Christianity is Not a “Do Nothing” Religion
On April 2, 2021, the UPI reported that walking on escalators has become illegal in the Saitama prefecture in Japan. If you use the escalator, you must stand in place until you reach the top or the bottom. But you are not permitted to walk up or down the escalator. Let the escalator do it all.
Why did the Liberal Democratic Party make this law? The article stated that, over a two-year period, there were 805 accidents on escalators as a result of people walking or running on them. These stats are for the entire country of Japan, a nation of 135 million people. Therefore, 805 accidents over two years, does not seem excessive. Nevertheless, a party spokesman explained they are sending a “strong message” to violators – stand in place when riding the escalator.
Yet, it makes a person wonder, if one is not permitted to climb the escalator then what are the steps for? If people are required to stand in place, why not do away with escalators altogether and just add more elevators? They take up less floor space than escalators.
You know, “Stay in place” and “Do nothing” seems to be the “strong message” government was sending people during the pandemic. Don’t work. Stay at home. Hunker down and do nothing. We’ll send you free money. Why is our government discouraging people from being productive citizens? Why does it reward laziness?
But don’t get the idea that God is sending you the same message. God expects something from us as a result of His investment of grace in our lives. He expects fruitfulness and purity. Yes, His escalator transports you upward, but He expects you to take some steps as well.
Now, it’s true. The one great reality of our salvation is that God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He created us. He conceived and initiated His great plan to redeem us from sin and damnation. As God, Jesus did the impossible for us by bearing our sins upon the cross, then suffering God’s judgments and the unquenchable fire of His wrath in our place (Romans 3:24-26; 1 John 2:1-2; 4:10). Christ quenched God’s wrath and satisfied His holy justice forever. And now the Holy Spirit raises us from death in trespasses and sins and makes us a new creation inwardly (Ephesians 2:1-9). And, henceforth, the Holy Spirit renews, empowers, teaches, and illumines us day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
But throughout the New Testament we are commanded to cooperate with God by “working out our own salvation with fear and trembling,” for God is working in us to desire to do His will and to empower us to do it (Philippians 2:12-13). God not only allows walking on His escalator, He demands it. He gives us the desire and strength to perform good works (Ephesians 2:10).
Therefore He commands us to show hospitality (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2), to serve others (Galatians 5:13), to show kindness (Ephesians 4:32), and to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). God endows us with spiritual gifts and a measure of faith. Therefore, He commands us to exercise those gifts in accordance with the grace and faith He’s given us (Romans 12:4-8). He’s made us lights in this world, so He’s commanded us to let our light shine so that people may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). God empowers us to pray and intercede for others, thus He commands us to do so (Ephesians 6:18; Jude 1:20).
God is doing the impossible and the miraculous by transforming our hearts and motivating us to good behavior. He’s crucified the “old man” in us through Jesus’ death and raised a new person in his place by His resurrection (Romans 6:3-11). Thus, Jesus has freed us from sin’s domination and now commands us not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies (Romans 6:12-14).
True, the sinful nature still resides in our physical bodies – which still await their redemption – the resurrection (Romans 8:23). And there is a battle between our regenerated hearts and our old sin-corrupted bodies (Romans 7:21-25). Yet, step by step and little by little (Exodus 23:30; Deuteronomy 7:22) the Christian believer should be gaining ground, putting to death the wicked deeds of the body by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5-10).
Yes, God’s escalator is lifting you up all the time. But He demands that you “work out” what He is continuously “working in.” Keep climbing that escalator with the strength and grace that God supplies. Christianity is not a “do nothing” religion.
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, thank You for all You have done to purchase my redemption. Thank You for sending Your only Son to bear humanity’s sins and suffer all Your judgments and wrath in our place. Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to apply Christ’s blood, His death to sin, and His resurrection to newness of life to my heart. Thank You for Your ceaseless activity in my heart to motivate me to do Your will. Please, help me, dear Father to respond to this salvation by obeying Your voice and serving humanity in Jesus’ name. Amen.