Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. …And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:1, 6 ESV)

 

Definition of faith: (Merriam – Webster dictionary)

  1. allegiance to duty or a person LOYALTY
  2. belief and trust in and loyalty to God
  3. firm belief in something for which there is no proof
  4. something that is believed especially with strong conviction

 

I am challenged from time to time to defend my position that Jesus is the only Way and even that God actually exists. These people want proof. Part of me understands this. I am, by nature, skeptical. I want to know why you tell me what you do.

So what is my defense and proof of God and Jesus? I have none! I do not try to prove His existence. I know He lives. I talk with Him daily. (If you think that labels me insane, so be it.) To quote the song “He lives within my heart.” The Holy Spirit dwells in me and as a result I have faith that God lives.

I could spend hours going over various archaeological finds that back up the Bible, citing miraculous healing and seemingly impossible rescues, all attributed to God. All of this is great and I love to hear about them. They bolster my faith, but they are not the reason for my faith.   The reason for my faith is that God put it in my heart to believe. If I think that I was capable of developing enough faith to be saved then I could boast about this as a work that I did. But it wasn’t me. In Ephesians we are told that it is definitely God’s doing that we have the faith to believe. In Romans we are told that carnal man (those not born again) cannot, by themselves, submit to God’s law and that in the flesh we cannot please God.

God loves the world (that is the humans that He created) so much that He sent Jesus to pay an unbelievable debt that we are unable pay. This debt of sin and the penalty has been lifted for all people who believe. God gives everyone the faith. All they have to do is ask. The Holy Spirit draws people to Jesus. That is one of His purposes. The gift God gives, that is faith, is available to every person on earth.

If we accept God’s gift, we can experience the blessings and ultimate joy that goes along with the new birth. This is true Grace. If we demand proof, though, remember, “without faith, it is impossible to please God.”

 

 

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Works

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5 ESV)

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17 ESV)

If someone were to take these two verses, by two separate writers, apart from their context, they could make a great basis for a works based religion. And that has been done many times over the centuries. It seems, at first glance, that both Paul and James are teaching that we must have a certain kind of works in order to get into the Kingdom. But, as a friend of mine likes to say, “what does the rest of the Bible say?”

There are many places where Paul expounds on salvation by grace alone. He is very persistent in letting his readers know that it is not what we can do but what Jesus already did.

Throughout the Old Testament the prophets proclaimed God’s demand for perfect sacrifices. The lambs, bulls and doves had to be spotless. The Israelites were to give their best to the Master. So, with this in mind, how could any flawed human be a fitting sacrifice? We can’t. Romans 3:23 tells us, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We cannot do enough good deeds, or works, to attain salvation. Ever.

So what’s up with the devotion verses for today? It’s not a matter of attaining salvation. It is a matter of living out your salvation. If you are saved, that is “born again,” (John 3:3) then you will have the Holy Spirit living in you. Before you were saved you lived for yourself. Your mind was not set on the things above. Then Jesus cleansed you. He made you a new person. This new person is now filled with the Holy Spirit and longs to please his new Master. (If this is not the case with you then I strongly advise you to get with a Bible believing preacher and get yourself right with God.)

This does not mean that we are perfect. We are still human and still stumble, slip and even fall from time to time. The difference is that when we do sin the Holy Spirit prompts us into repentance. We know that we have done wrong. Not that we have done something that will hurt us, but we have done something that Jesus does not approve of. So the verses for today are not a works salvation. But if you are saved, than you will have the works. Your behavior will reflect the Holy Spirit inside you.

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

Thank you for your support of this ministry.

 

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