Faith vs. Works

Sunday’s readings (Ephesians 2:4-10 and John 3:14-21) reminded me of the old debate between faith vs. works. One side of the argument says that faith alone is enough to save you and get into heaven (see Ephesians 2:8). The other side says that you need faith plus good works to get you into heaven (see James 2:14-26).
I am reminded of something I once heard—when you die, God will ask you one question, “Did you love Me to the best of your ability?” (See The Question)
Now, this might sound a bit naive (after all, I am kind of new to all of this), but having faith says that you love God. You accept Him in your life. But having faith and accepting God in your life does not answer His question, “Do you love Me to the best of your ability?”
If you are following the two commandments from Jesus, love God first and love others, then it follows that you must show your love. How do you show love for God? Well, for me, loving God is an internal thing. Loving others is an external thing and I show it by doing good works and service for others. But then again, by showing your love for others, you show your love for God. The process, the love, builds upon itself.
To paraphrase Brian, when you have faith (or are baptized), you become a vessel like a clay pot. Your vessel will be completely filled with God and His love. You can make your vessel bigger by loving others through service and good works.
I know it sounds like I am saying that faith is enough to get you into heaven. But I am reminded of Matthew 25:31-46, where Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats and those that have helped/served others will “inherit the kingdom”.
Are you going to do just barely enough to get by and make it into heaven? Or are you going to love and live life to the fullest? I want my vessel to be as big as I can make it. Without hestitation, I want to be able to answer “Yes!” when God asks me His question.

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