Monday, July 16, 2012

Live By Faith

Are any of you as tired as I am of people constantly arguing? What's worse in my opinion is people arguing about Christianity. People who supposedly believe in the same God, the same Bible, the same truths... yet are still arguing over semantics. Yes, I do appreciate a good debate. I do see the "goodness" in stretching your fellow brothers and sisters by having the good talks. But when I hear people arguing over the most frivolous little details it upsets me.

So in this post I would simply like to give one exhortation:

Live by faith. And live with actions that prove your faith.

We don't need to have petty conflicts over differing words in the Bible. We don't need to fight over which commandments are more important. The entirety of the Bible is important. Every single word is needed. But more importantly, we need to just live by faith. We don't have to argue little details when in the end we believe in the same God. If we truly are like-minded in our core principles (The Bible being inerrant and God being the only Creator) then nothing else matters.

The Bible even speaks to this end. I would posit that as people down here fight over little details, He is up in heaven shaking His head and laughing at us for our ignorant behavior. God says we are to live by faith and not by sight (2nd Cor 5). Furthermore God fully emphasizes the fact that we are:

1) Suppose to not fight and to watch what we say in every area of life.

Proverbs 17:14 "The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out."

Matthew 12: 36-37 "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

2) Trust God and not ourselves. And if we trust God and not ourselves then we would trust that the little things in the Bible aren't worth arguing about and rather focus on working together in what matters and that's winning souls for Christ.

Psalm 9:10 "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you."

Isaiah 26:3-4 "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal."

The final point I would like to make is this, we must live by faith, but we must also accompany that faith with deeds. I can exhort you to live by faith, I can say forget all the nonsense and just live by faith, but that is not enough. We must help others, we must speak to others in a loving manner, we must encourage and love everyone around us. We cannot have this selfish Christianity that says, "Well I'm living by faith I don't know about all of you but I am so I'm good!" That does NOT work. It is our incredible duty as Christians to spread His Word, to show love and compassion to those in need, and to strive always to live in a manner worthy of God's calling.

I read this chapter from James today and it got me incredibly excited about this topic. The way I see it, what better way to summarize my thoughts on this than from the Bible itself? The words are straight-forward and beautifully written.

What does God have to say on this? Are we to live just by faith? Or are we to have actions that prove our faith?

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.'

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder.

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."

~~ James 2:14-25 ~~

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