GOSPEL MEDITATION # 7
Grace versus Works
James 2:14-26 and Romans 7:15-25
- Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
- Recite the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
- Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
- Our passage is sometimes misunderstood to mean that doing good works, i.e., helping the poor, is necessary for salvation.
- A works-based religion, whether that work being learning, discovering, or doing good deeds, thus earning favor with God, is the common religion of human kind. All the world’s religions, with the exception of Christianity, teaches as much.
- James is well aware that if a person is genuinely born again of the Holy Spirit there will be good works in that person’s life. So he says that he will show his faith by doing good works. But such works do not trigger salvation, but are the proof of it.
- Paul, in Romans 7:15-25 confesses that in him dwells do good thing, meaning that by his own actions he cannot please God.
- In reading the passage in Romans 7 Paul puts himself in a bad light in order to emphasize that despite all the good he might seem to be doing, he does not do the things he wants to do but the very opposite. Few of us will admit this about ourselves. In A.A. a person says, “My name is ______ and I am an alcoholic.” The Christian says, “I am a sinner.”
- Paul says, “wretched man that I am!” And he then gives thanks to God through Jesus Christ. No glory given to Paul but only to his Lord and Savior.
- Relying on good deeds for favor with God is empty, self-deceiving, and unbiblical. We “look to Jesus.”