What Should We Do?4 min read

When it comes to salvation, of course the answer is “nothing.” There is nothing we can or need to do to merit life with God. There is no action of our own that can bring reconciliation between us and the Father. You know well that it is by grace we are saved, through faith, and not by our own works.

There is nothing to do. It has all been done. Jesus did it.

But when it comes to living life in the Kingdom, there is much “we should do.” The lives we live and the way we live make a big difference in the influence we have with unbelievers for Jesus and the fruitfulness of our living. What we do matters in great ways.

Jesus had much to say about “what we should do.” Just read the Gospels. Paul too had much to say about “what we should do.” Just read his letters. It turns out that, indeed, he “chose to know nothing but Jesus and him crucified;” he had lots and lots to say about “what we should do.” And the Confessions too speak to this. While the Lutheran Confessions accent that only Jesus saves, that there is nothing we can do to merit salvation, they still have page after page of guidance of “what we should do.”

Let me encourage you as a follower of Jesus to consider how you live, what you do with your words and actions, how you walk in the world. Consider these three principles.

The Principle of the Right Hand

Remember that Jesus is King right now and is ruling at this very minute to build His Kingdom. He is seated at the right hand of the Father, which means that He has full authority over what is happening in our world, nation, congregations, and your home.

Paul reflects on that in Colossians 3. He says that, because Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, we should set our minds on things above, not on earth. Therefore, we should put to death what is earthly and put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. We should forgive, love, and let Christ’s peace rule in our hearts. What we should do and how we should live is conditioned by the reality that Jesus really is King, is reigning now, and is working all things together for our good.

The Principle of the Garden

Paul did not have to be a Spirit-inspired scholar to teach what every farmer knows: “You reap what you sow.” Plant corn; reap corn. Plant potatoes; reap potatoes. Plant evil; reap evil. Plant goodness; reap goodness.

As Christians, while we live under the grace of God in Jesus, we should keep this principle in mind as we live out our days under the sun. What we do makes a difference in the fruit, either good or bad, of our lives. Certainly sin, death, and the devil are present to throw monkey wrenches into everything, yet the gardening principle still applies. What we should do (sowing) really does impact what happens (reaping).

The Principle of the Other

We are called to love God first and our neighbor as ourselves. In short, this means we are to think of “the other” (God and other people) instead of ourselves. That’s what love is: to be fiercely devoted to the wellbeing of another no matter what the cost. This is what Christians are to be known for. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another(John 13:35).  This takes work. It takes effort. It takes dying to self. All this is what we should do.

All to what end? How we live, what we do, our works, make a difference—not in our salvation but in fruitful living. The difference they make shapes the influence we have on the unbelievers around us. They shape the hearing that the Gospel of Jesus receives. We Christians are not in this world to battle against the culture, escape from the culture, or capitulate to it. We are to exhibit a faithful presence within it, doing the things of the Kingdom and doing things the way of the Kingdom.

In our lives, let us give ourselves over in thanksgiving and gratefulness for what Jesus has done to great obedience to the King based on the Principle of the Right Hand, the Principle of the Garden, and the Principle of the Other. In doing so, may our light shine brighter into a dark world that sorely needs it.

Photo © Tyler Nix/Unsplash

Subscribe to Blog Button

About the Author

Rev. David A. Davis serves as President of the Michigan District, LCMS.

More by This Author