Friday, February 8, 2013

A Working Faith is Living Proof

A lack of good works in someone's life is evidence of no life at all.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. ~James 1:22

Through out the years a large segment of Christianity has confused the relationship between the Apostle Paul's teaching and that of James. This past Sunday, Pastor made it abundantly clear how Paul and James' teachings are not at odds with one another and in fact are complimentary. This is how Pastor explained it:

Paul taught how salvation is received and James taught how salvation is verified.

Another way to look at it is Paul explained how we are justified before God and James explained how we are justified before men. When God saved us by His grace through faith (which He gave us) it was with the intent we would do something with it.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not 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, that we should walk in them. ~Ephesians 2:8-10

A lot of people memorize Ephesians 2:8-9, but very few memorize or even take notice of verse 10...

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ~Ephesians 2:10

God has something for us to do! Many people believe church attendance is the peak of Christian experience, that being present on Sunday morning (and perhaps one night a week) is what being a Christian is all about. Those things are good, but James clearly states there is more to it than just listening to sermons. If you are hearing the Word, you have a responsibility to act on what you've heard. True saving faith is always followed by works giving evidence to the Holy Spirit working in our lives and the salvation wrought in our hearts.

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. ~James 2:26

The title for this sermon series is appropriately named “Living Proof: How Faith Works.” Good works produced and lived out in a Christian's life is validation and proof of their true salvation, hence “Living Proof.” Let's be in prayer for Pastor as he studies in preparation for this series and study along with him, asking God to help us see and understand how good works relate to salvation by grace through faith. May we never be a people for whom it was said “They were hearers, but not doers of the Word.”

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. ~James 1:23-25

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