Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Real Belief (James 2:14-26)

James 2:14-26. Let´s talk about true belief. I know many people who would be quick to tell me that they are true follwers of Christ. However, when it comes down to it, their actions don´t back up their words.

We live in a world where 33% of the population claims the name of Christ. If so many are true believers why isn´t the world being revolutionized? In Matthew 7:13-14 Christ tells us that the gate which leads to life is narrow and there are few who find it. Christianity is the worlds biggest religion. So if the way is really so narrow, who´s wrong here? God or us?

(v14) USELESS FAITH: What use is a faith without works? Is this a faith that can save us? The word here is save: (sozo) keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction, to save from suffering or disease, to make well, heal, or restore to health, to preserve from danger or destruction. James introduces the subject of faith here asking what use is a faith that has no works, can it save you or others from danger?

(vv15-16) PICTURE OF FAITH WITHOUT WORKS: A picture of faith without works is listed in these verses. If you see a person with a need and simply say ¨...be warmed and be filled¨, how useless is that. Faith without works is related to seeing a problem or believeing that there is a problem but doing nothing to change or help it. What use is this so-called faith for you or for the person in need?

(v17) FAITH-WORKS=DEAD: Just as in the example, faith works the same way. Faith without works is dead. Just as telling someone to ¨...be warmed an filled¨ is useless. Faith by itself is dead and is of no use what-so-ever.

(vv18-20) SHOW ME YOUR FAITH: If someone were to tell you ¨show me that you believe it´s going to rain today¨, what would you do? Would you simply say, well, it´s on the forecast or the sky´s dark. No, if you truly believed that it was going to rain you would go outside with your umbrella. This would demonstrate that you believe it will rain. This is the same idea of verses 18 through 20, the only way for someone to truly see your faith is by the actions that you exhibit. Look at this, the demons know and believe that God exisits but they aren´t justified before God. Simply saying that you believe in God is not good enough.

(vv21-25) ABRAHAM: Let´s go to Genesis 15:1-6 then to Genesis 22. We see the justification or salvation of Abraham. At first he simply believed the promises of God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Then in chapter 22 we see that his works proved that he believed God. He heard God´s call and obeyed, showing that he truly believed God. In other words his faith was perfected by his works. We also have the example of Rahab being justified in Joshua 2. This is the kind of faith we need in order to be justified. Not that we are justified by works but that our faith is true and because of that we have works to back our faith up.

(v26) JUST TO MAKE SURE: In case the point isn´t very clear James brings it up again. Faith without works is dead, useless, caput. We need to examine ourselves. Do we have the works to back up what we believe? If not, we have reason to fear and reason to get on our knees seeking the Father in prayer.

CONCLUSION: Jesus has something to say in John 15:1-11 concerning this subject. He is the True Vine and we are just the branches. If we truly abide in Him and Him in us we will bear fruit showing that we are of the Father. If we are not bearing the fruit of the Father we are children of the Devil. There is no inbetween. Where are you at? Examine yourself to see if you are of the faith. Some good Scriptures for self examination are Galatians 5:18-26 and 2 Peter 1:4-11.

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