Faith and Works Working Together for Glorious Good

Psalms 19:12-13 (ESV) Who can discern his errors?

Declare me innocent from hidden faults.

13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;

let them not have dominion over me!

Then I shall be blameless,

and innocent of great transgression.

I love how the inspired writers of the New Testament take Jesus’ instructions from Luke 24 on how to interpret the Old Testament and then write, teach and preach from the Scriptures in such a way to put Jesus in the middle and reveal the mission and tactics of God for his glory and our salvation and good in life. 

James says that faith without works is dead. Some were saying that they just need to think and believe in their heads and hearts the right things to be saved. Some were saying they needed to keep the law to be saved. 

James tells them all that he will show them his faith by his works because the demons think and believe the right things about God and tremble, yet they are not saved. 

James is not simply making this up. James sees this glorious reality in the texts of the Old Testament. As I like to say, “It’s in the Manual.”

David asks the rhetorical question in Psalm 19:12, “Who can discern his errors?” Man, if we honestly evaluate ourselves, we have to say “amen!” to David’s question. I’m so full of errors, I’m surprised anything can come out of me but errors. 

Then David exclaims, “Declare me innocent of hidden faults.” Wow. How can David exclaim this? 

I believe David, by the Holy Spirit, prophetically looks to the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, God, the Second Person of the Trinity, and by faith exclaims to God that he is sinful and in need of God to save him completely.

Reading this from David makes me think he had some Holy Spirit insight into what would be written by the writer of Hebrews in chapters 8-10 of their letter to the persecuted Jewish followers of Jesus. 

Hebrews 10:14 (ESV) For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

This span of chapters in the New Testament is where I go when I need to be reminded of God’s love for and Jesus’ work to secure that love for me. I can’t even know the full measure of how sinful I am. God knows. I don’t know. So I need God to declare me innocent. How can God do that? Jesus’ crucified in my place for my sin and raised to life to be received by faith! That’s how. 

Then David turns around in the next verse and asks the Lord to keep him from presumptuous sins and to not let them get dominion over him. 

This is a big deal. David knows he needs God to do what he can’t do. Then he recognizes that he has a role to play under the powerful working of God in him to become aware of and weed out sins that are rooted in the presumption. He recognizes that he has work to do to kill sin and not presume that God will just be ok with continuing in sin because of Jesus’ work to deal with my sin. 

In other words, David is asking for help to get control over the temptation to presume on the riches of the cross of Jesus to cover his sins. To say it another way, David has to do something to fight against sin precisely because Jesus has provided forgiveness for sin. 

Faith at work in working out his faith through fighting sin with actions to curb presumption. 

Faith without works is dead. 

So, what are the ways God has graciously given you to work out your faith in Jesus in fighting sin? 

God is immeasurably glorious, big, good, and full of love. Sin is devastatingly bad. The justifying work of the cross is infinitely deep. How do you take hold of all that goodness by faith? 

Meditate on this Scripture and that question, journal some ways you work this out in faith, and then you will become aware of one of the most marvelous processes God is using in you to shape you into Christlikeness. 

You will see and know faith without works is dead, preached in the whole Bible, become aware of God’s amazing grace to you, and have some tools to fight sin and know God better than ever before. 

One comment

  1. My journal, bear with me 🙂

    “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:13-14‬ NASB1995‬‬

    “I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes and to carefully observe My ordinances.”

    By faith I walk in the Spirit, who graciously indwells me, who has already perfected me (Heb 10:14), my spirit by giving me a new heart and spirit (Ezk. 36:25-27). The Spirit, living in my heart, has given me everything I need for godliness.

    I daily freely surrender, choosing to die to myself, being yoked to Christ and His cross, submitting to Him. I have faith in the Spirit’s resurrection power, Whom rules my sinful flesh and spirit, continually freeing from the power of sin, graciously causing me to desire to love (spirit) and to actively love (flesh-actually doing!) people God puts in front of me each day so they experience my good deeds, God love toward them. God is accomplishing His good works through my hard work, but not my hard work, the grace of God, Spirit, working in me.

    As I submit to the Spirit, the process of becoming holy, my works perfect my faith, because I experience the Spirits work in me and witness Him loving others through me, so I trust the Spirit the Lord more and more, maturing in Christ. Sounds easy and clean however, dying to my agendas and old ways (I take full responsibility for my old fleshly patterns) is painful, so at times I freely choose to oppose the Spirit. I will be disciplined by the Spirit and forfeit the love and good He has for me and others when I do.


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