Friday, 13 February 2009
Belief is not enough!
2 Thessalonians 2:13 says:(Emphasis mine)
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
What is belief? The cambrdge dictionary defines belief as:
Belief: The feeling of certainty that something exists or is true
This therefore tells me that as long as i feel certain about the truth (Jesus) then I will be saved no matter what my life looks like. Right? Wrong!
This is not belief in something but rather knowledge about something!
Romans 10:9-10 clarifies for us:
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
So we are to believe in out hearts that Jesus is Lord and at the same time make a public declaration of this belief. Belief is to change our hearts and lives to show the Lord Jesus. That is why the Bible is full of example of "believe and be baptised"(e.g. see here). Not because baptism is a magic ritual but rather it is a outward declaration os an inward disposition.
James is nearly a wole book about this subject. Faith is not enough on its own! Works are needed to accompany them. He states:(Emphasis mine)
"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? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
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? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 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. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Now is this a works based salvation? No, not at all. We are saved by grace, through faith (Eph 2:8-9). It is merely showing that the term 'faith' is not how we, in common English, understand it but rather it necessitates works to show its validity. Even the following verse saysthat we are creatd in Christ Jesus to do good works.(Eph 2:10)
Phil Ryken recently wrote the following over at Reformation 21:
Timothy George has a nice piece in First Things about Rick Warren and his inaugural prayer, especially the fact that he prayed in the name of Jesus. At the close, he asks whether "Christians must hide their faith in the inner reserve of their private consciousness." They must not do so, says George. "For Christians, religious faith is more than what one does with one's solitude. It is a public declaration to all the world that Jesus Christ is Lord. The one who said 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life' was not crucified in private."
Remebmber to show your faith to others that they too may believe and be saved!
Till next time!
(Scripture from the NIV)