Tag Archives: Justification

Do those who want to follow Christ to be Jews

In these times when there are so many arguing about religion and about what faith would be the right faith or what would be the right way to worship God it is not bad to consider what the people at the time of the Jewish master teacher, Jeshua, thought.

Most of the time those seeing and hearing rebbe Jeshua belonged to the Jewish faith like the master himself. Though few belonged to Jeshua’s religious group because some considered the Essenes as a sect and several also came to see Jeshua his followers also as a sect. Being a child of Joseph and Miriam (Mary/Maria) from the tribe of David, Jeshua and his siblings where brought up in the very religious traditions of the Essenes, to which Miriam belonged. As such Jeshua received a strict thorough education in Torah knowledge and was very well aware what was written in all the different scrolls.

An other person very well educated in Jewish theology was Saul. As a devout worshipper of the God of Israel and connected to the synagogue and the priests in Jerusalem, he was convinced those teachings of that man where blasphemous and had to be stopped. He as a big fighter for Jehovah God went against those followers, until the day he was struck by lightening, feeling Jesus close to him and being blinded by the Power of God because he had become a satan or adversary of God, more than Peter who Jesus also had called a satan.

At first the majority of followers of Jeshua where Jews, but having many Romans around and travellers of other religions or not at all believing in a god or in God, some of them became attracted by the words of the rebbe and his talmidim. Several got in the ban of the doctrines of that man his group and wondered if they could join them. But having come at a certain age they did not like so much to undergo a circumcision. At the other hand lots of the Jews in the group where very concerned about the goyim entering their group and having them to allow in their synagogues. We can image the many discussions going on about the Jewish rules either to be followed by those who came into the group or having them to be free of those mitzvot. Doctor Luke tells about all the internal discussions and arguments in his book the Acts of the apostles.

In 330 CE “church father” Epiphanius of Salamis provided a detailed description of the new faith in Jeshua which started to spread over many regions, by the Netzerim in Panarion 29:

“We shall especially consider the heretics who call themselves Nazarenes; however they are simply complete Jews.
They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do…
They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion – except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that God is one, and that his son is Yeshua the Messiah.

They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew; for they, like the Jews, read the whole law-Torah , then the Prophets. They differ from the Jews because they believe in Meshiach and from the Christians in that they are to this day bound to the Jews rites, such as circumcision, the Shabbat, and other ceremonies . Otherwise, this sect of the Nazarenes thrives most vigorously in the state of Berea, Coele-Syria, in Decapolis, around Pella, and in Bashan. After they departed from Jerusalem, they made their start from here, as all the disciples dwelt in Pella, having been warned by Meshiach to depart Yerushalayim and emigrate because of imminent danger”

Up to today the matter still bothers many, first of all because several are seriously concerned now about those who call themselves Christian but do not adhere to Jeshua his writings and even worship an other god than Jeshua, namely Jesus and his co-gods (god the father and god the holy spirit). For Jews wanting to accept Jeshua or Jesus as the Messiah this is a serious problem, because they would never want to be confused with polytheist Christians. Most of the Jews, even today, do not want to give up their Jewishness, certainly because they consider themsleves still to be part of the Chosen People of God, Israel Gods People. Thàt they do not want to give up. It would be stupid to give that up or to loose our identity with Gods People.

When we look at the history of Christianity we can see that, before the time it was transposed to Christendom and the dogmatic teachings of the trinity, already soon there came a major controversy in early Christianity concerning the role of Jewish law and traditions. As most of the first converts were Jews, some felt that the Mosaic Law and covenantal signs, such as circumcision, were still important. While others where convinced that their rebbe brought the message of God that from now on their religion had to be open to both Jews and Gentiles. Some contended that converts first had to become Jews in order to become Christians. Others considered the outward signs of Judaism to be unnecessary for Christian life.

It is known that at the beginning most of them, like Saul or Paul, how he further became known, that “Much in every way“ was the advantage of the Jew and the value of circumcision. (Romans 3:1). Several thought by allowing goyim to enter their community and not having them to subject to the same rules they where overthrowing the Law by that notion of faith? But for Paul that was by no means so. On the contrary, he felt that they upheld the Law” (Romans 3:31).

Everybody had to know that all those who just relied on works of the law were under a curse (Galatians 3:10), because we all should know that no one is justified before God by the law (Galatians 3:11).

The convert Paul went even so far to say that circumcision even did not count for anything, but that Jeshua had taken care of a new path and had opened the gates of a new creation which is everything. (Galatians 6:15). For him it had become clear that no human being will be justified in God’s sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). But that does not mean that the Law would be sin. By no means (Romans 7:7).

All that want to become a follower of Jeshua, Paul argumented had to recognise that the Law is and shall stay holy, and that the mitzvah or commandment is holy and just and good for all of us (Romans 7:12). Though he also said that to the Israelites belongs the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the Temple, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs and of their race, according to the flesh (Romans 9:4). Jewishness can not be taken away by man, because it is entitled by God, engraved in the hearts of those who descent from the tribes chosen by God and protected by God.

Today there are lots of people who think that God has rejected His own people but Paul already warned for such false thinking and said that the Elohim has not rejected His people (Romans 11:1) and told even that

“All Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).

As such Jews still can bear that precious hope. When they accept Jeshua as the Messiah they do not have to give up their Jewishness, but they also shall have to accept that the goyim or those who where at first atheist, heathen or people from an other faith, that they now too can come to God by the way of Jeshua, and can call the Elohim Hashem Jehovah also their Father or Abba.

Those Jews at the time of the first followers of Jeshua came to accept the non-Jews and did not impose their laws unto them – which was not always an easy thing to do for them. In our time, we too have to be open for the non-Jews who come to accept the Nazarene rebbe Jeshua as their Saviour. But we too have to accept that those goyim become part of the Body of Christ without having to undergo all the obligations a Jew has to undergo.

Nobody may come to think the Law would have become opposed to the promises of God. Certainly not! (Galatians 3:21).

Although Paul preached justification on the basis of faith in Christ, he was himself a Pharisee and addressed the role of Jewish traditions and the status of Israel in the new covenant.

In “Paul’s Contradictions: Can They Be Resolved?” Princeton Professor John Gager looks at how Paul seems to be at war with himself on the subject of Israel. Is there a way out of his contradictions?
Yes, the author argues, but only if we first get past misconceptions about Paul that date to the earliest stages of Christianity — even to Paul’s own times.

Though when reading the book by John Gager, one must know that Paul is not the father of Christian anti-Judaism, like the great German historian Adolf Harnack wants Christians to believe. He writes:

“It was Paul who delivered the Christian religion from Judaism … It was he who confidently regarded the Gospel as a new force abolishing the religion of the law.”

Since the time of the early church fathers until recent decades, all interpreters of Paul have read him from the perspective of the triumph of Christianity, after the decisive break between Christianity and Judaism. The reigning Christian view of Judaism during this entire period has been that the Jews have been superseded as the chosen people of God by the Christians (or Christianity), that the Jews are no longer the bearers of God’s promise of salvation and that their only hope for salvation lies in becoming Christian. In this hermeneutic, it follows that Paul, too, with his canonical status, must have held to this dominant Christian view of Judaism. And this is exactly how Paul has been read throughout Christian history. Not just 80 or 90 or even 99 percent of the time, but 100 percent of the time, without exception — that is, until recently, when a few maverick scholars began not only to question that image but to reject it altogether. {Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity}

Biblical scholar Ben Witherington III counters the contradiction in “Laying Down the Law: A response to John Gager.” He questions Gager’s idea that Paul preached the gospel of Jesus Christ for Christians alone by asking whether his message was intended for both Jews and Christians.

Today we can see that there is a growing amount of Jews who are proud to be Jew but also want to be proud to be a follower of the Jew Jeshua, whom they often consider to be one of their own, a child of Israel. In Christendom we find that the majority are trinitarians, but may not forget that there are loads of non-trintiarian denominations as well. There are certain groups which have a similar name but differ from their belief in the trinity or in One True God. As such we can find the Nazarenes, of which some are tinritarians and others still believe the same doctrines as their first counterparts. The Nazarene Friends up to a few years ago where very active non-trinitarian Christians, but by becoming older and dying lots of ecclesiae saw their numbers reduce.

The most well known non-trinitarian groups may be the Bible Students and Jehovah’s Wtinesses, with all their teardowns or torn groups. Lots of those groups not so much respecting by God given days to celebrate or to remember certain events. Though it must be said several bible student groups and Jehovah’s Witness knowing very well that according to Jeshua and his heavenly Father, according to the Scriptures all people of God shall have to remember 14-15 Nisan or Passover (Pesach).

Some Christians also have come to the conclusion that perhaps not so many laws are abandoned as so many Christians do believe. They came to understand that Jeshua was a Jew and held to the Jewish traditions. Certain Jewish elements they now also want to see incorporated in their way of life, as a sign of being under that Jewish master teacher.
Christians who do not want to be looked at, as the same lot of trinitarian Christians, or who want to feel and show more a Jewish connection can as Messianic Christians show their love for Jeshua and his teachings by calling themselves also a Jeshuaist.

Jeshuaist do not expect converts to the faith in Jeshua to be or to become a Jew or to follow all the Jewish laws, though they want them to recognise the Jewish position of Jeshua and the Judaic followers of Jeshua, which means that certain ways of worship, songs and prayers and making church or having meetings shall be as in the first century or in the tradition of the early Christians, forming a brotherhood with acceptance of differences, but considering all as one part united under Christ and not a human organisation which would control and regulate everything.

For Jews who accept Jeshua as their Messiah and for those who prefer to see a Messianic Judaism the Jeshuaists offer a solution. With the title or name Jeshua-ist one can give honour to Jeshua and show the connection with the Jewish rebbe as well can one avoid the confusion with trinitarian Messianics or trinitarian Christians, making it clear to be a Messianic non-trinitarian Jew.

 

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You may be interested in reading:

  1. Our life depending on faith
  2. As there is a lot of division in Christendom there is too in Judaism
  3. The Sabbatean Prophets
  4. Converso Involvement in the Sabbatai Zevi Movement
  5. Sabbatai Zevi (Jewish Convert To Islam)
  6. Forgotten History-The Jews from Geleen 1940-1944.
  7. Jewish and Christian traditions of elders
  8. Today’s thought “Ability to circumcise your heart” (May 13)
  9. Jeshuaists or Followers of Jeshua
  10. Who is a Jeshua-ist
  11. Who is or can be a Jeshuaist
  12. Why to become a Jeshuaist
  13. Availability of Jeshuaists on Facebook

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Read the above mentioned articles from the Biblical Archaeology Society and more in the FREE eBook Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity. Featuring articles taken from Bible Review and Biblical Archaeology Review, this eBook considers the relevant writings of Paul and brings to light some of the difficult theological issues for Jews and Christians that persist to this day.

Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity

 

Download the Free eBook

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Further reading

  1. Religions and Mainliners
  2. Israel must honor God or the Rule of Law is meaningless
  3. The Real Wall Problem: When Will Diaspora Jews Fight For Palestinians?
  4. “Qualitavely Jews are not a minority”
  5. Nazarene Jews Through Out History
  6. Who is Israel? And What Role, If Any, Does She Play in God’s Kingdom?
  7. The Temple Connection
  8. Where is the Church that Christ built?
  9. The Church & The Old Testament Law
  10. Christians Above the Law?
  11. Why The Bible Is Divine: Christology
  12. Jewish Halakha and the Rabbinic Authority in the Messianic World
  13. The Not Left, Not Right, but UP Movement
  14. From Rome to Corinth, and Back Again: Reclaiming What Was Taken from Us
  15. Eleven Steps to Live a Messianic Nazarene Jewish life
  16. The straight line connecting Donald Trump’s new tallit to “Christians for Islam,” and a best practices suggestion
  17. Something great is happening in Israel
  18. A sort of “sing along” songs with Messianic Jews in Israel
  19. Is It A “Sign”?
  20. Christ is risen! Kristus är uppstånden! Baruch HaBa Beshem Adonai!
  21. Books on examples of Jewish evangelism in Israel
  22. The great tree of Moreh
  23. Rabbinical court rules against Jewish marriage rites for Messianic Jews
  24. Sabbath as a Bride
  25. Shalom in Psalms
    End Times Series: Pastor Jimmy Evans
  26. Kiss the Son…
  27. On an Irish Cliff

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Filed under Announcement, History, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Spiritual affairs

Facing daily events and exclaiming “Good grief!”

When waking up every day we may be lucky to wake up, to face the day again. In the day we may perhaps encounter lots of things which surprises us and sometimes we call out ‘good grief’

The young Garrick Sinclair “Ricky” Beckett, a U.S. Army veteran honourably discharged as a professional saxophonist in the Army Bands, currently attending Concordia University-Ann Arbor in the Pre-Seminary programme with a major in Christian Thought and a minor in Theological Languages looks at a popular cartoon figure.

He writes

As he hears some bad news, Charlie Brown exclaims, “Good grief!” We often think of this as an oxymoron. Grief can’t possibly be good! {Good grief}

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the word grief we think of sorrow and distress, even of great mourning and affliction. When having bodily pain or when our mind is being hurt we can be grief stricken. Deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death or by trouble or annoyance grief comes over us. Grievance overmans us when there is a cause of such suffering or a deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. We can come to grief but than it means we fail in something we’re doing, and may be hurt.

Mary Bringle also noticed

Even the cleverest boy could come to grief alone, in the night. {Collins dictionary on Come to grief}

In Dutch ‘grief’ is ‘verdriet’ and is connected to ‘lijden (suffering), ‘bedroefd zijn’ (grow sad, being sad, be sorry, sorrow) maar ook tot ‘afkeer’ (aversion, distaste, disgust, revulsion,repulsion, repugnance, loathing, abhorrence, abomination, scunner). When ‘come to griefwe founder, break down, collapse, fall through, flop (informal), be defeated, fall short, fizzle out (informal), come unstuck, run aground, bite the dust, and even feel that we go up in smoke, come to naught, not make the grade (informal)go down like a lead balloon (informal). In any case it looks like it turns out badly, us falling flat on our face, meeting with disaster. Stuck with grief we may be found lacking or wanting, facing a spiritual miscarry or misfire.

Some people sayGood grief‘ when they are surprised or shocked. When we face something that’s actually worth grieving over, we’re often overwhelmed.

From a ‘sukkelstraatje’ (being in trouble/in dire stratis) we can become ailing (sickly) with a ‘sukkelpartij’ (sucker party) receiving ‘zielspijn’ (agony, heartache, profound sorrow) or ‘zieleleed’ (sadness). That ‘zielesmart’ or ‘zielsverdriet’ (anguish, heartache,profound sorrow, misery, unhappiness),  ‘Weedom’ (woe), ‘hartenpijn’ ‘hartenleed’ (heartache, heartfelt grief, heartfelt sorrow, heartbreak), agony consumes us with grief.

We do know we have to cope with it, we have to conquer it or go over such grief.

It’s rather ironic that our culture views grief as a bad thing while it encourages grief over a lot of things. It is encouraged that we grieve over minimum wage, to grieve over what the White Man did to black people centuries ago during slavery, to grieve over what the government did to the indigenous peoples of America… {Good grief}

The savoury on our daily bread is not always pleasant. we may try to begin every day with gratitude, because all we have, has been given to us. This body, heart and mind, friendships, opportunities, challenges, family,… it is all given to us. But honestly we are not always pleased with the confrontation with it.

We may value family where we practice love and sharing.  We may value work where we share our passions and gifts. And most of all we would like to have a good health and value it.

img_4537As we align with gratitude, values, dharma,  and who we are as limitless conscious existence, every action we take becomes a contribution to the whole. {Why Are We Here?}

Getting up we notice we face the day and can fill it with words and deeds.

this world we touch but in words

words insulated in plated metal

this world we hold but in teeth

teeth estranged from heart’s palate {This World, A Seat}

Sometimes it looks like every day again we do have to start all over again, going back to these “manifold temptations,” which tour around our face. Every day there are so many things we do have to face, so many experiences we have to go through.

It can be anything in this life that tends to trouble us or haunt us that can bring grief over us.

something that hurts you at the most sensitive and delicate core of your soul, heart, and mind — things that tend to make you miserable.  How do we get past these things? {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

Facing each day we have to open our eyes and look at all things, seeing them in perspective, trying to understand what is really going on and what sort of place it deserves.

The danger is to just endure our troubles with groans and whines and complaints and not do anything to discover the remedy to the situation.  We come into the danger of thinking, “Why is God doing this to me?” {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

With “Ricky” Beckett we urge you not to think “why” these things happen to us, but rather to think what.

 Instead of thinking, “Why me,” think instead, “What can I learn from this?  What does God want to teach me?”  And then how:  “How will this make me grow closer to God?”  In short, other than the sinful condition of the world we live in, that is why we suffer — to learn something from God and to grow closer to Him, and then the “why” may reveal itself to you as God works out His progressive revelation in your life.  That’s the short answer, but now let’s discuss the longer answer. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

Each day again, and again, we should be prepared to learn and to continue our road, up to a better world for us.

We are living in this world and walking on our paths under the eye of our Heavenly Father.

Say to yourself,

“There is a definite plan and purpose for my life.  God has examined me and has adopted me into His family.”

Why does He do this for us?  So that He may bring us into perfection (which is not acquired during this earthly life).  That is His objective — that you may “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29), as Jesus Christ will say, “Here I am with the children God gave Me” (Hebrews 2:13).  If we do not believe and recognise this fundamental concept of ourselves as Christians, then we are bound to go astray and misunderstand these troubles that happen to us as God’s children. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Introduction}

These days lots of people take some time to think about the death and remember the dead.

When death and disaster occur, we are so grief stricken that we don’t know what to do. While all this is going on, we avoid grieving over our sin, which the thing we should grieve the most. It is good to grieve over this because our sin alienates us from God. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). We should grieve greatly over this because the end of our sin is death. But fear not! The Romans verse continues, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Godly grief is good grief, for it leads us to repentance. Godly grief, or good grief, causes us to recognise our need for forgiveness—our need for Christ. By repentance we exercise faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).

Let us always remember that God may permit all these things we have to face, to happen to us and to the people around us, not for the purpose of making us suffer and watching us squirm, as some would like to believe, but rather in order to chastise us, which He enacts due to our complacency and for our failure.

In 2 Peter 1:5-7, the apostle writes that Christians are to discipline themselves and to supplement attributes to their faith, not merely to be content with minimal faith but for it to be forever increasing.  There are Christians who do not take heed of this exhortation and instead are indefatigable with their complacency and indolence.  As I understand New Testament doctrine, if we do that we should not be surprised if we start to experience troubles — that God perhaps begins to chastise us by shaking us off our shiftless butts. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – Chastisement}

We ourselves are also not free from bringing grief to others. We must recognise that we too can do things wrongly. We too can bring pain to others and give them heartache or grief. Many Christians are convinced that as re-born people they cannot sin. But they are mistaken.

First John 3:9-10 says,

“Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.  This is how God’s children — and the Devil’s children — are made evident.”

 Now, it is easy to misinterpret this passage.  It is not saying that God’s children are incapable of sinning.  After all, even though we’re God’s children, we still sin.

St. John is saying that the one “born of God” — that is, baptised in the Holy Spirit — does not make it his life’s trade to sin.
The child of God does not make it his life’s priority to live in sin, as the children of the Devil do (e.g. the homosexual lifestyle, a murderous lifestyle such as ISIS or serial killers, etc.).

God’s children are not free from acts of sin, but the child of God does not commit to be a servant of sin, but rather a servant of God and His holiness.  Christians are not impeccable; they are simultaneously saint and sinner (simul iustus et peccator).  Sin lives within us, but the Christian is justified by faith (Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:24).  John is not speaking of sinless perfection but of a life imputed with Christ’s righteousness.

We can and shall have moments of weakness and shall sin. Afterwards we should repent, which is doing a work of faith. Only when we do such works of faith shall we be able to enter the Kingdom of God. When not willing to see what we have done wrong and not wanting to repent over the wrongdoing we shall not be allowed to enter through the small gate. The teshuvah or repentance is a necessary ingredient to come to God.

Knowing that God may have a particularly great task set for us we should wonder what we can do in the world God has prepared for us. Facing that world, where we are so many times tested, we should not mind having ourselves tested, when we are standing straight in our shoes, going for the One True God.

jonah-beach-whale-168772-printSo, one may have to pass through a certain trial because of some great task ahead that God has planned for them.  Think of any biblical character that had to endure such a trial.  The first person that comes to mind for me is Jonah.  He was running from God’s calling to preach to Nineveh, and as we know he was swallowed by a great fish; and upon repentance and accepting his calling, God saved his life by having the great fish spit him out onto the land to fulfill his calling.  Maybe a drastic example, but perhaps not as drastic as you might think.  Consider any whales of doubt you might have in your life and what God is doing to bring you through those doubts, or what you ought to let Him do. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – God to Prepare Us}

Facing each day lying in front of us we best remember that we are given the opportunity to be here and that God knows what’s best for us and what we need to experience in order to get us where He wants us to be. Therefore let us give ourselves in His Hands and be thankfull that He was willing to accept the ransom offer from His son.

As our Heavenly Father, God may see the need for trials and prescribe the necessary tools that are destined to make us grow in Him for our own good. {Facing Trials: Why Do We Suffer? – God to Prepare Us}

With the knowledge that worldly grief produces only death because the world has no hope for a relief from their grief, we do have a better prospect in the hope given to mankind.

Worldly grief abandons the person who grieves. Godly grief is guilt over sin, which this guilt leads to repentance as the sinner recognises the necessity for forgiveness in Christ, which leads to salvation because the repentance we perform is exercised by this faith gifted to us, and it is through this gift of faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). {Good grief}

Perhaps we leave it to others to say ‘good grief’ when they see our endurance and come to see we want to present to the world a good example of a loving person, whatever happens to him.

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Preceding

Our existence..

Facing our existence every day

Are you right down in the dumps? Stop digging!

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Additional reading

  1. A world in denial
  2. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  3. Dealing with worries in our lives
  4. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  5. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  6. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  7. Isaiah prophet and messenger of God
  8. Suffering
  9. Offer in our suffering
  10. Suffering – through the apparent silence of God
  11. Suffering continues
  12. Suffering leading to joy
  13. Self inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  14. Surprised by time in joys & sufferings
  15. Profitable disasters
  16. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow
  17. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  18. Every athlete exercises self control
  19. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #3 Rejoicing in the insistence
  20. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  21. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  22. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  23. Continuing Paul’s Prayer Requests
  24. Written to recognise the Promissed One

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Further reading

  1. Day By Day
  2. Grief
  3. Throw-back Thursday: Grief is a fickle foe
  4. Book Mark: Notes on Friends’ Grief
  5. Grief From Across The World 
  6. The Well of Grief
  7. The unspoken grievance
  8. The Five Stages of Grief
  9. Sad
  10. Memories…and Grief
  11. Deviant Deflections – Unrequited Love
  12. When part of you is missing
  13. No one tells you about the guilt..
  14. Monday Morning Grievance: The New Copier
  15. After Suicide
  16. How To Go On
  17. God I miss you. 
  18. Letter to you, my little one…
  19. That feeling 
  20. Heart Holes
  21. Waiting For The Dutchman
  22. Old Unfinished Post: The 5 Stages of Relationship Grief
  23. Grief embraces love
  24. 1 a.m. on the Borderline
  25. Inside the glacier of my mind
  26. Beautiful Reminders
  27. Beyond the grey clouds
  28. The Mercy of the Morning
  29. Here’s to better naked tomorrows
  30. It Is God’s Gospel
  31. (11/04/2016) Works of the Spirit?
  32. Forgiveness and Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ
  33. Does Working with Others Lead to Better Results than Acting as an Individual? L 41
  34. Leading by example
  35. Jesus Models Friendship
  36. Saints
  37. Mercy in giving
  38. 1 Timothy 4:12 (31.10.16)
  39. The stories we tell
  40. Eulogia
  41. “Conformity To The Will Of God”
  42. Advice… L38
  43. If You Really Love Me
  44. Life Changing Moments While Young
  45. Good Advice for Us in Today’s World
  46. Love as a god

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Is being a humanitarian enough to convey the full love of Christ?

We always have to speak the truth and shame the devil in a kind manner loving God’s Word more than the words of human beings.

The task given to his followers, by Jesus, is one which should have our hearts burning with a kind lovely fire, attracting those who want to hear the call of the Lord.

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To remember

to receive full benefits of Christ’s completed work on the cross => declared righteous, acceptable, freely + fully forgiven

reality of Christ made known through God’s Word + revealed through transcendent grace = moment where  invisible became visible through change of a hardened man into a tender + active soul

grace means undeserving love

  • concept of universal justification = God’s way of saying “You have won the lottery! Now, come and receive the prize!”
  • Faith = only winning ticket that is considered redeemable <= Faith alone receives that gift
  • by faith, we receive the free + full forgiveness of sins.
  • Come + claim prize = Believe in Lord Jesus Christ + you will receive gift far greater than anything that the earth can produce.
  • Share gospel to listening ears = speak truth prompted by love + concern for the soul
  • Demonstrations of love =one of those ingredients that God mixes together with truth + speak => one of these ingredients forgotten or not used = ruins whole recipe.
  • Not enough for a Christian to be a humanitarian, nor is it the role of an evangelist to meet people’s needs. To fully love our neighbour means to share message of salvation + rescue them from the eternal consequences of sin.

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Preceding

Preaching Christ Is Not Enough

Witnessing because we love

Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news

Preaching by example

A Christian has to have eyes and ears and a tongue to use in good ways

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WITNESS WELL

Jesus’ greatest command is for Christians to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

We see images of destruction caused by natural disasters and are dismayed by the loss. Homes are destroyed. Families are left with nothing. Prompted by love, we extend a hand by offering financial support or materials goods to help those in need. Some are even willing to travel long distances to help pick up the pieces.

Are these demonstrations the type of love Christ is looking for, or is He calling on Christians to do something more?

In this growing impersonal and materialistic world being enveloped by today’s technology, perhaps Christians have lost touch on what Christ means to love our neighbor.

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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 2:24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

2:24 man justified by works, and not by faith only

Both Paul + James worked together to keep unity of the church (Acts 21:18) =/= disagreement over doctrine.


1. Pauline Writings

  • Romans 3:28 + Ephesians 2:8 – 9 directed to new Christians  > justification before God > faith = gift
  • justification (salvation) cannot be earned by doing good works
  • justification (salvation) = by accepting, through faith =  work that Christ did on the cross
  • No one can earn or win favour with God’s forgiveness <= offered only by God’s grace
  • to work for salvation by obeying Law = only fail + become more convinced = he is a sinner
  • => No one is able to make himself right. Only God can help him do that.
  • Paul warns people about working to achieve a relationship with Christ <= Only faith can be tool bring that.

2. James’ Writings

  • James coming from different pastoral position
  • writing to those who are already Christians + becoming complacent in their walk
  • justification before men, + faith should be genuine
  • asserting when one is justified by faith =>new life will = complete change => result in an outpouring of works, worthy of Christ
  • life of love + serving > molded > relationship with Christ => show that it is a true faith by demonstrating Christ’s love to other people => belief in Christ => an obedience of good works.

Paul James
Concerned with legalists who were striving for sanctification through the law – not through faith Concerned with libertines who were content with sanctification through belief without action
A person who is justified before God through faith A person is justified before men through his actions
Eternally justified through faith by grace Justified through a daily walk by works reflecting Christ.

  • Working together both Paul and James are bringing out the harmony of the Word of God.
  • We are saved by faith that then, if genuine should lead to the demonstration of that faith through good works.     

 

The Book of James

2:24. – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. – With the background behind us of James’ appreciation and acceptance of the doctrine of justification by faith, we can now study this passage in its correct context.

Many people have interpreted this verse as James’ belief that works is what matters and as such is in direct opposition to the teaching of Paul. Both Paul and James worked together to keep the unity of the church (Acts 21:18). There is no reason to believe that these two writers were in disagreement over doctrine.


1. Pauline Writings

The writings of Paul in Romans 3:28 and Ephesians 2:8 – 9 are directed to new Christians or even those who have yet to make a decision for Christ. Paul is talking about justification before God, that faith is a gift. Paul asserts that justification (salvation)…

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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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Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof

=/=  justified dia ten pistin = on account of faith

faith = never represented as ground of our justification

Abraham’s faith reckoned unto him for righteousness, Rom. 4:3,9,22; Gal. 3:6

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Preceding articles

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

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Restitution

Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer

++

Additional reading

  1. The business of this life
  2. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  3. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  6. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  7. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  8. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  9. Christ’s ethical teaching
  10. Being Justified by faith
  11. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  12. Faith and works
  13. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  14. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  15. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  16. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  17. Running away from the past
  18. Malefactors becoming your master
  19. Be holy
  20. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  21. Love for each other attracting others

+++

Verlore seun

Scripture never says that we are justified dia ten pistin, on account of faith. This means that faith is never represented as the ground of our justification. If this were the case, faith would have to be regarded as a meritorious work of man. And this would be the introduction of the doctrine of justification by works, which the apostle opposes consistently, Rom. 3:21,27,28; 4:3,4; Gal. 2:16,21; 3:11. We are told indeed that Abraham’s faith was reckoned unto him for righteousness, Rom. 4:3,9,22; Gal. 3:6, but in view of the whole argument this surely cannot mean that in his case faith itself as a work took the place of the righteousness of God in Christ. The apostle does not leave it doubtful that, strictly speaking, only the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, is the ground of our justification. But faith is so thoroughly receptive in the appropriation of…

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Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer

Today there is still lots of commotion about works and faith. Still too many Christians do think they do not need any works.
The Catholic church, we must say, has from the beginning seen that certain works were necessary. One can not become a Christian without putting the previous life of sin away by having regret, asking for forgiveness of sins and taking steps to show regret (an act to be taken), opening oneself for remission by going for a baptism (a work).

Not only Rome sees baptism as a channel of sanctifying grace, as the primary instrumental cause of justification, and the sacrament of penance, whereby congruous merit is achieved through works of satisfaction, as the supplementary restorative cause whenever the grace of God’s initial acceptance is lost through mortal sin.

Not only for the Roman Catholics believers save themselves with the help of the grace that flows from Christ through the church’s sacramental system. Several other denominations request that people change their life once baptised (which sometimes demands lots of works). Other protestants groups do forget that it is impossible that a Christian would keep living the same sinful life as before his or her baptism. It is an illusion to believe that we are saved by the blood of Christ and would not have to do any works any more because we would go to heaven or always will be allowed to enter God’s Kingdom.

First of all the Kingdom will be here on earth for most of us. And Jesus showed us with his parables the danger of loosing the entrance through the small gate of life in eternity.

Justification may be given free, like people can win a lottery, but if they do not do anything with the price, they will be nothing with it.

For example if I would give you a limousine you are nothing with it if you do not use the key and turn the motor on (a work). Before you can go into the traffic you have to learn the road code and have to learn to drive. Then you will have to drive (doing a job) and shall have to be careful in traffic (taking attention), going to some place (trafficking).

Also with faith we do need to come into the faith (a work), trafficking, having to keep our faith (demands work), read the Word of God regularly and study it (demands work) we have to be careful to keep the code of God, His regulations and ordinances (keeping to the commandments requires work). Jesus also gave the order to go out in the world to proclaim the Gospel of the coming Kingdom (which demands a work) and to come together regularly, i.e. meeting with each other, which demands also some work.

For those who think they do not have to have self-control (which demands work) we must disappoint them. If they keep lying, bullying, stealing, fornicating, murdering, they shall miss the entrance of the coming Kingdom.
If they think it will be so easy in this system of things, we also must disappoint them, because also when baptised there shall be temptations, suffering and so on, which demand stamina to continue (work) in the faith.

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To remember

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” Galatians 3:11

=> =  we do have to be righteous to be able to live by faith

The author tells us:

  • doctrine of justification, storm center of Reformation = major concern of apostle Paul = heart of gospel (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-5:21; Gal. 2:15-5:1) shaping both his message (Acts 13:38-39) + his devotion + spiritual life (2 Cor. 5:13-21; Phil. 3:4-14).
  • > other New Testament writers affirm same doctrine in substance => terms in which Protestants have affirmed + defended it for almost five centuries are drawn primarily from Paul.
  • Justification = judicial act of God pardoning sinners (wicked and ungodly persons, Rom. 4:5; 3:9-24) > accepting them as just => putting permanently right their previously estranged relationship with himself.  > => justifying sentence = God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:15-17) = his bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • God’s justifying decision = judgment of the Last Day, declaring where we shall spend eternity
  • necessary means, or instrumental cause, of justification is personal faith in Jesus Christ as crucified Savior and risen Lord (Rom. 4:23-25; 10:8-13).
  • As we give ourselves in faith to Jesus, Jesus gives us his gift of righteousness, so that in the very act of “closing with Christ,” as older Reformed teachers put it, we receive divine pardon and acceptance which we could not otherwise have (Gal. 2:15-16; 3:24).

+

Preceding articles

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

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Restitution

++

Additional reading

  1. The business of this life
  2. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  3. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  6. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  7. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  8. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  9. Christ’s ethical teaching
  10. Being Justified by faith
  11. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  12. Faith and works
  13. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  14. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  15. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  16. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  17. Running away from the past
  18. Malefactors becoming your master
  19. Be holy
  20. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  21. Love for each other attracting others

+++

Further related articles

  1. No Regrets
  2. Day 19: Things to regret
  3. Access: Denied
  4. Giving our regret to God
  5. Reminisce
  6. Life is like a river
  7. Questions & Answers About Lent
  8. Godly Sorrow Leads Us on to a Glorious Celebration of the Gospel
  9. A Threefold Malice
  10. Reconciliation
  11. Penance – Chapter One
  12. Wednesday of Septuagesima week: O, Merciful God! Have Mercy On Me The Fallen One!
  13. CFP: Discipline and Excess (Cambridge Friday, April 15, 2016)
  14. That kind of Franciscan
  15. The Savior of the World
  16. (01/07/2016) Salvation Only Through Christ?
  17. My Take on the Gay Marriage Bill.
  18. Missing the Mark
  19. Leading people astray!
  20. Tips for Gracious Living: Bad Driving
  21. Unfaithful fornicating adulterating Christians will perish
  22. We don’t meet God 1/2 way.
  23. The Salesman
  24. Actions are the Megaphone of Words
  25. The Justification of Abraham
  26. (01/13/2016) How To Treat Unbelievers?
  27. Tuesday Devotional: Revelation 2
  28. Fashion advice?
  29. (12/31/2015) By Faith, Not By Interpretation?
  30. Faithfulness
  31. Seeing Christ
  32. Faith in Action

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Verlore seun

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” GALATIANS 3:11

The doctrine of justification, the storm center of the Reformation, was a major concern of the apostle Paul. For him it was the heart of the gospel (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-5:21; Gal. 2:15-5:1) shaping both his message (Acts 13:38-39) and his devotion and spiritual life (2 Cor. 5:13-21; Phil. 3:4-14). Though other New Testament writers affirm the same doctrine in substance, the terms in which Protestants have affirmed and defended it for almost five centuries are drawn primarily from Paul.

Justification is a judicial act of God pardoning sinners (wicked and ungodly persons, Rom. 4:5; 3:9-24), accepting them as just, and so putting permanently right their previously estranged relationship with himself. This justifying sentence is God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:15-17), his bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus’ sake (2…

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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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Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Peter Forbes comments:

4:2      In questioning Abraham’s righteousness Paul develops the point that he made in Rom 2:13 showing that the law does not bring righteousness.

4:3Abraham believed God …‘ the quotation is from Gen. 15:6. Righteousness is imputed by God on the basis of faith, not works of the law. Gen. 15 predates the giving of the law. This is the thrust of the argument in verses 4:4,5 and circumcision – the implications of this are developed in Rom.4:9-13.

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusa...

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, March 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4:6-8 The appeal to Psalm 32:1-2 which is a Psalm that David wrote after Nathan had spoken of God’s forgiveness for David’s adultery [2 Sam.12:13] continues the theme of forgiveness from ch. 3:4 We should take great comfort from the fact that God was willing to forgive the repentant David.

4:7  Notice the subtle but important difference between the language of  Psa 32:1 – and Paul’s words here. Whilst the Psalm has ‘he’ whereas Paul here says ‘they’. Paul generalises from the Psalm. The Psalm has specific relevance to David’s situation. Paul says that specific application of forgiveness actually extends to all who follow David’s example of repentance.

4:11 Whilst Israel seemed to see circumcision as the ultimate test of Jewishness Paul clearly says here that it is a sign of what has already been seen in Abraham – that is his faith in God which was counted for righteousness.

4:18against hope believed in hope‘ tells us that Abraham had to have faith in the promise of the seed as it was humanly speaking impossible.

4:23 The implication from ‘now it was not written for his sake alone …‘ is that Abraham had a written copy of the promise.

Cliff York comments

Romans 4 To meet the views of the Jews, the apostle first refers to the example of Abraham, in whom the Jews gloried as their most renowned forefather. However exalted in various respects, he had nothing to boast in the presence of God, for he too was saved by grace, through faith, even as others. Without noticing the years which passed before his call, and the failures at times in his obedience, and even in his faith, it was expressly stated in the Scripture that “he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” Genesis 15:6. From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must then be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness.

It is clear from the Scripture, that Abraham was justified several years before his circumcision. This then is Paul’s point to those who prided themselves on their pedigree and/or on the very private mark they received in their flesh whilst they were too young to effectively protest otherwise. It is, therefore, plain that this circumcision was not necessary in order to that justification which is by faith.

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It is truly fascinating to reflect on the great wisdom of the Father as one reads the 3 portions of Scripture each day, and often there runs a “Golden Thread” through them all. For example, one of the Golden Threads evident today, is the concept, that we can only be Justified by the Grace of God. Paul deals in great detail with the subject, of course, in Romans, Joseph in his life revealed how great a force faith in God is the life of each of His saints – Genesis 47:12, and the Psalmist captured the same beautifully in the closing verse of Psalm 50Whoso offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God.”

John Wilson comments

Prayer of David, psalm 51

Prayer of David, psalm 51 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rom 4:7  As we read from Psa 32 the other day, and as we read from Psa 51 tomorrow, we can clearly see, and appreciate that the confession of sin is not seeking forgiveness, it acknowledges the righteousness of our Heavenly Father. We must also be aware of the fact, that our failings can not be forgiven unless we are prepared to acknowledge them.

Rom 4:17  “I have made thee a father of many nations.” Paul is quoting from Gen 17:5  Sarah was still barren at this time, but we see that this is written in the past tense. This was foreordained. There is a difference between pre-existence and being foreordained. The seed of Abraham, both Isaac and Christ were foreordained.

4:21 All promises that have been made by God, he is able to perform, certainly different from promises made by man. God never forgets a promise, while man frequently forgets, God’s promises are priceless, while promises of man are often times useless, God’s promises are always right, while mans are often wrong.

Michael Parry comments

Paul; the writer to the Hebrews; James; and Peter all talk about Abraham. He was the patriarch of the physical Jewish nation and also father of the faithful (4:16).
He was given the promises before the Law (Gen 17:5-8) – even before his circumcision (Gen 17:24).  The particular seed of his promise was Christ who fulfilled the Law (Matt 5:17, Gal 3:16).  However, God still has a covenant with the Jewish nation and the land of Israel even though they have not (yet) accepted Christ.  It is a mistake to believe, as some groups do, that any prophetical reference or future application concerning the Land and people of Israel is purely spiritual and not physical.

Rob de Jongh comments

For many of us the intricate arguments of scripture are too much to grasp. That’s why we’re given Abraham as an example. All we need to do is read about his life, emulate what we see, and we will obtain the same promises as him. Rom 4:3, 11-12, 16, 20-25.

 

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Preceding articles

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

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Additional reading

  1. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness
  2. Testimonies to observe, inspired by God
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  7. A secret to be reveiled
  8. Gone astray, away from God
  9. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  10. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  11. Two states of existence before God
  12. The God of hope filling us with all joy and peace
  13. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  14. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  15. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  16. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  17. Atonement and the race been bought
  18. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  19. Fixing our attentionSelf inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  21. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  22. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  23. Hope by faith and free gift
  24. God’s love – Equal and unconditional for all believers
  25. True richesBeing Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  26. If you have integrity
  27. Honor your own words as if they were an important contract
  28. All Positive Energy People Are Acceptable
  29. Our openness to being approachable
  30. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  31. Is your mind thirsty?
  32. The Dress Code for Women in the Quran

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Further readings

  1. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:1-12
  2. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:12-25
  3. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  4. Faith-full Father Abraham
  5. Paul’s Scriptural Argument
  6. Paul’s Argument of Maturity
  7. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  8. Background to Romans 9-11: key teaching from Romans 1:16-4:25
  9. Structure of Romans 1:16-4:25
  10. May 23 2 Chronicles 6,7; Psalms 135; Romans 4
  11. Devotional # 90. Galatians 3:15-29
  12. A Promise
  13. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  14. “It’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it.” ~Apostle Paul
  15. The relevance of  God’s Word today
  16. Righteousness of Faith
  17. Could Abraham have remained childless?
  18. Would Your Faith Save You?
  19. It’s not about you
  20. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  21. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  22. Nullify the Torah?
  23. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  24. Under The Law
  25. Scriptures on Righteousness- Joseph Prince
  26. Righteous and Right-ness
  27. Greater Love Hath No Man
  28. Jesus Christ has done enough
  29. Verse of the day – Righteousness of the Law
  30. Grace words for today Devotional
  31. It is in difficult times that we choose to continue to do what is right while everything else seems wrong that we grow
  32. Getting wisdom
  33. Moral Image
  34. Incredible Peace
  35. It Is God’s Presence in Us
  36. Strength In Your Hair Or Your Faith?
  37. Daily Inspiration, January 28th
  38. You Have on Different Clothing Now
  39. Christ: A Place In God
  40. The Privilege
  41. The Sermon on the Mount is not a Guide to Christian Salvation
  42. Experiencing Revival Part 3: Obedience
  43. Righteousness Pt 10
  44. Kingdom Come
  45. You Christian, shouldn’t carry guilt, or seek ongoing forgiveness to stay “right” with God.
  46. Exodus 4-6 Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son
  47. The Myths and Facts of Circumcision
  48. The Question of Circumcision II
  49. God confronted even Moses for not keeping the covenant
  50. What is so important about this Commandment?
  51. Experience the change in status from “Children of the flesh,” and of the world : to “Children by promise,” and in the World -Guy#2:03
  52. Surrender: Circumcision of the Heart
  53. Is your heart circumcised today?
  54. Only Jesus Christ – no if’s, no but’s (1)
  55. Yes’s and No’s
  56. entering in…as chosen ones

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