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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Not by Works

It is with heavy heart I write this today.  There are some in our churches that believe that they can earn their way into heaven.  They think that if they do all kinds of work in the church that by itself will earn their place in heaven.  My friends that is a dangerous belief.  Why? Because the Word of God is clear that we cannot earn our way into heaven.  James 2:14-26 says,

My brothers and sisters, if people say they have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save them?  A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or food. If you say to that person, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat,” but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing. In the same way, faith by itself—that does nothing—is dead.

Someone might say, “You have faith, but I have deeds.” Show me your faith without doing anything, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too, and they tremble with fear.

You foolish person! Must you be shown that faith that does nothing is worth nothing? Abraham, our ancestor, was made right with God by what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. So you see that Abraham’s faith and the things he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did.   This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” n And Abraham was called God’s friend. So you see that people are made right with God by what they do, not by faith only.

Another example is Rahab, a prostitute, who was made right with God by something she did. She welcomed the spies into her home and helped them escape by a different road.

Just as a person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead, so faith that does nothing is dead!

James is clear in these few verses that your faith must have works or it is dead. Likewise, we cannot be saved by works alone. We must have faith, and our faith must bring about the good works. It does not work the other way around.
As we see in Ephesians 2:7-9:

 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

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