My Sophomore year of high school, the choir director came up to me and invited me to join the special choir called the Madrigals. I had wanted to join this group so I could travel with them and I really like the people that were in it. But I never thought I could make it. I was certain that I was not good enough. So I protested. But he said that if I was willing to join, I would receive all the training I needed. He would give me voice lessons. Then he gave me a quick audition and told me I was in. I couldn't believe it! My place in the Madrigals was done. I was so grateful because I knew I would have a blast being a part of this group and I did. And because I was graciously given this opportunity, I gave my best to the group in return. This is the basic idea of how salvation works.
Earlier in Collosians 3, Paul assures us that our salvation is done, then he continues with this therefore do statement in Colossians 3:12-15: "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."
Once again, it is clear in this Scripture that grace comes first. But that's not the end of our spiritual journey, it is only the beginning. We get to respond to God's grace. And this passage shows us how to do that. Notice that the passage starts with the word therefore. Therefore implies an order. Something has already happened, therefore do. Do what? Do good. Be good. Show love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness. Live at peace with others. Be grateful. All of these beautiful ways of being in the world result from what is already done. Done therefore do. Salvation is done, therefore bless others with goodness.
I can't emphasize enough how import it is to get the order right. I have tried to do good in order to be saved and it was miserable. I knew I could never be good enough to earn my salvation. And the attempt to do good in order to be saved tainted my motives. I was far more focused on myself then the people I was trying to do good to. My "goodness" had a corrupt motive and other people could see that. I didn't actually care about others, I just wanted to get into heaven.
God's way is so much better! Grace sets our minds at rest. Salvation is done so we don't have to worry about it anymore. We made the team! We're in. Now it is our privilege to let the love of God flow through us into the world. We get to do good. And God's grace not only saves us, it transforms us. We now want to do good.
I would invite you this week to do whatever good you can in the world as a response to God's grace. Rejoice in God's love by sharing it with others. Let God's grace transform you from the inside out. Tap into the desire to be a good person that the Spirit has put in your heart. And then take action. Think of something good you've been putting off for some reason and just do it this week. You don't have to be afraid of messing it up. You don't have to do it perfectly. You can just do what God leads you to do. Trust that it will be enough.
May you delight in doing good by God's grace this week.