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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

It's been a hard week, so far! Physically hard, that is. Yesterday, I took delivery of a total of nine tons (imperial!) of assorted garden landscaping materials - whin dust; red chips; decorative chips; and decorative bark - in order to bring one stage closer the end of the 10-year plan for the back garden, that was commenced almost 16 years ago!!! :-)

The problem is the the delivery lorry could only operate from the road, and that meant that I have been transporting barrowload after barrowload from the front to the back. Of course, before doing that, I had a lot of digging to do in preparation - the foundations are the most important part of any building! (see Matt.7:24-27). I have also been transferring decorative slabs from the area outside the back door, to the new 'patio' area at the very back of the garden.

Doubtless, when the job is completed, it will all have proved to be very worthwhile, and my wee wife will have a delightfully secluded area in which to enjoy the summer sun (before we head off to France to increase our chances of seeing it!). But without the hard work, nothing worthwhile would be achieved.

I suspect that this idea was in the mind of Paul when, writing to the young church in the Roman colonial city of Philippi, he exhorts: "Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear." (Phil 2:12). The life of the one who has placed his/her trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation, is "... hidden with Christ, In God." (Col.3:2). But that does not mean that, having been saved and justified, I may just sit back and await my call to glory!

Jesus, Himself, made that clear in the parable of the 'talents' (Matt.25: 14-30). the man who accepted the bag of silver from his master - and did nothing with it - ended up being thrown out into "... outer darkness ...". There was a time when I firmly believed in the 'doctrine' of "once saved, always saved". However, the older I get, and the more I get to know the Word of God, the less certain I am that the situation is as simple as that. Perhaps some who claim to have been saved have confused religious activity with divine grace! Jesus' words as recorded in Matt.7:21-23 would certainly seem to support such a teaching!

So, what am I saying? Basically that, once we have been saved - by grace, through faith, as a gift from God. Not as a reward for some good things that we may have done (Eph.2:8-9) - we are saved eternally. But that we must not forget the next few words in Epesians 2 - "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." (v.10; my emphasis). A passage such as I Cor.3:11-15 is also highly relevant. My good works (that, in reality, are no more than 'filthy rags' - see Isaiah 64:6) do not save me but, having been saved, I must follow the example of my Saviour, and seek always to do the Father's will.

On that glorious Eternal Day when I stand in front of my Lord, I want to be able to do so with the confidence that He is going to utter those wonderful words, "Well done, My good and faithful (not successful!!) servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!" (Matt 25:21). And if that means trundling barrow-loads of whin dust, then I will still say "Glory to His Name.!


CannuckCol said...

So what about the Christian who just doesn't 'hear' God speaking to him, but in hindsight, after many years, realises that what he perhaps 'felt' was God speaking WAS indeed Him and then it is too late for him to act on His voice?

Brian Ross said...

I'm not absolutely certain that I understand what it is you are trying to ask here! I can say that there have been many times in my life when I MAY have made the wrong choice. However, I cannot recall any situation in which I was being 'rebellious' - I simply 'misread the signs'. In such cases, in which I MAY have stepped out of God's perfect plan for my life, I believe that He is gracious enough to have understood my imperfections (see Ps.103:14), and to have led me back on to the right path.
All of that, however, only applies to the believer. If someone has felt God the Holy Spirit "tugging at the heart-strings", and has failed to respond, then such a person is, surely, still living in an unrepentant, sinful, state. At a later date, the opportunity to respond, positively, may return. If that positive response is made at that stage, then all is well, and "... there is joy in the presence of God's angels." (Luke 15:10). If the person continues to respond negatively - rejecting, or simply ignoring - then, sadly, even Almighty God is 'powerless' (see Heb.2:3).
I hope that this helps.