Matthew 11:28-30 (WEBBE): 28“Come to me, all you who labour and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus spoke these words to people that were used to having a large number of rules to follow. The religious leaders had added more and more specific rules over the years, until it really became a burden to follow all of them. But Jesus was changing all of that.
Being a follower of Jesus means finding rest for your soul. There is no need to worry whether you perform all the right rituals or live according to all of the rules or donate the right amount of money to the right cause. The price has been paid in full by Jesus himself, so that we can be restored to a perfect relationship with Him through faith alone. None of our works could possibly improve on what Jesus did!
Ephesians 2:8-9 (WEBBE): 8for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, that no one would boast.
But then how do we then understand James’ words?
James 2:17 (WEBBE): 17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself.
Lets consider an everyday example. Suppose you eat for the first time at a new restaurant, and you discover there the most amazing thing that you have ever tasted. The perfect combination of textures and flavours and presentation. Would you want to share the news with everybody you know, so that they can experience this too? Would it move you to action?
Living in a relationship with Jesus is way better than any dish that an earthly chef could come up with. When your heart and mind is filled with His presence, it is a natural result that it moves you to action. We should do good works because we are already saved.
Whether we do good works won’t make a difference to our own salvation, but it might very well make all the difference in somebody else’s life!