Thursday, November 11, 2021

Dead faith and dead works

"Faith without works is dead" and I would say that works without faith can also be dead. 

The reason why we do the things we are doing ought to be the result of our faith in JESUS. Faith in Him ought to be the internal compelling force moving us forward into His upward call to holiness, truth and both spiritual and practical endeavors. 

Faith appropriates the grace of God. We are justified by faith, saved by faith, comforted by faith; by faith we stand, overcome the world, resist the fiery darts of the evil one, and follow the steps of JESUS. 

The apostle said, "And the Life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and who gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). Paul's work, preaching, prayers, travels and all that he did was the direct result of his faith in JESUS. By faith he commanded lame Aeneas to stand up on his feet and made him whole; by faith he preached at Mars Hill, to Governor Felix, to King Agrippa and thousands of others; by faith he went into the synagogues and preached Christ crucified and endured the subsequent persecutions. Paul was not aimlessly engaged in the affairs of this life. By faith, he labored more abundantly than others through the appropriation of grace through faith (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Our faith in JESUS ought to be the reason for our work, travels, plans, pursuits, and for all that we do. 

Many are full of works. Yet works are dead without faith. Many are full of religious works but these too are dead without faith. Many dress a certain way (wear dresses and head coverings), abstain from various foods and entertainments and useful tools; many pursue ministry and many other spiritual activities but it isn't their faith in JESUS that compels them to do so. 

For some, it is thoughtless tradition. For others, it is boredom, fear of man, desire for recognition or some other selfish ambition. Still for others, their labors are sometimes nothing more than fulfilling a sense of Christian duty not because of their faith in JESUS.

I can relate to the latter more than the others. Sometimes, I am doing what I am doing because I began in faith, then faith became nothing more than religious inertia. I was initially compelled by faith but eventually my faith lost sight of the "Son of God, who loved me and who gave Himself for me" and thus my works amounted to nothing more than being faithful to a work instead of to my First Love, who is a Discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). 

May JESUS be the center and compelling internal power at work within us, by faith in Him, to do all that we do.

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“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless...Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death...I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.” From Justin Martyr's first apology 150 A.D. Martyred A.D. 160