We are God's work

A new year begins in this troubled world as we continue our amazing journey further and further into the Kingdom of God! As Paul wrote, God has already made us citizens of his kingdom by "saving us from the power of darkness and placing us in the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have salvation, the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1,13-14).

Since our civil rights are in heaven (Phil. 3,20), we have an obligation to serve God, to be His hands and arms in the world, loving our neighbor as ourselves. Because we belong to Christ, not ourselves or In the world around us, we should not be overcome by evil, but should overcome evil through good (Romans 12,21). God has the first claim on us, and the basis of this claim is that he freely reconciled us and redeemed us when we were still surrendered in hopeless bondage to sin.

You may have heard the story of the man who died, then woke up and saw himself standing in front of a huge golden gate with a sign on it saying, "Kingdom of Heaven." Jesus said, "You need a million points to go to heaven. Tell me all the good things you've done that we can credit your account with - and if we reach a million points, I'll open the gate and let you in. "

The man said, "Good, let's see. I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated or lied to her. "Jesus said," That's wonderful. You get three points for it. "The man said," Only three points? What about my perfect presence at the services and my perfect tithing? And what about all my alms and my ministry? What do I get for all this? Jesus looked at his scores table and said, "That's what makes 28 points. That brings you to 31 points. You only need 999.969 more. What else did you do? The man panicked. "That's the best I have," he groaned, and it's only worth 31 points! I'll never make it! "He fell to his knees and shouted," Lord, have mercy on me! "" Done! "Exclaimed Jesus. "One million points. Come in!"

This is a cute story that shows an amazing and wonderful truth. As Paul wrote in Colossians 1,12, it is God, "who made us efficient, the inheritance of the saints in the light". We are God's own creation, reconciled and redeemed by Christ, simply because God loves us! One of my favorite fonts is Ephesians 2,1-10. Note the words in bold:

"You, too, were dead by your transgressions and sins ... Among them, all of us once led our lives in the desires of our flesh and did the will of the flesh and the senses and were children of nature's wrath as well as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, in his great love, with whom he loved us, also made us alive with Christ, who were dead in sins, by grace, you have been saved; and he has raised us up and intervened in heaven in Christ Jesus, that in the days to come he may display the effusive riches of his grace through his goodness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved by faith, and not from you: it is God's gift, not from works, that no one should boast. For we are His work, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in it. "

What could be more encouraging? Our salvation does not depend on us - it depends on God. Because he loves us so much, in Christ he has done everything necessary to ensure it. We are his new creation (2 Cor. 5,17; Gal. 6,15). We can do good works because God freed us from the chains of sin and claimed us for ourselves. We are what God has made us to do, and He commands us to be, in fact, what we are - the new creation He made us in Christ.

What a wonderful hope and a sense of peace we can bring to the new year, even in the midst of troubled and dangerous times! Our future belongs to Christ!

by Joseph Tkach

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