Friday, October 22, 2010

Faith without Deeds is Dead?

Today’s sermon was a response to a question I have been confronting since speaking with a Reverend at the local Easter Orthodox church.
In any case, the base assertion is that Protestants water-down faith by making it too easy. There is no requirement for faith to manifest itself in our daily walk once we have accepted Jesus into our hearts. Today’s sermon centered around James’ assertion that “faith without works is a dead faith.”

Whether you agree with the assertion or not – I do, the hubby doesn't – I would say it is evidentiary that not all Protestants are watered-down. The idea that if a person is suffering and we do nothing we aren’t truly faithful Christians resonated throughout the sermon.

I know many Christians are known for saying “I’ll pray for you.” While most times this is truly meant, there are times when our works are more important than that simple statement. Prayer and works are required. If a person cannot feed his/her family, saying “I’ll pray for you” does little to meet the current need. Providing food and prayer is the response of faith.

Just a little “food” for thought on this fine Sunday. I feel like God is responding – now I have to pray what works he would have for us.

Onto the next question from that discussion – does God withhold salvation from those who do not demonstrate their faith?

Faith and Deeds

14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,"[e] and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

25In 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? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

James 2:14-26(NIV)

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