weeks. If you are one of those two people, lol, here is why.
My attempt to expand last year’s “Rebuilding the Foundation” series into a booklet on this blog is floundering. I took a look at the outline of the original teaching I did last year, and I realized I could probably expand the outline more successfully than what I am accomplishing here. I have been expanding that outline on my computer rather than posting here.
I don’t want to stop posting here, though, so I am going to post articles that are related to the “Rebuilding the Foundations” teaching (RTF). Today, the topic is …
We Can’t Do Anything Without Jesus
I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (Jn. 15:5, WEB)
That about says it. I don’t have to add anything at all to scripturally prove the premise of this post. So instead, let me explain how this relates to RTF.
Good Works and Grace
I am regularly told that I should tell the other side of the good works story. “Yes,” I am told, “good works are important like you are teaching, but you need to tell the other side of the story as well.”
I have two answers to this. One, the other side of the story is told weekly in pulpits, daily in contemporary Christian songs, and daily in our comfortable and unmotivated Christian lives. Two, I never stop telling the other side of the story, even when I am talking about good works.
Back on May 8, I posted “The Bible’s Amazing Focus on Good Works. Let’s review what I covered:
- We are commanded to “affirm constantly” that God’s people should be “careful” to maintain good works (Tit. 3:8).
- We are to think about how to “provoke” (or “annoy”) one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24).
- One of the main purposes of Scripture is to give us the tools to equip one another for good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
- Grace will teach us and enable us to reject worldly living and to live godly (Tit. 2:11-12; Rom. 6:14).
- Jesus died to purify us from all lawlessness and to purchase for himself a people zealous for good works (Tit. 2:13-14).
- We will be judged by our good works (1 Pet. 1:17).
- We are enabled to do good works by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 2:6-7 w/ Gal. 6:8-9).
- Being born again sets us on a path of good works (Eph. 2:8-10)
These Scriptures not only show us the importance of good works, but they show us that God gave his Son, bought us with his blood, and gave us grace, the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, the new birth, and each other so that we would be able to do the good works that lead to eternal life. That’s a pretty heavy dose of “the other side of the story,” don’t you think?
As we saw in John 15:5, we cannot do anything apart from Jesus. As I pointed out when I wrote about Romans 2:6-7, the problem with that verse is that the very next chapter points out that “no, not one” actually patiently continues to do good works. Even those who come close are going to include among the sinners, so that Jesus can be the one Redeemer and the One who justifies us all (Rom. 3:21-26).
Along with these lovely passages about grace and spiritual power, I also pointed out that God still expects us to patiently continue to do good works and that we will reap corruption rather than eternal life if we do not (Gal. 6:7-9). This is not a popular thing to point out even though it is repeated over and over and over again (e.g., Rom. 8:12-13; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-7; 2 Pet. 1:9-11; 2:20-21, etc.). Pointing it out seems to negate everything I said about God’s amazing benefits to us in grace, the Spirit, and each other.
The fact is, neither should be said without the other. Every time we are told that belief in the Son leads to eternal life (Jn. 3:16), we should also be told that disobedience prevents life and leads to the wrath of God (Jn. 3:36).
Do not be deceived, little children, the one doing righteousness is righteous as He is righteous. (1 Jn. 3:7)