So do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
Our salvation comes to us as a gift of God’s grace, and it is all due to the Lord Jesus. But godly living and righteous acts are similarly gifts of God – through Christ Jesus – "for it is God Who works in us both to WILL and to DO – to His good purpose". Philippians 2:13 If we try to carry out the work that God has prepared for us to do ourselves – we fail... but if we yield to the Spirit working His work within us – we are pleasing in His sight.
We have to rely on God to be reborn AND we have to rely on Him to grow in grace. We can contribute nothing to initial salvation, nor the work God does through us. "Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen". Hebrews 13:21
Is that not amazing and worthy of our eternal thanks – God working within us? God sent His only Son to die on the cross to save us from the punishment of sin. He then adopted us as His own children and gave us an eternal, heavenly inheritance. He set about a lifelong process of conforming us into the image of the Lord Jesus. He planned and arranged to do good works through us, in the power of His Spirit – and then He plans to reward us for yielding to His Spirit working through us!
The bottom line is that there is nothing man can contribute to any aspect of salvation. We can't do anything to be born again and we can't do anything to become sanctified. Similarly, there is nothing we can contribute in works or service, for it is all of Him. We can't save ourselves from the penalty of sin nor from the power of sin over our lives.
But also – when we do submit to His working in us, we are never to take the credit. All the praise and glory and all the credit and commendation must be to Him alone. The good we do; the works we perform; the helps we provide are not of us but of God. All we do is for His glory – and to claim the honour, would render it as filthy rags. "For we are not sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God". 2 Corinthians 3:5
Indeed, the responsibility for saving the lost is not dependent upon our performance. If we are a willing vessel God may choose to use our work or words or evangelising, but it is the Spirit alone Who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and judgement.
God may graciously use you and me as an instrument, but it is to be for His glory. God may use our words or work to witness for Him, but we are simply His instruments. "So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God Who gives the growth". 1 Corinthians 3:8
Good works or exemplary conduct, accomplished in our own power is certain to fail. Striving to please the Lord in our own strength, is inevitably a recipe for disaster. Ministries, missions or witnessing work, must be done in His strength and for His glory. Bottom line... total dependency on God in our Christian life is the only acceptable way, but when we yield to His Spirit within, He works through us for our eternal benefit.
The only way that man can work the works of God, is to depend upon God completely. The only way that a believer can live the Christian life pleasing to God, is in His power. Scripture clearly tells us that yielding to God’s power in life is the only acceptable way – while trying to please God in our own human vigour is never acceptable to Him.
This is a lesson that so many Christians simply fail to understand or to apply, and the result is a life that is lived in defeat instead of a victorious life in Christ. Just remember, "whatever you do, whether by speech or action, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him". Colossians 3:17
"Indeed, we personally had a death sentence within ourselves, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God". 2 Corinthians 1:9 "So do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness". Romans 6:13.
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