A Question of Works at the Foot of the Cross

So . . .

You’ve crossed the line of faith.  You’ve accepted the claims of Christ as true.  You’ve sat at the foot of the cross and seen your sins, your very nature and flesh, nailed to those beams as the agony shown on our Lord and Saviors face and His anguished cries rang out like birth pangs, giving life to the new creation you’ve become.

Now what?

How does this gift of unequaled grace through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit manifest itself in your life and in your daily walk?  Or does it?  Does it even need to?

Some will say that the final words of Christ on the cross provide the answer.  “It is finished.”  But is it?  Can you separate Christ’s work of sanctification on the cross (Romans 3:25-26) from a disciple’s work of justification (Romans 10:13-15, Romans 12) here amongst the world?

Who speaks the truth here: Peter’s words in 2 Peter 1:3?

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”  

Or, James’ words in James 2:17-18?

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

I suppose the fundamental question comes down to this: Was Christ’s work on the cross enough for our salvation (deliverance from our sinful nature), sanctification (consecration to God as a child and heir) and justification (validation and accounting of our faith and belief)?

I’ll have more on this subject tomorrow.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear your answers and commentary.

6 thoughts on “A Question of Works at the Foot of the Cross”

  1. Great question! I think it’s not an either/or but rather a both/and scenario. I’ve always been staggered by Peter’s statement here and in verse 4 he actually says we can “become partakers of the divine nature.” Hard to fathom! In the verses that follow Peter tells us to supplement (put alongside) our faith things like virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love. Some might see this as working for our salvation but I think it’s what Paul meant when he told us to keep working out our salvation. We’ve been made right with God and now we’re going to be restored and made whole in Him as well. A quote from Dallas Willard comes to mind: “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action. Grace, you know, does not just have to do with forgiveness of sins alone.” ~ Dallas Willard, The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship

    1. To me, it’s reeaallllyyy hard to separate the ‘doing’ from the simple ‘believing’. I honestly only started to understand there was another mindset after I’d read the Jerry Bridges book. The truly funny thing was, after I’d read “Discipline of Grace”, I started seeing references to those differences all over the Bible. It was as if God had that thought for me in his hands all along and finally went, “Okay, you’re ready for this now.” *poink* <– because that, of course, is the actual sound a thought makes as it enters your brain.

  2. Hey there Kent,
    now you’ve got the world thinking!
    Here’s my bit – anything that we do which does not flow from the revelation that we are hidden in the work of Christ on the cross is dross, it’s ridiculous to place our meagre works along-side Christ’s and think God will be pleased – however, if our good works are hidden in Christ’s, different matter, then God see’s Christ. Bit like when the cat brings a half dead bird inside the house and wants the family to give it praise… not gonna happen!
    cheers Graeme

    1. Not quite the “filthy rags” analogy, but a half dead bird is a pretty good visual for our works in God’s eyes.

      “now you’ve got the world thinking!”
      ~ Bwahahahaaaa, my plan is working!!

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