he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done

Based on my level of education and number of years with a congregation, I thought I was ready to “do” the work of God. What I was ready for was to repeat what others have said and that I either agreed with or have found interesting. Seeking to “do” the work of God, many Bible Studies came and left, many Sunday Schools came and left, many Revivals came and left, many tithings came and left, many hours of attendance and participation came and left. I saw others “do” the work of God and thought that I could do it better, more organized. And that if my money was to be involved in fabricating this work of God then so be it. It seems beyond honorable that God, the God that I have often heard about, should have a care for my money. In the end, I easily conceived that the more I “gave to God”, the more I was “making” God happy.

Despite all my “works” for God, I remained thirsty always for the next big thing, the next “moving up”.

But once Christ pulled me out of the limbo dance of religion and brought my attention to his words in John 6:29, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent”, I couldn’t reconcile what I was doing with Christ’ words. I had to reject my works for Christ’ words or reject Christ’ words for my works. The choice was easy because I had started to run out of money, started to have enemies for not giving as much as I used to.

When my funds were being depleted and that donations were coming in less, and anxiety was overcoming leadership over insufficient funds for bills and building projects, people’s true color were being revealed to me then. My works couldn’t preserve my reputation in the church anymore. As my works couldn’t preserve my reputation anymore, faith alone in Jesus made all the sense evermore. Faith in God’s love for me made all the sense evermore. Faith in the finished priestly work of Christ made all the sense to me evermore.

None of it would have made any sense to me while sitting on the wagon of religion. None of it would have made any sense to me while keeping up with the programming of religion. None of it would have made any sense to me had Christ not pulled me off the wagon of religion to point my eyes to his death on the cross as the foundation of everything I will ever need in life.

Fear kept me in religion. The love of God set me free from religion. It’s not the Bible Studies, nor the Sunday Schools, nor the Theological Seminary, nor my time and money that made the difference to me. It’s God’s love for me. It’s Jesus.

Christ did the work of God. I simply needed to believe in it without adding to it, without removing from it. The work of God is the grace of God. It’s built on the truth of God by the love of God. The Spirit of God teaches the things of the Spirit, not fear. The Spirit of God teaches to our spirit that we are children of God.

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)

Kindness and love appeared, God saved me. Not because of righteous things that I had done, but because of his mercy. He saved me through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Whom he poured out on me generously through Jesus Christ my Savior. So that, having been justified by his grace, I might become an heir having the hope of eternal life. That, my friend, is how my salvation took place and remains secured in Christ’s final work of a priest for me as empowered by God His Father who now is my Father because of His love for me. This I cherish day after day.

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