Monday, February 6, 2012

Fatih, Grace, Works


“What good is it my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?”
James 2:14

The age ‘ol argument that our faith is all we need. I have been extremely blessed through a new church that is studying the book of James right now. I love watching God ordain things to our specific life situations and He most certainly led me to this study. I have been blessed on two Sunday mornings to hear the preaching on James and I must tell you, it is exactly what I need in my life at this very moment.

I’ve struggled this week greatly with writing. Every time God would lay something on my heart to write about, I would hear this little voice in the back of my head say, “You know someone’s going to talk about this. You know someone’s going to laugh at you.” So, I did just what satan would have me do, I stopped writing about God in fear of what someone would say…my walk faltered because of the opinion of others.

WOW!

How truly sorry I am for this!

Why did I allow this to happen? I think it has to do with this James verse—my works were being challenged. I am so open about my love for Christ that I am causing a separation between me and the world. People look at my walk and simply don’t understand why I can’t be quiet, they don’t understand the deep intense love that pours out of me because of His saving me. The separation comes because I am not of this world, I am of His kingdom and people see how completely different my beliefs and life is compared to how I used to live.

So often in today’s society we just want to take our faith in God and put it in a box. We want to say we love Him, we want to say that He is our foundation in life, but we do not want to “do anything”. And goodness forbid if someone says we’re not doing something; then the argument comes—“How dare you judge my walk”.

I fell victim to this situation this week and stumbled. But, the beauty of stumbling—HE LIFTS YOU UP. And that is most assuredly what He did for me. He allowed the pain that can be directly and indirectly inflicted by others affect me just enough that I was able to see Him lift me out of a pit. His hands pulled me up, nothing I did myself. I was able to grow, mature, depend upon Him and put aside my fleshly instinct that would have in the past crushed my spirit. He allowed just enough pain that there was no doubt in my mind that I could grow because of this trial, because of this heartache.

It was at that time that I had to evaluate, okay Lord, what do You want me to see? How do faith, works and grace fit together? I understand the faith and the grace, I feel those immensely. Show me how works fits in here and why I feel so strongly that it is imminent in our walk.

Oh how miraculous He is. Oh how beautiful His grace is.

He showed me just want He wanted me to see.

Faith. Grace. Works.

Why and how do they fit together?

Can they work separately from one another?

I do not think so. And I don’t think so because I believe they each play a role in our love relationship with Christ.

Faith—the belief we have in God. The foundation of our life. Without faith, nothing is possible.

Grace—poured out on that cross-by a Man, both fully human and equally God. Poured out to believers once they have acted upon their faith and accepted His death as an atoning sacrifice for their sinful lives.

Works—the outward expression of our faith once we have been blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Once we have the Spirit, we want to serve the Kingdom, there is nothing we want more than to bring glory and praise to His Kingdom. Without His Spirit, works mean nothing to a person because they don’t feel the connection within to serve God.

The essence of what I am saying—we must be born again. We must have a regenerated heart. A woman who goes through labor—she has to work at delivering a child through her womb, a Doctor has to work at taking the child through c-section. But there is real work that goes into birth. The same is true of rebirth in Christ Jesus. Denying our old life and accepting His life is work, it’s hard because our flesh constantly wars against Him.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying by any means that you must “do” something in order to be saved. Baptism is not necessary; it is an expression of faith. No law can be kept in order to get us into heaven. Any person has up until the moment that God takes them from this world to accept Him. {And they will have to accept Him in order to experience life after death}

But, to enjoy a love relationship with Him, to enjoy the blessing He has for His children, this is where I believe faith, grace and works all come together into one concept to strengthen our life. It encourages us to stay IN Him, it strengthens us to CALL upon Him and enables us to crucify our flesh WITH Him.

1 comment:

Amy @ A Faithful Journey said...

Beautiful post Ashley! "If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything!" And you, my sweet friend, are standing for all the right reasons!! Praying for you today!