Month: January 2014

Faith without works

Faith is essential. It is substance. It is belief. It is knowing. It is so much more. It is the end of a journey before you have taken the first step. To define it is complicated, yet, to know it, is easy.

Even the world declares you must have faith. You must believe in something. Believing in nothing is also faith, it is faith that you’re right and religion is wrong. Jesus said there are two paths, the straight and narrow that leads to salvation and the broad way that leads to destruction. Either way, you are walking one of those paths. Religion or nothing. If you believe the bible, and I do, you must also accept that Jesus is the only way to salvation, nullifying all other religions, making the way quite narrow, and the choices are either Christianity or destruction.

Do you have faith? Do you believe? In what do you believe?

Do you think “I believe and that is enough”? If you do, you are not alone, many people do. Have you considered that the devil believes also? If belief defines faith for you, what separates you from the devil? Not only does the devil believe, he has seen and knows beyond a doubt. Is that stepping on your faith? Does this bother you?

James:2:19: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Faith, much like love, is action. It is not a state of mind, a state of heart, an intent, or emotion. Faith moves mountains. Faith changes things. Faith conquers. Faith gives life. Faith does the impossible. Faith, however, without works, is dead.

James:2:20: But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Faith, and I mean true faith, moves you. It moves you to take steps toward a kingdom you have yet to see. Faith takes you from your comfort and presents you victorious on the battlefield. It speaks to more than who you are. It is the very present action of what you believe, what you know.

This passage of scripture is so often taken out of context and used as a works driven way to salvation. Let me encourage you to see that isn’t true. Let me ask this question: If you truly believe in Jesus, yet have nothing to show for your belief, have you really accepted Him and the Holy Spirit into your life? Have you been baptized? Have you served in a local church? Have you witnessed to someone? Have you taken a step beyond just believing? That step, that is faith. It is action toward that which you have not yet inherited. It is that action which separates a person with true faith from the devil, from sin.

James:2:21: Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
James:2:22: Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
James:2:23: And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
James:2:24: Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
James:2:25: Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
James:2:26: For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

I write this to encourage everyone to keep taking steps. We must continue to be up and about His business. We need to be good stewards of our time in hopes that we are pleasing to Him. His love for me moved Him to the cross. My faith in Him allows me opportunities to please Him, to continue those things He set in order, and to glorify Him. Yes, faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not yet seen. With every word, with every deed I am taking steps that strengthen my faith and hopefully lighting the way for someone else. I do these things to honor God. Will you also take these steps with me? Will you take the encouragement and step out in faith? I do this that maybe someone else will see these things and glorify my King, Jesus, for He is worthy of all praise! You can do the same, will you?

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Another gospel?

We know these are perilous times. All too often we consider this when thinking of the world in which we live. Although it is a proper context, it is not the only context. Many of the troubles we face today are not uncommon throughout ages past. My concern is the perilous times facing the church today.

The church, in general, today is experiencing perilous times. There are so many denominations, doctrines, teachings, and ideas. What I find to be most dangerous is this: The general acceptance of all things. If someone thinks it, believes it, and says it loud enough multiple times, someone else is willing to accept it and repeat the process.

Galatians:1:6: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Galatians:1:7: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Here we find that from the beginning some were trying to preach and teach another gospel. Then we find it wasn’t really another gospel, but a perversion of the gospel. This passage speaks the very essence of troubles facing the church today.

If we find a gospel being preached that is easy to digest and a gospel that tickles the ears, we better be alarmed. If we hear soothing words that eases the burden of sin without true repentance and cheapens the grace which God has given, it must become our duty to defend the truth.

You cannot defeat what you will not confront. If you cannot confront sin, if you cannot admit sin, you surely cannot confess it and be given the victory over it. If you cannot define sin, if you cannot submit to what God says is sin, if you cannot call a sin “sin”, there is no repentance. Everything is not going to be alright until the church, as a whole, gets that right.

The path Jesus walked in this world was not an easy path. He was mocked. He was put on trial. He was found guilty in a court of law by His own people. He paid a great price, the ultimate price. He lived a life of enormous burden, even asking at one point that the cup pass from Him. Yet, not His will, but the Fathers will be done, and it was. Christ never once apologized for the truth, no matter how hard that truth was to understand or accept. We are called to be like Him. We are called to be holy.

Today, maybe more than ever, the church must stand. We must be clear and concise, we must be the light He has called us to be. The whole Word of God must be our rule, our guide, and our compass. We must accept it as it is. We can not pick and choose what we are comfortable with. We are to be transformed, we are to submit ourselves, to allow Him to shape us according to His will. We live, yet not us, but Christ in us.

Yes, we have grace. We are free indeed, in Christ. We have wonderful privileges as children of the King, but we cannot use them as an occasion to be worldly. We cannot use grace as an occasion to sin, we cannot conform ourselves to this world. We are not called to be like the world, and we cannot tell the world everything is okay. Now we have grace. If you have not accepted Jesus as Savior of your life, you still have the opportunity to accept Him and the grace He offers. Yet, unless you are willing to confront sin, understand sin, confess sin, and truthfully define sin, how much grace do you expect to find? I will end with this, the greater the sin, the greater the grace He has to offer. Try Him and see His goodness. Seek Him while you have the chance, and trust Him to multiply His grace to you. To Jesus be the glory, for He is truly worthy!