Saving Faith is not the Enemy of Good Works

The Spirit creates faith through the gospel and saving faith bears the fruit of love and good works.  We are united to Christ for justification and renewal.  There must be distinguished, but never separated.  Saving faith is not the enemy of good works, but their only possible source.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 40

What the Gospel is Not

The power of our activism, campaigns, movements and strategies cannot forgive sins or raise the dead.  “The gospel…is the power of God for salvation,” and, with Paul we have no reason to be ashamed of it (Romans 1:16).  That is why phrases like “living the gospel,” “being the gospel,” and “being partners with Jesus in his redemption of the world” are dangerous distortions of the biblical message of good news.  The gospel is not about what we have done or are called to do, but the announcement of G0d’s saving work in Christ Jesus (II Corinthians 4:5).

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 39

Frenetic Activism vs. Faithful Activity

The call to action, to have an active faith, is well-supported in Scripture.  “Ordinary” does not mean passive.  All believers should live out what they believe, should practice what they preach.  But misguided or chaotic activism makes us sloppy.  The real question is: What kind of action?  Why – and to what end?  There is a difference between frenetic activism and faithful activity in the daily struggles and joys of life.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 38

What ‘Ordinary’ Means…And It May not be What You Think…

Being “ordinary” means that we reject the idolatry of pursuing excellence for selfish reasons.  We aren’t digging wells in Africa to prove our worth or value.  We aren’t serving in the soup kitchen or engaging in Spiritual Disciplines because we long to be unique, radical, and different.  When we do these things for selfish reasons, God becomes a tool for winning our lifetime achievement award.  Our neighbors become instruments in the crafting of our sense of meaning, impact and identity.  What we do for God is really for ourselves.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 38

Material, Moral, or Spiritual Self-Sufficiency Is Deadly

What Jesus is saying is that every excuse for refusing the master’s invitation (Luke 14:15-24) – even the pursuit of religious “excellence” – will make you an outsider to his kingdom.  Your religious excellence will not earn you a place at God’s table.  Your own efforts will never merit you a seat of honor.  The invitation is not Christ plus anything, but Christ alone. Material, moral, or spiritual self-sufficiency is deadly, and it has everlasting consequences.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 37

An Instrument for Loving and Serving Ourselves

When I find my justification in Christ alone, I am free to love and serve others in ordinary and unheralded ways.  A relatively insignificant and imperfect act of generosity is nevertheless useful to my neighbor and therefore glorifying to God.  Our perfectionism, however, makes others and their needs simply an instrument for loving and serving ourselves.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 35