This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is sure. I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone.
Wow, for just three short verses, there is an awful lot packed in, pretty much a summary of the Gospel – hope, justification by grace, heirs, eternal life, not to mention that old chestnut, good works.
But why do we do ‘good works’? Because it’s the right thing to do; we feel we ought to or because it will earn us a reward?
All of the above may be true, yet none of us can achieve acceptability before God on our own, it is all down to God and is purely and simply a gift of God’s grace and mercy. It is in no way dependent on what we do; indeed, there is nothing we can do to earn this.
That can be hard for us to understand when we live in a world which tells us if you work hard enough you’ll get your reward or, you don’t get anything in this life for free – yet it turns out we do! Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the loving kindness of God is poured out; we are transformed, and we respond, that is why we do good works; not to earn anything but as a response to what we have been given – they are if you like our thank you letters.
We may think what we do is not enough, not worthy of what God has done for us, yet as my old prep school teacher used to say, ‘God loves a trier’.
Saving God, we offer you our thanks and praise for your great gift of eternal life, through Christ Jesus our Lord. When the daily callings and responsibilities of life get on top of us; when we aim for perfection and fall short; when it often seems pointless and we wonder why we bother. Remind us, that although all we do can never be enough to thank you, in your eyes our very striving is enough. Amen
The Rev’d Branwen Rees, East Wales Regional Minister
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