We have finally finalized wedding plans this week. (still getting used to the idea!) Well, when I say finalized, I mean we fixed the date and the location. I know...we are late, late, late! We had many things to hash out and research!! Mostly location because of Kayla wanting to have an outdoor wedding at home, and we weren't so sure...but now we are. Whew! Sept 4th, 2009. Please pray with us for beautiful weather. Thank you very much!
Now onto our study summary for this week!
This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. Titus 3:8 NKJV
This chapter addresses the need for good works to flow from faith, and that good works actually authenticate faith. James says, "faith without works is dead".
C.S. Lewis says, "To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in trusting a person if you wouldn't take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him."
In contrasting those who say they have faith, but have not fruit in their lives~with those who show their faith by the fruit in their lives, we see that only good works that glorify God come from true and genuine faith. Once again I love how God uses contrasts in scripture to show truth.
Genuine? or Impostor? Scripture tells us how to distinguish:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Clearly salvation is not earned by our own goodness, it is a gift of faith by the grace (goodness, mercy, and enablement of God) and "good works" are the outflow of our faith.
We looked at scripture to help us in distinguishing between dead faith and genuine faith, and found the following:
- Obeys. (Luke 6:46-49)
- Hears God's word and puts it into practice.(James 1:22-25)
- Has love behind all it's works. (1 Cor 13:1-3)Loves from a pure heart, a good concience, and sincere faith. (1 Tim 1:3-5)
In James 2:14-16, he insists that good works reflect a living faith; a genuine faith that is active.
- Through steps into unknown places. (Think: Abraham, Noah, Gideon, etc)
- Through acts of obedience. (Think about any story in the Bible!)
- Through waiting. (I think of Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth)
Merely professing faith does not mean one has living faith. Faith that is not accompanied by works of righteousness & acts of obedience is not faith at all. James calls it "dead".
Galatians 5:6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
In our own strength, we cannot produce good works. We need to remain in the vine. If we are abiding in Jesus, we will bear fruit. It is not any striving in ourselves. Our confidence and competence comes from God. (John 15)
- Some of the good works that we are instructed to do: (Mt 5: 14-17;
- Let your light shine before men to bring glory to God.
- Say "no" to ungodliness and worldly passions.
- Live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.
- Abstain from sinful desires.
- Live good lives to glorify God.
Again, if there is anything good that comes from us it's from Jesus. All our righteous acts are like filthy rags, but the Spirit of God living in us enables us to do lasting works in Jesus' name!