One of our well-loved hymns has the chorus -
Trust and obey,
for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus,
but to trust and obey.
That expresses an important principle in the Christian life. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Eph. 2.8-10).
So I am saved by trusting God – accepting his grace for myself, what he alone could do for me in Christ Jesus. God’s grace is a gift. Nothing I can do will earn it. But faith will lead us to the "good works" which have always been God’s purpose for us. "Trust and obey."
James wrote his letter when some people had fully accepted that salvation is all by "faith", but had forgotten that it should lead to obedience. So we read, "faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2.17).
We can depend on what God has done. We can depend on his promises. So – live out our life on that basis! That includes our stewardship of financial and other resources too!
We are created by God and therefore responsible to him for all our time, talents and possessions. We are loved by God and should respond with loving obedience. We are saved by God’s grace – no longer our own, but bought with a price. In all of this, we trust God. But do we return to him a calculated "left-over"? or does our giving/returning reflect our whole-hearted dependence that he will provide our needs?
In Malachi 3.8-10, we read, "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse – the whole nation of you – because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have enough room for it…"
Because I trust God… Yes, the Lord is calling me to action in many, many fronts. Part of that is giving – returning portion of what he has first given me, and knowing that he will ensure I have all I need (Matthew 6.33).
© Peter J Blackburn 2001.
Scripture quotations from New International Version © International Bible Society, 1984