Faith and Deeds
WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, BUT OUR FAITH SHOULD PRODUCE RIGHT CHOICES.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read James 2:14-20.
Verse of the Day: “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith” (1 Thessalonians 1:3, NIV).
“I don’t understand something, Dad,” Joel said. He and his dad were working together in the family orchard. Dad drove the tractor between the rows of trees while Joel stood behind him, balancing on the back of the tractor and holding on to Dad’s shoulders. “You know how you and Mom grounded me for taking money out of Mom’s purse to go to the store with Randy?”
“Uh-huh,” Dad said, nodding. “What don’t you understand?”
“Well, I don’t understand what the big deal is. I mean, I know I shouldn’t have done it, but you act like I’m not a Christian if I do something wrong.”
Dad said nothing. He stopped the tractor in front of a barren orange tree and shut off the engine. He climbed down from the tractor and walked over to the tree.
“See this tree?” Dad asked. He pulled an ax from his belt.
Joel stood with his hands in the pockets of his blue jeans. “Yeah. Why?”
“I’ve been planning to cut it down,” Dad said. “You think I should?”
Joel shrugged again. “Yeah,” he said. “It’s dead.”
“How do you know?”
“Look at it! It’s been dead since last season.”
“You’re right,” Dad said. “It doesn’t bear any fruit.” He began chopping at the base of the tree. After a few minutes of strenuous work, he gave the tree a push, and it toppled toward the tractor. Joel helped him pick up the tree and toss it into the trailer behind the tractor.
As Dad climbed back into the seat of the tractor, Joel spoke again. “I think I get your point, Dad,” he said. He was used to his dad’s unique way of using object lessons to teach.
Dad turned around and smiled at his son. “You’re right in thinking that doing good doesn’t make you a Christian,” he said. “Only God’s grace can do that, just as only God can make an orange tree. But a Christian should try to make right choices and produce good things, not bad things-just as an orange tree should produce oranges. And if it doesn’t produce those things, you know something’s wrong.” Dad turned the key and the tractor engine roared to life.
“I hate to admit it,” Joel said over the noise of the tractor, “but you’re right.”
Dad reached behind without turning around and elbowed his son in the ribs. “You should be used to that by now,” he joked.
TO DISCUSS: Are you a Christian? If so, did you become a Christian by doing good deeds or by trusting Christ to save you by his grace? Does being a Christian mean you don’t have to worry about doing good anymore? Why or why not?
TO PRAY: “Lord, your grace and only your grace saves us. Please help us respond to your grace with loving obedience.”