For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Up to this point in Joseph’s story, his brothers have been villains. They sold Joseph into slavery. They lied about Joseph being killed by a wild animal. They lived in deception for 25 years. But we need to give the brothers some credit in Genesis 45, because when Joseph confronted them with their sin, they admitted it, repented, and received Joseph’s forgiveness. And most of all, they submitted themselves to the rule of Joseph. From this point on never once do we find the brothers rebelling against their brother Joseph. And this change in the brothers’ attitude toward Joseph is evidence that they had truly been forgiven.
Remember, Joseph is a picture of Jesus Christ. One way you demonstrate you are truly saved is that you submit yourself to the rule of Jesus Christ in every part of your life. If indeed you have trusted in Jesus, you are going to submit yourself to Him. It may not all happen in a single moment; as you grow in grace, you may learn different areas of your life need to change in order to be pleasing to Him. But if you say you have trusted Christ as your Savior and yet there is no change in your attitude, it’s not that you lose your salvation—it’s that you never really had it to begin with. You will experience a change in your attitude if you have been forgiven by God.
James said, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? . . . Faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:14, 17). If you profess to have faith in Christ but there is no change in your life, your faith is a dead, nonexistent faith.
Wherever you have genuine faith, you will have authentic works, like obedience. And if you have no works, if there is no change in your life, it means you do not have true saving faith. Paul said it this way in Ephesians 2:8-10: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” We are not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works. And if there are no works, there is no faith.
Joseph’s brothers illustrated that they had truly been forgiven by a change in attitude. But they are not the only ones who changed in this story. There is also a change in Joseph’s father, Jacob, which we will look at tomorrow.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Elvis Has Not Left the Building” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.