Day 62.

For you will render to a man
according to his work. (Psalm 62:12 ESV)

It is always startling to read statements like this, especially in light of the such clear teaching of Paul on faith and works in the New Testament. For fear of preaching legalism, we preach and teach with a heavy emphasis of faith over works as the instrument of salvation. The Solas of the Reformation teach us this: Sola fide, sola gratia. We are saved through faith alone by grace alone, eliminating work from this side of the equation. It is easy for this to present a problem, however. It eliminates it from the left side of the equation but not from the equation altogether. Works is still in it. It is still vitally important. Instead of faith + works = salvation, we teach faith = salvation + works.
While this is clearly taught in Scripture, we nonetheless find verses like this that reference work rather than faith. What’s up with that? Here’s the thing. How can a person know whether or not he has real, saving faith? Faith is not something visible. It is not a warm fuzzy that he may get inside at times. The only real evidence we have to know whether a person has real faith is the works (or fruit) that faith produces. It’s kind of like wind. You can’t see the wind but you can see what the wind does as it powers a windmill or sways the trees or causes your car to swerve on the road. So when we find places in the Bible that connect works to the reward/punishment that he is due, this is why. When you look closely at the context of these Scriptures, you will inevitably find the context supports this understanding. This psalm, for example, opens with a statement of faith:

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2 ESV)

This faith is in God himself as the source of salvation: “from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation…

Here’s my point. Yes, we are undoubtedly saved through faith (graciously) by God (specifically in Christ), and that salvation will produce works. If it does not, then it is not real faith. It is something else entirely. This is hard for people in the church to hear who have thought of themselves as Christian because of a prayer they said at some point in time. Prayer is good, and prayer can be an act of faith. But if prayer is meant to buy a license to live as one pleases with a safety net of Jesus to wash it all away, it is not a prayer of faith in God. The church presents a big problem in the world when its members fail to bear fruit. The world looks on and sees hypocrites or simply a social club. That is not salt and light. May the Lord protect the purity of his church that we might not lose our saltiness!

What fruit does your faith produce?

Chronological Reading Plan plus Psalms: Num 19-21, Ps 62

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