Saturday, February 8, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 50: Working for Salvation

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 50, February 8, 2014
Readings: Psalm 50, Genesis 45, 2 Chronicles 23, Acts 17:16-34

Do you ever feel like Christianity is a big list of things to do? A giant, cosmic scale in which your good deeds are weighed against your bad, and your final tally is what determines your eternal destiny? Have you felt like the rich young ruler, who asked Jesus, "What must I do to gain eternal life?"

The problem with that world view, even down to the question (What must I do) is fundamentally flawed. If there was something we could do, if there was some way to earn salvation, then we would be able to wave that flag in God's face. We'd be able to say, "God, I did x+y+z=eternal salvation. You have to let me in." And if that was possible, then God would owe us something. He would be in our debt.

Let's take another tack. If God needed us to do something for him, he wouldn't really be all-powerful, would he? Man didn't invent spaceships to get to the moon for fun. We invented spaceships because we couldn't get to the moon without them. God doesn't need us to do anything for him. If he can create the universe, the world and everything in it, what need does he have for us to do things for him?

The only logical answer: He doesn't. He doesn't need my good deeds, my bible reading, my prayers, or anything. Just like parents don't need their children to be kind, loving, respectful, honest or helpful. But we love it when they are. And we love it even more when they grow up to be kind, loving, respectful, honest and helpful people (without parents around to encourage it.) Frankly, as a parent, I don't really feel any joy when my child says "thank you" if I have to prompt her. But if she says it without any prompting, I am so happy. I believe that God works the same way - what do you think?

"Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.

If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and it's fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." (Psalm 50:7-15)

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