“Did God call me on account of my holy life? Or on account of my Pharisaical religion? Or on account of my prayers, fasting, and works? Never! Well then, it is certain that God did not call me on account of my blasphemies, persecutions or oppression. What prompted Him to call me? His grace alone!
– Martin Luther

In harmony with what our fellow brother and Christian once said, we have done nothing to merit our salvation. A common trap we as Christians may easily find ourselves snared in time and time again is our works. We have been divinely saved by grace yet we endeavor to impress God with our works; our self-righteous filthy ragged works! A good example of works is of Cain who “brought an offering of the fruit of the ground”Genesis 4:3. Cain gave his pumpkins, cucumbers, carrots, oranges, and cabbages to God. The Bible says that God “did not respect Cain and His offering” Genesis 4:5. To understand God’s displeasure in Cain’s sacrifice we must go back to what God ordained after the fall. God said that “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil (works) you shall eat of it” Genesis 3:17; This meant that anything that came out of the ground came from man’s effort, his sweaty works. We read how God refused Cain’s sacrifice preferring to take pleasure in the sacrifice of Abel.

On the contrary, what was so significant about Abel’s offering? Abel’s sacrifice spoke of a given life, the death of a lamb or of the firstborn of his flock. It represented the death of Christ who was the firstborn. He was given to die for us so that we might become the righteousness of God “not of works lest anyone should boast” Eph 2:9. Our works and effort to attain to righteousness can only come by grace through faith in the sacrifice of Christ to anyone who believes. We cannot do anything else to deserve the love of God or have him forgive us of our sin. If our sins could be removed by our own effort and good works then what was the point of sending Jesus to die for the remission of our sins? If Christ was given for our sins then justification has come through faith in Christ. This is the theme of the new covenant; that grace and salvation have come near to us who did not and do not deserve His loving acceptance. There is no self-merit in this. There is no self-honor in grace. Our works cannot dismiss sin. Only in the sacrifice of Jesus do we find righteousness through faith and not of works.

CTMI Magazine Staff