One of the reasons Christians are adverse to good works is because they want to avoid merit. Merit means God looks at what we do and then decides to reward or punish us for what we did.
Grace, to many, means God overlooks all wrong and instead views you as perfect in Christ. Although there may be an element of truth in this, the idea that God no longer sees you is ridiculous.
God is all-knowing and all-present we affirm, but somehow or another He doesn’t see my sin? Riiiiiight.
God is very interested in what we are doing. If it were otherwise, I fail to see how you could have a “personal relationship” with Him.
There are many verses about doing what pleases God. There are many verses that talk about God responding to us based on what we do.
For instance, 2 Timothy 2:11, 12:
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us
There are some “ifs” to deal with. Ifs are conditional words. “If/Then” statements are cool. They are statements of action and reaction. If I punch your face, then your face will hurt.
If you are dead with Him, then you will live with Him.
If you suffer, then you will reign.
If you deny, then He will deny you.
If you read these statements and are bugged by them, you’ve probably bought into the notion that if/then statements are a “law mentality” thus don’t apply to those under grace.
But Paul tells us not to be deceived, God is not mocked–you will reap what you sow. Reaping and sowing is an if/then idea. This is not law mentality; this is common sense.
There are many who throw in 2 Timothy 2:13 to oppose what Paul just said. Since people don’t like thinking about God denying us if we deny Him (sounds too much like losing your salvation and works), they attempt to make verse 13 contradict and cancel out that scary idea.
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Here is a typical explanation that attempts to wipe out the warning about being denied.
“So why does Paul start talking about disowning and denying in the second part of the passage? He does it to reinforce his point which is that Christ is trustworthy. Here’s the punchline: since Christ cannot disown himself, Christ cannot disown you! Not ever. You are one with the Lord. His future is your future and his future is very good!”
In other words, they read this as saying Christ won’t deny you, a “believer,” if you deny Him, because Christ can’t deny Himself.
Guess He didn’t really mean what he said then.
I doubt it. Verse 13 means that we are unfaithful people. We say things all the time and don’t do them. Christ isn’t like that, He’s faithful, always does what He says. He can’t deny His own character.
Paul just told you about Christ’s character–He will let people reign with Him if they suffer with Him. He will let people live with Him if they die with Him. He will deny people if they deny Him.
He said it, not me, and He always keeps His word, because He is faithful to His character.
We may not like this. Certainly it is much easier to think that grace means nothing you do matters. However, Christ is the judge, not you, and this is what the Judge said.
I imagine we should respect His character and get moving.