TODAY'S WORD FOR Tuesday, July 25, 2017:
Effort put forth; labor; toil; be employed; perform labor; useless human efforts to gain acceptance from God.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If 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? In the same way faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14
For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9.
As the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:26.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
We were taught as children and we taught our children as well, that the most important decision one will make in life is whether to accept or reject Jesus as their Savior. We taught them, as we were taught and as the scripture says (above in Ephesians) that we were saved by grace through faith.
Yes, it was God’s grace that provided a payment for our sins and then our faith that accepted that payment made by the death of Jesus our Savior. After we accepted Jesus as our Savior then we were commanded by our Lord to "work" for Him.
Many people we talk to really believe that their "GOOD WORKS" alone will get them into heaven where they can spend an eternity with God. Most of these people are good people and live a clean life. They are the kind of "neighbors" you would love to have living next door to you. They are also the hardest to talk to about their need for a Savior. They truly believe that their good works, clean living and being kind to everyone will get them into heaven.
We remember several conversations we had with a friend who was very generous with his time and talent with our ministry. When we talked to him about his relationship with Jesus he always talked about his good works and told us not to be concerned about him because he would see us in heaven. We continued to talk to him about why we accepted Jesus but he always reminded us that because of his clean living he would see us in heaven. We can present the gospel message that redemption from our sins comes by accepting Christ as our Savior but only the Holy Spirit can convict of sin. This is why praying for someone who is unsaved is so vital.
Some people find the two verses that we have listed above from Ephesians and James contradictory. They ask: is salvation simply by grace through faith alone or do we have to work for it? Paul wants us to understand that there is nothing we can do to merit or earn our salvation. Keeping all the laws in the Bible will not earn us salvation, it is only by the grace of God through faith that we can be saved.
Paul in Ephesians talks about salvation through faith. James in James 2:14 says faith without deeds (WORKS) is dead. They do not contradict each other, actually they supplement one another. James would never argue against Paul's assertion that salvation is by faith but James presupposes that we understand these doctrines that are so clearly stated in Paul's letters.
James goes a step further by saying that a commitment to Christ is expressed through our actions. Works is faith in action and bears testimony to our faith in the Lord, our Savior.
WORKS IS AN EVIDENCE OF YOUR FAITH!
Martin Luther puts it this way: “A man is justified (declared righteous before God) by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. Genuine faith will produce good deeds, but only faith in Christ saves.”
God is expecting us as believers to work hard until His return. Some have asked us the big question: When are you going to retire? Our answer is very clear and simple -- NEVER.
God has put each one of us on this earth for a purpose. When we consider the great price God and His Son Jesus paid for our salvation, we cannot sit back and retire. We are committed for a life time to work for Him. We firmly believe that God will take us to be with Him when we have completed "the good works" that God has for us on this earth. Our prayer today is that you will join us by doing the "good works" that God has for you.
Our memory verse for this week is found in Philippians 4:19.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Help us as a family to share our faith with those our lives touch daily so they can know You as their Savior. Help us to also "WORK" daily to do Your will, so that our actions will show others the evidence of our faith in You.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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