The DEEP

Charity

that's actually charity.

Ephesians 1:13–14 (NKJV)

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Instead of, “guarantee,” the NIV says, “deposit.” The New American Standard Bible (NASB) says “pledge.” The point is that we are meant to have assurance of salvation. We know who we are and where we’re going. That issue is settled, to the praise of His glory.

This stands in stark contrast to motivating people by coercion. We’re not “threatened” with the loss of our salvation.

This makes perfect sense. If the charity we do affects our eternal destiny, then it isn’t really charity. We’re not doing it just for others; we’re accumulating points in our own account. That wouldn’t be all that different from someone doing charity to show off or, like the Pharisees, praying on a street corner for everyone to see.

So, without this guarantee virtually all our charity would have selfish benefits. It wouldn’t glorify God at all.

The plan of salvation is pure genius.


Of course, it’s doing charity that makes this soar, but that’s not as easy as it sounds. There are lots of ways to do charity badly.

Remember that the purpose of charity, and everything else for that matter, is God’s glory. Glorifying God is the compass point that everything else is referenced by. Make all your decisions with that in mind.

So, take your time figuring out your callings; there are lots of choices. Look for the leading of the Holy Spirit. Don’t jump at the first opportunity, and definitely don’t let anyone pressure you.

When choosing a charity to get involved in, pay special attention to two factors: love and excellence. If you’re considering charity work that ministers to people who you have trouble loving, find something else. There’s too much potential for burnout or other kinds of harm. Learning to love some folks can be a wonderful form of growth, but it’s an advanced one.

Excellence is all things is glorifying, and charity work is no exception. That normally comes from experience, but when you’re starting something new you obviously won’t have any experience.

That’s why the best charity programs are those with good training. The ones with lots of study, and even homework, before they send you “into the field” are the ones to join, or at least start with.

Everyone begins as a beginner.


The weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.