Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hebrews and James: Faith Without Works Is Dead

As I have studied the Bible I have been continually {amazed} by the way God conveys His messages through His Word.  Studying Hebrews and James together was eye opening.  Faith cannot {and will not} exist without works.  Faith without works is like a tree without fruit.  It is is not reality.  Get this people... JESUS {RADICALLY} CHANGES YOU.  When Jesus is in your heart, you are {FOREVER} changed.

So how do Hebrews and James fit together?

In Hebrews we are encouraged to stand strong in our faith in the Work of Christ.  Instead of living a rebellious life, we are to be so {enamored} with the grace of Christ that we {reject} our sin in favor of honoring God.  The author of Hebrews gives examples of people of the Old Testament who stood firm in their faith.  Interestingly, the author of Hebrews does not simply state that, “Abraham had faith”, rather, he focuses on the work that was provoked by his faith.  

Faith produces fruit and this theme is apparent...

Abraham offered his son as a sacrifice, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, Noah built an ark, and Rahab did not perish because she followed instructions to stay in her house. (Check out Hebrews 11 and this post to see more examples of beautiful faith!)

Jesus Himself {perfected} our faith and is the example to which we ought to look.

Likewise, James makes it very clear that faith does not exist without works.  He goes so far to say that {faith without works is dead}. Does this mean we must work to earn our salvation?  

Absolutely not!  

Essentially James outlines the fact that true faith in Christ is not a stale and unchanging faith, but instead a {life-altering renewal} which changes us from the inside out. When we place our faith in Christ, we will be given the grace to {love} those we once hated, to {think} before we speak, and to {overcome} the temptations of the flesh even when the world scoffs at us.  Knowing that Christ is both the author and finisher of our faith, we can live out our changed lives, out of love for Him.

...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

~Hebrews 12:2

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