Friday, August 26, 2005

Grace-Filled Works Release God's Glory

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
This is from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ teaching to His disciples. John said of Jesus that He is “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9). The light that He gives is the light that He is. Those who receive His light and walk in it, they themselves become light — the light of Christ that gives light to the world.

This light is the revelation of God’s glory. The whole earth is already filled with the glory of God (Isaiah 6:3). What is lacking is the knowledge, or the revelation of that glory. The enemy blinds the eyes of the world so that it does not see the glory. But it is God “who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

There are many ways we can release the light, the revelation knowledge of God’s glory. In this passage, we see that our lives can shine with the light of God through our good works.

A word about good works. They are not about trying to please or appease God, or trying to, in any way, get ourselves into His good graces. That is the spirit of religion, a deception from the enemy. Any works you do for that purpose are not good works at all — they are dead works. As Paul said to the Galatians, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4). Falling from grace is not about falling into sin, is it about falling into the idea that you can somehow earn God’s favor, mercy and love.

No, good works do not lead you into the grace of God. Rather, good works flow from the grace of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). We do not create the light of God by our good works. The light of God creates the good works in us so that we can reveal His glory.

The grace of God brings even material provision into our lives so we can bless others with the abundance of our overflow. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

God’s provision is itself a revelation of His glory: “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). When we receive the abundance of His provision and use the overflow for every good work, we are revealing the glory of God, “giving light to all who are in the house.”

The Word of God is a revelation of His glory which prepares us for every good, so we can shine as light in the world. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Here again, good works flow out of God’s grace. As we meditate on the revelation of God’s Word, letting it penetrate every part of our heart and change our thinking in every area of our life, it will soon begin to show in everything we do. We will be glowing with the life of God at work in us and will become a walking revelation of His love, mercy and grace — the glory of God being made known.

If you know the Lord Jesus Christ, you are the light of the world. You do not have to try to shine. His light is already in you, you simply need to let it shine. Get deeper in fellowship with Him through His Word. Let His grace work deeply in you. Realize that He has a great passion to bless you and bless others through you out of the overflow of your life. Always remember that it is all about His grace at work in you, not you trying to work for His grace. Then the works of your life will be good, and they will reveal the light of God’s glory to your world.