Christians sometimes sing the following words:
This world is not my home,
I’m just a-passing through.
Does that mean that we who are headed for heaven aren’t to have a concern for the present world? No. We can’t pray as Jesus instructed us, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10), and be indifferent to the needs and evils of our planet. On the contrary, we ought to be eager to carry out Paul’s counsel, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all” (Gal. 6:10).
British historian Paul Johnson points out that our spiritual forebears in 19th-century England battled against slavery, poverty, vice, and illiteracy because of their devotion to God. He wrote, “Generous-minded Victorians, who took big risks by publicly expressing their concern for the poor, did not pretend that they knew everything about the problem or propose specific solutions.” The dynamic of their concern, Johnson asserts, was their solid belief in God.
We are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8), but our faith is to produce “good works” (v.10). Let’s follow the example of those Victorian Christians. And may we be like Christ, “who went about doing good” (Acts 10:38).
So let our lips and lives express
The holy gospel we profess;
So let our works and virtues shine,
To prove the doctrine all divine. —Watts
A living faith is a working faith.