Faith, Works and why I had it all Wrong.

James 2:14-26 
14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can [a]that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, [b]be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is [c]dead, being by itself.

18 But someone [d]may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that [e]God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and [f]as a result of the works, faith was [g]perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Faith:   A strong belief in God or in the doctrine of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather then proof

Spiritual Apprehension:  the act or power of perceiving or comprehending the working of the Holy Spirit

Faith is born in us.  It is a living breathing part of our person when put in the context of salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  There is something super natural and deeply spiritual about committing your Destiny to the Deity of Christ.  Salvation is not of this world.  Salvation saves us from the sin of this world, and when you really think about it, it can’t be explained away as simply rules and religion.  It is so much more, because all Joy and Flourishing is on the line.

But James tells us Faith has a counterpart called Works.  Oh the conversations that have sprouted form this passage.  Maybe you have had one that sounded like this.  “Im not sure if so-and-so is a christian, I know there is a understanding there and even a commitment at some point but I just don’t see the fruit of it coming out in works….”  I know I have

Works: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

You see I don’t think I had ever really looked super close at this portion of James because I didn’t wantt to uncover something that would make me question my or a loved ones faith.   But here I am digging deep with a little fear and a lot of hope.

You see my definition of Works sounded a little like this; missional, serving, giving all your money to the poor, overseas calling, busy busy busy in the church….

But as I was studying I felt the Lord whisper to me, “You have missed the link between faith and works and in that link is where our salvation really lays.”   

You see Gods Work in our Hearts transforms us from the inside.  Biting your tong can be a work of faith that no one will recognize.  If I realize the vastness of Works, I will have more hope and less obligation to do all the things I Should be Working at and leave more time and energy for the growth of work in my walk to cultivate a more genuine Love offering.  The work I was made for.

Why have Faith if it dosen’t change you.  What is the purpose of that?  Faith and Works is not about productivity.  Its not a trick, slid in to insure the Christian is in-slaved to Christ. Rather it is the blessing and the gift of the Holy Spirit Working out the roots of sin and selfcenterness in your soul.

Think about your life, if you can see no change in your heart, if your outlook is never challenged, if you aren’t becoming more compassionate for the children of God.  That is when you need to ask yourself “Is my faith dead?’If it is not evidentially growing, your faith may have never truly taken root.

The marks of the Christian life is Love Compassion, Grace, Thankfulness, Joy, Humility, Servant-heartedness….. These are the products of God Working out the sin, shame, guilt, self-centredness, pride, vanity, materialism, and every foot hold of the devil.  THIS IS WORKS!!

Works is not what I am doing,  It is what Faith is doing in me.  We must have Faith, But be Faithful.  That is the space where works are born from.

As sin is worked out and love is given room to grow, that is when your behaviours will reflect the faith in you.  If the work of compassion is kneaded into your heart, the result will be seen, played out in how you spend your time and your money.  But we can not measure Works from the outside.  So often we serve out of”obligation and the things we should do.”  And though that my get the job done and many may be blessed it is not a reflection of the Heart change.  It is not a testimony of all things made new.  It is a testimony of guilt and fear.

When we take the pressure off for Christians to perform for their place in heaven. We open the doors for the Spirit to flow as we serve from our passions.  When your heart is set on the things of Christ, it will break for His children and in the breaking will come the truest offer of work for a weary world to be ministered by.

The beauty of works is it blesses us first, so we can then pass the blessing on to the rest of Gods Children.

 

 

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