Pastor's Blog

Pastor's Note - December 2

Your work doesn’t save you. That thought impressed itself upon me in my morning devotions and prayer. In our 242 Group on Tuesday nights, we’ve been reading through the book of Hebrews. Hebrews can be technical and theologically dense, while relying a great deal on a working knowledge of Old Testament institutions such as the priesthood and temple. However, the basic message is clear. Christ is better than all of that. So don’t trust in or go back to those other things. Christ is superior, and can be trusted. As we’ve been reading through Hebrews 7-8, the author begins to make the particular case that Christ has ushered in the New Covenant, and His work on the cross is sufficient to save, so we need not go back to the Old Covenant. We need not and should not go back to a system of trying to gain acceptance before God through sacrifice. So, as I was contemplating that this morning, the thought resonated in my mind. Your work doesn’t save you. This resonated with me because I recognize my tendency to want to make myself acceptable through work. Not that I think I need to earn my salvation. However, I often find that when I am feeling down about myself, or when I think that I am somehow struggling or that my life or efforts have been successful, I tend to think that I can feel good about myself again through productive and good work. If I can just get a few things done on my list, then I can relax or feel I have earned my place, or that I have value again. I tend to want to rebound from feeling low by working to feel better. Work and productivity then becomes what Tim Keller has called a “functional savior” – something I lean on to find my value or acceptance. My guess is I’m not alone in that. My guess is that many of us use our work or productivity to feel valued or accepted, no matter what our work may be. It is not that we ought to be lazy, or not work. But rather, we should recognize that our work is not our identity, and we probably ought not to depend on our productivity only to “lift ourselves up.” That sort of cycle can lead to all sorts of unhealthy burdens – on ourselves and others. Might it be liberating, and actually make our work more successful and fruitful, if we knew that our work doesn’t save us? Instead, we are saved, and have our worth and value and acceptance, in Christ alone who has done the work on our behalf.

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