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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Faith without works

Good morning family!  I hope you all had a wonderful, introspective day yesterday.  My husband and I were really able to admit a  lot of things about ourselves and we are comforted by the fact that we know we are growing and maturing in Christ.  This is encouraging because the more Christ-like you become, the more of the bible's promises apply to you.  Don't misinterpret me.  The greatest promise, salvation, is by faith alone.  But as Peter said, "Faith without works is dead."  The works that Peter mentions is the process of sanctification or becoming Christ-like.  I really regret that the What Would Jesus Do trend died out because it could really be a powerful movement in the church and in the world today.  We should always be asking ourselves, "What would Jesus do?" or, "How would Jesus respond?" in order to mature in our spiritual walks.  The bottom line is, our faith should be evidenced by how we live, and when it is then there are rewards in store for us. 

Scriptural references for faith without works
If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless.
                                                                                                           James 1:26
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.                 
                                                                                                           James 1:22
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.                                                                   
                                                                                                         1 Peter 3:12

You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives                                                                                               
                                                                                                        James 4:2-3

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them. 
                                                                                                        James 4:17

Summary:  Faith without works is deceptive.  It causes us to live a lives of sin and therefore blocks our prayers and blessings from God.

Scriptural references for faith evidenced by works
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 
                                                                                                       James 1:21

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
                                                                                                       James 1:12

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.  Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation   
                                                                                                    1 Peter 2:1-2

For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 
                                                                                                    1 Peter 2:15

Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.                                                                              
                                                                                                     James 3:13

For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.  They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it..."
                                                                                               1 Peter 3:10-11

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble." 
                                                                                                   1 Peter 5:5

Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 
                                                                                               1 Peter 5:8-10

Summary:  Faith evidenced by works makes us receptive to the word and ensures us the crown of life from God.  It aids our sanctification and validates our testimony.  The works grant us wisdom and enable us to love life and see good days in which we will be graced with God's favor.  God, himself will restore and strengthen us.

Note that these verses are only from two books in the bible.  The Word has much more to say about the dangers of faith without works and the benefits of faith evidenced by works.  I would say that one of the biggest dangers of faith without works is the uncertainty of the faith.  It is difficult to depend on faith that has never been tested.  James says,

Was not our father 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 righteouness," and he was called God's friend.  You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
                                                                                                       James 2:21:24

Abraham's faith was tested and approved.  Also note that both James and Peter are addressing believers in their letters.  Your actions or lack thereof are not overlooked just because you are a child of God.  While it is true that there is no condemnation in Christ, we will all be held accountable for what we did with the lives that God gave us.  Peter says, "Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves (1 Peter 2:16)."

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