Tracy is a wife, mother of 3 and lives in California. She leaves the most thoughtful comments on Tony C Today, and her love for God is evident in her writings, her humility and her love for others.
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Fruit instead of works
It's always been difficult for me to hit that balance between grace and works. I know that it is a fact that God gave me the faith, the ability, to trust in Jesus' work on the cross on my behalf.
I know that because Jesus died on the cross in my place, and intercedes for me before God the Father, I am acceptable in God's sight. I did nothing to earn this great salvation that is mine. It was totally a gift to me; all I had to do was accept it. Ignatius of Loyola said it so well: "The direct experience of God is grace indeed, and basically there is no one to whom it is refused."
Yet, if my faith in God is real, there will be resulting actions. Real faith, a real choice to follow after Christ, leads to a different way of life.
That's where the whole debate comes in.
Recently I was commenting on the fact that James even says that faith without corresponding works isn't real. John, my husband, cautioned me that I need to be sure to differentiate between works and fruit. His comments have been ruminating around in the back of my mind for a few days now.
Fruit in my life is as a result of my connection to God. I can not produce fruit. Works are something I have produced on my own.
Jesus clarified it in John 15:3-5 (NKJV):
3You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
I know that I need to be changed from the inside out. Ways that I can alter myself on the outside to look good, are not genuine. It's only as I spend time in God's presence and in His Word, only as I choose to open myself up to Him, only as I submit to what He is telling me to do - only then does real change happen.
What have you been learning about grace and works?
Be sure to catch more of Tracy at Abundant Living.