3/21/14 Paulen about 25
I flagged down an oncoming bicyclist to ask about his view of eternity. He turned out to be a man named Paulen, a graduate student from Rwanda and a fellow believer in Jesus. But as we talked he had a hard time explaining the importance of our good works as believers without making it sound like it is good works – in addition to the cross - that save us. He could relate when I explained how Ephesians 2:8-9 - which says that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ and not by our good works – is followed by vs. 10 which says that we were created to do good works. “We are saved not BY our good works, but FOR good works” I told him. “There is a huge difference. Do you think we can add anything to the infinite worth of what Jesus did on the cross?” Paulen hadn’t thought of it that way before. I went on to tell him “Any good works are to be a natural result of salvation, not the cause of it. But our self-centered pride makes us want to earn salvation rather than just receive it by faith. As I talk with people from all sorts of backgrounds, it seems like the desire to be proud of our good works is a force a lot like gravity – it is the default belief we fall back on when we are distracted from or forget that we have been saved by grace, and that salvation is a gift that we really don’t deserve”. Like this conversation with Paulen, more often than not my encounters with fellow believers while reaching out to the lost requires me to give them a friendly reminder of this truth.