Thursday, September 13, 2018

September 14, 2018

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness" II Peter 1:5a

I loved playing baseball as I was growing up. I'm sure I spent thousands of hours practicing baseball.

My buddies and I spent long Summer days playing pick up games on a vacant lot surrounded on every side by a fence. A ball hit over the fence was a home run and we kept season statistics on home runs and runs batted in we hit a lot of homers.

Since we usually only had one baseball whoever was in the outfield would have to climb the fence each time to retrieve the ball. If the ball was hit over the right field fence you had to be careful that it didn't land in a cow pie.

After we grew bigger and stronger and it became too easy to hit the ball over the fence right handed, we turned around and learned to bat left handed. About the time we started knocking the ball out from the left side, someone bought the lot and built a house on it.

When I wasn't playing a pick up game I was involved in an organized Little League game. In the meantime I was bouncing a tennis ball off the side of a building to practice fielding grounders.

It is safe to say I was devoted to baseball. Of course, like every kid, I had the dream of playing pro baseball.

All that devotion paid off in allowing me to make it at the college level, but that was as good as it got.

Peter's admonition to "make every effort" is a challenge to devotion. It literally means "bend every energy". There was never a time on the baseball field when I wasn't "bending every energy" toward the game.

Now, as I look back I wonder what might have happened if I had devoted all that effort and energy into learning music or another language. What if I would have "bent every energy" to my studies, especially studying the Bible?

Everyone is devoted to something. Being devoted to baseball probably wasn't worth all that energy and effort.

Thankfully, I devoted myself to Someone Who is worth even more energy than I give Him. I am determined to become even more devoted!

What have you devoted yourself to? 

Where are you directing your energies? 

Is it worth it?

September 13, 2018

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling," Philippians 2:12

"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." Ephesians 2:8-9

Hmmmmm! These two verses seem to contradict each other.

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" and then Ephesians says, "you have been saved by faith, through faith -- not by works, so that no one can boast".

How do we reconcile them?

Which one is right and which one is wrong?

That's a trick question, of course! They are from the Bible so they both have to be right - and they are!

Your salvation is an inside job accomplished by Christ's atoning death on the cross and activated in your life through your faith. So, salvation is done by God for you and in you when you confess your sinfulness and trust Christ for your salvation.

BUT, since salvation is a private and personal decision it must bear testimony in public demonstrations. As James says, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds." James 2:17-18

Here is how it works! Through your faith in Christ God gives you His salvation within you. But then it is up to you to live out that salvation in your daily decisions and deeds. As we have been reading, " For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness".

God, through the grace of Jesus Christ and His righteousness, puts His goodness in you but then it is up to you to make decisions consistent with His goodness every day of your life. You must live out His salvation with your moral integrity and courage.

That's how your salvation is designed to work! He places it in you and your live it out!

Do you know His salvation? 

Are you living it out in such a way that others know it?