Christian

Changes In Attitude

Or Works vs. Grace

Many have taught that salvation is by grace and not works. This is true. Salvation is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV says For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.

But does this belittle works and what exactly are works? Could it cause some people to give up and not even try to please the Lord?

Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV says Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Is duty work? It doesn’t have to be. Attitude matters.

Mark Twain once said “Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.” Citation

Is it work to not kill? Is it work to not lie, steal, or cheat on your spouse? I think the answer to all of these questions should be no. Character and morals may take years to cultivate, but Jesus told us his yoke was easy and he did not lie. What you once found hard, may become second nature with observance and the Lord’s help.

In the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom is obligated to paint a fence. He turns the situation around by making it appear to be fun rather than work and soon has a handful of boys doing the work for him and even paying him for the opportunity. Young Tom, or at least Mark Twain, understood attitude and ways to affect it.

Just because God provided grace for salvation, oft times defined as undeserved favor, or because even our righteousnesses may appear as filthy rags before the Lord does not mean good works have no value.

On the contrary they are of much value before the Lord and they are of much value upon whom they are bestowed.

I believe God has in store heavenly rewards for our good works. Revelation 22:12. And if you accomplish many good works in your life and don’t even account it work but rather a pleasure, how much greater any later reward for earned favor.

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Defining Behavior

People define God’s law as they see fit. Instead of stretching definitions to suit our own benefit, what if we strictly defined the law in accordance with God’s original intent.

Exodus 20:13 KJV Thou shalt not kill. Seems clear enough, but man changes it to thou shalt not murder. We search out excuses. It’s okay in war, it’s okay in self defense, it’s okay if someone breaks into your home, it might be okay if adultery was involved, maybe there are extenuating circumstances, maybe it’s only manslaughter.

Exodus 20:9-10 KJV …thou shalt not do any work,… Yet, man says it’s not work if it was necessary. It’s not work if you wanted to do it. Even if it was work, surely God won’t hold it against me.

If you’ve never read Corinthians you may skip this paragraph. For those of you desirous of learning and keeping the law, keep reading. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 seems pretty clear. The only question is what is Church. Is it a building? Is it a time? Is it a combination of the two? Is it whenever and wherever two or more are gathered together in Christ’s name? This like all of God’s law depends on the heart of the listener.

When you read or hear the law seek understanding. When you have understanding seek strength. When you find yourself seeking excuses – you should know you are definitely walking in the wrong direction.

When you realize your walking in the wrong direction, there remains 1 John 1:9. Turn and define (live) the law favorably within God’s original intent. Why? Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:14 KJV

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Is Not Working, Work?

Is keeping the Sabbath work for you? It shouldn’t be, but will examine why it might seem like it.

First, when is the Sabbath? Discovering the truth takes a little work. Do you think Sunday is the Sabbath? It isn’t, even in the Roman calendar we have adopted and live by, Sunday is the first day of the week. With some exploration we can discover that Saturday is the Seventh or last day of the week. However, with further study we find it’s actually Friday eve to Saturday eve.

Leviticus 23:32 KJV
It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

This is the only verse that gives a time frame for observing Sabbath Days. It is backed up by Jewish tradition. You may ask why? If you look at Genesis 1, you will find the days of creation were from eve to eve, one day was the evening and the morning.

The command is one of the Ten Commandments and is repeated in more than one verse.

Exodus 20:8-11 KJV
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [11] For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is , and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

So can it be work to observe the Sabbath? It might be. There may be a controversy with your employer asking for the time off.

And then you might wonder how do I keep the Sabbath? Isaiah offers a blessing if we keep it as he proffers:

Isaiah 58:13-14 KJV
If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord , honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: [14] Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord ; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it .

I have found this difficult. Not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words. These are hard at least for me to do. I think Jesus established in the New Testament that we may do good on the Sabbath, but I have not learned how to reconcile all these things in actual observance.

If you observe the Sabbath and would like to comment on how you celebrate the Sabbath, please feel free to comment.

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Works

As I mentioned in my previous post many preachers confuse works with keeping the law.

Is it work to not kill?

Is it work to not steal?

Is it work to not commit adultery?

Is it work to not lie?

I suppose for some people it may be, but are these people following Jesus?

Matthew 11:29-30 KJV
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The Ten Commandments can be found in Exodus 20. If any of them are work to you, I encourage you to ask Jesus to help you keep them!

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Duty vs. Works

Many preachers today preach grace and unconditional love over works. The problem is that they often equate following God’s commandments with works. What does the Bible say:

Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Luke 17:10 KJV
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Remember Jesus said in John 14:15 KJV
If ye love me, keep my commandments.

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