Tag Archives: Acts of faith

The works we have to do according to James

 

“2  You must consider it the purest joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials, 3 for you surely know that what is genuine in your faith produces the patient mind that endures; 4 but you must let your endurance come to its perfect product, so that you may be fully developed and perfectly equipped, without any defects.
5 But if any one of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask God who generously gives to everyone and never reproaches one with its lack, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith, without a doubt, for the man who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is whirled and swayed by the wind. 7 Such a man, indeed, 8 a person with two minds, unreliable in every step he takes, (1:7A) must not expect to get anything from the Lord.

9 Let the poor brother of lowly station rejoice in his exalted station as a Christian, 10 and the rich brother rejoice in his being on a level with the poor, because the rich will fade away like the flower of the grass.” (James 1:2-10 Williams)

“12 Blessed is the person who endures trial, for when he stands the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.

13  No one must say, when he is tempted to do evil, “I have a temptation from God to do evil,” for God cannot be tempted to do evil, and He never tempts anyone to do so. 14 But anyone is tempted to do evil when he is allured by his own evil desire and enticed by a bait. 15 Then evil desire conceives and gives birth to sin, and when sin is completed, it brings forth death.” (James 1:12-15 Williams)

“19  You must understand this, my dearly loved brothers. Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to get angry; 20 for a man’s anger does not produce the uprightness that God requires.
21 So strip yourselves of everything impure and all the evils prevailing around you, and in humble spirit welcome the message which when rooted in your hearts is able to save your souls.

22 Keep on obeying this message; do not merely listen to it, and so deceive yourselves. 23 Because if anyone merely listens to the message without obeying it, he is like a man who looks in a mirror at his own face, 24 for he looks and then goes off and at once forgets how he looked. 25 But the man who looks at the flawless law that makes men free, and keeps on looking, proving himself to be, not a forgetful hearer but an actual doer of what it requires, will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives himself, his religious worship is worthless. 27 A religious worship that is pure and stainless in the sight of God the Father is this: To look after orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep one’s own self unstained by the world.” (James 1:19-27 Williams)

“1  My brothers, stop trying to maintain your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious presence of God on earth, along with acts of partiality to certain ones. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, dressed in fine clothes, comes to your meeting, and at the same time a poor man clad in dirty clothes, 3 and you pay special attention to the man who wears the fine clothes, and say to him, “Sit here in this fine place,” and say to the poor man, “Stand up, or sit there on the floor at my feet,” 4 do you not make improper distinctions among yourselves and prove to be critics with evil motives?” (James 2:1-4 Williams)

“8  But if you really observe the law of the King in accordance with the Scripture, “You must love your neighbor as you do yourself,” you are doing right; 9 but if you show partiality, you are committing sin, because you are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
10 For whoever obeys the whole law, except to slip in a single instance, is guilty of breaking it all.

11 For He who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but you do commit murder, you are just the same as a lawbreaker.

12 You must continue talking and acting like people who are to be judged by the law that treats them as free. 13 For merciless judgment will be the portion of the merciless man; yet mercy will triumph over judgment.

14  My brothers, what good is there in a man’s saying that he has faith, if he has no good deeds to prove it? Such faith cannot save him, can it?

15 If some brother or sister is thinly clad and has no food for the day, 16 and one of you says to him, “Blessings on you, keep warm, eat until you have a plenty,” without giving him the things that are needed for the body, what good does it do?

17 So faith by itself, if it has no deeds to back it up, is dead. 18 But someone may say, “You have faith, and I have good deeds. Show me your faith without any good deeds, but I will show you mine by my good deeds.”

19 Do you believe in one God? Very well; the demons, too, believe that, and shudder. 20 But, O senseless man, are you willing to learn that faith without good deeds is worthless?

21 Was not our forefather Abraham shown to be upright by his good deeds, namely, by offering Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 You see that faith co-operated with his good deeds, and by his good deeds faith was made complete; 23 and so the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham put his faith in God, and it was credited to him for uprightness, and he was called God’s friend.”

24 You see that a man is shown to be upright by his good deeds, and not merely by his faith.

25 Was not even Rahab the prostitute shown to be upright by her good deeds, namely, by entertaining the scouts and sending them off by a different road? 26 Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without good deeds is dead.” (James 2:8-26 Williams)

“13  Who among you is wise and intelligent? Let him show by his noble living that his good deeds are done in humility, which wisdom prompts. 14 But if you cherish bitter jealousy and rivalry in your hearts, stop being proud of it and stop being false to the standard of truth. 15 This is not the kind of wisdom that comes down from above; no, it is earthly, human, demoniacal. 16 For wherever jealousy and rivalry exist, there will be confusion and all sorts of evil practices. 17 The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of compassion and good deeds, free from doubts and insincerity. 18 The harvest of uprightness is grown from the seed of peace by those who are peacemakers.” (James 3:13-18 Williams)

“1  What causes wars and quarrels among you? Is it not your different desires which are ever at war within your bodies?
You desire things and cannot have them, and so you commit murder. 2 You covet things, but cannot acquire them, and so you quarrel and fight. You do not have them, because you do not ask for them. 3 You ask and fail to get them, because you ask with evil, selfish motives, to spend them on your pleasures.

4 You faithless wives! Do you not know that the friendship of the world means enmity with God? So whoever wants to be a friend to the world puts himself down as an enemy to God. 5 Or, do you think that the Scripture means nothing when it says, “He jealously yearns for the Spirit that He causes to dwell in your hearts”? 6 But He gives a greater spiritual blessing. He says, “God opposes haughty people but blesses humble people.”

7 So then, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will fly from you.

8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Get your hands clean, you sinners. Get your hearts purified, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable, mourn, and weep aloud. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you high.

11  Stop talking against one another, brothers. Whoever is in the habit of talking against a brother or of criticizing his brother is criticizing and condemning the law. But if you are in the habit of criticizing the law, you are not a practicer but a critic of the law.
12 There is but one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who has the power to save and to destroy; then who are you that you presume to judge your brother?” (James 4:1-12 Williams)

“7 So be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer keeps on waiting and waiting for the precious crop from his land; how he keeps up his patience over it until he gets the early and the late rains.
8 You must be patient, too; you must put iron into your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is close it hand. 9 Stop muttering against one another, brothers, so as to keep from being judged yourselves.
Look! The Judge is standing at the very door. 10 As an example of ill-treatment and patience, brothers, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord.” (James 5:7-10 Williams)

“12  Above all, my brothers, stop swearing, either by heaven or by the earth, or by anything else. Let your “Yes” mean Yes, and your “No,” No, so as to keep from falling under condemnation.

13 Is any one of you suffering ill-treatment? He should keep on praying. Is anyone in a happy mood? He should keep on singing praise to God.

14 Is anyone sick among you? He should call in the elders of the church, and they should pray over him, and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, 15 and the prayer that is offered in faith will save the sick man; the Lord will raise him to health, and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

16 So practice confessing your sins to one another, and praying for one another, that you may be cured. An upright man’s prayer, when it keeps at work, is very powerful.” (James 5:12-16 Williams)

“19 My brothers, if any one of you has wandered away from the truth, and someone brings him back, 20 you may be sure that whoever brings a sinner back from his evil ways will save the man’s soul from death, and cover up a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20 Williams)

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Part of Dutch version / Gedeelte van de Nederlandstalige versie: De aanduiding door Paulus en Jacobus van de werken die wij horen te doen

Preceding articles

  1. Leading people astray!
  2. Restitution
  3. Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works
  4. Luther’s misunderstanding
  5. January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works
  6. Our life depending on faith
  7. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  8. Is Justification a process?
  9. Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer
  10. Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof
  11. Letter to the Romans, chapter 3
  12. Letter to the Romans, chapter 4
  13. Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans
  14. Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4
  15. Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?
  16. James 2:14-23 — Justified Dynamic Faith & works
  17. James 2:24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
  18. James 2:25. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
  19. Paul giving notice of the works we have to do

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Read also other articles as:

  1. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  2. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  3. The way of salvation
  4. A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham
  5. God works faith
  6. Faith is the belief that god will do what is right
  7. Christ’s ethical teaching
  8.  Being Justified by faith
  9. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  10. Faith Requires a Basis
  11. Walking in love by faith, not by sight
  12. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  13. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  14. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  15. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  16. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  17. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  18. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  19. Faith and works
  20. Sharing your faith
  21. Bearing fruit
  22. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  23. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  24. Be holy
  25. 1 Corinthians 15 Hope in action
  26. Chief means by which men are built up
  27. Not to play at Christianity
  28. To be established in the present truth
  29. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  30. Love for each other attracting others
  31. Share your faith
  32. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  33. Faith, storms and actions to be taken
  34. The longer you wait

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James 2:25. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

2:25 was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works? = another example of this justifying of faith through works = Old Testament example from a non-Jewish background.

  • Rahab = Canaanite prostitute = completely opposite of righteous
  • Rahab had both faith + actions
  • faith in the one true God =>saved because of her faith
  • Her faith = real because resulted in good works
  • Faith = cause of actions.
  • => true faith included in royal line of Christ, being David’s great, great grandmother (Matt 1:5).

No matter whether Jew or Gentile, the principle of combining faith with works is important for all. It is a requirement to show that a true faith in God is outworked through actions that glorify Him.

The Book of James

2:25. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? – James now gives another example of this justifying of faith through works, by using an Old Testament example from a non-Jewish background.

Rahab

If Abraham was the one who would have been considered righteous in man’s eyes then Rahab would have been completely the opposite.

Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute who lived in a house that formed part of the wall at Jericho. Joshua’s two spies lodged with her and she protected them by hiding them in her roof when the King’s soldiers pursued the spies. She knew that Jericho was about to be overtaken by the Israelites and so she asked for protection for herself and her family.

Rahab had both faith and actions. She had faith in the one true God. “The Lord your God…

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James 2:14-23 — Justified Dynamic Faith & works

Faith without works is dead

  • 2:14: if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? – James begins to now introduce the issue of faith-works. The word ‘faith’ appears here in this passage some 11 times, while the word ‘works or working’ appears 13 times. While we must have faith the true outworking of that will be in our works. {Dead Faith – James 2:14-18}
  • Christ considered human soul to be a tree of faith > A tree will only bear the fruit that it has been created to bear. Apple trees will not product lemons, and an unhealthy tree will not produce any fruit of quality, if at all => a healthy tree of faith will bear fruit of good works => quality + appearance of fruit either confirm or deny reality of faith (See Matt 7:15 – 20; John 15:1 – 8; and Romans 7:4.) {Dead Faith – James 2:14-18}
  • James connected two ideas of faith + works together = One cannot be without the other.
  • faith to exist without the support of works = no
  • Jesus said works would be required for those that have a living faith => faith without works= dead faith
  • => If person professes that he is a new person in Christ => he must live a new life dictated by doing works for Christ. {Dead Faith – James 2:14-18}
  • ‘swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath’ (1:19) = a do-er of the Word by looking after poor of the world + bridling tongue (1:21 – 27), not showing favouritism (2:8) = all tied up in aspect of the law of faith-works.
  • To have true faith, one must show true works.
  • two examples of faith combining with works = teaching on dynamic faith
  • Abraham = father of all who believe >had to have faith before he could be justified by his works => justified twice. 1 by his faith, 2 by works
  • Abram’s faith = counted to him as righteousness. (Paul in Romans 4) his faith needed to be established before his works could be accounted for.
  • in order to follow God’s command of offering his son to the Lord = required great faith because of details of the first promise that Abraham had received concerning his numerous descendents.
  • Abraham’s confidence in God so strong = prepared Isaac by tying him to the altar + raising knife to kill him = reality of Abraham’s faith => faith combined with his actions, + therefore his faith in God was made perfect => Abraham’s faith complete + whole.
  • Abraham’s faith partnered with his works, + by his works his faith was made complete.
  • Scripture (=not Abraham’s justification) fulfilled = completed > made whole, accomplished, achieved, + consummated.
  • Abraham believed God, + = accounted to him for righteousness => Abraham only had to believe God at that particular time > After he had declared a faith in God, + his ‘faith tree’ been planted, the fruit of works > to blossom
  • Abraham’s true faith resulted in obedience to things that Father had required of him => combination of faith + works = resulted in his justification
  • => Works alone will not justify a man (Rom 3:28, Gal 3:11; 5:14)
  • => Faith alone will not justify a man
  • Faith ~~~ mere act of mind to believe > Genuine living faith = act of combining beliefs with actions

By faith Abraham was justified before God and his righteousness declared

By works, Abraham was justified before man, and his righteousness demonstrated


The Book of James

Dynamic Faith

2:20. But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? For further explanation see comments on 2:17, 18.

2:21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?

2:22. Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? – James now gives two examples of faith combining with works. This is his teaching on dynamic faith. He keeps in mind his audience of both Jews and Gentiles and gives one example of the Jewish race, and one with a non-Jewish background.

Abraham

Abraham is the father of all who believe. Abraham had to have faith before he could be justified by his works. Abraham was justified twice. Once by his faith, which Paul talks about in Romans, and the other by works, which James speaks…

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Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

 

“1  My brothers, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good place”; but you tell the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit by my footstool”; 4 haven’t you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4 NHEB)

“But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts?” (James 2:6 NHEB)

“But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:9 NHEB)

“For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13 NHEB)

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14 NHEB)

“17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. 18 Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
19 You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But do you want to know, foolish man, that faith apart from works is useless?

21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted 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 like manner was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:17-26 NHEB)

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The Works (Faith No More album)

The Works (Faith No More album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Christadelphian Agora comments:

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did” (James 2:22).
“An old Scotsman operated a little rowboat for transporting passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the good old man had carved on one oar the word ‘Faith’, and on the other oar the word ‘Works’. Curiosity led him to ask the meaning of this. The old man, being a well-balanced believer in Christ, and glad of the opportunity for testimony, said, ‘I will show you.’ So saying, he dropped one oar and plied the other called Works, and they just went around in circles. Then he dropped that oar and began to use the oar called Faith, and the little boat just went around in circles again — this time the other way around, but still in a circle. After this demonstration the old man picked up Faith and Works and wielding both oars together, sped swiftly over the water, explaining to his inquiring passenger, ‘You see, that is the way it is in the believer’s life. Works without faith are useless, and faith without works is dead also, getting you nowhere. But faith and works pulling together make for safety, progress, and blessing’ ” (Maritta Terrell).

Peter Cresswell comments:

v.9 As a community (speaking generally) we are condemned by our inability to work out this maxim in our practical lives. There are those who genuinely are prepared to preach to anyone and accept anyone, but I think if we are honest, most of us are not happy with this teaching. A moment’s reflection on it today then will do no harm. Would we, for example, like Jesus in John 8:3-11, accept the repentance of the prostitute (which is seems this woman was) so readily? Lev.19:15

Peter Forbes  comments:

2:1-4 It is said that we form an impression about someone within a few minutes of seeing them. We have not had enough time to assess their character and yet we make decisions which may colour our view for the rest of our lives. It is really clear why God does not judge by outward appearance – 1Sam 16:7 – we should emulate His approach.

2:4 So we see that partiality which starts by looking on the outward appearance – see 2:2– is in reality judging the way others think.

2:4  Partiality is a consequence of being ‘double minded’ as mentioned in James 1:8

2:5 In speaking of ‘the poor of this world’ James echoes Paul’s comment about men of faith – Heb 11:37 . One cannot but wonder how we would have reacted to some of the men and women of faith if we had seen them in the street.

2:6 Continuing thoughts on our contribution for June 8th James asks his readers to think on the realities of their experience. The very ones that they would revere were the ones who were their persecutors!

2:6     ‘despised’ <818> is translated ‘shamefully’ Luke 20:11 and ‘dishonour’  John 8:49 showing that James is reproving the brethren for denigrating the ‘poor’.

2:9 That we should show ‘no respect of persons’ draws on the Law of Moses and is seen extensively in Scripture. Here are some occasions. Leviticus 19:15 Deuteronomy 1:17 16:19 2 Samuel 14:14 2 Chronicles 19:7 Proverbs 24:23 28:21 Romans 2:11 Ephesians 6:9 Colossians 3:25 1 Peter 1:17 No matter how one dresses up the prejudice against the poor and favour toward the well dressed it is a violation of the Divine law. Actually it manifests pride. We like to identify with the rich in this world rather than the poor.

2:11   James here clearly shows that there are no degrees of sin. Sin is sin. Agreed the consequences of some sins is greater than others insofar as our actions impact upon other men. However any sin violates God’s principles.

2:13 These words of James draw upon the teaching of Jesus in Matt 7:2

2:14-17  I suppose one could summarise what James is teaching here by saying “talk is cheap”.  It is ever so easy to talk about how we love and serve God. It is far harder to simply get on with doing that.

2:21-23  We notice that Abraham was “justified” in Gen 15:6. However it was many years later when he was willing to offer Isaac – Gen 22:9 – which demonstrated his faith. So, even though God saw Abraham’s faith no man could have seen the evidence of Abraham’s faith. But God knew in advance that Abraham had faith.

2:23    There are two earlier occasions when Abraham is called God’s friend – (#2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8)

2:23 How would you like to be called ‘the friend of God’? Such is the description of faithful Abraham – he believed that God would keep His word and so acted upon that knowledge. So we know the way to friendship with God.

2:23 There were quite a number of years between the statement in Gen 15:6 that Abraham believed God and his offering of Isaac. Faith is not a ‘flash in the pan’ activity.

2:25 The inclusion of Rahab as one who was justified by faith is a powerful testimony to the truth that observance of the law of Moses is not a pre requisite for pleasing God. A powerful lesson for Jews.

Michael Parry comments:

James exhorts against favouritism in our assembly.  Brothers and sisters should be treated equally in love and respect.  Do we naturally gravitate towards some and find it difficult to deal with others?  Of course we do.  But let us remember the example of Jesus.  Although He was drawn affectionately to John (John 19:26; 21:20), He still treated His betrayer Judas with love (Matt 5:44).

A point about verse 19:  there exist no such supernatural entities as devils (or demons).  What are being alluded to here are people possessed with demons (mental disorders).
There were demoniac people who recognized God and the Lord Jesus  (Mark 5:1-13, 16:9, Luke 4:40,41, 8:2).

Having scriptural knowledge, understanding, and faith means nothing unless it is translated into Godly action.

V.8 James is the only one to use the phrase royal law.  Loving one’s neighbour is the second part of the greatest law (Matt 22:37-39).  The first part concerns the love for God who is King over all – hence James’s royal reference.

V.12 James also talks of the law of liberty. No longer is anyone judged under the Law of Moses.  But, the moral commandments under the Law are carried forward and form part of the Commandments of Jesus.  It is expected that believers follow these commandments willingly.  Believers will be judged on their adherence to these laws.

John Wilson comments:

V.18 James introduces a third person into his explanation of faith and how it works by love. The third person is able to give a practical demonstration of his faith. James’ humility would not permit him to set himself forth as an ideal representative of a living faith. “I will show thee my faith by my works”  A practical demonstration of a motivating force that is greater than the individual himself, by which “he overcame the world”  (1John 5:4).

2:25 With the example of Rahab; along with that of Abraham (V.21,23), we would suggest is used by James to show the universality of the principle of faith that he was writing of. Abraham was the Father of all the Jews; Rahab was a Gentile who was converted. She was weak and sinful, but triumphed by faith. Not unlike what Paul wrote Gal 3:28.

2:26 Faith without works is like a corpse; there is a body, the substance of which is undeniable, but it is a dead body, and unless the breath of life enters into that body, it remains inactive and ineffective. Unless faith issues forth in a practical demonstration of a way of life which is pleasing God, it is a corpse without life, and incapable of imparting it.

Roger Turner comments:

v 5 First Principles>Kingdom of God>Gospel concerns God’s Kingdom
The Gospel preached by Jesus and the Apostles concerns the Kingdom of God.
2. Invitation for men to participate
Matt 25:34, Luke 12:32, 1Thess 2:12, James 2:5, 2Tim 4:1,8, 2Pet 1:10,11, Rev 2:26,27
For more about the Gospel concerning God’s Kingdom go to Matt 4:23 

Valerie Mello comments:

James 2:17

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

The apostle Paul defines faith as, “… the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Faith may be further defined as having a confident belief, value, or trustworthiness of a person, which does not necessarily rest on logical proof or material evidence.

This kind of faith requires development, and if we are not prepared to spend time in developing it, we shall not obtain the kind of faith that pleases God. The more we consider God’s actions in the past, and see His prophecies vindicated in the present, the more we come to learn to value Him, trust Him, and put our faith in Him concerning events not yet fulfilled, but promised by God.

This is a true story about a captain commanding a passenger ship who was sailing from Liverpool, England to New York. His family was on board with him. One night when everyone was sound asleep, a squall unexpectedly swept over the waters and tossed the ship violently, awakening the passengers. They were all scared, and the captain’s frightened eight-year old daughter asked, “What’s the matter?” Her mother explained that a sudden storm struck the ship. “Is father on deck?”  “Yes, father is on deck,” answered the mother. On hearing this, the little girl snuggled back into bed, and in a few moments was sound asleep. The winds still blew and the waves still rolled, but her fears were calmed because her father was at the helm! Our Heavenly Father is always at the helm! It is this kind of faith the Father is looking for in His children, and despite outward appearances, without this kind of faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6).

Wes Booker comments:

James 2:12,13.

What are some practical lessons and exhortations that we should try and practice in our lives in connection with what James is stating here – especially the last part of v. 13 – “Mercy triumphs over judgment”?

In thinking about a practical application of what James is exhorting us here, it’s important to keep in mind that within the pages of the Bible there are a number of very positive references to the idea of judgment. Though we might tend to immediately think of Christ’s words – “Judge not that you be not judged” (Mat. 7:1), there are a number of times where the flip side of the concept is there in such words as “judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24) and Paul’s words concerning the ongoing fornication in the Corinthian ecclesia – “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you” ((1 Cor. 5:12,13).

In the example that James uses following up his statement about mercy triumphing over judgment (v. 13) – in James 2:14-17 he gives the example of a brother or sister without clothes and daily food and what should be done by the ecclesia in that situation. What he doesn’t state is the reason for them to be in such a destitute situation. Was it due to things beyond their control? Or did they do certain things that brought this dire condition on themselves? Were they able-bodied and in a position to seek employment and get themselves out of this situation without having to come to the ecclesia for help? Whatever their situation was, James states categorically that the attitude that wishes them well without providing for their physical needs is an example of faith without works being dead. So the #1 priority of the ecclesia is to provide help when they have it within their power to do so. And, of course, the same should be true for individual believers in Christ.

The person or ecclesia who has it within its power to help and chooses to not do so really needs to have a really good Scriptural reason for not helping. And if there’s ever a question as to the rightness of a course of action, then the weight should fall on the side of mercy. And so with the seesaw effect, mercy comes up as judgment goes down. I remember reading years ago in one of bro. Islip Collyer’s books – I can’t remember which one it was – what he had to say on this subject. And it was so powerful that it really stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing here –

When a tough-to-decide situation comes up ecclesially where both sides – the severe and the lenient (merciful) – both have positive things that can be said for deciding in that particular way, I, for one, will always choose the side of mercy for this one simple reason. I know that on that great day of judgment, I will need all the mercy my Lord can muster on my behalf. So how can I go the other way? If I’m going to err, it is going to be on the side of mercy.

Robert Prins comments:

Illogical Really

When James spoke about people showing faith through the things that they did, he gave two examples. One of them was Abraham as he was about to sacrifice Isaac, and the other was Rahab, as she hid the spies and sent them off in a different direction.

Neither of these actions were really common-sense logical. After all, if you had been promised that your son was to be your heir, and the door to a multitude of descendants, it would seem stupid to kill him! And in the case of Rahab, when approached by people who were planning to flatten her city, it doesn’t seem right to hide and protect them.

But, both Abraham and Rahab had their eyes on something bigger and better when they acted in faith. Abraham was so sure God’s promises would be fulfilled, that he obeyed anyway. And Rahab was so sure of God’s strength, and that God was good to those who were good to Israel, that she put her own life in peril from the authorities in Jericho to put her trust in God.

What faith opportunities do we have in our lives? What about the opportunities to let God take vengeance rather than ourselves? What about forgiving others and trusting God for the rest? Or giving money or possessions away when asked? Or speaking out about our faith in God at an appropriate time?

Faith is seen in what we do. Let’s make sure God sees it in our lives.

Rob de Jongh comments

The bird resting on the patio

From v14 to v26 James explains how faith without works is dead. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, so perhaps an analogy may help.

Last summer we were on holiday in a cottage that had large glazed patio doors leading to a patio outside where the children watched birds hopping around. One day we came back from a trip out and our little boy said,

“Mummy. Why isn’t that bird moving?”.

We suspected the bird had flown into the glass and either stunned or killed itself, but we didn’t tell the child.

“Maybe it’s resting”,

we said, while earnestly hoping that the bird was going to get up at any moment and fly away.

Here was a small child who knew nothing about death, yet he recognised from the inaction of the bird that something was wrong. Later in the day when the children were elsewhere we took the bird and buried it beneath some overgrown bushes in the garden. As grown ups we knew that if it didn’t move for a half hour, it was probably dead. It was still a bird — recognisable even by a child, but what good was that? So it is with us. Any or all of us may be called a believer, confessing that God is one (v19), but if there is no action based on faith, it’s likely that faith isn’t alive in us:

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26

But what can we do if we suspect this is so with us? The first step is to pray to God, confessing our lack of faith and asking for help. If we want to be alive, seek for it, and ask, we will have our faith revived, as promised in Luke 11:9-13.

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Preceding articles:

First man’s task still counting today

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

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Additional reading

  1. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  2. The sin of partiality
  3. The Greatest of These is Love
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  6. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice

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Further related articles

  1. (01/07/2016) Salvation Only Through Christ?
  2. Partiality In The Church
  3. Christian Prejudice: Finding Answers to a Shameful Problem
  4. Human Rights Are Not “Common Sense” – They Are Christianity
  5. Is Jesus Partial? Colossians 3 verse 11
  6. “What is Christianity about?” by Michael and Susanne
  7. Today’s life is full of fakeness..
  8. The James Series: Surprisingly Equal
  9. 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle B
  10. Micah 2: Soap in studying the Bible
  11. Favoritism Forbidden
  12. Are We Partial?
  13. Friendship and partiality
  14. My Journey to Racial Reconciliation
  15. Can Faith Save You? Sermon by Keith, 6.14.15, Pentecost 3
  16. How To Beat The Competition?
  17. Facing Our Prejudices
  18. James: Favoritism
  19. The Book of James Chapter 2:1-9,12-13 (NKJV)
  20. 2:9 – But if you show partiality, you commit sin
  21. 2:13. For judgement is without mercy to the one who has shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.
  22. “Sunday Best”
  23. Partiality and The Law
  24. No Partiality
  25. What does the Bible say about partiality By…
  26. Mercy the missing piece
  27. Living Life Partially Impartial
  28. unjust justice
  29. How can you say God is not partial?
  30. Herrenhuter readings for Sunday, the 8th February 2015
  31. February 2 – Walking the Line
  32. Show No Favouritism. Show Mercy.
  33. Reflective Paragraphs Week 11 – James
  34. Losing Integrity Over Identity
  35. The imported and the favoured workers
  36. Playing Favourites in the Church. A Reflection on James 2:1-17
  37. Healing wilful deafness
  38. Daily Digest: Playing Favourites
  39. Disease favouritism
  40. Diminished
  41. Not Of This World
  42. How Important is Belief?
  43. Substance and Evidence
  44. Religious Literacy
  45. Bible-In-A-Year Day 33: Leviticus 16-18
  46. Death-Defying Faith.

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Is Justification a process?

CatholicBibleTalk

According to Heb 11:8,

Hebrews 11:8 King James Version (KJV)

8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Abraham came to faith in Gen 12:1-4,

but according to Romans 4:3 he was not justified until Gen 15:6.

Romans 4:3King James Version (KJV)

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

And according to James 2:24, Abraham is further justified in Gen 22:1-18.

James 2:20-22King James Version (KJV)

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

So…

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January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

In the past there have been many discussion about the possibility man being good. When we look at the world today it seems not much has changed. Along all sides we can see people who do not want to share the luck they have with others. This has come to a high point with the refugee crisis. It is understandable that people want to protect their own goods and culture, but often they are too much afraid that their way of living would be in danger by others from far away coming to live in their regions.

Several people are convinced that people who are fleeing from war-zones can not be good and trustworthy people. According to several Christians it is even impossible for a human being to be good from himself and as such no one can be reliable.

A17th century Calvinist print depicting Pelagi...

A17th century Calvinist print depicting Pelagius. The caption says “Accurst Pelagius, with what false pretence Durst thou excuse man’s foul concupiscence, Or cry down Sin Originall, or that The love of God did man predestinate.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The controversial British monk Pelagius in the fifth century had taught that man’s nature was essentially good. This was not to the liking of the Catholic Church leaders who found that because of Adam’s sin all men were born with a strong tendency to sin. It is even for that reason that lots of Christians do say it is impossible for Jesus to be a man. Because he was without sin he should be God, according to them. This naturally is not at all true and makes of God a horrible Creator, having created human beings who can not decide for themselves to do good or bad. Worse it would also mean that God gave man commandments He knew they would never be able to follow.

Pelagius rightly said that an individual had the power to do right by choosing to do right and by beating the body into submission through ascetic practices. Traditional Christianity said that men could defeat their tendencies to sin only by the working of God’s grace in their heart. According to the churchleaders Pelagius‘s ideas meant that Christ‘s death on the cross served more as a moral example than as an atonement able to transform the soul from within by divine force, which meant against going their doctrine of sola fide.

Those who think that Old and New Testaments alike teach us that we cannot change ourselves have not very well read the Holy Book of books. In the many books which form the bible we do have many examples of people who have gone from bad to good but also from good to bad and sometimes returning to good.

Augustinus 1.jpg

Saint Augustine from a 19th-century engraving

The Christian philosopher and theologian St. Augustine or Augustine of Hippo (354-430), best known for “The Confessions” and “The City of God” was responsible for the excommunication of Pelagius.

While in Rome, Pelagius first heard of Augustine through his reading of a prayer from Augustine’s Confessions: “Give what Thou commandest and command that Thou wilt.” To Pelagius, the philosophy expressed in this prayer sounded like the total abandonment of human responsibility and a denial of the ethical dimensions of the Christian faith. If all moral action, thought Pelagius, depends solely on God — both the commanding as well as the ability to obey — God is either an arbitrary tyrant or else man is a creature deprived of free will. Pelagius conducted his teaching along these lines while he was in Rome, and it was to this teaching that an able lawyer, Caelestius, responded, leaving his profession of advocacy and becoming Pelagius’s disciple, companion, and the popularizer of his views.

Caelestius’s Pelagian views continued to spread, and soon Augustine was preaching and writing with intense fervour against this what he called a new heresy, arguing that the whole lump of humanity is infected with sin and that only the grace administered in baptism can wash away the guilty stain.

In spite of these admonitions from the Doctor of Grace, the controversy continued, and it was not long before the articulate bishop of Eclanum, Julian, stepped in to argue the Pelagian cause, forcing Augustine, by the clarity of his logic, into positions regarding the doctrines of grace and predestination that have been burdensome to Western Christendom ever since. {Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004}

Today we still find many who do not want to see that man has a lot in his own hands. Today there are still lots of Christians who think it is impossible for man to live according to God’s Wishes and that he does not have to do any good works to enter the Kingdom of God because it is just impossible for him to do such good works.

According to Augustine it is not possible to lead a sinless life, with (for whatever reason, probably she had to carry the god son according to the Catholic Church) the exception of the Virgin Mary. For Augustine divine grace must precede every virtuous act and today many Christians are also still convinced we are all saved whatever what we have done and whatever we do in our life.

For such Christians who try to put sand in the eyes of searching people, the saying that we need works to enter the Kingdom of God is heresy. For them it is not only possible for man not to sin, they are not able to bring any change in the salvation of themselves.

The caricature of Pelagianism found in many orthodox textbooks and devotional manuals is hardly one that Pelagius would recognize. He never, for instance, denied the need for grace or for infant baptism; he never accepted the position that man can, by his own moral efforts, achieve his salvation. On basic doctrinal issues, Pelagius was certainly orthodox; and on matters of Christian morality his chief concern was to foster among Christian people a right regard for the ethical responsibilities he saw as inherent in the Gospel message. {Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004}

The Christian attitude is a very important issue which was been tackled by rabbi Jeshua (master teacher Jesus Christ) with a lot of delicacy. The Nazarene Jew, who was not afraid to bring others to see they had no right to judge others, told his listeners many parables in which he tried to get them to understand that we must be very careful not to loose the right to enter the Kingdom of God.

Lots of Christians are mistaken to think they do not have to do any good works to enter Gods Kingdom. It is true that they are saved and have nothing to do to get under the Grace of salvation. But what they forget is that, though they received salvation for nothing, they can loose it when they do not work at themselves. The leaders of the Protestant Reformation, 1,500 years after the last books of the Bible were written wanted their flock to believe that Jesus paid the full prize or penalty for our sins, so that nothing had to be done or paid any more. They added their human doctrine, which is nowhere written in the Bible, saying that

Jesus paid the punishment for our sins, he having fully atoned for our sins and by saying “it is finished” he did what no human could do, make up for their sins and made an end to everything what had to be done.

But it was not finished by having to come to God (a work) or to follow God’s commandments (again demanding works).

It is totally wrong to think once new born and/or being baptised, we are cleared and have a free way to enter into God’s Kingdom, or what some are thinking to go to heaven. In case a person has fund Christ and has come to God several works are needed. First of all before finding Christ work has to be done to come to know him and his God. Once a person believes in Jesus Christ, the son of God, that person has to convert to Christianity which again is a work to be done. But once baptised it is not finished. Than the person has to work at his or her character and try to stay on the right track, following God’s commandments, which shall require again some, not to say ‘lots’ of works.

Every Christian must work to control themselves. Once having become a Christian that person should try not to lie, to steal, to betray, to fornicate, to murder and many other things he or she should avoid doing (which demands work). If none of these works are needed for salvation the person could have sex with as many persons or animals as he or she wanted no matter the gender. If no works have to be done a person could also continue to do fraudulent actions, without having to worry.

It is for the reason having so many Christian preachers trying to convince others they do not need to do any works, and because of the reaction by Grow Pastor, Minister to Men, Ken Miller to us, at his article That’s the Spirit!, that we think it opportune to warn people of the lack of understanding of the given grace.

Christ Jesus died for all people, sinners or not. By the works of faith he has done, we received the Grace of Salvation, but when we ignore his calling or his heavenly Father’s calling than we shall not be allowed to enter the Kingdom of god when we did bad things and did not repent about them. It is not by works of justice that we had done, but, in accord with the mercy of God, Him willing to accept the ransom offering of His son. Through Jesus Christ our Saviour we are been justified by his grace and are we allowed to become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)

When Saul had become a follower of the Messiah he looked at the work of the master teacher and at the sacraments which were given to those who followed Jesus. The apostle wrote

Romans 3:27-31 The Scriptures 1998+  (27)  Where, then, is the boasting? It is shut out. By what Torah? Of works? No, but by the Torah of belief.  (28)  For we reckon that a man is declared right by belief without works of Torah.  (29)  Or is He the Elohim of the Yehuḏim only, and not also of the gentiles? Yea, of the gentiles also,  (30)  since it is one Elohim who shall declare right the circumcised by belief and the uncircumcised through belief.  (31)  Do we then nullify the Torah through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah.1 Footnote: 1See 7:12.

and gave the Romans to know that they thought or hold that a man is brought into right standing with God by faith and that observance of the law has no connection with it.

Saying that he did not confirm that

“by faith apart from deeds of the law” as meaning, “by faith alone”

but him affirming that we then not through faith make null and void the law; instead, we confirm it. It is by our faith that we shall do certain works according to the faith. Pelagius considered that sacraments are elements believers should keep taking throughout their life. For him it was like it is for us, that faith should be expressed and perfected in works. Submitting to Jehovah His works in the proper disposition, which is that of faith, is an action or a work to be done.

Too many Christians forget the importance of the feeling we should have about what we have done. If we do not feel bad by the wrong things we have done and do not repent for them, for sure the Bible shows us, we shall not receive an entrance in God’s Kingdom. Repentance and teshuvah demands a work. Staying a good person also demands work. All those that say we do not have to do any work of faith, are either forgetting what the Bible tells about it and are insinuating we can do whatever we want and shall still be saved.

On the other hand it is very strange that it are just such preachers who talk so ferociously about salvation and no works needed for salvation, who also preach about damnation in a hell, a place of eternal fire.

Luckily the Bible speaks about the end of our life by death, and that we once we die shall not be able to feel anything any more. No frustrations, no pain, no sorrow any more when we die. Then it shall all be finished, but then it shall also be too late if we did not choose for God and did not work at our own self.

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Please do find also to read:

  1. Salvation and Righteousness
  2. Elul Observances
  3. God’s wrath and sanctification
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  6. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  7. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  8. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  9. Good and bad things in this world
  10. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  11. Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  12. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  13. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  14. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  15. Humbleness
  16. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  17. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong
  18. Being of good courage running the race
  19. Bearing fruit
  20. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core
  21. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  22. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  23. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  24. As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude
  25. 2014 Religion
  26. Disobedient man and God’s promises
  27. From pain to purpose
  28. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  29. God’s forgotten Word 5 Lost Lawbook 4 The ‘Catholic’ church
  30. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  31. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  32. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church

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Further reading

  1. No one is saved by the law. Salvation is by faith through Grace.
  2. The Justification of Abraham
  3. St. Paul Didn’t Say Faith Alone
  4. The Law of Diminishing Returns
  5. A Call to Dare God
  6. The Tangible Presence of God
  7. Devotion for Monday After the Second Sunday in Lent, Year C (ELCA Daily Lectionary)
  8. Grace is a soft gospel for soft Christians & The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  9. Did God really say “Prevenient” Grace
  10. Can someone who genuinely loves the God of Israel, prays to Him and trusts him go to hell? The New Testament says…
  11. I was wrong – but I am right – Calvinists preach a false gospel.
  12. The pain of radical grace
  13. The power of grace
  14. Seeing Christ
  15. (12/04/2015) By More Than Believing
  16. Faith Child – Forget the poor!
  17. (01/13/2016) How To Treat Unbelievers?
  18. Repent so that you can understand
  19. Faithfulness
  20. Faith Without Works (Pastor Joe Taylor)
  21. Faith without Works ??? (1 Way to live)
  22. Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life: Faith Alone Does Not Save
  23. The Works
  24. Faith in Action
  25. Put Your Faith Into Action
  26. Fashion advice?
  27. Intentional God
  28. The Sower of Seeds: A Parable of Jesus
  29. Matthew 23:23 [Coming Soon]
  30. Studies in Mark (Pt. 8)
  31. Galatians 5:4 [Unfinished]
  32. Galatians 6:7-9 [Unfinished]
  33. Ephesians 2:8-9
  34. Titus 3:5-7
  35. NT Reading – October 5
  36. James 1:14-20 — Faith that Works!
  37. James, Part 2
  38. The Book that Almost Wasn’t: Faith, Lists, and Works ~ James 2
  39. Tuesday Devotional: Revelation 2
  40. Faith Without Works Is Dead
  41. Putting Legs to Their Faith
  42. Are You a doer???
  43. Are You Willing to do more???
  44. Mincing no Words
  45. Epistle for September 6, 2015
  46. Tell it Tuesday w/ B.Parker|How To Pray When Life Isn’t Going Your Way
  47. Tell it Tuesday w/ B. Parker| It’s 2am and No One is Answering…Who To Call?
  48. Childish Thinking
  49. Are You A Weed?
  50. Sneaky Subjectivism
  51. What Future?
  52. Intentional Avoidance, Disconnected Ignorance, or Disinterested Forgetfulness?
  53. We Are All Damaged Goods…
  54. Just Sitting There
  55. The Subnormal Christian Life
  56. 14 How to Work Your Way to Hell
  57. Faith Life Congruence
  58. We pray and plead with you…”Do You Job!”
  59. Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 42 – “Pure Religion”

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How To Get Started In Sharing Your Faith As a Christian

Many people are too much afraid of man. Too many Christians do not trust enough their God. They should know they have not to fear the reactions of man but should more be concerned about the reactions of Jesus, the son of God and of his heavenly Father, the Only One true God.

Jesus came to bring more knowledge about this God of Abraham and asked his followers to let the world know Who this God of Israel is and what He demands from His people.

Those who call themselves Christian should sincerely think about what that comprehends and should follow up the teachings and demands of their master teacher, the Nazarene man, who was killed because he was standing in the way for the worldly lovers of power.

Jesus was not afraid to say what he thought and what his heavenly Father wanted him to do. We should follow his example and not feel any inhibition to come out for what we do believe. There should be no embarrassment and we should not be ashamed to tell others we do not have all the answers. Only God has all the answers. He is the only one Who knows everything. Even His son, Jesus did not know a lot of things (even not when he would be coming back or who would be seated next to him).

In the Holy Scriptures we can find many examples of men of God who felt foolish but choose to go on the way God demanded from them. They continued the task given by God. We should follow up the task Jesus has given his disciples.

If we do not dare to go out and to talk about our faith, perhaps we have to question our faith ourselves. When firmly in the faith, we have nothing to be ashamed for.
When we open our brains to the Power of God, the Holy Spirit shall enlighten us and give us that power we need to go forward in our life and to show others the path we all have to follow.

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To remember:

born again by the Spirit of God => a story to tell + sharing your faith + gospel message

Witnessing = God’s will that we witness + Jesus’s will that we witness + overflow +telling another where to find + to present Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit + telling to put trust in God through Jesus Christ + to accept Jesus as their saviour + to serve Jesus as their King in the fellowship of the Church + bringing glory to God + laying hold of God’s willingness + opportunities that God will provide + need to go out in the power of the Holy Spirit + confidence we have in approaching God + knowing to have what we ask of God

our inhibitions are Biblical > Apostle Paul shares our experience of feeling foolish

possible to have faith without having all the answers

faith comes when the reasons for believing outweigh the problems

do not expect God to bless your witnessing or any other activities if you are knowingly disobedient to Him in some area of your life

How to: ask God to guide you + be honest in your statements and don’t exaggerate either the positive or the negative aspects of your story + don’t criticise other people or denominations or make any other negative remarks in your story + don’t bring anyone else down + don’t use any religious jargon

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Preceding articles:

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

Not making yourselves abominable

Where are the female writers

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

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Additional reading:

  1. Bible in the first place #3/3
  2. Philippians 4:4–7 – Do Not Be Anxious
  3. Life is too precious
  4. 8 fears caused by the fear of Man
  5. The chosen ones to fear or not to fear
  6. Fearing the right person
  7. Fear not tomorrow. God is already there
  8. When discouraged facing opposition

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Jesus Is Healing Today

man in horror saying oh no, not evangelism!

cartoon on sharing your faith

It ‘s the nightmare scenario of quite a few Christians. What if someone asks me about my faith??? How do I get the conversation started and what do I say??

If you’ve been born again by the Spirit of God, then you have a story to tell. There is no-one like you and there never will be again. You are a unique “God creation” and your personal story is both special and powerful.

The website New Christian UK has already created a helpful page on the web that will lead you through the steps in sharing your faith and the gospel message. This page is free to reproduce for non-profit use, so let’s look at the advice it gives:

What Is  Witnessing?
a). An overflow. b). One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. c). “To witness is so to present Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit…

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Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Living in a multicultural environment, in a democratic capitalist world, you may wonder how much freedom of speech and freedom of religion people are willing to give to each other.

U.S Postage Stamp, 1957

U.S Postage Stamp, 1957 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In our world which says it is a free democratic world you would expect religious freedom to be a fundamental right. It might well be recognised by international human rights documents, and one which is integral to our human dignity, but that does not mean yet that people are so open minded they accept other’s people way of thinking and certainly not their sort of faith. In our surroundings the countries may enable its citizens to live in accordance with deeply held values and beliefs about what it means to be human, but by the different population groups we encounter often those who only are prepared to have their way of thinking, their faith, to be the one to be the main value and to which everybody has to adapt to. For sure that can not be called an open mind.

The exclusion of other Christians can be felt mostly by evangelicals, especially pentecostal new-born Christians. They shall in many cases fiercely react against non-trinitarian Christians, even would deny their right to call themselves Christians. Strangely enough by those evangelicals who call for unity under Christians and say we should come to religious freedom, we find many who oppose Muslims or people belonging to an other religion than their Christendom. Are those who are calling for religious freedom accepting the theists (those who accept a or the godhead exist) and atheists who belief that he doesn’t

(glossing over wrinkles in which god we may be talking about…). {Does not believing result in belief?}

Often we do find they close the doors for such other believing people, instead of trying to go into conversation talking about the differences in belief. Often they complain that their faith is threatened by all the immigrants and by the many converts to Islam. They also often complain that the other groups seemingly have little understanding of, or respect for, the rights of their religious communities to maintain the religious identity of their organisations, but often it are they themselves who oppose the religious laws like halal and kosher food or religious killing of animals without sedatives. In Belgium we can clearly see this with the opposition against the slaughter of sheep for the Jews and Muslims.

In Australia some may call to withdraw all government funds from organisations that ‘discriminate’, but often they do not see in own bosom, often bringing wrong and discriminating messages over other believers.

As Babamboga from Nairobi,Kenya, writes:

Christians at time are so side blinded they believe that the only way is Jesus Christ and anything else is going to hell including Muslims and the Buddhists and if go further on some a bit open minded Christians will say that Allah is the same God but does that mean anyone worshipping Buddha or Seth are already sinners but really is that their problem. It is like judging people who grew up knowing Santa Claus exists, is it really their problem that they believe such old folk tales are real? And oftenly in most of those movies it is faith that ensures these fairy tale super heroes are still alive. {Oh, My brother testify.}

This person is right to remind people what is written in the Bible were God is letting the world know that

there will be prophets who will spread his word

and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be pastors who give wrong renditions of the Bible based on their useless understanding of the word. Too many people still give too much preference to those theologian writings instead of clinging to the Bible Words, of which we are told that they are the Words of God.

In Belgium, the last thirty years, church attendance became minimal whilst the attendance at mosques grew intensively. We do agree that in our juridical system only the recognised religions agreeing with the council shall have their priests, pastors, rabbi‘s or imams paid by the government, but that did not withdraw many who believe in only One God to go out and preach and to attract those Christians who got muddled up by the many human doctrines.

By those monotheist believers we do find the non-trinitarian Christians who are outnumbered by the many different non-recognised or non-official or not Islam council associated Muslims, who often get together in packed garage mosques.

At the same time we do find several fanatic fundamentalist Christians who bring in hell for everything they can. They come up with saying that the Bible actually condemns some behaviour and wonder how the church will outright give justice to drunkards and prostitutes.

… yet in the bible itself, mind you in the new testament, weren’t prostitutes part of His plans, weren’t thieves there too…. {Oh, My brother testify.}

Those who call themselves Christian should come to see the difference between Christendom and Christianity and should distance themselves from human doctrines, looking for Biblical truth there where it is to find, in the Bible itself.

Some Christians are so into their religion and they fail to see when pastors apply simple mind games of the interpretation and soon a whole congregation enjoys in the feasting of snakes and you wonder has it really got to the point that if I do a couple of acted miracles and tell people the Lord wants us to eat sinners you will all follow. {Oh, My brother testify.}

In our surroundings where, this way, we do find many who fled from the Catholic and other Christian denominations to find a stronghold by Muslims, it is important that followers of Christ take up the Bible and perhaps also the Quran to show others where it went wrong in Christendom and what is really written in the Holy Books and how our society should come to the Abrahamic faith.

When there is an open mind and freedom of religion, each faith-group, monotheist, unitarian or trinitarian, or having a whole bunch of gods to worship, should have the same rights to be there and to speak out.

That outspokenness we not often enough do find by Christians. Many of them just keep their beliefs for their own and do not dare to speak about it with others.

The agnostic is saying that they don’t think there is a way to transform a belief about god’s existence into knowledge. But they could still hold a belief on the matter. You could be an agnostic atheist, or, for that matter, an agnostic theist. {Does not believing result in belief?}

For many the issue of a god has become so complicated by theologians and philosophers

that we think it is some totally different concept that we can treat differently. Maybe people just don’t want to take a stand, they’re too unsure or don’t want to offend. {Does not believing result in belief?}

The one who really believes in the One True God, need not to be afraid to express his opinion. He has good reason to let others know what he believes.

Many would say

Of course there is no chance of “proving” God by strict logical syllogisms (but can we prove anything outside of mathematics this way?) Every logician knows that there’s nothing in the conclusion that is not already latent in the premises. But neither is this inability any proof that such a being as God does not or cannot exist. You may as well say that since I cannot prove to you whether life exists on other planets by sheer argument it therefore cannot exist. An unprovable proposition is not any more false (or true) simply because it cannot be proven. {Pascal’s Possibility}

We have the Book of books to give us an idea of the nature of the Most High Divine Being. For some it seems manifestly impossible to prove an image of God,

formed by a haphazard, subconscious blending of our moral intuitions and deepest wishes, it is not simply a figment of our imagination {Pascal’s Possibility}

The real believer knows exactly it is not just some imagination and wants others to know it. It is like you found something incredible or you ‘invented’ something extraordinary. You cannot be quiet about it.

Some might think the fact that the ideal is too good to be really possible.
But

It is a trick of the mind to think that the goodness of a thing counts as positive proof against its existence. You may as well be lying on the beach and say the sun feels too good to exist. {Pascal’s Possibility}

Encountering so many people today who laugh at the saying that there would be a god Who created everything and Who is so good that He has a Plan that will bring eternal life and peace for many, there is reason enough to tell them that the question about such a God existing has nothing to do with if logic proves it

… logic either does, or does not, make such a God’s existence possible. {Pascal’s Possibility}

But we should listen to our inner being and look around ourselves. We also should not be afraid not to claim absolute demonstrable knowledge, but “reasonable belief”. And that “reasonable belief” should be founded deep in our heart and fed by a thorough knowledge of the Bible.

From somewhere we received the Good News and came into the faith. Now it’s up to us to share it wherever we are. We now should come to the conclusion that it is marvellous that we came into the faith to become children of God. Knowing and accepting the Divine Creator as our heavenly Father to Whom we own everything, we also do know that it is a privilege and a responsibility that God gives to us to go and speak others about His wonderworks.

When we came into the faith we wanted to become part of the Body of Christ, the church, and one of the highest things that you can do in the church, is to be an active member willing to share the truth. For sharing that truth we do not have to give a theological or biblical lecture and we do not have to have a theological education (though it might help, but could also distract, because most theological colleges are formed from one or the other denomination and focussing more on the worldly writings than on the Bible itself.)

What the community of faith demands of their members is an openness to others and words that can make the community grow. Though it is also not bad to have words which will remind those in community of how the world really is now. Therefore we too are looking for writers who are willing to share how the world is evolving. What happens around us may not let us be untouched. We have to notice it and should react accordingly how that God would like us to behave in such surroundings.

When looking at this reality of the world we are living in we can show the difference of this world with the different world in God’s Plan. Writing about it or preaching we can become preachers exposing the lies that are driving people’s lives,

ripping them to shreds, sapping them of strength and energy. {10 Years of Preaching, 10 Lessons: Lesson 1}

A ‘Lead Pastor’ from Bloom in Denver believes preaching is

standing up in a tradition that reaches back to Moses and Isaiah and finds its consummation and climax in Jesus of Nazareth and saying, “The reign of God is here. Change your mind, and believe yourself into this shocking good news.” {10 Years of Preaching, 10 Lessons: Lesson 1}

It is following up the task Jesus has give to his disciples, to go out into the world to tell about that Good News. We have to come to understand that we are messengers called to this –

to employing all of the resources our speech to construct alternative modes of understanding for the people of God so that they can leave every dehumanizing Egypt and Babylon they find themselves in. Week after week, we summon them saying, It is time to go home! {10 Years of Preaching, 10 Lessons: Lesson 1}

It is not by praying often out loud, while driving down the road, for all to see, listening to a lot of Christian music with sometimes cheesy, weird beats and no cuss words, letting yourself be seen at the church-building and certainly not by going to church and

worship a man named Jesus who you may believe has saved the world by dying and coming back to life. {Why Being A Christian Isn’t Cool}

that you will find the way back home and would bring others to home-base. But when you keep to the words as they are written in the Bible and to a honest form of worship, without all the cirque and circumstance, concentrating on the truth instead of letting yourself and others be diverted by entertainment, you shall be able to go together with other devoted people on the right path. And, yes, that way you perhaps have lesser people in your congregation and would not be able to build a mega church, but better to have a good quality church than a quantity church.

We, who label ourselves as “Christians” need to re-focus.  We need to speak the truth, even when it hurts.  We need to replace the luke warm water in our mouths with hot sauce baby, confidently sharing God’s peace, grace and power.   {Why Being A Christian Isn’t Cool}

We should not have fear, like the apostles, when Jesus was caught, where very much afraid to let others know they were with Jesus. After he died and raised from the dead they even did hide in houses. We should not hide ourselves in our house, but go out, like the apostles did after they received the Holy Spirit.

We as Christians should be baptised with water but also with Holy Spirit and be encouraged to speak. Opening our heart to God we can let God’s Spirit enlighten us and guide us on our way. Trusting Him using His Word as our backbone we shall be able to enter many sorts of gates of this world, which is in the hands of ‘Satan,’ the adversary of God who more than once shall try to question you about the existence of that One God.

When questioned about God, what we belief and be tested, let us never compromise the truth ourselves for anything or anyone. We always do have to be carefully how we treat the Word of God. It is sacrilegious. That Holy Word we should sincerely seriously investigate and reflect on ourselves and those around us. When we want to tell others about that word we sincerely honestly should show the facts of it, showing that it presents good but also bad in all people, even in men of God. Bring the gospel-message we should dare to show good and bad of all and that we dare to let others see the brutal forces or battles which took place in the past. We may not present it as if everything is moonshine but also never may be guilty of turning the sweet gospel into something sour by our own surliness.

If we do, we might cause the hearer to turn away from God wincing instead of turning to him rejoicing. {Lessons Learned from 25 Years of Preaching (3)}

We also should remember that we

Don’t Have to Be Vicious with Truth to Be Strong for Truth {Lessons Learned from 25 Years of Preaching (3)}

We may not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths. Our ordinary speech should be  always with grace and as a sacrifice.

Col 4:6 RNKJV  Let your speech be always with favour, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Col 3:8 RNKJV  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Eph 4:24 RNKJV  And that ye put on the new man, which after Elohim is created in righteousness and true holiness.

It is a vain effort to try to exorcise the evil only. Character is not a negation. Having put on the new self by our baptism we should be proud to show to others that renewed body which is created in God’s likeness and let it reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

By saying

You have learned the Christ

the apostle Paul puts the members of the ecclesia their faith upon a high level; it is the faith of approved disciples in Christ’s school. For such men the “philosophy and vain deceit” of Colossae and the plausibilities of the new “scheme of error” will have no charm.

Also for us who want to go out in the world to bring the Word of God to as many as we can, we should be so pleased that we have found the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hidden in Christ, that we want to share that treasure with as many as we can, because we do want to have the love of Christ also in our heart and bring the fire unto those around us.

Therefore also in trying to reach others we do not want to use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what we say will do good to those who hear us.

Eph 4:29-32 RNKJV  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister favour unto the hearers.  (30)  And grieve not the holy Spirit of YHWH, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  (31)  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  (32)  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as YHWH for the Messiah’s sake hath forgiven you.

 

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Preceding articles:

Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

Not making yourselves abominable

Where are the female writers

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

 

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Find also:

  1. Religious Freedom in a Multicultural World conference, 25 Sep 2015
  2. Freedom for faith
  3. Hope by faith and free gift
  4. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  5. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  6. Bible in the first place #2/3
  7. Bible in the first place #3/3
  8. The Bible and names in it; Proclaiming the Name of The One and Only Who Is and has EverBeen
  9. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  10. Necessity of a revelation of creation 10 Instructions for insight and wisdom
  11. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  12. Reasons to come together
  13. The Right One to follow and to worship
  14. Fools despise wisdom and instruction
  15. Those who love Jesus
  16. Risen With Him
  17. What is preaching to me… and what it is for others.
  18. Are You Afraid To Witness?
  19. Science, 2013 word of the year, and Scepticism
  20. 34th World Congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF)
  21. See God’s wonderworks and hear His Voice
  22. Faith related boycotts
  23. European Parliament stands for human dignity
  24. Inequality, Injustice, Sustainability and the Free World Charter
  25. Texts, writers, accesibility and willingness
  26. Journal for and from bothered citizens
  27. Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit
  28. A small circle taking a nation hostage
  29. Being Charlie 2
  30. Lack of religious freedom South Sudan
  31. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy
  32. 2014 Religion
  33. Stepping Toes 2014 in review
  34. Blow to legitimacy of the capitalist system
  35. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  36. Israel, Fitting the Plan when people allow it
  37. Vatican against Opponents of immigration
  38. Migrants to the West #2
  39. Migrants to the West #3
  40. Migrants to the West #10 Religious freedom
  41. Freely & fairly
  42. Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians
  43. Democratic principles for church
  44. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  45. Mormons, just an other faith
  46. Driscoll not wished as a guest at 2015 Hillsong Conference
  47. Vatican lifts ban on married priests for Eastern Catholic churches in US, Canada, Australia
  48. Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 highest ever on record
  49. In a world which knows no peace sharing blessed hope
  50. A beginning with many false starts
  51. Church sent into the world
  52. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  53. Two new encyclopaedic articles
  54. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  55. Using the name Jehovah but not a witness of that name
  56. To remove the whitewash of the Jehovah Witnesses as being the only true Bible Students and Bible Researchers
  57. Not many coming out with their community name
  58. Let us make sure we are not stiff-necked
  59. Christadelphian Auxiliary Lecturing Society in changed times
  60. Dissolution of Bijbelvorsers (Bible scholars), Association for Bible study
  61. Counting sands and stars
  62. Dealing with worries in our lives
  63. Sunday 7 September service: Imitate prophets and Paul
  64. A man from the North wanting to have control in Belgium
  65. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  66. First Century of Christianity
  67. Breathing to teach
  68. Words to push and pull
  69. Good or bad preacher
  70. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  71. A true sermon is a real deed.
  72. What Should I Preach ?
  73. Truth, doubt or blindness
  74. Preachers should know and continue the task Jesus has given his followers
  75. How to Choose a Bible for Preaching
  76. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  77. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  78. A new school-, academic and church year
  79. Kill the messenger
  80. Biblereading statue
  81. Record breaking preaching in Mount Dora
  82. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  83. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  84. Not all ability to preach

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Further reading:

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Announcement, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs, World affairs

Summerholiday season time to read the Bible

At last the sun has shown her face and people can really get a feeling of Summertime.

Summertime also includes the time to have pleasures to do whatever one chooses, and finding the pleasure one enjoys from his or her actions.
It is a time when lots who have have faith in themselves take time to be on their own at the swimming pool or some relaxing place. Under Christians we also can find those who have been told by well-meaning but errant advisers, “God helps those who help themselves.”
They spend their lives dependent upon their own abilities, or wisdom, or knowledge expecting that God will stand by as a faithful servant to bless all of their endeavours whether it be His will or not. Others may look at others, thinking they can be the way to success. They prefer to put their faith in others. We may wonder why they do not trust themselves not more. Did they get blinded by the fact that certain individuals possesses great knowledge, or apparent wisdom, power, or even anointing? In our society we can find many who look up at others, like they are gods and lift them up more highly than they ought and bestow their faith in a human being.{1}

Too many people put all their faith in the world, instead in the Creator of the world. Summertime is often a time to reflect. It is the time to take a rest and to forget all the worries of daily stress and work.

In the Summertime (Thirsty Merc song)

In the Summertime (Thirsty Merc song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People can put their daily worries about work and getting some income aside. It is time for relaxation and meditation. Not bad to take time to reflect on different matters. It is also some time to consider what is worthwhile in life and which direction to take further.

Summertime is also an ideal time where people have time to do some reading and to take time to go and see things. Many go abroad and look far a way from home for better pastures.

Like Caroline Kepnes there may be people thinking

“There is no better boost in the present than an invitation into the future.”

In this present time lots of people totally lost connection with the Maker of the universe. But why not making use of the free time now to go and read His own Words, which are recorded for mankind so that they can progress and learn the way to go. In the book of books is the way shown to come closer to the Maker of everything and to find eternal happiness.

When taking time to read the Bible you will be surprised how it can open your eyes and give a clear picture of this present world and how you can have a better life than this world is trying to present you.

There is also the calling sound

And the “invitation into the future” goes out right now. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20) {2}

Jesus saves net writes:

Let us not question God our creator, but let us embrace His salvation plan given to us through His Son Jesus, many say, you have a mind of your own and you should decide for yourself. {3}

Lots of people have decided to go for the world’s temptations and to enjoy whatever they can get today. They are not so much interested in the future and prefer to live the day like it comes. They do not see the folly of man which is greater than man’s wisdom.

Now we can find time to meditate on the way the world is evolving and the way we want to go in this world. We should consider taking time to investigate the matters of life and the way we want to go. Do we want to cling to the materialistic world or rather cling to Him Who gives life and surrender to His will than rely on our limited perception of life. {3}

Summertime is an ideal time to reflect if we in our lives, our works or even our conversation, could shine and bring blissful rays over unto others. It is a good period to question ourselves and to check if we managed to bring honour to God throughout the previous year. It is time to reflect if we have not failed to do the Will of God. {4}

When we do what God desires, we will naturally Glorify Our Lord and Our Friend, which will bring honor to The Father. {4}

To be able to do what God desires from us, we should get to know what He really wants. We should take time to find that out. Now in Summer, when we do not have to go to work, we can use the free time to take some moments to read in the Bible. The extra free time should not only give us opportunity to see other places, travelling to widen our horizon, but also to educate ourselves.

Going other places, meeting different people, we should make use of the free time to enlarge our knowledge about others and about God. It is also time to show others the right attitude of a Christian and to let them feel and see that we are Children of God.

Let everything we do brings honor to His Name. {4}

Looking at all the marvellous things we can encounter on our voyage or on our Summer-holiday we can see the Hand of God in all of this. then we also should take some time to thank Him for all this, we can enjoy.

In the place of difficulty, one is thrown off balance and then people find they need help and often than they call unto God, but when at pleasure time and when everything seems to go smoothly, many forget The High One. Also now when at ease it is a good time to take time for our Creator and to turn to God in humility and need.
The walk of faith is not a journey of those who have it all together. (One might suggest that too often, we have acted otherwise.) {5}
One act of faith is doing works of faith, because without works faith is death. To keep the faith alive we also have to nourish it. Now you can sit back and relax, please to take time to pick up the Bible and to read in it daily. Even if it was only for reading one chapter a day and to meditate on it, you shall find it shall give you spiritual food, which shall make you wiser and stronger.

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Notes + elements discussed in other writings:

{1} The Faith Life (Part 4: Faith’s Direction and Location)

{2} An Invitation into the Future

{3} God is in control

{4} Reflective Moment “Glory To Our King’

{5} Column: Giving words to our prayers

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Preceding:

Summermonths and consumerism

Psst! Spread The Good Word!

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Additional readings:

  1. Relapse plan
  2. Making time for prayer in Summerholiday
  3. Holiday tolerance
  4. A tongue to speak slowly and well-considered
  5. Humility and the Fear of the Lord
  6. Wisdom lies deep
  7. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  8. Not able to make contact with God because to busy
  9. A question to be posed
  10. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  11. Actions to be a reflection of openness of heart
  12. Growth in character
  13. Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed
  14. How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace
  15. Appointed to be read
  16. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  17. Glory of only One God Who gives His Word
  18. Bible, helmet of health, salvation and sword of the spirit
  19. We should use the Bible every day
  20. Feed Your Faith Daily
  21. A Bible Falling Apart Belongs to Someone who isn’t
  22. Truth never plays false roles of any kind, which is why people are so surprised when meeting it
  23. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  24. The manager and Word of God
  25. Scripture alone Sola Scriptora
  26. Even in tough times remembering the blessings
  27. Get up in the morning and pray for the Lord’s blessings
  28. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  29. Happy who’s delight is only in the law of Jehovah
  30. Youth has difficulty Bible Reading
  31. Be an Encourager
  32. An ecclesia in your neighbourhood

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Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs