Monday, October 16, 2006

James 2:26

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
(NIV)


Here it is one more time. The only question that one might try to pose is this, "Does dead faith still save?"

My answer to this question is, I think, the obvious answer: a resounding NO. Dead faith is not a saving faith.

Friday, October 13, 2006

James 2:25

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?
(NIV)


Here is another Old Testament example. Here is Rahab, whose life was not at all about God, yet here is God knocking at her door. When the spies came, she chose to align herself with God's side. This was an act of faith, seeing that from a world's point of view, the Israelites didn't have a chance against the walls of Jericho. But we know the rest of the story, and Rahab's faith is remembered.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

James 2:24

You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
(NIV)


Last night this example came to me:

Let's say that there are two little boys sitting on the ground, quietly playing with their toys. Their mothers, just moments ago, told them to do that exact thing. One might go up and say how obedient these two children are. They are both sitting there and playing with their toys.

Then the moms come over and each of them tells their own child to pick up the toys, it is time for bed. You can see on both of their faces that stopping playing wasn't their idea of the best thing for the moment, but one of them gets up and starts picking up their toys. The other one continues to play, then that mom again has to tell him to stop. Before long it has become a battle of the wills, and eventually the child has to be picked up kicking and screaming. The mother simply considers the toys a loss and fights her way over to the car with the wiggling child.

Where they both obedient children? I don't think so.

Faith is so much the same as obedience in many ways, mostly because faith in God isn't a simple admittance of existence. No, it is much more than that. Faith in God is to truly believe that God's way is better. That God's way is THE WAY. He is the truth and the life. When one is a Christian they will choose God's way over any other way because they believe that His way is better. They believe that it goes on to joy and happiness. They know that the other ways of life lead in misery. So when God's way opposes their own selfish desires, their is no doubt about it, they will choose God's way. It may be a struggle at times, but it is a belief and a conviction, and they know they really don't have any other choice.

The child who ended up going against the mother was never really obedient. Playing with toys is what He wanted to do. The true test of whether or not there was a heart of obedience was when the child was asked to do something against self. Faith is the same way.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

James 2:21-23

Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend.
(NIV)


Here is the evidence. We all know that Abraham was a man of faith, but I have come to believe that one of the key factors in whether or not a person's faith is genuine, is when they come to that point of decision and they choose God's way.

Choosing God's way is always a step of faith. God's way doesn't always seem the best from our viewpoint. Sometimes God's way seems to be the most difficult way. So faith is what bridges that gap and then we act in obedience. This is how our actions are the evidence of faith.

When a person chooses to deny self and follow Christ, they have evidenced true faith. When a person comes to that point of decision and simply states, "I know what God would have me to do, but I just don't want to do it" and then they don't do it... their lack of true faith is evident.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

James 2:20

You foolish man,
do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

(NIV)


I love it when a Bible author just throws it out there like that. He has laid it out, and if you really think about this passage so far, it makes great sense. Still the author knows that there will be those who doubt this. There will be those lazy gluttons who think that they can have faith without works. That they can be true believers, yet be followers of self.

You fools. Is it so difficult to see?

Paul states in Philippians 1:6 that we are to be confident, "...that He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." This salvation that we claim is truly and accurately a work of God.

Be glad though, that the author does go on to offer more explanation. Though the doubting is foolish, he still presents the evidence.

Monday, October 09, 2006

James 2:19

You believe that there is one God. Good!
Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

(NIV)


John 3:16 also talks about belief. In fact, it is the same greek word for believe that is used here, as it is in John 3:16. Yet the belief that John describes leads to eternal life. What is the difference?

It is simple, really. James is talking about believing that there is a God. You can believe that Christ died on the cross, you can believe that God created the world, you can believe that the Bible stories are all true, but if you do not take that belief and put it in God, then it is useless. The belief that brings eternal life is the belief that changes every aspect of you. You have placed every confidence within God himself. And the only way that we can observe this is through a changed life... deeds... works. They are the evidence.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

James 2:18

But someone will say,
       "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds,
       and I will show you my faith by what I do.

(NIV)


Man cannot look into the heart and determine whether or not there is really faith there. The Bible even talks about the possibility of deceiving ourselves about our salvation. Sin is such a blinding agent.

In this passage we are taught how we might "see" faith. It is the same way that one might say that they know that there is seed growing in the ground. If you look at a spot of soil, and there is nothing there, one might doubt whether or not there is really a seed that has taken root there. Especially if it is a seed that has been in the ground for a long time. But when a sprout shoots up and leaves begin to grow and the stalk of the small plant reaches toward the sun, then you know that there is a seed there that has taken root. The invisible has become visible.

Faith is the same way. It produces works, and we may show our faith both to ourselves and to others by the things that we do.