While contemplating writing a series of blogs on “faith”, I was struck with an epiphany. To the question of how faith relates to “works” – or for that matter, to grace – I want to suggest that there is a simple way to understand that relationship (especially if we leave the archaic battles of Rome and Calvin Reformers behind and turn to the scriptures as our source for authority).
As we saw in the last post (How To Rest In God), God created man on the last day of his work while man was still dead, then He placed man in Eden (the Rest of God). But Adam’s disobedience resulted in his being removed from the rest of God and into the curse of work. The only way then to get out of the curse of “work” [Genesis 3:23] and back into God’s “rest” is to accept Jesus’ invitation:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. [Matthew 11:28-29]
My epiphany then is this: Faith is that act by which we believe that God did all of the work so that we can enter his rest! Faith is never conceived in the scriptures as a “merit of earning salvation”, faith by definition is accepting the fact that God did all of the work necessary to make salvation possible.
The invitation to “come” and to “take” are not merits of salvation, but acts of faith, the act of recognizing that God performed all the merits or works required for salvation. I’ll say it again:
- FAITH IS ACCEPTING GOD’S INITATIVE!
- FAITH IS RECOGNIZING THAT GOD DID ALL OF THE WORK REQUIRED FOR SALVATION!
- WE ARE CALLED TO HAVE FAITH!
- WE ARE CALLED TO ACCEPT GOD’S INITATIVE!
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourself, it (grace for salvation) is the gift of God – not by works (but by the faith of accepting Gods gift of grace), so that no one can boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9]