Without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6
Which came first -- the chicken or the egg? For ages this question has been asked, both seriously and in fun. The biblical answer is that the chicken, created by God, came first, then laid the egg.
People concerned with spiritual matters ask another question: Which comes first -- faith or works? The biblical answer is that God first plants Christian faith in our hearts. Then in that Spirit-created faith we desire to do good works in Christ's service.
It's part of our fallen nature to think that you don't get something for nothing, that everything has a price, that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Such faulty logic concludes that God's forgiveness through faith in Christ cannot be free.
Other people don't worry about forgiveness at all. "Good food, good friends, and good wine make the good life," goes the saying. So why bother about either faith or works? God makes it quite clear that life without faith in Christ is at best an empty shell.
For Christians, life without faith in Jesus, our Savior, is unthinkable. For those who think heaven is earned, Jesus takes second place behind their works. Yet the Bible is quite clear: "By grace you have been saved, through faith ... it is the gift of God -- not by works" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our works say "Thank You" to God, but they come after faith, not before.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, increase our faith in Your salvation, and multiply our works to Your glory; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
(Devotions from "The Abundant Life" copyright 1998, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time e-mailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)