Faithfulness is not the same thing as works.
Faithfulness is turning to God and not continuing in our sinful ways. Faithfulness is a result of belief. It is a result of the inherent grattitude that exists in someone who believes in and loves the Lord. Faithfulness is also called repentance, and it is not meant to be heavy and burdensome if we are a new creation looking to surrender our life to Christ.
If repentance is burdensome, then it is because of a lack of faith and trust in the Lord. Now, please understand that I don’t condemn you for not yet having adequate faith to overcome every temptation and trial that you are facing. That isn’t my position or my argument. No, I’m here to encourage you that we are meant to grow closer to Christ, faith by faith, grace by grace, and trial by trial. I’m pointing you to the only gate that you can enter into, not telling you that you cannot enter.
Faithfulness is our due as a RESULT of God’s mighty work IN US. It is Abraham’s faith that was counted as righteousness. Faithfulness is not measured in a pile of physical evidence. Faithfulness is the truth about what our heart desires.
Works are easy to quantify, just like sin is easy to quantify, because it is visible and recognizable. And yes, a faithful life of a genuine child of God should generate a shift in the balance of works and sin in someone’s life. That’s what the indwelling of the Holy Spirit produces in a life, because a life turned to God and walking in His ways will produce a very different fruit than a life of rebellion.
However, works can be faked in pride instead of grattitude. And the appearance of less sin can be faked with outward compliance instead of heartfelt obedience. Compliance and obedience are NOT the same. Nor do they come from the same source, have the same intentions, or achieve the same end results.
“Why do you choose to obey?”
The truthful answer to this short, sharp, probing question should be of value to each one of us. If we flippantry say, “I don’t have to obey” — that should tell us who our true master is. If it convicts us over something we have done recently that was disobedient — that should encourage us to confession, repentance, drawing closer to the Lord, and remembering the price paid. If we swell with great plans of our ministerial works and testimonies of our obedience — be careful because pride comes before a fall. If our answer draws us back to wonder and awe, with no excuse for our ownobedience other than He has birthed it in us through a heart of gratitude for what is undeserved but nevertheless received — go, share this Good News, faithful and true messenger!