August 2, 2014 Dear Friends, Back when I lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia, at this time of year there would be an ad on the radio that went, “School bells ring and children sing, it’s back to Robert Hall [a store like Walmart] again.” Summer is moving along and I trust you are having a [...]
Labor Day is always the first Monday in September, a time when America celebrates its working folk—not with a full day of work, but with a day off. Speeches are made on the working man and woman, and all they have accomplished in this country.
Many folk see how little work they can do on the jobs they have. The Bible has much to say about our labor, starting in Gen. 2:5, 15. Man was created to take care of the Garden of Eden—labor is as old as creation. It was ordained of God in Gen. 3:17-19; it is one of the commandments—see. Ex. 20:9, “Six days shalt thou labour.”
Now I am not against retirement—but God designed us to work. In fact, we are to work (may I say, for the Lord while we are still on this old earth.—see 1 Cor. 15:10 [spiritual labor by God’s grace] and 1 Cor. 15:58 “…know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord”).
Consider now the Christian’s work: Did you realize that all three members of the Trinity are active in what you do for the Lord? In Phil. 2:13, God the Father—“…it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” In Rom. 15:18, God the Son, Christ Jesus—“…Christ hath not wrought by me….” In 1 Cor. 12:11, God the Holy Spirit—“…worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit….”
Realize also that in 1 Thess. 2:13, the Word of God “…effectually worketh also in you that believe” (read the whole verse). There is an interesting statement in Gal. 5:6, “…faith which worketh by love.”
Not to put a damper on things, “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another” (Gal 6:4). Also, the Bible says in 1 Thess 3:7-14 that physical work (labor) is required of Christians. In fact, in 2 Thess 3:10-12 it states “no work, no eats.” Christians are not to be lazy. We are to consider the ant in Prov. 6:6-8. Christians are to be “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:16).
Two more things before I close this letter. First, let us consider “Good Works Negatively.” Dear reader, they can NEVER justify us—see Rom. 4:2-6. They can NEVER save—see Titus 3:5. They can NEVER secure righteousness—see Rom. 9:32. They can NEVER substitute for grace—see Rom. 11:6.
Second, let us consider “Good Works Positively.” Realize, if you are truly saved, you “…are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10; see also 2 Tim. 3:17). As believers we are to be “zealous of good works” in Titus 2:14.
One day our labor for the Lord will be over and we will be able to do no more in these mortal bodies. There will be a reward for our work for our Lord—see 1 Cor. 3:13-15. It is my prayer that this letter will “provoke unto love and to good works” (Heb 10:24). The writer of the book of Hebrews has a beautiful closing benediction that I am asking God to apply to each of you who read this—Heb. 13:20-21, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
In closing, consider these words in the last book of the Bible (Rev. 14:13), “…Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
Yes, what you do with your life, no matter how old or how young, matters. Remember always, “your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58b).
Your fellow servant,
Frederick W. Carroll
Ps. 103:13, 14