Saturday, July 19, 2008

All Bark, No Bite

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: You can't pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God's law and ignoring others. The same God who said, "Don't commit adultery," also said, "Don't murder." If you don't commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you're a murderer, period. ... Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, "Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I'll handle the works department." Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove. Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That's just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands? Wasn't our ancestor Abraham "made right with God by works" when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn't it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are "works of faith"? The full meaning of "believe" in the Scripture sentence, "Abraham believed God and was set right with God," includes his action. It's that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named "God's friend." Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works? The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn't her action in hiding God's spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse. James 2:10-11, 14-26 [MSG]
  • O: Faith without works is dead.
  • A: Good deeds don't earn us a place in Heaven. We are saved by faith. But what is faith? Defined as "belief in something without proof," faith requires us to accept as fact that which we cannot provide evidence of. But what of good deeds then? If good deeds don't earn us a place in Heaven, why bother? If it's just enough to believe, what does it matter what we do? ANSWER: Real faith changes you. How can you have faith in God -- believe in God -- and not believe in His Word, or not want to follow the example He set through His Son Jesus Christ? If you just don't care what God says, what kind of faith do you have? By the same token, if you do have the kind of all-encompassing faith that makes you want to please your Creator by following His examples and obeying His direction, how then can deeds not matter? If I truly love my wife and am devoted and committed to her, it stands to reason that I would want to please her. And if I want to please her, then, would I not please her by doing things that make her feel good and happy and loved? Does my love for her alone please her? No! To just say that I love her isn't enough. I have to show her my love by doing something. My deeds are the acts that validate my love for her. It is just so with God. Although he knows my heart, and doesn't need to see proof of my faith, others are not omniscient. It is my faith and love for God that make me want to share Him with others. If I share only His Word but don't live an example of it through my actions, what is my faith worth? It is by setting an example through living the kind of life that God would be pleased with -- by these acts or deeds -- that others can see His Glory. Without those deeds, it's just words. Words without action are meaningless.
  • P: Father, I want to please You in all that I do. Use me as a tool however You see fit so that I might reflect Your Glory upon others.
Send feedback to Joe by email, or by calling 317-644-6129.

Your comments?


No comments:

Average Joe's Review Store