sin, grace, and salvation

Chores – saved by grace

This week I was browsing Pintrest while feeding Jayla. (By the way, that app is dangerous. It results in unproductive time spent learning how to be more productive and organized. Endless possibilities and intentions can be found on Pintrest, but very few show up in my house. I know someone out there agrees with me.) Anyway… As I perused Pintrest, I saw several ideas for chore charts. So many creative ways to get the kiddos to do their work. I must admit, I’m not the greatest chore commander. I remind my kids to do their chores when I remember not to do them first. When I do remember though, I have heard the response, “Why do I have to (fill in the chore)?” Now, I’m tempted to reply with, “That’s why I had kids. After a few years of marriage, your dad and I were tired of unloading the dishwasher, dusting, and picking up things, so we decided to raise an army of chore soldiers.” However, I reel in my sarcasm and instead tell my kids that they do chores because they are a part of our family. Chores (for both kids and adults) are a part of this life; they can be lumped in with death and taxes as things you can be certain of.

Some people think that chores are part of faith, too. You must do certain things in order to be accepted into a church or be on God’s good side. In order to “earn your keep” in God’s kingdom, you have to complete certain chores (church attendance, baptism, communion, confession, confirmation, tithing, giving to charity, etc.). Some people even go as far as to teach that those are the kinds of things required to get into heaven. God, however, makes it very clear in the Bible that there is only one way to salvation and an eternity spent with him. In Acts 16:16-40, we hear about Silas and Paul’s experience in prison. They were arrested, beaten, and jailed after casting a spirit out of a young girl. While in prison, they worshiped the Lord openly in prayers and song. After a violent earthquake, during which he feared that his prisoners would escape, the jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). The jailer had heard the two men singing and praying to the Lord, even after being arrested, beaten, and jailed because they had cast out a spirit in Christ’s name. It seems that the jailer wanted to follow such a God that these men would praise even in such dire circumstances. “They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31). In Romans 10:9-10, Paul declares the same thing, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Paul is consistent with his message in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”  We are not saved by our works or the chores that we do, we are saved because of our faith and God’s grace. These three verses and several others throughout the New Testament assure us that we do not have to do our “chores” in order to be saved. We simply must accept the free gift of salvation offered to us through Christ’s death on the cross. We must pray and ask Jesus to be our personal savior, confessing that we are sinful (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23) and in need of his sacrifice, grace, and mercy.

Why then, do we do those chores (church attendance, baptism, communion, confession, confirmation, tithing, giving to charity, etc.)?  If they don’t get us to heaven, why bother? As we continue to read in Ephesians, verse 10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God created us to worship him, and once we accept him as our personal savior, we want to worship him. Those “chores” are all ways in which we worship God, our Father, through obedience to his will. The jailer who asked Paul and Silas how to be saved after believing in his heart, followed his faith with baptism. In Acts 16:34, we are told that, “…he (the jailer) was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God — he and his whole family.” The jailer experienced the pure joy that comes from faith in Christ; a joy that doesn’t come from trying to keep up with an endless list of chores. A joy that comes from wholeheartedly trusting Jesus for salvation and committing to a life of serving him. God still wants us to do our chores because they show that we are submitting to his will and showing him praise and love by serving him. Jesus did the only chore required of us to enter heaven, death on the cross as punishment for our sin. Like I tell my kids about their household chores, we do our chores for God because we are part of his family, not in order to become a part of his family.

 

Prayer:

Lord, I pray that more people come to know you each day and become a part of your family because of their faith. Thank you father for the gift of salvation. I pray that you help us to understand that no chore is enough to “earn our keep,” and that it doesn’t have to be, because Christ died for us so that we may be a part of your family and bask in your grace and mercy. Help me to tell others about the message of salvation through faith. Father, help me to do my chores with an attitude that shows obedience, honor, and praise to you.

Amen

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