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Gratefully Behaved - NCC 34

New City Catechism  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:22
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Last week we looked at the truth
Question 33
Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works, or anywhere else?
No, everything necessary to salvation is found in Christ.
We looked at Galatians 3 and the foolishness of these Galatian believers
We are saved by faith
We are to by faith continue in the Spirit
We concluded that:
Through the law, man has no hope! Through Christ, man has eternal hope, the promise of salvation, and the power of the Holy Spirit. The Galatians foolishly and lazily abandoned the truth of the gospel for a message of condemnation and hopelessness.
Paul’s admonition is that hope is found in Christ, alone. For redemption, for restoration, for continual strength.
Don’t trust the works of your flesh, you are not enough. Continue in the Spirit.
THIS WEEK:
Question 34 Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word?
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.
Turn with me please to: 1 peter 2:9-12
As you read through 1 Peter, the context Peter was writing to offer encouragement and hope to Christians who were being persecuted and scattered throughout northern Asia Minor. The churches of this region were likely of all nationalities.
As he writes to these exiles, He reminds them:
1 Peter 2:9–12 KJV 1900
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:9 NKJV
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
v. 9 - You are… SPECIFIC ATTRIBUTES OF THE REDEEMED
chosen by God,
a royal priesthood
a holy nation
a people for his own possession
SO THAT… (PURPOSE)
you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:10 NKJV
10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
v. 10 - Reminder of who they were BEFORE CHRIST
1 Peter 2:11 NKJV
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,
v. 11 - You are in a battle and your fleshly desires are not a good thing!
1 Peter 2:12 NKJV
12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
v. 12 - Keep your conduct among the gentiles honorable.
Gentiles - those without Christ
Live honorably among the lost
so that (purpose)
when they speak evil of you as evildoers
they may by your good works (implies good works that are done)
They would in turn glorify God in the day of visitation,
A day of visitation is any time the Lord draws near, either in grace or in judgment.
Here it may mean: (1) The day when God’s grace will visit the critics and they are saved, or (2) the day of judgment when the unsaved will stand before God.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
So, then, dear friends, these good works must be in the Christian. They are not the root, but the fruit of his salvation. They are not the way of the believer’s salvation; they are his walk in the way of salvation. Where there is healthy life in a tree, the tree will bear fruit according to its kind; so, if God has made our nature good, the fruit will be good. But if the fruit be evil, it is because the tree is what it always was—an evil tree. The desire of men created anew in Christ is to be rid of every sin. We do sin, but we do not love sin. Sin gets power over us sometimes to our sorrow, but it is a kind of death to us to feel that we have gone into sin; yet it shall not have dominion over us, for we are not under the law, but under grace; and therefore we shall conquer it, and get the victory.
Ligon Duncan
If salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone—if we are saved and forgiven and accepted based not on our good works, not on our deserving, but on what Jesus has done for us—is there still a place for good works and obedience in the Christian life? The Bible gives an emphatic answer: yes.
First, there’s a place for good works because, in salvation, we’re saved not only from the penalty of sin, but also the power of sin.
In salvation, through the work of Jesus Christ, we not only find forgiveness, but we also find transformation.
We are made new creations in Jesus Christ. He liberates us from the dominion of sin in our life.
And so, salvation by grace does not mean that change or growth is unnecessary in the Christian life. It means that change and growth are now possible by God through his Holy Spirit working in us.
So what is the role of obedience to God’s Word, of God’s law in the Christian life? Gratitude, assurance, and witness.
In the Christian life all of our obedience is an act of gratitude to God for the grace that he has shown us in Jesus Christ.
Remember what Paul says in Ephesians 2: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (vv. 8–10).
Now, did you hear what Paul said there? He didn’t say that we were saved by good works. In fact, he explicitly excluded that. But he did say that we were saved to good works, for good works.
So the role of works in the Christian life is not to save us. It’s not to get God to love us.
It’s to express our gratitude to God for the prior love that he’s shown us in Jesus Christ and for the salvation that he’s freely given us in Jesus Christ. And so all of our obedience to God’s Word in the Christian life is an act of gratitude.
Second, good works done in faith also serve to assure us.
In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul explains that he knows that they are the chosen of God (1 Thess. 1:3–5).
Now that’s a striking thing to say. How would you know people are chosen of God?
In verse 3, Paul speaks of the Thessalonians’ works of faith, their labor of love, and their patience of hope. He’s essentially saying, “I see the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, and that lets me know that you are the children of God.”
And then he explains how that serves their own assurance (v. 5).
We are given assurance in the Christian life when we see God at work in us to change us, and that’s expressed in our obeying God’s commands.
A third way that the law works in the Christian life and that good works and obedience work in the Christian life, is in the area of witness.
When we obey the Word of God, when we do good works, we glorify our heavenly Father.
And those who see us are given reason to glorify our heavenly Father.
Peter explains that when he says that he wants us to live godly lives quietly before the world so that the world will look at us and glorify our loving heavenly Father who saved us by grace (1 Pet. 2:12).
So, though we’re saved by grace, we’re saved to a life of joyful good works and obedience. Not to get God to love us, but because God does love us.
Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word?
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.
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