Pastoral Musing: May 12, 2020
Grace, Faith, Prayer, Good Works. Each is an important pillar of Christian living.
Grace is simply God’s favor towards us, given solely on the merits of Christ. The life, passion and death of Jesus merits grace for us; grace which the Father imparts to us out of His love for His only-begotten Son towards us. Romans 8:5 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,Christ died for us.” You and I have no hand in grace. It is unmerited. All we can do is receive it by faith.
Faith is also a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8 “Forby grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Faith is the “hand” created by God to take hold of grace. God gives us this hand, but we must open it by an act of the will to “catch” and hold onto grace. We never work for (to gain) faith, but we do have to build it up. 2 Peter 1:5 “And beside this, giving all diligence,add to your faith…” God works grace into our lives and gives us the hand of faith to receive it. Having received it, we exercise faith so it grows. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
We diligently seek God through Prayer.
Prayer, like faith has a cooperative aspect. Prayer is a means of grace given to us by God which needs to be practiced by a willing spirit. If our faith is to be fully and properly exercised we MUST pray, and pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Jesus expects us to pray (St. Matthew 6:5). Prayer is not “magic,” but it is powerful (St. John 14:13, 14). While our Father in heaven knows what we need before we ask, we still need to pray in acknowledgement of our total dependence upon Him for everything. Prayer connects us to the will of the Father. As we pray, God’s grace in our lives increases and our faith is strengthened.
Good works are the evidence our faith is genuine. The dichotomy of faith versus works is false! St. James 2:18 states “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew theemy faith by my works.” Works are the fruit of faith. In St. Matthew 7:16-20 Jesus says we will be known as His disciples by the fruit seen in our lives. A tree that does not produce fruit is unproductive, if not dead. All this said, we must not think of good works as being “our own.” Ephesians 2:10 states “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
I think of Grace, Faith, Prayer and Good Works being like the legs of a table. Or, maybe a better analogy is grace is the footer, faith is the foundation, prayer is the studwork and good works is the siding of a house. However we think of them, it is inconsistent of us (if not untrue) to say we are a Christian if all four are not living and active within our lives.
This is my musing for today. Thanks for reading it.