READ: Numbers 29-30
THINK: I really like this observation from F.B. Meyer about the connection between faith and works, in both the Old Testament and the New. Clearly, it is grace that saves but we are called also to works. Here is what the late great pastor had to say:
“Ye shall do no laborious work.” – Numbers 29:1
There was a good deal of work to be done, but it was not servile work. Throughout the seventh month, the work centered around the Tabernacle and the service of God, rather than around the tents and occupations of Israel as at other times. The same distinction is clearly made by the Apostle; our faith and salvation are not of works, lest any man should boast; but we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Ephesians 2:9-10).
Do not work up to the Cross, but down from it. — We must come empty-handed to the Cross, and receive forgiveness and eternal life; but these will immediately begin to vindicate their presence in the fruits of righteousness. None work like those who have been saved by the grace of God — but their work is not servile work; not that of slaves, but of sons. Many confuse these, trying to work for salvation, instead of receiving it first and then working.
Do not work up to union with Christ, but from it. — We cannot unite ourselves to the true Vine by any activity of ours; our only resort is to lay ourselves at the feet of the great Husbandman, that He may graft us into living union with Jesus. When once that union is consummated, through our yielded nature, the Root begins to pour his mighty energy. Fruit-bearing is not servile work; but easy, natural, blessed.
Do not work up to Pentecost, but out from it. — We cannot win the gift of the blessed Paraclete*. No tears, prayers, agonies of soul, can purchase it. It must be received by a single act of faith. But when once He is in us in his fullness, then tears, and prayers. and strivings for the salvation of men flow out without effort. But there is no servility, no strain no restraint, save that of love.
PRAY: Thank God for the grace that is available to us through the cross of Jesus and thank him that you don’t have to earn it because you couldn’t. Then ask that the result of that gift in you would be a life that bears much fruit for his sake.
*Paraclete is a Latin term that means “comforter”; here Meyer is using it specifically as a proper name for the Holy Spirit. 🙂