In Tuesday’s post, I argued from Matthew 25:14-30 (the Parable of the Talents) that diligence is an assurance of salvation issue. I also suggested that some of us may be struggling in our Christian lives because we have neglected to exercise our gifts and use our God-given resources for the glory of Christ and the benefit of our neighbor.
Elsewhere on this blog I have emphasized diligence, avoiding laziness, making the most of one’s time, and productivity, because Scripture tells us that we were saved apart from our works for the express purpose of becoming those who are zealous for good works (see Eph 2:10; Titus 2:14). Our endeavor to be productive for Christ’s sake begins with the gospel of grace (Eph 2:8-9), it is sustained by the gospel of grace (1 Cor 15:10), and it must end with the gospel of grace. Yes, let us be ever increasing in our productivity for the glory of God and the good of our neighbor; but we can never look to our works to justify us before the Lord. Consider these words from Richard Steele in his book The Religious Tradesman.
When you have done all you can in service of God, be sure to look for salvation and happiness only as the free gift of God’s grace in Christ Jesus; and not as merited or deserved by your obedience, Rom 3:24, 28; Gal 3:18, 24. Those who endeavor (either in whole or in part) to procure for themselves a right to salvation and eternal life, by their obedience to God’s commands, do seek salvation by the works of the law, and not by the faith of Jesus Christ, and will never obtain it by these means (214-15).
So, no matter how hard you work, how well you discipline your life, or how productive you are in the service of the King, never look to those works as your grounds for acceptance with God. Christ and Christ alone is the basis of your acceptance with God (Rom 3:21-26), now and for all eternity. Keep this truth alive in your heart, and you will find spiritual rest and joy among your labors and bear fruit that is pleasing to God and a blessing to others.