Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Faith or Works??

(If you have not read “Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Revealed by Actions” you may want to scroll down and read it before you read this post.)
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Over and over we are told what we need to do for salvation.

“Simply believe! – Salvation is by faith, not by works!”
We know the scripture off by heart……

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!” (Acts 16:31)
“He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)
“For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” ( Rom. 10:9)
“For God so loved the world …….that whosoever believeth on Him, should not perish but have everlasting life !” (John 3:16)

It is true , salvation is a gift, all we have to do is receive it by faith.

But wait……

Romans 2:6 declares that Jesus will come and judge everyone according to – not their faith – but their deeds!!
Some dismiss this verse interpreting it to mean rewards , not salvation --- but vs. seven nullifies that argument because it states that one of the rewards is ‘eternal life’. ---
Eternal life based on our deeds??

Jesus sets the stage…When He will come in His glory to sit upon His throne to judge the sheep and the goats… He will judge according to – not their beliefs- but their actions….Did they feed the hungry, give a cup of water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, be hospitable to the stranger?
(Matt.25:31-46)

Is there a conflict between the verses that declare salvation by faith and those that declare salvation by works?

No…but as James 2:26 says, “Faith without works is dead.”
If we truly believe….it will be evidenced by our deeds.
On judgement day when we appear before the throne of Christ we must bring evidence of the fact that we placed our faith in Him for salvation ---- our deeds!
Our deeds do not save us….but they ‘prove’ our professed faith.

What about the verse that says, “Not by works, lest any man should boast?” (Eph. 2:9)
The works spoken of here are the ‘works of righteousness’ in Titus 3:5. We cannot ‘earn’ our salvation by trying to live a ‘good life’.
The person who trusts in his works, has build a foundational belief that he is righteous and can live good enough in his own strength to meet God’s standard.

“Works that reveal faith” and “works of righteous” could perhaps be illustrated thusly.

If you believe that a chair in my house is solid enough to sit on, you will immediately sit down on it when invited to do so.
That is faith evidenced by your works.
If you come into my house and believe that you can create your own chair and try to sit down in mid air on your ‘mind created’ chair, -
That is works of righteousness – which invite boasting. (“Look how long I can sit on this chair that isn’t even there!!” smile)

While our own works cannot save us, Jesus says that simply saying that you believe in Him is not enough either– you must prove your ‘belief’ by your obedience to God’s will.
“Not every one that says to me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt.7:21)

When the rich young ruler came to Jesus asking what he must ‘do’ to get into heaven Jesus told him to obey the commandments.
With some hesitation , he asked, ‘which ones?”
Jesus answered, “Don’t do any murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t bear false witness, honour your father and mother, love your neighbour as yourself.”
Relieved that Jesus had left out the first commandment , the young man confidently declared he had kept the ones Jesus named all his life.
But Jesus knew what was in his foundation and testing it said, “Sell what you have and give to the poor and come follow me.”
Sorrow piercing his heart, the young man turned and walked away.
The young man’s foundation belief was revealed in his ‘action’.

Why could he not ‘do’ what Jesus asked??
Because he did not believe the first commandment. “Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all you heart! …and have no other gods before Him.”
The rich young ruler ‘believed’ that his money was the most important thing in his life, not God ---- his belief was revealed by his ‘action’ which was judged by Jesus.

In Luke 6:45-49), Jesus says, “Whatever a man has in his heart ---his foundation beliefs – will come out. "
“Look, I will show you what a man is like who hears my sayings and does them…A man who truly believes in me….. He is like a man who when he builds his house digs down deep and lays a foundation of rock….Then when the floods come , his house could not be shaken.”

Let us dig deep and check our foundation….is it sound? Is it built on the Rock?
Then when the rains and floods of life batter and pound at our walls…we will not be moved , because we KNOW in WHOM we have believed!

“For the which cause also suffer these things, nevertheless I am not ashamed for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day !” (II Tim. 1:12)


3 comments:

Julie said...

Lovella, I'm one up on you! I already know what song is singing in your head!! smile

Lovella said...

Oh too funny. I was already sing it before I clicked on the comment field. Actually two work for this one.
The first one I intially started singing is "On Christ the solid rock I stand . .all other ground is sinking sand"
but . .
there is also the one we sang as kids .
The wise man builds his house upon the rock . .you know the one.

ru4real said...

A while ago, I began to think more about what repentance really means. I knew it had to be more than just uttering the words "forgive me," because I'd seen too many people (myself included) say the words, then return to the sin.

My understanding of repentance was cleared up immediately, when I saw the word "retreat" used in it's definition. What person "retreats" then stands still while the enemy ravages them? That would be "surrender!" Retreat requires action - urgent and deliberate action! And so does repentance require urgent and deliberate action. Just uttering the words "I retreat" won't save us from the hands of the enemy. We must remove ourselves from the sin/temptation that threatens to destroy us.