Many people make the tragic mistake of thinking that good intentions are good enough to get us to heaven. They're not. Many make an even more tragic mistake of thinking that sentimental feelings are good enough to satisfy the requirement for goodness. The reasoning goes something like this. “If I feel a certain way, that shows I’m basically a good person.” As if God would say, “Hey, you felt sorry for those people who went through that tragedy. At least you care. Way to go.” That's not enough. The apostle Peter makes this issue as plain as possible when he says, “Remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do.” (1 Peter 1:17)

You may say, "Wait a minute. Aren't we saved by faith?" Yes, we are. But let's be clear about it. Faith isn't something you stir up emotionally. It's not some bit of knowledge you store in your head. Faith is something you do. Faith — the kind of faith the Bible talks about — leads to action. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26 KJV). This is a distinction that is absolutely essential for each Christ-follower to understand. You are saved by grace through faith. “Not by works so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) And then the very next verse says, “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” We're not saved by good works. We're saved for good works. There is a big difference.

Your children are your children because they are your children. Not because they earned their way into the family by being good kids, but because they were born into the family. They became your children by the gift of grace, you could say. They received their place in the family, and they will always be your children. Does that mean you have no hopes and expectations for their behavior? No, just the opposite, you want your children to hold themselves to a higher standard, because you want them to live up to the name you've given them.

So when the Bible says that you will be judged according to what you do, it's not talking about a judgment that determines whether or not you belong to Christ. It's the judgment that determines the value of your contribution to God's kingdom. When it comes down to it, the quality of your life is not measured by what you think or feel or say. Neither is it measured by your good intentions. It's measured by what you do. That's why Peter said, "Prepare your minds for action." It all comes down to what you do.

Therefore, since you now know that you will be judged and rewarded according to what you do, begin now to act on your good intentions.


Popular posts from this blog