Friday, December 16, 2011

Digging Deeper (James 2:18-20

Digging Deeper 13 James 2:18-20
     It seems as if God's Word is the most neglected part of a believer's life. I recently became the proud owner of a Magellan 9550 7" screen GPS used it for one short trip and now feels like I can never go on a trip again without it, I feel equipped with the Magellan 9550 I can't get lost, I can go anywhere anytime. Now, what does that have to do with the importance of God's Word? Nothing really, but it seems a good illustration, I have found the directions for a walk with God in His Word and now I don't feel like I can live without it, and can do anything or go anywhere with it. Have we become so dependent on ourselves that we no longer feel a need to consult the instructions?  There is much emphasis placed on ministry and there should be but where does the faith to do God's work come from? So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
As we dig deeper in God's Word concerning the actions of faith, which manifest as works, let's go there with the mindset or should I say "heart-set" that God's Word is the authority on good works.
Let's dig a little deeper in God's Word. James 2:18 but someone may well say, "You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without works; and I will show you my faith by my works." There is a challenge in this precept. The challenge is to show evidence of faith without works. That is an impossible task. Faith is not something that we can see with our eyes, faith is a gift from God planted in our hearts. Only when the fruit of faith, works, are produced can faith then be seen. The writer of Hebrews took it from a little different angle Hebrews 1:11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Faith is the part that is not seen, so James is simply saying works are not interchangeable with faith rather works are the expression of faith and it is impossible to see faith without them. Anyone can say,  "I can build a house" and believe that they can build a house but until they build the house their words and belief are useless. Someone can say they have faith but if there are no works then it is simply dead faith. "I will show you my faith by my works"  Believing I can build the house does not build the house.
James 2:19  You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. It is a good thing to believe that God is God alone! But just believing that there is only one God is not walking in faith. James gives the example of the furthest from walking in faith namely demons, they believe and even fear God but there works are evident that their belief does not affect what they do. Even when there is genuine belief, that belief is dead if it does not evidence itself by works. Works in the life of believers has gotten a bad reputation in contemporary teaching because of the false teaching that works are rewarded with faith which is 180 degrees from the truth. The false teaching that somehow we can do enough good things to merit a relationship with God or to maintain a relationship with God has caused many to avoid the subject of works for fear of giving works to much power. But there is a tremendous amount of power in works of a believer because they are generated by faith. What would we say about a man that says he can build a house but never does, can we really call him a great builder or do we say he says he is a builder. What about someone who says they have faith but there is no works, do we call them a person of faith or do we say "they say they have faith"?
James 2:20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless. It is foolishness to think that faith accomplishes anything on its own. Faith that is never used by definition is useless. There is not an effort here to put works ahead of faith that is impossible. Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. It is a strong statement to say that faith can be useless, but are we not foolish to think that just saying we have faith will accomplish something for God's glory. James 1:22But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. What is our faith doing?
Now that we have Dug a little Deeper what do we believe? 
What do we believe about God? 
1. There is one God.
2. God expects faith to produce works. 
3. God is pleased when we exercise the faith given by Him.   

What do we believe about ourselves? 
1. Without faith we cannot produce good works. 
2. Our works will not substitute for faith, faith produces works. 
3. We are foolish to think that we can claim faith but have no works. 

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