You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not only by faith. In the same way, wasn't Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead. James 2:24 WEB
Growing up on a farm with two brothers and ten step-siblings, I got to see first-hand the differences between those who were pleasing to their parents, and those who were not. The parents could ask one child to do something and they would. This pleased the parents and sometimes there would be a reward for the child. The child and the parents were happy.
Other children when simply asked to come home after work, would somehow land in jail instead. This seemed to hurt the parents, the child got no reward and they were all sad. The parents loved all of the children whether they obeyed their wishes or not, and they were all a part of the family, but there was joy and a reward for those that were obedient.
God loves each of us and we should respond to that by doing good. When we do, there will be a reward. We gain joy, fulfillment, and self-worth by doing good, as well as the favor of God on our life. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19).
His love is free and you cannot earn it, but your life can be pleasing to Him, or not. Abel was pleasing to God, but his brother Cain was not (Genesis 4:4). Ask, Action, Reward: when God asks you to do something, and you take action, there will be a reward. You can't shuffle the order.
We are saved by grace through faith, which is the unmerited favor of God (Ephesians 2:8), but good works should follow us for faith without works is dead (James 2:26). No amount of good works will get you to heaven without faith in Jesus, but He said: 'Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?' (Luke 6:46). We believe in Jesus, but we should also do what He tells us. Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your favor on my life. I am willing, give me the grace to be obedient as well. Lead me into all that You have for me on this earth and make what is important to You, important to me. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
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