For those who say this is just too
legalistic I have these verses to share (we always emphasize the first
part but take a close look at the second part):
For by grace
you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a
gift of God;
not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that
we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2: 8-10 NAS
Its not these verses alone, there is a pattern here.
Look at the following verses in the same manner. We emphasize the
first part, but what about the later part?
us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but
according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the
whom He poured upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
that being justified by His grace we might be heirs according to the hope
of eternal life.
This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to
speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may
be careful to engage in good deeds.
These things are good and profitable for men.
Titus 3: 5-8
A quick word about preparation for service follows.
It was written by Andrew Murray in his book Abide in Christ.
(Pages 107 and 108, published 1979, Whitaker House, Springdale, PA.)
"It is not enough that, when
once you are truly converted, you have an earnest desire to have all
these (in context: He is talking about abilities and giftings
given to each of us from God) devoted to the service of the Lord.
The desire is good, but it can neither teach the way nor give the
strength to do it acceptably. Incalculable harm has been done to
the deeper spirituality of the Church, by the idea that once we are
God's children the using of our gifts in His service follows as a matter
of course. No; for this there is indeed a very special grace.
And the way in which the grace comes is again that of sacrifice and
surrender. I must see how all my giftings and powers are, even
though I be a child of God, still defiled by sin, and under the power of
the flesh. I must feel that I cannot at once proceed to use them
for God's glory. I must first lay them at Christ's feet, to be
accepted and cleansed by Him. I must feel myself utterly powerless
to use the aright. I must see that they are most dangerous to me,
because through them the flesh, the old nature, self, will so easily
exert it's power. In this conviction I must part with them, giving
them entirely up to the Lord. When He has accepted them and put
His stamp upon them, I receive them back, to hold them as His property,
to wait on Him for the grace to use them aright day by day, and have
them act only under His influence. And so experience proves it
true here too, that the path of entire consecration is the path of full
salvation. Not only is what is thus given up received back again
to be doubly our own, but the forsaking all is followed by the receiving
all. We abide in Christ more fully as we forsake all to follow
Him. As I count all things loss for His sake, I am found in Him."