I was made to believe that I was, by nature, good. Clean and innocent at birth. I realized later that this is not true.
Yes, God created man good and in His image, that is, in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24), capable of knowing, loving, and living for Him and for His glory (Col. 3:10).
However, because of his fall into sin and disobedience to God, which poisoned his nature, man became corrupt, a sinner from conception on (Ps. 51:5). Every man or woman, every boy or girl born of Adam has a corrupt sinful nature.
The Scripture says that because of this sinful condition, man becomes the object of God’s wrath (Eph. 2:3). By nature, we deserve God’s just judgment. Our hearts are inclined to evil. Even as a child, foolishness or stupidity is so bound up in our fallen nature (cf. Prov. 22:15). But thanks be to God! He, “being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places” (Eph. 2:4-6).
This is all the work of God. Every favor we receive from Him is the work of His grace so that none of us could boast. God has planned this work of grace in us beforehand (Eph. 2:10) so that by the same grace, that is, God’s power to save us and to transform us from being sinners to saints in Christ Jesus, we would do good works.
Good works are deeds done in accordance to the law of God, empowered by the Spirit of God, all for the praise and glory of God’s glorious grace. These works are our grateful responses to God’s goodness in Christ and through Christ, who is now our Lord and our Master. Because of His redeeming work for us and in our behalf, Christ is worthy of power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing (Rev. 5:12).
God has highly exalted our Lord Jesus Christ. He has given Him a name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Christ Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-10).
One privilege God has granted us when He saved us is the opportunity to serve our Lord Jesus and His people. We gladly use every strength, every wisdom, every talent He’s given us to please Him by doing everything He commands us to do. It is our pleasure to put God and His kingdom first in our labor. Obeying His word is no longer a burden but a delight. Praise the Lord!
And one amazing thing that the Lord does in our grateful and loving service is to encourage us with His gifts. Yes, our faithful service is rewarded by the Lord.
But we need to understand that every favor and reward that we receive from the hand of our merciful Father are gifts of grace. They are not merited or earned. They come to us through our Lord Jesus Christ in whom we are blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3).
As faithful servants we can only say, “We are unworthy servants for we only do what is expected of us” (Luke 17:10). Yet our service and obedience done in the name of Christ, motivated by the love of God, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, are graciously blessed by the Father who is pleased to welcome us in His presence with these words: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things…Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matt. 25:23, NKJV).
We hope you enjoyed this post from the “Pearls of the Orient” blog series by Rev. Vic Bernales. Rev. Bernales is an ordained minister in the Pearl of the Orient Covenant Reformed Church. He pastors the Davao Covenant Reformed Church in Davao City, Philippines. He earned his Master of Divinity at Mid-America Reformed Seminary at Dyer, Indiana, U.S.A.