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Throughout the Scriptures this tension takes the form of WHAT GOD DOES versus WHAT MAN DOES. Check it out!
By faith Abraham believes God (WHAT GOD DOES) and moves out (WHAT MAN DOES).By faith in God’s word (WHAT GOD DID) Noah built a boat (WHAT MAN DID).
Every one of the miracles of Jesus has this element-the servants at the wedding fill up the water pots (WHAT MAN DID) and Jesus changed it into wine (WHAT GOD DID).
MAN DOES WHAT HE DOES BY FAITHIN WHAT GOD DOES.GOD does 100%-Man does 100%. (Now don’t get nervous, God’s 100% is much greater than your 100%.)
Paul addresses both of these tensions by writing two balanced books:Romans…in chapters 1-11 he lays out WHAT GOD DOES…12-16 he lays out WHAT MAN IS TO DO. And, Ephesians…chapters 1-3 deal with WHAT GOD HAS DONE…chapters 4-6 deal with 33 things for MAN TO DO. He takes Romans and writes the book of Galatians-to counteract the extreme of MAN DOES IT ALL. This speaks to legalism!
He takes Ephesians and writes the book of Colossians-to counteract the extreme of GOD DOES IT ALL. This speaks to Gnosticism!
In the first few chapters of Romans and Ephesians, Paul is saying, “Look what God has done for you!” And in the last few chapters he says, “Now act like it!”WHAT GOD HAS DONE-that’s where your faith comes in…NOW ACT LIKE IT-that’s where your works prove out your faith!
There is a great visual that illustrates how the balance of the two can work and how one without the other doesn’t. Suppose you are in a row boat with 2 oars…one is faith and the second is works. If you row with either one without the other, you will only go in circles. If you use both, you will make progress.
This entire tension between faith and works comes down to…God’s work (believe it-faith) demands your response (just do it-works).You do (works) the possible by faiththat God will do the impossible.
SO, how is your faithworking?