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New City Catechism - Question 34
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Posted by Chris Mazak

 

New City Catechism - Question 34

 

Q34: Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word?

 

A: Yes, because Christ, having redeemed us by his blood, also renews us by his Spirit; so that our lives may show love and gratitude to God; so that we may be assured of our faith by the fruits; and so that by our godly behavior others may be won to Christ.

KIDS’ ANSWER: Yes, so that our lives may show love and gratitude to God; and so that by our godly behavior others may be won to Christ.

 

SCRIPTURE TO MEMORIZE:

James 2:26

"For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

 

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURES TO READ:

Ezekiel 36:26-27, Titus 2:11-14, James 2:11-17

 

LIFE APPLICATION:

Good works are not responsible for our salvation; rather they are the result of our salvation. It is important we are not confused on this matter, because if we get this wrong, we get the gospel message wrong. We could never do enough good works in this world to be declared righteous in God’s eyes.

 

The Bible states over and over again that we will not be saved by our own good works:

            “..because by works of the law no one will be justified.” (Gal 2:16)

           

            “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20)

 

            “For by grace you have been saved through faith, not that of yourselves it is a gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

 

Rather, through the grace of God and the work that Christ has already done, we now are offered the free gift of salvation (Romans 3:24, 6:23; Ephesians 2:8). All who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will receive this gift.

           

            “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” (Romans 3:27)

 

            “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8)

 

            “Testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21)

 

It is the result of this free gift of salvation that will produce good works in us. God does a mighty work in each one of us who are saved, giving us a new heart and putting the Holy Spirit in us.

            Ezekiel 36:26-27 shows the work that God does inside of every born again believer, and how this will affect our daily lives.

           

            “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

 

This is what the Bible promises, that salvation will cause life transformation. Prior to knowing Christ we were heading down a path to destruction. But after salvation, God causes us to make a U-turn in our lives, and we begin heading down the path of righteousness.

 

The sins we once committed freely and without care will now cause us to have deep conviction because of the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit within us (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). Our eyes will be opened to truly understanding the Bible and applying it in our lives. Through studying and meditating on God’s Word, His truth will become our truth, and we will be transformed through the renewal of our minds (Ephesians 4:23; Romans 12:2). We will want to put off the old sinful habits we once had, and put on new habits that honor God and glorify Him. (Ephesians 4:22, 24)

 

And God promises that this transformation WILL occur. This is how we may have assurance that God has truly saved us. He is conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ, the only example we have had on earth of a life totally submitted to God and free from all sin (Romans 8:29).

 

To bring about this transformation, God is purifying us from our sin, and training us to live godly lives (Titus 2:12). Though we will never be sinless on this earth, we will sin less on this earth as we grow in our love for and understanding of God and His Word (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

It is a false belief to think that God will save somebody without causing life transformation to occur in them. A life that professes faith in Christ while continuing to live freely in sin is no faith at all. This is what the Bible refers to as “dead faith” (James 2:26).

 

To use another Biblical analogy, we will walk in the light as believers. Before Christ we walked in the darkness, but now we walk in the light.

 

            “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7)

 

The “light” refers to the essence of God. All of His goodness and excellence and righteousness will reflect in our own lives when we are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus says in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

 

To conclude, good works are not producing our salvation, but rather produced by our salvation. God has begun a good work in every person who has accepted His free gift of salvation, and He is refining and molding us into the perfect image of Jesus Christ. We are being purified of our sin until the day we leave this earth and are completely rid of it. This is the beautiful path He has placed us on in Christ.

 

Can you say this is occurring in your own life? Have your desires and motives shifted in this life through Christ? Do you love God’s Word? Do you feel conviction over the sin in your life because you are sinning against God? Finally, have you seen spiritual growth in your own life? Can you look back to the time of your conversion and honestly say you see transformation has been occurring? If you answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then praise God! Continue down this path, fall more in love with God and seek to live for Him even more day after day.

 

If none of this resonates with your own life, then you must ask yourself this question: Is your faith dead faith? Has your profession of faith in Christ been a lie? If you think it might be, or you are convicted in your own heart about this, then the solution is simple: Repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ! This free gift is available to whomever will truly turn to Him. God is faithful to His promises, and He will not reject any of His own. And if you do this, if repentance and faith truly takes place, and God performs this transformation in your own life, then you can have assurance that you are one of His own, and you have the hope of an eternal future with Him in heaven in store for you.

 

           

CONNECTION TO CORNERSTONE’S STATEMENT OF FAITH:

 

MANKIND
We believe that man was created in the image of God, but fell into sin, and is therefore lost, and that only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.  (Gen. 1:26272:7223:1-6Rom. 3:9-12,235:12,186:23;  Jn. 3:35-7)

 

JESUS CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true Man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of  the Virgin Mary.  He who knew no sin died on the cross a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures.  Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into Heaven, where at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He now is our High Priest and Advocate.  (Is. 7:14Mt. 1:18-25;  Lk. 1:26-36;  Col. 2:9;  1 Jn. 5:20;  Mk. 10:45;  Heb. 2:9;  Lk. 24:23-40;  1 Cor. 15;  Acts 1:1-111 Pet. 3:221 Jn. 2:2Heb. 4:167:25)

 

SALVATION
We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus by faith are born of the Holy Spirit, become children of God, and are saved for eternity.  (Heb. 9:22;  Mt. 26:281 Pet. 1:18,19Rom. 3:2425Rom. 5:1,  918Jn. 1:123:16Eph. 2:8,9)



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