How You Know You’re Saved
Today’s reading: Nehemiah 4-6; Acts 2:14-47
12 Then they said, “We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say.” And I called the priests and made them swear to do as they had promised. 13 I also shook out the fold of my garment and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not keep this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said “Amen” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised. Nehemiah 5:12-13
44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. Acts 2:44-45
Generosity is evidence of true faith in God and sincere love for others. Faith in God and love for others are signs of salvation, of being reconciled to God (Acts 16:31; John 13:34,35).
The Jews had suffered greatly through the captivity. When the exiles returned to Judah, some were destitute. Others had managed to accumulate some wealth. The ones in poverty were reduced to selling their children into slavery to other Jews, just to pay their taxes. When Nehemiah learned about this he was furious. He called the people together and immediately rebuked the officials who had engaged in this abusive practice. The response was good because the loan sharks did recognize that they had violated God’s law and they stood in fear of Him.
Thanks to Nehemiah’s bold and swift leadership, the crisis was averted. The wall building resumed amidst joy and unity.
In the early church, there was also a disparity of material resources among the believers, yet the power of the gospel and presence of the Holy Spirit so moved them that they voluntarily looked out for one another. There seemed to be no need to rebuke them to share with one another, at least at this point.
Does your use of material resources reflect trust in God and love for others? Are you generous with what you have? If you have less than others, do you resent your lack or are you content with food and clothing (I Timothy 6:6-10) ? Flee from the love of money. Be as generous as you are able. Learn contentment. As Martin Luther told us, we are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone. Salvation bears fruit in generosity, love, and contentment.