If we have experienced regeneration, we must not only talk about the experience, we must exercise it and work out what God has worked in (Philippians 2:12-13). We have to show it in our finger-tips, in our tongue, and in our bodily contact with other people, and as we obey God we find we have a wealth of power on the inside. The question of forming habits on the basis of the grace of God is a very vital one. To ignore it is to fall into the snare of the Pharisee–the grace of God is praised, Jesus Christ is praised, the Redemption is praised, but the practical everyday life evades working it out. If we refuse to practice, it is not God’s grace that fails when a crisis comes, but our own nature…If we will obey the Spirit of God and practise [sic] through our physical life all that God has put in our hearts by His Spirit, then when the crisis comes we shall find that we have not only God’s grace to stand by us but our own nature also, and the crisis is passed without any disaster, but exactly the opposite happens, the soul is built up into a stronger attitude toward God.Oswald Chambers, The Psychology of Redemption, p. 26
On Tuesday night I was listening to a podcast, and the host and interviewee characterized Christianity as a faith tradition that emphasizes believing the right things over and above living a certain kind of life.
This is a misunderstanding. It may not be a mischaracterization, for there have been Christian leaders who have given the impression that belief is more important than action, and there have been individuals, and even churches, who have privileged right doctrine (orthodoxy) over right practice (orthopraxy), and have neglected altogether right feeling (orthopathy).
When it is at its best, however, Christianity brings together all dimensions of the human person. Not only do we think in accordance with the truth, we feel accordingly and act accordingly, possessing and displaying a humble, quiet confidence that stems from being a friend of God.
Philippians 2:12-13, cited above by Chambers, says, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Our work, then, is to work out what God has worked in, to exercise the grace that has been supplied to us in and through Jesus Christ.