4th September 2019

Works of Love

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.”
Revelation 20:11-12 (ESVUK)

The Day of Judgment is more often than not viewed as a time of great fear. If we think how it has been portrayed perhaps the altar wall of the Sistine chapel comes to mind, where Christ is pictured with his hand out consigning the wicked to everlasting torment. Music? Listen to the terrifying chorus, Dies Irae, from Verdi’s Requiem. ‘Day of Wrath’ the choir sing…‘how much trembling is about to be when the judge is about to come and strictly examine all things’.

Both are interpretations of that time when the dead will be judged, as the scripture says, according to what they have done. It is so often represented as a time of total terror. And if judgment is according to all we have done then it looks like we’ll all be in trouble. Has God changed his mind now we’ve arrived before him, Jesus has moved the goal posts and now it is no longer grace and faith that matter? Can it be that works are now the criteria for receiving eternal life? Will he now castigate us and pronounce that our lives have failed his pass mark?

But every day we all do ‘works,’ and what we do in our lives is an expression of what we believe. Writing to the Galatians, Paul explained that if they turned to circumcision and the keeping of the law, as some were telling them they should, they would be severed from Christ and fallen away from grace. And he adds: “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love” (Galatians 5:2-6). James stated bluntly: ‘faith apart from works is dead’ (James 2:26). Of course – our response to God’s love and grace is going to be seen in the actions of our lives.

So we have no need to fear that God has changed his mind. If we see our works as something we have to do to ‘get into heaven’ then that’s a view we need to dump. It is the motivation of our works that differentiates us from those who mostly live their lives for themselves. The faithful do the works that express their joyful obedient response to their God and Saviour. Let us be doing them.

Prayer
Father, you have revealed your love to us in Christ Jesus and have given us the power to respond to you in how we live, so that through your grace we may stand before you and offer our works of love.
Amen

Study by Hilary Buck
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About the Author:
Hilary Buck pastors Grace Communion in Lewes.
Like us on www.facebook.com/GCLewes

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion in Lewes
The House of Friendship
208 High Street
LEWES
BN7 2NS

Meeting Time:
Sunday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Hilary Buck
Email: lewes@gracecom.church

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