< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Conclusion of Living with Assurance

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Conclusion of Living with Assurance

Read James 2:14-26

This section of the Bible trips some people up. They argue works over faith because of these verses. But, what James is saying here is that works are evidence of our faith.

My take on good works is that when we become Christians, when the Holy Spirit takes up residency in our bodies and we become members of God’s Kingdom, not only are certain things expected of us (and the Bible is FULL of advice for how we are to live our lives – from Titus where older women are told to mentor younger ones – to Romans where we are told how to treat fellow church goers – to Proverbs, which tells us how to be a good spouse or parent), but because our direction in life is to become more like Christ, we look to Him and His words for how to live. (We need to spread the Gospel, we need to forgive as He did, we need to be His hands and feet on earth, we need to love our neighbors, etc. etc.)

So, yes, when I read, “faith without works is dead” – I think it’s very true. Can a Christian be a Christian without doing good works? I suppose – but I think it’s very unlikely.

Some other false assumptions (besides being good will get you into Heaven) –

Some people think if they just believe in God and even in the fact that Jesus lived and died they’ll get in. But, James 2:19 says, “Even the demons believe that – and shudder.”
Accepting a set of facts is not the same as being a Christian.

Others might say they’ll get in because they went to church every Sunday. Some because they were baptized – even that they responded to an altar call.

There is a difference in believing things about God and believing in God.

You can believe certain things, but unless you repent and put Christ first and in the center of your life – you are missing the boat. One mistake we often make is feeling like we can’t approach Jesus for forgiveness until we truly repent, when actually it is Christ that places a true desire in us to turn from sin, to see the love of God, the beauty of holiness, the joy of purity and then the longing to be cleansed and restored to communion with Heaven. Only then can we truly repent and only after repenting can forgiveness come. Whenever man recognizes sin and makes an effort to reform – it is the power of Christ that is drawing him. We are called to have an actual relationship with the Lord. We are suppose to talk to Him, love Him, worship Him and praise Him.

The author of this study writes: “As wonderful as the doctrine of justification by grace because of the work of Christ may be, it will be of no use to us unless it becomes ours personally. Yet having been justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, this state of spiritual warfare has been changed to one of peace. We have peace with God, make peace with others and experience a new measure of personal peace too. From our side we realize this new state imperfectly, often causing turmoil with others and within ourselves. But from God’s side this is a perfect peace with us through Christ’s blood – we still see our sins – and maybe even more so – but God looks at us through His Son’s sacrifice – and sees us as clean. We are secure after we accept this.”

1 John 5:11-13
John 10: 27-28
Ezekiel 36:25-27
II Cor.5:17

If it worries some of you that God is opening some hearts and not others – know that He calls everyone. It’s up to us to hear and respond. Read Rev. 22:17

Lord. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for not leaving us in our sin, but providing a way out – a way to You. Please continue to open our hearts to Your will. In Your Son’s Holy name we pray – Amen.


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