“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” - Ephesians 2:10
Years ago in up state Maine there was a simple fisherman called “Old Tom” who was in bondage to alcohol. Many times he took the money from his catch and spent it on liquor while his wife and children suffered. They lived on the far side of a small fishing village, away from the villagers.
Then, one day another fisherman shared the gospel of the grace of God found in the love of Jesus Christ with Old Tom. Old Tom gladly received this good news of grace in Christ Jesus and a change started in him. He eventually lost his desire for liquor and to the astonishment of his wife he brought his money home. He began to help others and worked more steadily. Soon they had more money than ever. The wife was able to buy new clothes for the children. There was food on the table and coal for the fire. After a few months, his wife said, “Tom, if you are going to keep this up we should move out of this miserable shack.”
Tom said, “I’ll go and see the landlord about a new house tomorrow.” He made his way through the village to the landlord and asked to rent another house. The landlord said, “I would never rent a good house to you.”
“Why not?” asked Tom. “You don’t know me. I would be a good tenant, and I am quite sure that I can pay the rent.”
“Of course I know you,” the landlord said. “You are the old drunk, Tom the fisherman.” Tom spoke up and said, “You are quite mistaken. You have never seen me before. Old Tom is dead and I am New Tom, a new creature in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a bundle of cash before the eyes of the astonished landlord. Whether or not the landlord was convinced by New Tom’s testimony, he was most surely convinced by the sight of cash from Tom’s hard work. Soon, New Tom and his family were living in a new house.
The world has a tenacious memory for past sins. There will always be people in our village who still remember what we were, even after years of sobriety. The past life of every born-again believer is over so far as God is concerned. That person who lived in the pleasure of sin died to their sins by faith in Christ, and was raised in newness of life (Romans 6:4).
Christians know that salvation is by God’s free grace (Romans 3:24), but not only does grace work to save a lost sinner from sin and shame, but also grace works to transform believers into God’s good workers for the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes, grace works!
David C. Hale, pastor