February 26, 2011

Reflections: Good deeds express our gratitude but faith alone will save us

By RICHARD H. PETERSEN

(Continued from page 1)

REFLECTIONS is a column written by members of Maine's faith-based community. Opinions expressed in the column reflect the author's view and not necessarily that of the newspaper.

The question is now: What did the prodigal son do the day after the party? We'd like to think that he was so grateful for his welcome home that he lived out the rest of his life as a grateful member of the family.

If we can keep this in mind from day to day, remembering that everything we do in our Christian life must be done with thanks to God for His unconditional love, then we can be sure that all our deeds will be done, not to earn His love, but to express our gratitude to Him. We must catch ourselves before we fall into that pharisaical trap.

Nevertheless, if and when we do fall, we pray: We have done those things that we ought not to have done, and we have left undone those things that we ought to have done.

Sadly, we do fail to remember. We are sinners, always in need of the Holy Spirit to remind us and to empower us. So we do not lose heart. We turn again to Him with a grateful heart and get on with living the Christian life, doing good deeds in Jesus' name, in order to express His love working through our lives.

Remember what St. Paul wrote: "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:17, NIV).

The Rev. Richard H. Petersen, Ph.D., is the retired pastor of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

 

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