Don’t Get the Buggy Before the Horse

“For by grace you have been saved through faith…not of works…For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…”

— Ephesians 2:8-10

Suppose that you lived in the country 100 years ago, when horses and buggies were common. One day you came into the city and discovered that most people were putting the buggy in front of the horse and saying, “Giddy-ap, horse. Push, push,” and somehow they couldn’t get the horse to push the buggy at all.

You would think to yourself, “How incredibly stupid can these city folk be?” And you would be right. Yet the vast majority of people in America today have the Gospel just that backwards.

The Bible contains two basic elements, like a horse and buggy. It contains the law and the Gospel, and unless we get these in the proper relationship it never will work.

The proper relationship between the two—as taught by the early church and by Augustine—is the great rediscovery that Martin Luther made and proclaimed to the world on October 31, 1517. It has dramatically changed the world. D.T. Niles said that in all other religions, good works are “in order to,” whereas, in Christianity, good works are, “therefore.” We’re not saved by good works. But when we’re truly saved, good works will naturally follow.

Even in the Ten Commandments, God said, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Therefore, He decrees, “…you shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2 3). Having first been brought up and brought into God, therefore, we do good works.

Lord, You are our righteousness. Thank You for raising up people throughout the centuries who shine the light on the true Gospel for all to see. Thank You for the clarity of salvation by faith, with works of gratitude to follow…