Sun, 29 September 2019
In the great flood of 2016, over 140,000 homes flooded. A governmental organization was formed to offer help to those persons affected by the floods. Hundreds of millions of dollars were allocated for that purpose. Extensive efforts were made to get people to apply for grants.
Approximately 50,000 homeowners applied for help. That means that, in very round numbers, only a little more than one-third of those adversely affected by the flood applied for grants. Why so few? Perhaps some didn’t think that they needed the help. Perhaps some were unaware of the offer. It is likely that some did not believe that the offer would produce any genuine help.
But I, for one, believed (or at least I was desperate)! Granted, my faith was small and wavering, but I knew we had a need. I also knew monies had been allotted. So here’s the way my thinking went: perhaps, if I apply, I may get help; but if I don’t apply, I know I won’t get any help. So, I matched my wavering faith with concrete actions—I applied. In fact, that small seed of faith gave birth to my actions. You could say that the “works” of filling out the applications and engaging in the process were the evidence and the product of my “faith.”
A faith that will not complete the application accomplishes nothing. In fact any such “faith” is dead. It is false.
Genuine faith works. Authentic faith acts.
In the end, we were blessed with a grant that helped us restore our home. In a manner of speaking, faith secured grace. And we are grateful!
That may not be a perfect illustration of the relationship between salvation, faith and works, but it is along the lines of what the Apostle James argues in chapter 2 verses 14-26 of his namesake epistle. He insists that faith without works is dead. It does not save. To the contrary, the only kind of faith that saves is the kind that works!
Join us this coming Sunday at Istrouma as we continue our sermon series through the epistle of James in a message entitled, “Don’t Be Fooled by False Faith!”
James: Practical Spirituality
“Don’t Be Fooled by False Faith”
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (2:14-17).
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! (2:19)
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead (2:21-26).
Sun, 29 September 2019