There are many who believe that by doing anything they will increase the Lord’s love for them and this is simply not true.
Once saved, or even before you are saved, works can do nothing to help you attain the righteousness required to enter heaven or even make the Lord love you one bit more as he loves us completely already..
We need to be forgiven our sins. And as how any sin can block you from entering heaven… any sins we carry with us are as bad as the worst sins which we could imagine.
We need to be cleansed of our sins… and the only possible way to do this is to invite the Lord into your life, for Jesus said knock and I will answer.
We must be convicted in our faith that Jesus was indeed Lord and held the Grace of God. We must believe he had the grace and then we must act upon our faith by submitting to the Lord as our master and ask for salvation… follow his commandments to love God with all our heart and to love one another always… then comes the wonderful part… for we then find out our sins have been cast away, we are then filled with the Holy Spirit, or our friend and comforter as the Lord described the Holy Ghost. And to top it off… we only need to keep the faith and allow the spirit to guide us whenever we feel the Spirit move us… and of course the amazing gift is we get to live a life filled with love for God and all that we meet.
But producing fruit for the Lord is a whole other story, showing love to all we meet, Christian charity and bringing a lost one to the Lord being chief among these fruits.
Works are done to build ourselves up. Fruit is what naturally flows from us as Christians once we have been saved and who are strong in our faith and dutiful to what we believe the Lord would have us do.
So as Christians, how do we know when we are doing works or we are just producing the fruit which naturally flows from a Christian?
It is one thing to receive accolades for the fruits you produce as a Christian for your Church or Community. Humbly received with praise to the Lord for bringing the fruit to bear through your actions is one thing. But to proudly espouse your actions or to use them to advance yourself in any way turns the fruit into works you have created.
Of course sometimes we create something which produces fruit. In this case the fruit is still fruit which the Lord cherishes but should the initial action be done as a work by an individual, then the spirit worked through the person to bring about the fruit produced and yet it is still considered a work done by this person for the way they handled the praise and recognition for these great works which produce fruit through others.
Should anything be done as a way to increase your business through the congregation… then this is considered works too. But to give your business to someone in your congregation because you know them to be a good person whom you can trust, and knowing that giving them your business is actually producing good fruit for the Lord and to add to this… it is also considered as almost a mandatory part of tithing to your Church… but that is another story.
There are many religions which require works to be performed before a person may join their congregation, whether it be to stop some practice or to begin tithing to the Church first… this is placing works before Faith in the Grace. And they have no effect on the eventual salvation of the person doing these works for it is only when they become fully convicted that our Lord is the key to our salvation and place their trust in Him completely… or have true faith in the grace will they be saved and filled with the spirit.
Although there is one catch here. To believe completely in the Lord in any denomination, to join their Church you should be fully understanding and become committed to the practices of their doctrine.
For as it says in Romans 14, we must do what we believe the Lord would have us do to prove our full belief in him. Thus if the religion says you must commit a practice (which is not against God or man) before the spirit will light upon you then you must do this thing as it is what a true believer in that denomination would do.
And remember the fault of bad doctrine implemented for personal gain by the founders of the church will be considered as sinful… in fact this may be one of the most sinful acts any one can do. For they have taken the Lord’s name in vain, and they have denied the Holy Spirit in creating unnecessary doctrine in their Church.
But the congregation which practices these doctrines due to their involvement with these churches will not be judged in this manner… in fact if the extra and unnecessary doctrine they complete in the practice of their faith, therefore becoming necessary to fulfill and their faith and what they believe does not injure their love for God and their fellow man… or cause others to do so… then following their doctrine is actually expected of them by the Lord.
But back to the ‘Works’ versus ‘Faith’ issue. What we have found is that works are the opposite of faith, for they lead a person in the wrong direction when salvation is but a prayerful request away. But many works done by people are actually bearing fruit so in this aspect they are producing fruit whether the thing which caused the fruit to come about was considered a work or a fruit on behalf or the person who did this.
So remember that giving cheerfully and humbly are two of the indicators that what you are doing is a creating fruit or a work done for the Lord. And remember the chief of fruits which will carry on into the next life is, bringing others to the Lord, showing love in all that you do and of course Christian charity.
May you be blessed in every way possible.
Your Brother in Christ!