February 3rd – The Cart Before The Horse !



It is always a marvel to me that millions of intelligent and genuine people get at least one very important cause and effect the wrong way round. They wouldn’t be so stupid as to think that a windmill makes the wind blow. They wouldn’t see a train pulling a dozen carriages and assume that the carriages were pushing the train forward. They wouldn’t go into an orchard in winter, tie fruit onto the trees, and believe that harvest had come! No one would be stupid enough to believe that they love their children because their kids are so well behaved. Yet millions of modern folk still believe that they get into God’s good books by doing good deeds. They talk of going to heaven when they, or someone they have admired has died, because they were kind or respectable or religious. ‘If anyone’s gone to heaven’, they say, ‘It’s bound to be my Mum – or cousin Joe – because they were so good.’
The Bible placards over and over that good works follow being put right with God. The relationship with God comes first. That is why it says ‘By grace we are saved, not by doing good because that only leads us to be proud of ourselves’. Grace is God’s free gift of himself, given to self-righteous men and women to call them to change and turn to Him and be filled with the power to do the kind of good which God wants.Now that’s putting the horse before the cart, where it should be! This is from Galatians, and the apostle was really stirred up: “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
Paul was quite right to be emphatic about this. He had tried all his devout religious life, as a Pharisee and a good one, to earn God’s approval by being a do-gooder. Christ put him right with God, and Paul became one of God’s great servants: once he let go and let God!
A Prayer: Lord God Almighty, grant me a faith in You, which works.
Now read Galatians 3: 26 to 4: 16.

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