Grace Versus Works
We begin a new Bible study in Galatians this month. This Epistle was Paul's first letter and is the first piece of Christian literature ever written. Called the Magna Carta of the Christian faith, Paul's purpose was to reassure the new churches of Galatia by answering arguments presented by the legalists who were making their presence felt. One such argument was about justification through faith. Paul declares that justification and sanctification are by grace through faith and not by works. Under the Law of Moses rules were strictly observed
and salvation came only through strict observance of the law. Jesus had condemned the Jewish leaders for their hypocritical piety at the expense of love and compassion.
The Galatian churches included Jews who knew only the Law and Gentiles who had little knowledge of it. Neither had the benefit of knowing the teachings of Jesus since the Gospels had not yet been written. Paul knew Jesus only through a vision on the road to Damascus and his association with the disciples. So this idea of not having to earn your way was new and went against the teachings of the day.
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Galatians 2:16. This concept of salvation by grace alone had its detrators then as it does now. James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the church in Jerusalem, said "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2:26.
So are these opposing views of the early church (and even now) mutually exclusive? Actually they complement each other - grace and works. Paul would later say to the Ephesians: "For we are Godís handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10. John Wesley puts it this way. "It is incumbent on all that are justified to be zealous of good works, and these are so necessary that if a man willingly neglects them, he cannot reasonably expect that he shall ever be sanctified" (from The Scripture Way of Salvation sermon). Per Wesley, when grace awakens us to the power of sin in our lives, we are enabled to respond with the faith of a servant. He expressed it this way in his Covenant Prayer.
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
From Pastor Sandra
Hello Church Family and Friends!
The 2nd Great Day of Singing with Buncombe UMC is October 29th!
Remember the marvelous Buncombe UMC Chancel Choir who presented a magnificent musical program in July, 2016! Well, they are back again at New Hope UMC on Sunday, October 29th to lead us in another inspiring worship service!
New Hope UMC and friends are anxious to participate in a service of praise as we worship our Lord and Savior. New Hope UMC is a small country church in the heart of South Carolina; yet, we are involved in missions, in out-reach activities, in engaging in an exchange of worship with other churches, in reaching out to those in need, and in the marvelous experience of sharing talents with which God has gifted us.
Buncombe UMC is a big city church with many outreach programs. They have adopted a smaller church in the Greenville area to guide and direct them. And, yet this magnificent Chancel Choir has blessed New Hope UMC for the 2nd time with talent and devotion in sharing their gifts from God with New Hope.
We have a special bond, which developed with New Hopeís need for funding a project to restore stained glass windows in the sanctuary, which was built in 1902. Buncombe UMC Chancel Choir member, Jim Doolittle spearhearded the interest in assisting New Hope with this formidable financial project. New Hope shall be forever in prayer for the intervention with Buncombe so that the beautiful stained glass windows are once again in wonderful shape.
This is the second year that Buncombe UMC, Greenville, SC has blessed the New Hope UMC Family with a musical worship service.
We cordially invite, encourage, and greatly anticipate members and friends of New Hope to take advantage of this musical worship service. We will have a catered Sunday Dinner in the Rowesville Community Center following Worship Service. If you know in advance that you plan to be with us, please notify me: firstname.lastname@example.org
OR res: 803-829-3252 OR cell: 803-664-3624 by Sunday, October 22nd.