Today’s thought “Faith apart from works is useless” (December 8)

What is faith?

We use this word in various contexts – in speaking and writing – are we thinking clearly as to what we have faith in?

Faith is a word we cannot use in isolation; it has to be spoken or written in relation to something or someone in which – or in whom – we have faith. The ultimate object of your faith and my faith – is God. But to have real faith ‘in’ God we must “know” God, we must have a true sense of relationship with Him! How do we achieve that?

We think of the worthies who are described in scripture as having faith: the greatest of these is probably Abraham: we have just read in Hebrews that

“he went out, not knowing where he was going” (11:8).

Only when he had done that – and arrived in the promised land – did God make him further promises.

Our meditations on faith were prompted by today’s challenging James 2 which ends with the simple but profound statement, that just

“as the body apart from the spirit (breath) is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead”.

James is repeating for emphasis what he had written in verse 20

“Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?”

after which he gives examples of Abraham’s acts of faith, the ultimate act being when he was ready to offer “up his son Isaac on the altar” (verse 21).

In what context and with what meaning, do we talk of our own faith?

James says, Abraham’s belief in God, demonstrated by his works, was of such a quality that

“… it was counted to him as righteousness … and he was called a friend of God” (verse 23).

What is special about being called “a friend of God”?

Well, it is not the normal Hebrew word for friend; it is one that means ‘lover’ – Abraham was a lover of God – it occurs in 2 Chronicles 20:7 and Isaiah 41:8 – and nowhere else.

How close and intimate has our relationship with God and his Son become?

Can we, as we read in Hebrews last week,

“draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (10:22)?

A parallel – and equally important question is – is our faith demonstrated by the way you and I have lived our lives?

If it is not, it “is useless”. But this is a very intimate and personal question – ponder what Paul wrote to the Romans,

“The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God”.

Let us search our hearts as to what that means in practice.

+

Preceding

Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus

Establish your hearts blameless in holiness

When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith

Thought for those who think it is not necessary to do any works any more

A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong

Today’s thought “no eye for the coming king and real liberation” (May 04)

Not being saved by faith in Christ alone

Avoiding friction and distraction in the body of Christ

Concluding thought by the article series “Key to the Bible”

Today’s thought “So we can confidently say …” (December 6)

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Additional reading

  1. Concerning Man
  2. Gates to different belief systems in this world
  3. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  4. A heart in the right place and brightly burning faith
  5. Faith
  6. Faith, storms and actions to be taken
  7. Background of Faith
  8. Men who believed and had faith in a Higher Power they could not see
  9. God’s wrath and sanctification
  10. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:13-16 Salt and Light shining bright
  11. Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #3 Matthew 7:21-23 The ones Jesus never knew
  12. Paul’s warning about false stories and his call to quit touching the unclean thing
  13. Matthew 13 – Parables on Kingdom mysteries
  14. Matthew 15 An argument with the Scribes – Teachers and traditions
  15. When having taken a new direction in life, having become a Christian
  16. Ability
  17. Ability (part 2)
  18. Ability (part 3) Thoughts around Ability
  19. Ability (part 4) Thought about the ability to have ability
  20. Ability (part 5) Thought about the abilities to be under God’s Spirit
  21. Ability (part 6) Thought about the ability of God’s Provision Bringing Glory
  22. Ability (part 7) Thought about the ability to grow as a member of the Body of Christ
  23. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  24. Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  25. Through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe
  26. Pain, sanctification and salvation
  27. The longer you wait
  28. Trinitarians making their proof for existence of God look ridiculous #2
  29. a Strong Family doesn’t just happen
  30. That brotherly love may continue and have people join hands

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