Saturday, March 17, 2012

Is Salvation Enough, or Do We Also Need Good Works?; Letting the Lord Shine Through

Today's Reading:
  • Matthew 25:31 - 26:13
  • Psalm 31:9 - 18
Read Bible Passages Online

Matthew 25:31 - 26:13
Jesus told the story of the sheep and the goats.  He says that when he returns the people will gather together like sheep and goats.  Jesus will act as a shepherd and separate the two, seating the sheep on the right and the goats on the left. 

The sheep were the ones that fed the hungry, helped those in sickness, visited those in prison, and welcomed strangers into their homes.  Jesus says that those who do those things for his brothers and sisters are doing those things for Jesus himself. 

The goats were the ones who did not do those things.  The sheep were to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and the goats were sentenced to be cast into the eternal fire.

The thing I take away from this is that we must both be saved and do good works to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  I do not believe that there is any way that our good works can save us without the blood of Jesus.

What I think is that those who are saved are truly transformed and as a result they begin to live their lives differently.  With the love of Jesus in our hearts, how can we not have compassion for others?  How can we not help those in need?  How can we walk past a person who needs help and just ignore them? 

Jesus is in us and he truly transforms us and the way we interpret the world.  That feeling swallows us when we are first called to be saved but it doesn't always last.  We need to constantly evaluate ourselves to determine if we are letting Jesus shine through us, or are we shutting Him back -- little by little -- until He disappears from us entirely? 

Psalm 31:9 - 18
This is a continuation of David's plea to the Lord to protect him.  I found verse 8:10 to be particularly interesting:
I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness.  Sin has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.
Here we are told that not only does sin create a chasm between us and the Lord, it zaps our livelihood.  It shortness our lives.  It creates sadness.  On this earth, in this life, we will know constant sorrow, grief, pain, anger, and be wronged.  That is a condition of the sin of mankind. 

But we can control what we do to our own bodies.  We don't have to further add to our own sorrows by continuing to sin.  Of course we are going to sin, we are painfully human.  But we can control ourselves and try to live righteously.  We can control what we do onto ourselves.

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