Tag: faith and works

Faith and Works!

Scripture reading for November 1st:  Jeremiah 30-33, James 2

Key Scriptures:  James 2:20-24 “Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”–and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a  person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

James stressed that true faith was demonstrated by corresponding works.  If anyone truly believes God and trusts His Word, that person must act on what God has said.  Abraham was told to offer his son to God and he obeyed, demonstrating that his faith was authentic.  Faith that shows no corresponding actions is dead.

Jeremiah 33:16-17  “Thus says the Lord:  “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.  There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country.””

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, help me to live by faith today and do the works that You have laid out for me.  I believe You for the salvation of my children and grandchildren and those to come!  Amen.

 

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Fruit of repentance!

Scripture reading for March 18th: Luke 3:1-22, Psalms 61:1-8, Proverbs 11:16-17

John the Baptist was a preacher who spoke plainly to prepare God’s people for the coming of the Lord.  He knew that repentance was more than just a prayer or being immersed in water.  There must be a change inside of the heart that was reflected in how one lived.  He especially  tried to reach those who were caught in the trap of religion.

“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’  For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.  The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”” (Luke 3:7-9)  John called them a ‘brood of vipers’. Vipers were poisonous snakes that bit the children of Israel in the desert as they wandered there and complained.  Poisonous snakes were associated with evil and the evil one, Satan.

John further warned them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance and not trust in the fact that Abraham was their father.  The Jews had come to simply rely on the promises of God to Abraham and assumed because they had his blood in their veins, God would bless them.  They asked John what they should do to bring this fruit of repentance out of their lives.  They seemed clueless to this command.

John gave them some examples.  If one had two coats, he should share with someone who had none.  If one had food, they should share with one who had no food.  If they happened to be a tax collector, notorious for taking lots of extra fees for themselves, they should only collect what was required.  To those who were soldiers, John instructed them not to extort money or accuse people falsely to get more for themselves.  They should be content with their pay.  (Luke 3:10-14)

Real repentance is immediate change from breaking God’s laws to simple obedience.  It is showing love, rather than selfish indulgence.  It is centered on doing God’s will instead of my will.  Examine your life–do you have the fruit of repentance?

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Jesus is Lord!

Scripture reading for July 26th: Romans 9:25-10:12

It has been noted that Paul quoted from ten different Old Testament books in chapters 9-11 of Romans.  Paul’s thorough knowledge of Scripture enabled Him to write thirteen of the letters in the New Testament and be used by God as an apostle and missionary church planter all over the known world of that day.

Paul had a first-hand encounter with Jesus Christ and learned that Jesus Christ was Lord on the Damascus road.  (Acts 9:3-5) He was a pious Jew who was zealously persecuting Christians and having them put to death!  He had a zeal that was not in accordance with knowledge.  (Romans 10:1-4)  Just like his own past life, Paul’s own countrymen were seeking to establish their own righteousness through zealously trying to keep God’s law instead of submitting to God’s righteousness through Christ.  “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness of everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4)

Faith in Christ is God’s prescribed path of righteousness for all men.  “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and heart,” (Deuteronomy 30:14) that is is the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with  your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:8-10)   None of our works can save us.  It is faith in our heart that Jesus Christ is God’s way of righteousness because of His sinless life and sacrificial death for us that is our way of salvation.  This is expressed by a verbal confession: “Jesus is Lord!”

It is simple and easy to become righteous in God’s sight.  “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” (Romans 10:11) (Isaiah 28:16)    Both Jew and Gentile have the same way of faith.  “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) (Joel 2:32)  (Acts 2:21)  Paul preached from the same text that Peter used on the day of Pentecost!  Salvation has been made available universally to all who declare: “Jesus Christ is Lord!”  He alone is able to save us from the power of sin and the penalty of sin which is eternal death in the Lake of Fire.  Make that declaration today with your mouth!

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