Even if nobody likes you and everybody hates you, it’s not a good idea to go eat worms. Yet at least 2 billion people around the world are infected by parasitic worms, some of which are contracted orally through improperly prepared foods. 300 million infected people are severely ill, and half of these are school-aged children. The international organization, Partners for Parasite Control, has published a newsletter, Action Against Worms, which is designed to help countries combat this problem.

But an even greater parasite threatens the Church: the worm of works. It sinks its teeth into the gospel, refusing to let go until it has drained it of its life and power. Anyone who takes a bite from the infected fruit will experience many harmful side effects. These include loss of zeal in the victim’s worship and service, service motivated by fear, and no assurance of salvation.

Christians need to take steps to keep the worm of works from infecting the gospel. They need to examine the gospel carefully for the slightest residue of works, both on the front end and the back end. At the front end, the worm corrupts the gospel by demanding qualifying works (such as turning from certain sins) before one can be saved. At the tail end, this parasite twists the message of preserving grace by declaring a believer who does not persevere in good works unsaved. Both of these are gross distortions of the pure gospel of grace. The worm must be stomped out.

Before you make an effort to reach others with the gospel, it is vital that your gospel message is clear. You can give this simple invitation: If you put your trust in Jesus Christ, God gives you eternal life! Jesus shed His blood on the cross and rose again. His death paid the complete penalty for your sin, and His resurrection shows God accepted that payment. This is good news. Stomp the worm of works before it has a chance to corrupt this message.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.