I’ve been noting this phobia of works in the circles I frequent. You know how nothing we can do could ever earn us salvation, so there’s no point in trying to work your way to heaven…Well, I’ve been hearing those sentiments come dangerously close to, “do nothing.” But to be saved, you do have to do something! Before you mark me a heretic, hear me out:
When the keeper of the prison sensed conviction, he asked Paul and Silas a very direct question, one many of us are asking. He said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” He realized that he needed something in his life and he asked what to DO to obtain it. And you know what, they didn’t respond, “Nothing.” They told him what to do! That is to say, to be saved, you do have to do something!
Now, here’s the catch. What you do carries no merit. So what you do is an invariably irreplaceable essential for you to be saved but it doesn’t earn you salvation.
Here’s an example. Momma sends me to the store to buy bread. I walk to the store and stand at the counter with bread in my hands. Then I take the money she gave me and hand it to the cashier who rings it up and sets me free. Given that scenario, what must I do to get bread?
Well, what I did was walk to the store, pick up the bread, and carry it home. But the bread cost something! And not all the walking, picking and carrying could earn me that bread. To actually get the bread, I had to pay for it, right, using the money my Mom gave me.
So while walking to the store, picking up the bread and carrying it home, are essentials in getting the bread, they do not earn me the bread. What actually earns the bread, so to speak, is the money paid for it.
So here’s the deal; it doesn’t matter how many times we walk to the store, and lift bread, without money, we can’t have that bread. And for salvation, the earning power, the power to actually possess the bread, is what Christ supplies. And yet, we need to walk, pick and carry. There is something we need to do. We need to avail ourselves of the power that saves us.
So, in Acts 16:31, Paul and Silas respond, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
A friend was sharing how he got sucked into quicksand on a camping trip in Ethiopia. It as just one leg that stepped into the quicksand, but the more he struggled to free himself, the deeper he got sucked in. Then he saw a rope tossed to him. So he grabbed the rope and they pulled him out.
If we were to ask him, what must you do to get out of quicksand? On the one hand, the answer is, “Nothing.” Because the more you struggle and fight, the deeper you get sucked in.
So what if the “Do Nothing Believers” saw that rope tossed to them as they were sinking into quicksand. They’d reason, they ought to just do what? Nothing.
But in reality, it’s not that you should do nothing to get out of the quicksand, but it’s a matter of what the right thing versus the wrong thing to do is. The wrong thing to do is to try to work your way out of it. You’ll only sink deeper. The right thing to do is to grab the rope that’s been tossed to you. The rope is what gets you out of there, but you have a part to play in the whole thing.
The problem with works when it comes to righteousness, is when we think our works carry merit…They don’t. It’s wrong to think that reading my Bible every morning will earn me a spot in heaven. It won’t. But what reading my Bible every morning does is that it puts the rope or the money in my hand. Our works have no buying power whatsoever, and yet they’re an essential component in the whole picture.