We have the amazing privilege to live in grace. That means that we never have to prove anything to God. We don’t have to work at being acceptable to Him because He made us acceptable at the Cross. And living in grace means that He doesn’t have to prove His love for us. He has done that completely and clearly at the cross. The reality of grace allows us to rest. Rest from works. Rest from proving ourselves to Him or anyone else.
It’s strange then to think of the expectation that God has on us as His children to work and to act! We cannot stand by and be idle because of that grace. On the contrary, that grace calls us to action. Paul exhorted the Philippians to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13) He isn’t referring to earning our salvation, but working out in our behavior what He has done in our hearts. He has given us a new heart, and we have a part in living out the deliverance that has taken place within us.
In Exodus 14, Moses is called to action in leading the Israelites through the Red Sea. Moses had that tendency to sit and soak and the Lord called him to action. ” And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.”
It is clear that God was the Deliverer. He was the One who parted the Red Sea. He performed the miracle that Moses never could have done. Yet God exhorts Moses to have his part. To step out in faith. To not stand by idly and be mesmerized by inaction when God is expecting him to move.
This is what we can do in our faith. We see an area of our lives that is in need of change. We know that God has to “work in us” and so we stand by waiting for His work. He will work, but He also gives us a part – obedience. This is the point that Paul develops in Romans 6. God in Jesus Christ has done the work of freeing the Christian from the power of sin and grants the Christian the resurrection power. But Paul goes on to call the believer to his or her part: “let not sin reign in your mortal bodies” (verse 12) and “Do not present your members to sin . . . ” (verse 13) Action. The balance is beautiful. God has done it all on the cross to enable us to live victoriously. But we have to go forward. Move.
Only when we apply ourselves under the power of the Holy Spirit will we begin to see the life that God has for us. We can easily live in the shadow lands and think that God has somehow kept from us His very best. He hasn’t. It may be scary. Working out our salvation involves real work – hence the word “work.” We just need to step out in faith and walk into the Red Sea and see the deliverance that He offers. If Moses didn’t lead the Israelites through the Red Sea they never would have seen how great a Deliverer God is. It took them moving forward in obedience to see how much He is able to do. How about you? Is it time for you to go forward?