Happy Friday Friends!
I’m on my way to speak to a great bunch of women in Dunlap, TN on what it means to have genuine, saving faith. I’m so excited!!! This is one of my favorite topics to speak on.
Faith is simple, yet, it’s the most misunderstood topic there is! God never meant it to be this way. I suppose we could say the misunderstanding is part of Satan’s most devilish work.
I’ve found that people are usually living on opposite ends of faith. One person may be desperately trying to live the good life by her own efforts while another may not be giving an effort to live a holy life at all. Which is correct? Neither.
In the second chapter of James, verses 14-23, there is a conversation or a debate going on. For lack of space, I’ll consider one statement.
One of the speaker’s states: “You say you have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” The key word in this statement is “show.” What this person is trying to help us see is that faith is invisible. The only way others can know that you have genuine faith is by a life that demonstrates it. In other words, genuine faith is not displayed by what you and I profess to believe, but by what we do.
Ephesians 2:10 say that “we were created to do good works prepared before the foundation of the world.” Does this mean we are saved by “good works?” NOT AT ALL!
We are saved by faith. When we place our faith in Christ and the work he did on the cross, then we have new Life! The secret to living the Christian life is to stop living for God and let Him live in you!
This is where the confusion comes in. Let me try to explain…
Wherever there is life, spontaneously there are works. But works cannot replace life. We have to be very clear that works are not life. Life does not require any effort of our own. Life is just Christ Himself. When we receive Him, he doesn’t remake us by our own effort—He doesn’t remake us at all! He makes an exchange. His life for mine. At the moment I put my faith in Him, I get His life—all that He is… Christ’s faith, holiness, joy, peace, the list is long. I don’t have to work at that. I do have to yield to His life in me.
However, many people try hard and exert considerable energy to be a Christian. Daily they strive toward this goal to the point of exhaustion. To them, the doctrines are strict; one has to be humble, meek, loving, forgiving, and enduring. These teachings are truly tiresome.
They consider it a hard thing to be a Christian. This is especially true for young Christians, who find that the harder they try, the harder it is for them to live like a Christian. Brothers and sisters, if Christ is not the life, we surely have to do everything. But if Christ is the life, we do not have to do anything but let the Life of Christ live in and through us…then we will accomplish the good works that God called us to do before the foundation of the world!