Tend and Keep
While small, one chapter in the book Touching Heaven is devoted to work and is entitled "Salvation and Sweat." Ahhh, how the evangelical radar begins to call out the "Sola Fide" Air National Guard at the first sign of this "boogie."
While this chapter is focused primarily on the importance and benefit of "work" (obviously physical, but less obviously the labor of the heart), I found myself ALSO pondering why my evangelical hairs stand up on end at the sound of the chapter's title.
I guess, in a sense, I do believe in "salvation by works", but with the footnote that we understand that our works are worthless and unable to save us without the love, compassion, mercy, and grace of the "lover of Mankind." I suppose if you see salvation as simply an offended God needing to forgive you, then salvation solely by grace without any effort on your part (besides faith of course - which if we are honest can become itself labroious)makes perfect sense. But if salvation is more akin to "healing", what then?
How many doctors have watched helplessly as patients have literally killed themselves by not following their prescribed course of treatment? Ever see a freshly repaired dog rip out his own stitches? (Ahhh...the grace and mercy of God in the form of a cone worn around the neck!) Salvation, without my effort, is somewhat like asking God to help me lose weight while eating a huge bowl of ice cream.
The mandate given to us BEFORE the Fall, was to tend and keep. The very next time we see the Hebrew word for "keep" being used is when the profoundly stupid and sad question is asked: "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Yes, of course you are. And you are your own keeper too. Tend and Keep - God will do the growing.
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 6:56 AM [+]