Interesting Thought on Works

I’ve been critical of a suggestion that works are necessary for salvation. That’s because I’m afraid they might be. It feels as if God would require we do something for salvation. My lifestyle hasn’t leant itself to obedience.

Bipolar illness is frequently acted out with poor impulse control and poor decision making. Spending, changing jobs, difficult relationships, self-medicating, sexual promiscuity and so on.

I realize being bipolar is not an excuse to sin, but I do think it’s a difficulty people might underestimate. Obviously consequences occur as a result of bad decisions and that isn’t a punishment from God, it’s just a natural consequence.

I believe the Lord can save us from consequences of our sins, but it might not be in our best interests for Him to do so. The truth is, we all walk a path and have difficulties. Suffering through difficulties creates a multitude of blessings in our lives. That’s a fact. All Christians walk through difficulties.

Like I said, I eschew the works philosophy of Christianity. Since I do a lot wrong, I don’t want the onus on me to be to do something. I like the fact that God accepts us on the basis of faith. I realize there are things God has asked me to do.

Here is the way I look at it and I’m really happy to have come upon this explanation regarding obedience. I’m going to post the entire text because it’s so well written.

But the external works have to take place; we have to get into the situation of being able to believe. We have to take the step. What does that mean? It means that we take this step in the right way only when we do not look to the necessity of our works, but solely with a view to the word of Jesus Christ, which calls us to take the step. Peter knows that he cannot climb out of the boat by his own power. His first step would already be his downfall, so he calls, “Command me to come to you on the water.” Christ answers, “Come.”[23] Christ has to have called; the step can be taken only at his word. This call is his grace, which calls us out of death into the new life of obedience. But now that Christ has called, Peter has to get out of the boat to come to Christ. So it is, indeed, the case that the first step of obedience is itself an act of faith in Christ’s word. But it would completely misrepresent the essence of faith to conclude that that step is no longer necessary, because in that step there had already been faith. To the contrary, we must venture to state that the step of obedience must be done first, before there can be faith. The disobedient cannot have faith.

Bonhoeffer, D. (2003). Discipleship. (B. Green & R. Krauss, Trans., M. Kuske, I. Tödt, G. B. Kelly, & J. D. Godsey, Eds.) (Vol. 4, p. 66). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Interesting Thought on Works

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