Read for This Week’s Study: Rom. 8:20-23; John 3:16-17; Matt. 9:36; Eph. 2:8-10; 1 John 3:16-17; Rev. 14:6-7.
Memory Text: “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, NKJV).
As soon as we talk about God’s commands, requirements or instructions, we run the risk—or even face the temptation—of thinking that somehow what we do can earn or contribute to our salvation or otherwise gain favor with God. But the Bible tells us repeatedly that we are sinners saved by God’s grace through Jesus and His substitutionary death for us on the cross. What could we possibly add to this in any way? Or, as Ellen G. White has written: “If you would gather together everything that is good and holy and noble and lovely in man and then present the subject to the angels of God as acting a part in the salvation of the human soul or in merit, the proposition would be rejected as treason”. – Faith and Works, p. 24.
Thus, too, even our works of mercy and compassion toward those in need should not be seen as legalistic. On the contrary, as we grow in our understanding and appreciation of salvation, the link between God’s love and His concern for the poor and oppressed will be passed on to us, recipients of His love. We have received, so we will give. When we see how God so loved us, we also see how much He loves others and calls us to love them, as well.