The Difference Between Serving And Earning

Many of us have experienced the joy of being recognized for doing something good. From childhood to adulthood, we are rewarded for doing the right thing. Unfortunately, we have been conditioned to follow a merit system that has shaped some of us to believe that our level of blessings is based on our measure of goodness; even the blessing of salvation.

The Lord is pleased when we spend time with Him in His word. He delights in our desire to serve. Our salvation, however, is not from the work that we do, but from the sacrifice that has already been made. The apostle Paul warned believers against vain philosophies which taught that Jesus alone was not “good” enough. These false teachers accused the believers of needing to do more for their salvation. The Bible says in Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me.”

Sometimes we can get caught up in teachings or actions that are not founded on the cross but are instead, founded based on our “goodness.”  Remember, none of us will ever be good enough to receive salvation. We are made whole and complete through what Christ has done and not through what we do. Through Christ, we have been “brought to fullness” (Col. 2:10). Therefore, we have no reason to seek salvation in anything or anyone else.


  • Do you find that your actions are Christ-centered or self-centered?
  • What is one way you can use your actions to honor Jesus rather than yourself?
  • Is the Holy Spirit prompting you to turn to Jesus and receive salvation? We'd love to talk to you about what it means to follow Jesus. Email us at

Want to learn more about the book of Colossians? Get the story behind the story in this Bible Need To Know


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