~Discovering Truth Within A World of Opinions
Is Faith Without Works Dead?
PLANTING SEEDS: (Truth) Truth can only be found in God’s word. People can share their opinion on truth, which I am going to do with you in a moment during my “Coffee Cup Counseling” section but I encourage you to personally start getting into the word and studying scripture. It will open up a brand new perspective and new life for those that take the time to begin or rekindle their relationship with God.
COFFEE CUP COUNSELING: (Angela’s Personal Perspective on Interaction with this Truth)
From the time I was 2 until I was about 8 my Mom was in a very abusive relationship. To my recollection that time was filled with control and punishment, discipline and a little bit of fun mixed in. It was a very confusing time in my life in which I learned to hide from anger, run from punishment, keep my mouth shut and obey the rules. So a part of me has to take a look at why I appreciate God’s correction. Is it because it’s a learned trait, or is it because God’s correction looks so much different from what I learned as man’s correction? I think a little of both.
When my mom remarried, she married a gentleman that provided an atmosphere of a very open dialog. It was very foreign to me because I was given freedom and encouraged to argue a point as I saw it and not just go with the flow of the normal, AND not get punished for doing so. I could openly share my thoughts and opinions and if I didn’t like something, I could say it without fear of remand. Nearly every evening at supper a topic would come up and this man, the Father that raised me, and I, would begin the hour long debate of a subject. Rarely would we agree, at the end of the "opinion thrashing", I’d usually end it by getting up, getting the encyclopedia off the bookshelf and looking up the “right” answer. I’d hang my head down and say, “fine you win” when I was wrong with my Dad’s smirk.... or I’d "IN YOUR FACE" him when I was right…equally with my Dad’s smirk. Regardless of who was right or wrong, my mother hated this interaction and was usually up doing the dishes within 5 minutes of the bantering. I think, however, my Dad and I both loved it. It was energizing and exploratory.
What I can tell you is that when you are held in bondage for a time and then given true freedom, you will no longer settle for going back into bondage, or if you do, you won’t ever be comfortable there.
That’s what it has been like for me coming to Christ…the bondage of the world which was full of control and punishment, discipline and a little bit of fun mixed in, is like my step-father, a parallel for me to how I viewed the world. And the freedom of Christ to ask questions, explore, even disagree, and search for truth was parallel to the atmosphere my “Dad” created for me.
So last night at Bible Study I was consumed with the definition of “works.” I found myself in a discernment conflict because of the “term” works. What context or meaning is works good and what context and meaning is it bad. In the study last night they were leaning strongly using the word “works” as being bad. But I was focused on the works the Bible says are good, and the debate began…. The problem with debating truth in a Bible study however, is that you can often be debating really the same thing…but in a different perspective…which creates and atmosphere, of well…I guess, whatever your perspective is. For some, like my Dad and I, it may be an energizing and exploratory learning process which ends up in a smirk, right or wrong. For some, like my Mom, you might want to get up and leave the table within 5 minutes because this bantering sounds like conflict and it makes you very uneasy…and yet for others it might give them that sense of power and control to shove their ideology down your throat and force others to succumb to it, like my Step-Dad. While some of it, is truly the same heart of God, even though there is a debate, on the other hand some of it is not the heart of God.
That’s sort of like what "works" is….Christians are always in an banter about whether the “law” is good or bad. The answer lies in what context you are using it.
Simply put in just some examples….
Are you doing “works” to “earn salvation” or a “ticket to heaven”? Then it’s dead.
Are you doing “works” to honor or please people? - Then it’s dead
Are you doing “works” for selfish ambitions?- Then it’s dead
Are you doing works that promotes sin? - Then it’s dead
Are you doing works to draw others to Christ? -Then it’s good
Are you being obedient to the law to imitate Christ - Then it’s good
Are you doing works to point to give honor to God - Then it’s good.
Are you doing works to in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility? Then it’s good.
The Bible tells us that faith without works is dead.
Does this mean that we need to do works? Yes… not for our salvation but to edify and point to Christ in all we do…as it is not us that has any power, but Christ in us that has the ability to draw people to Himself.
Does this mean that if we do good works apart from the repentance of our sins and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior that we still earn a place in heaven…absolutely not. At least not what I read in truth.
So the next time you want to get into a banter with someone. Make sure that they know your heart…that it’s not conflict, it’s the freedom to explore, ask question and discuss. When you’ve gotten through all your opinions, instead of getting up to get the encyclopedia off the bookshelf, reach for the Bible instead…there is no mis-information in there.
SCRIPTURE (Truth) SAYS:
Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
Galatians 2:16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
Acts 7:41 And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
Romans 9:32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.
Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
Titus 2:7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,
1 Timothy 6:18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
1 Timothy 5:10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.
1 Timothy 2:10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Acts 26:20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.
Let’s get into God’s word, speak truth and set the captives free.
MEDITATION & DISCUSSION:
Please take this time to share your thoughts on this scripture. Let's get into relationship and community and discuss this together. I encourage you to personally share your insight, testimony, thoughts, or questions on this topic with me below. After all, iron sharpens iron.
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Thank you God for your sovereignty, for your Word which is all truth that we can trust. Thank you for Jesus Christ, our only Savior, who came in love as the only sacrifice you would allow to redeem us from our sins and thank you for the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth and convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgement so we can draw nearer to you. In Jesus name. Amen.