We are saved by grace. Not by works. Does that mean once we are saved we don’t need to do anything? As Paul would say, “Certainly Not!” I think there is a reason that God doesn’t just take us up to heaven the moment we are saved. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit, but we are also guided by Him to do good works.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Without Christ, we can do nothing. With Him, we can endure all things and we can “bear fruit.” Bearing fruit means living according to God’s will, doing good works according to His purpose, having strength in our weakness, ministering to others, lifting up our brothers and sisters in Christ, letting our light shine so that others can see Christ in us.
We as a church body and members of the body have many responsibilities, I think. One thing we are lacking is discipling new believers. I think many new-born Christians ask the question, “now that I am saved, what do I do next?” Hopefully we don’t stop at just showing people how to be saved, but show them how to grow as a believer. I have previously written posts about what it means to be saved and what it means to pick up our cross. I think that is a good place to start. The last post was about being a part of a church and why go to church? This is where we can fellowship with others and learn how to grow. As we read God’s word, pray daily and seek godly advice from others, we can become more mature followers of Christ.Yesterday, the sermon in our church service was about spiritual warfare. Taking up the whole armor of God is about doing those things that every believer, every member of the body, every church ought to be doing. There are so many tangents I can go with this. I will try to list some of the things we all should be doing and perhaps go into more detail in future posts. Many of these things I have also previously posted. I don’t have all the answers, but if you have questions I will try to answer them or direct you to the answer.
I think I will make bullets (in no particular order) here and then in my next posts add scriptures and comments about each of these. I pray that this will help you in your walk with God.
- First, you must be born again. Believe in Jesus Christ and through that you will become a new creation.
- Walk in the Spirit. Live in a way that honors Him as the Spirit leads you.
- Put on the full armor of God; Submit to God and resist the devil.
- Do not love the world. Overcome the temptations of this world and your flesh.
- Be in the word and in prayer daily. Not just as a routine, but dive into it to be closer to God and to know Him better. Know what God’s will is for you.
- Love one another. Be part of a church body and show love to fellow believers. Also, love those outside of the faith.
- Share what the Lord has done for you to those around you. This is an act of love, to tell the truth so that others can know God. Be baptized. It does not save you, but it is an outward testimony of your faith in Jesus Christ.
- Be involved in your church and in ministry. Find out what your spiritual gift is and use it and your talents to help others and edify the church, God’s people, giving Him the glory.
- Have fellowship with those in your church, that you may encourage each other, pray for one another, hold each other accountable, learn from each other and get godly advice when needed.
- By doing these things, you will have strength through tribulation, and the tribulation that you go through will help you mature as a believer.
- This will also give you strength through persecution, and your endurance will help you to grow and be a testimony to those who observe it.
- Discipleship: As you grow, teach those who are new and less mature in their faith. We as a church need to be discipling others, not just through Bible studies and sermons, but in more intimate setting through small groups and individually.
Think about these things and practice them. We will discuss each of these further. Perhaps there is more to add to this list but it is a good start. I believe if you follow these things, you will see your faith grow.