Recently I have been struggling to understand how we are both guided by the Holy Spirit to righteousness but we are also judged by our actions and we are required to bear good fruit. And if anyone is confused about what I am talking about, here are some verses that will help you understand what I am confused about, and will probably make you confused with me.
For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.Matthew 16:27 NASB
The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Matthew 3:10 NASB
Both of these verses suggest that we will all be judged for our works in this life, but when we read the other authors in the new testament we get the idea that we can’t actually be good people or work to be saved.
“Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “the righteous man shall live by faith.”Galatians 3:11 NASB
So we can see by both verses that Jesus is going to repay man according to their deeds, yet also man is not made righteous by the Law, but by his faith. This can seem confusing to some but as we can see in James, there is a connection between faith and works.
“For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”James 2:26 NASB
In this we can see that though a man is not judged by the Law, he is judged by his works. Yet also a man is required to keep the Law in some sense as the Law is the basis for knowing what works are good and what works are bad.
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet”Romans 7:7 NASB
So we know sin through the Law, and we know that we are judged by our works but not by the Law. To truely understand this is that we are judged by what we do and we are expected to live out lives as Christ, Him being the one who fully kept the Law and was the only one worthy to be apart of life. Yet we are not expected to live perfectly as He did because we are not able on our own. Yet through the power of the Holy Spirit we are given the Truth that will set us free from our slavery to a sinful life. That is why we are given grace, because it takes time to reveal the truth and to give us the freedom from slavery.
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.John 16:13 NASB
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”Titus 3:5 NASB
So we can now see a clearer picture of the power of the Holy Spirit, that it is able to bring us Truth, which will change our hearts and cause us to bear good fruits just as Christ did. But are we alone in this journey, are we alone in the responsibility of bearing good fruits and living our lives for Christ?
When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’Luke 15:5-6
This is the verse that has the anwser. We are all lost sheep and our shepard is Jesus. What does he do when he finds us? He puts us on his shoulders and carries us back to our home. He is there for us on this journey, he is our rock and our strength. And that is why, we cannot do it alone because we need both the Holy Spirit of Truth, and the support and power of our King Jesus. So we can rest in peace knowing that if we trust Jesus and we seek the spirit of truth, we will be with God.
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