Recently I read a news story about a man and how he and his family left the church they had attended all their life and have found happiness in another denomination. It was a respectful and well written article in which this man and his wife told about things that happened that caused them to look elsewhere for a spiritual home. The article quoted the man as saying, “Before I was working for my salvation - today I am working because I'm grateful for my salvation." I'm saddened that he had this misunderstanding and felt, in his former church, that he needed to be "working for his salvation". This made me wonder how many other Christians are misguided like this. How many others do the things asked at church because they feel like they have to check the boxes on the list or they won't be with God or their families forever? I asked myself do I do these "works" i.e.- baptism, partake of the sacrament, attend Sunday services, help out in teaching a class or organizing an activity or give service (service given because it is asked of me or because I saw an need and quietly stepped in) because I feel a need to “work for my salvation” or because “I rejoice in my salvation”.
I think it is easy to fall into the trap of “working for your salvation”. It’s one more thing to add to the never ending to-do list:
Wash the dishes
Read the scriptures
Fold the laundry
Say a prayer
Visit my neighbor
And soon we are checking the boxes, feeling guilty when we miss the mark, and start equating in paying tithing with paying taxes and attending Sunday services is ranked with getting the grocery shopping done.
It is important that we give service, that we study the word of God, that we say our prayers, that we gather to worship with others, but no matter how long your spiritual to-do list is you can’t work for your salvation. No amount of work or perfectness or lists with little checked off boxes will earn your way into Heaven - just faith and repentance and love.
So, I serve and work and worship in Christ’s church because I rejoice in my salvation, because I "stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me", because I know that "my redeemer lives" and He does so for me. I know that whatever "work" I do in whatever way for His other children is just a bonus to the gifts I've already received from Him.