And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,[a] 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.[
The following started as my comment to yesterday’s article at BeautyBeyondBones; Preparation; A Lesson from Hurricane Irma. It’s turned into a minor dissertation, so I figured, “Hey! Here’s MY next article!” I would urge you to read her article, indeed follow her blog, and even buy her new book, Bloom.
To Beauty BeyondBones:
The most critical thing I read in this blog is this: “Sure I go to church. I try to be a good person and love Jesus. But is that enough? Frankly, I’m impatient, self-centered, and lazy at best. And if I’m being totally honest, I spend more time fixated on The Bachelor or other trash TV than I do in worship to Jesus.”
That’s the Roman Catholic in you coming out (What can I say? I’m a Lutheran and we’re studying The Reformation’s 500th anniversary). It’s not about what you do! No penance, no good works, nothing makes a difference in your salvation. You can’t do it! Only Jesus can and, in fact did. End of story.
Your “loving response” is to make every effort to give a drink to a child, care for widows and orphans, share the Gospel, and do your best to live as Jesus commanded us to.
“If you love Me, you will…”
When Jesus separates the sheep and the goats – you guys visited me in prison, fed me, etc. You guys didn’t. Off you go – unbelievers who did good works don’t get a pass. Matthew 25:31-46
Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
The works are tangible proofs of our faith. And God doesn’t need those proofs! They are for us and for those around us. They are for us in moments of doubt when Satan attacks, such as you may have been experiencing when writing Preparation. I believe but…do I REALLY believe? Well, I do X, Y, & Z so, yeah. But I also sin A, B, & C, but Jesus forgives, and I believe that. The proof of that to me are the good works I do out of faith and love – not because I think they’ll save me.
Satan is also translated as The Accuser. You are right – we will have to answer for our words and actions on the final day of judgement. Satan will make His accusations against you and me before the throne, but Jesus will step in and say, “All true, but Caralyn, Jeff, and the rest have agreed to allow me to pay their debt. So here I am, and here’s my blood. End of story. Now make a hole so I can take my sister and brother up to the Big House.”
And that last line is critical – Jesus has already made the sacrifice, BUT if we don’t accept His payment on our behalf, if we reject Him by not believing in Him, our debt remains unpaid. Going down!
And yeah, you silly thing, you watch the garbage TV, have your nose in your cell phone…just like I have my vices and failings. But I refer you to St. Paul in Romans 7:13-25:
13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
We’re in a lousy state, but we’re in good company if we’re struggling like Paul did. If our lives and struggles echo his, we could be doing a whole lot worse!
And the proofs are for others – to show that our faith HAS made a change in our lives! Proofs give others a reason to listen, it gives us credibility when we talk about Jesus.
Caralyn, is your blog going to save you, because you are reaching so many people with the Gospel? NO! Are your blog and your life one massive collection of PROOFS that you are credible in your message? YES!
Penance? Doesn’t do anything for anyone. No one sees your prayers, etc. And no one is supposed to! They are between you and God. Paul discounts speaking in tongues, because no one understands the speaker, so no one is edified. In the same way, personal penance edifies no one, and since Jesus already paid the price, it doesn’t matter to our salvation.
What does matter? BEAUTYBEYONDBONES! It’s the life that screams JESUS IS REAL! It’s the good work that is a beacon to draw people to the banquet of mercy and forgiveness. BBB is what edifies others!
Are you doing enough? No. None of us can. That’s the point. Only Jesus can. Are you practicing your loving response to His sacrifice? Absolutely! Better than many. Could you do better? Of course. We ALL could. Just maintain the struggle as Paul did. As my pastor says, if you’re struggling, your spirit against your flesh, you’re on the right path: So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
With that last thought, let me refer you back to my article on Mr. Mister and Kyrie Eleison. Bad hair and all. The pertinent lyric?
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine Is where I find myself again.
Caralyn, offered in love and support of the miracle that is BBB! Keep shining…”Tiffany!”