Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How To Recognize Dead Faith

1. Introduction
If you believe that good works saves you or even helps you to be saved, you will never have assurance of your salvation.  What if someone were to ask, “Are you saved?” If good works saves you, how would you know if you had done enough to be saved? But, you say, “I pray and read my Bible every day.” Or “I’ve preached for years.” Or “I pay my tithe at least most of the timer! I sure hope I am saved!” If you depend upon works, you’ll never be able to say, “I know that I know that I know I’m saved.” There will always be a question.

Martin Luther, that brilliant and committed young monk, was doing his best to be saved. He kept going up and down those steps, praying many prayers. All of a sudden God burned the truth of Rom.1:17 into his heart. It says, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The Righteous will live by faith.’” From that blazing experience, the Reformation was born!

2. Paul and James Talks About Faith
Having said that, let’s look at James 2:14-16, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”

When you compare Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:8-10, these two Scriptures seem in contradiction. He says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” But they are not, and here’s the key: 

(1). Paul was speaking of Justification before God.
(2). James was speaking of Justification before man.

God can see our hearts! He can see our faith. But, Can you see my heart, my faith, my love? The only way you will know my love and my faith is by what I do. Look at James 2:14, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” Thus, 
(1). Paul was talking about the root of justification.
(2). James was talking about the fruit of justification. 
Here we have the “Know-so” and the “Show-so.”  Let me show you how to recognize faith.

3. There Is Faith That Is Worthless
Our Scripture says, James 2:14-16, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.” Let’s suppose that your best friend lost all of his possessions. He comes to your house with no money, no clothing except for what is on his back, and no food to feed his family. 
He says, “Remember the good old days we had together and how we shared so much together? Remember how God helped me get you back on your feet when you were in trouble? Then he says to you, “Friend, I really need some help right now.” You reply, “Go, I wish you well, but simply can’t help you right now.” Here is what happened in this situation:
(1). Our Faith is Dead. James tells us that not only is our faith worthless, but also, for all practical purposes, it is dead!
(2). Our Lives are Unchanged. James said, “Faith without works is dead” (2:20). There is little or no change in our lives. Can you imagine what would happen in the Church if each of us would live up to the purpose of this text? Evangelism would be an everyday occurrence in our Church.

4. There Is Faith That Is Wanting
James 2:19-20 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?”

4.1. What Is The Evidence?
It is not difficult to be orthodox and correct. But to be in strong communion with God is something else. Notice closely, “You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?” (James 2:20). In other words, James was saying, “Do you really want to know what kind of faith you have?”

(1). It’s Wanting and Lacking.
(2). It’s Without Satisfaction.

There is a clear, concise, and convincing reason why your faith is without deeds!

4.2. What Are the Arguments?
James 2:19, “Even the demons believe… there is one God… and (they) shudder!”
James 2:21, “Was not… Abraham considered righteous for what he did…”

Yet you want to be known as a righteous man because you believe! James under the inspiration of God, is saying, “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did” (2:22). Their faith did not bring peace. You can be orthodox – giving money, singing and preaching, and be lost and go to hell!

5. There Is Faith That Is Working
James is saying that Faith that does not change your life style is wanting! (2:21-26). But here he gives you clearly a kind of faith that produces. Let’s take these verses one by one and see how faith worked in Abraham’s life.

5.1. Faith That Worked
“Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?” (2:21). James is simply saying that Abraham’s reputation was based on a faith that worked. Abraham said Yes to God by giving Isaac. His faith worked to completion.

5.2. Faith & Actions- Working Together
“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did” (2:22). Faith and actions both are good, but they don’t work without each other. I love that phrase, “His faith and his actions were working together,” that’s the secret!

5.3. Real Faith is Never Alone
“And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend” (2:23). Here we have the prophecy of Abraham and that of every one of us who really believe. I love the last portion of this verse, where it says, “And it was credited to him as righteousness” and he was called God’s friend,” I really want to be called “God’s friend” don’t you? Real faith is never alone.

This is such a powerful truth about working faith. James shows faith in three strong contrasting scenes:-
•    He talks about Abraham’s faith (2:21-24).
•    He talks about the faith of Rahab, the harlot (2:25).
•   He says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (2:26).

6. Conclusion
Dear friend, if your religion hasn’t changed your life, you need to change your religion.


{Life Application Bible, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, McArthur Study Bible, Life in the Spirit Study Bible, Donald Wellman- The Preachers’ Magazine, etc.}

0 comments :

Popular Posts