Thursday, November 20, 2014

November 20, 2014 … Faith Alone? - Yes & No!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 324

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in the glorious old Fanny Crosby him Blessed Assurance. … reminding Christians our salvation is assured in the living of our life of faith in Christ

Highlight Passage - NKJV James 2: 19-20 … Jesus brother on REAL DEAL, saving faith …
  19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead
Highlight Context #1 - James 2: 14-20 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …  It is faith that saves; but faith without works is not saving faith

Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 7: 15-20 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK …   Jesus preached that we could know the saved from the unsaved by the fruit of their works.

Reference Passage #2 … Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … Those who truly believe in Christ as Savior and Lord will become LIVING SACRIFICES to His Name and for His glory …
  1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

Reference Passage #3 … 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 [NKJV] … Anyone IN Christ is NEW … is CHANGED … and good works are the signature of that change.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 

Reference Passage #4 … Ephesians 2: 8-10 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK …   We are saved BY God’s grace, THRU our faith, UNTO good works … It’s a package deal … So, conversion will lead to a Christian whose life is changed

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Dave Branon, reminded me of the centuries old Christian argument about “faith alone” as the ONLY element it takes to become a Christian. And I am one who believes that without faith, and faith alone in Christ as Savior and Lord, one will never become converted from lost to found.

BUT … (and this is an enormously important “BUT”) … as Jesus’ brother, James, writes in his declaration about faith in the highlight passage linked above (James 2: 14-20) … “faith without works is dead.” And really I don't think that there is any controversy about whether the doctrine of “faith alone” being the necessary element in one’s character for a conversion from one who is lost forever to one who is found unto eternal life is debatable.

 When the Apostle Paul teaches, in Ephesians 2: 8-9 that Christians are saved BY God’s grace alone … THROUGH our faith in that grace ALONE, and not through our works, the description of the saved Christian, however, does not stop there. It goes on, in Eph. 2: 10, which clearly states that yes, it is our faith alone that provides for salvation; but that saving faith ALWAYS leads us to become God’s workmanship. So, yes we are saved BY God’s grace [alone], THRU our faith [alone], … but … UNTO good works. And as James strongly declares, … “faith without works is dead.”

 Jesus, Himself, preached about this in His “Sermon on the Mount.” (see the Matthew 7 passage linked above) And in that teaching, our Lord declared that we would know the saved from the unsaved by the fruit which grows and is shared in their lives. In Matt. 7: 20, Jesus said, ”… by their fruits you will know them.”

 And what all of these giants of the 1st Century church, following their Lord, Jesus, are saying is that it does take an absolutely surrendered faith (alone) to be saved; but the signature of all who are saved will be their good works. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the early Christians (see the passages from Romans and 2nd Corinthians above), he stated very clearly that when a non-believer, as Paul himself had been, is saved, his/her life becomes a “living sacrifice,” (see Romans 12: 1-2) … and that life is marked by change (see 2nd Cor. 5: 17), … change which is evident in God honoring, God glorying action. And Paul’s life and witness certainly attested to his teachings.

 So the question which comes (at least to me) from the ODB entry today is … Has my life changed because of my faith in the completed works of Christ on the cross; and can others see that change in a life of living sacrifice, proving that my faith was the “real-deal” which saved me from my lost past unto my saved future? … And I believe those who know me, including Satan and his demons, would attest to the reality of my changed life, which came about because of my faith alone in my Lord and Savior, Jesus.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … I am saved! And I pray that my salvation is evident for all to see in the fruitfulness of my changed life. Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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