"Not By Works"
April 21, 2010
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Joe Arpaio is sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County.
Arpaio is also the kind of law officer who believes jailed criminals shouldn't have things better than their victims. That's why he's begun a program called, "pedal vision."
Yup, pedal vision. If an inmate at Phoenix's Tent City Jail wants to watch television, he or she has to get on a stationary bike and generate enough electricity to run the TV. When an inmate's bike has generated 12 volts of electricity, his television comes on.
An hour of pedaling allows for an hour of TV watching. No pedaling -- no TV. It's that simple.
Now lest you think Arpaio is being overly mean and dishing out cruel and inhuman punishment, you should know the only exercise some inmates were getting was walking around the tent yard. By asking his people to ride the bike, Arpaio's pedaling program is keeping the prisoners in shape.
Now while we might applaud Arpaio's work project, we most definitely ought to be glad the Lord hasn't done the same sort of thing when it comes to forgiving our sins.
How long would a person have to pedal to pay for a bad thought, or a cruel slip of the tongue, or a nasty action? None of us have the kind of energy or time that would allow us to work off our sins.
This is why we need to be thankful the Lord saves us by grace, not by works. Because of Jesus' suffering, His sacrifice, His death, and His resurrection all who believe on Him are forgiven and they are saved.
That's it. No pedaling, no jumping through hoops, no wondering if we've done enough to win forgiveness and salvation.
Jesus has done it all.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks the Savior is my reality and my Redeemer. Now I pray for those who have rejected Him. While there is still time, may they be turned from self-satisfaction and intellectual unbelief and brought to see the Savior. This I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries