All you have to do is just work harder
“Just work harder”, you tell yourself, “if I’m ever going to achieve anything”, I’m just going to have to work harder. And this seems to work in just about any situation.
- You need to bring up your grade point average at school, so you work harder.
- You need to get your production up on the job, so you work harder.
- You still want to lose another 5 pounds, so you work harder.
- You are still the slowest player on the team, so you work harder.
- You are still spending more than saving, so you work harder.
- You still haven’t earned forgiveness of your sins, so you stop working harder.
Just working harder can get you somewhere in just about any situation except when it comes to the forgiveness of your sins.
You can’t work for your Salvation
Just think about this; If you could count all the sins you have ever committed what would that come out to? Probably too many to count I would say. But let’s just say, that you committed only five. And if we could see sin as costly and as terrible as God sees it, we would see that every sin is deserving of an eternal judgement. (Sin against and eternal God = eternal judgement) So then, this means that we would need to serve five eternities for those fives sins. So working harder is just useless.
God knew that we wouldn’t be able to just work harder to receive forgiveness of our sins in order to enter into his holy presence. So He took it upon himself. God in his great mercy and love for us made a way for us to receive eternal forgiveness for the countless sins that we’ve committed and will commit. Jesus lived a sinless life to satisfy God’s holiness, took our pace on the cross to make the payment for our sin debt, and raised from death to show us that he has the power to do anything he says he will.
So the opposite is required for the forgiveness of sins. Paul gives us one of the clearest statements on this in Ephesians 2:8-9. He says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Even if you wanted to you couldn’t do it. You would be wasting your life away trying to work to get salvation from God. Why would you, when he says you can receive it as a gift?
You can work from your salvation
So once you receive salvation through the forgiveness of your sins, do you just sit around and wait on Jesus to return? No, you can’t work for your salvation but you can work from your salvation. When you do it actually speaks loudly of what has happened inside of you. Your new redeemed heart wants to show gratitude to God for what he has done for you. You will want to do because of your salvation not in order to get it. James was dealing with these same thoughts around two thousand years ago and this is how he responded.
James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.”
Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
James tells us that he is not working towards something but instead that he is working from something. It’s because he already has faith that he is working. His works give proof to what he already has.
Today you can stop working for and start working from your salvation. Want more on this: Are You Good Enough to Get into Heaven?