Those who do not understand the power of God's love to awaken in the heart a living, working faith, will talk of salvation by faith and works. Because they minimize God's love, they must find some human goodness to add to their deficient view in order to make it appear as though their religion is getting the job done. But the Bible knows nothing of a salvation that comes through faith and works, but only of a faith that does work...by love, see Galatians 5:5,6.
Salvation is by grace through faith period. Nothing more. The moment we add anything, there is room for boasting. God's grace is so transforming, and the faith he has given us is so effectual, that every true child of the gospel will be made a masterpiece of good works--no credit to us. Paul does not leave works out of the picture, he simply puts them in their proper place as the fruit of salvation and not the root. He says that salvation is "not of works," but definitely "unto good works" Ephesians 2:8-10. In other words, salvation is not secured by good works, but does produce them.
It is only in the consciousness of God's marvelous grace, by which we are freely saved apart from any works, that we truly prevail over sin and obey the Lord. For when we comprehend the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, we are made entirely new on the inside. Because God's love transforms the springs of motive in the inmost heart, love for sin is conquered as love for God reigns.
In the light of God's love obedience is a blessing not a burden, a delight not drudgery, a privilege not a problem. The heart that has been impressed with a true sense of God's love will not complain or quibble about the high standards of holiness the Lord holds up. There will be no question as to how little can be done in order to slip into heaven. We will not ask, What does God require? with a tone that suggests an interest in minimum requirements. One great passion will reign supreme in the soul--the honor and glory of God.
So turn your eyes away from yourself. Fasten your gaze upon the cross of Christ. Rivet your attention there until the reality of God's astounding love wins the deepest loyalty of your heart.
I think you'll find that Christianity is like marriage, love makes all the difference in the world.
Loving Father, precious Lord Jesus, grant that I would know the wonderful experience of obedience from the heart Teach me to find inward delight in Your holy law. Win me, dear Savior, win me at the deepest level of my motives. In Christ I pray. Amen
(Friends, I am going through a real tough emotional time right now and this book is probably keeping my head above the problems as I prepare it for you to read. If any of you would find it in your heart to pray for me, I would really appreciate it to the utmost. Grandma Joan)