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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, March 18, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
When someone claims to have faith, what he or she may have is intellectual assent—agreement with a set of Christian teachings—and as such it would be incomplete faith. True faith transforms our conduct as well as our thoughts. If our life remains unchanged, we don’t’ truly believe the truths we claim to believe.
We cannot earn our salvation by serving and obeying God. But such actions show that our commitment to God is real. Deeds of loving service are not a substitute for, but rather a verification of, our faith in Christ.
While it is true that our good deeds can never earn salvation, true faith always results in a changed life and good deeds. Paul speaks against those who try to be saved by deeds instead of true faith; James speaks against those who confuse mere intellectual assent with true faith. After all, even demons know who Jesus is, but they don’t obey him. True faith involves a commitment of your whole self to God.
True faith always results in good deeds, but the deeds do not justify us. Faith brings us salvation; active obedience demonstrates that our faith is genuine. (NLT)
James 2:14-26 – Dear brothers and sisters, what’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can’t save anyone. Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is not faith at all—it is dead and useless.
Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” I say, “I can’t see your faith if you don’t have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds.”
Do you still think it’s enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?
Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was declared right with God because of what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, he was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to do. His faith was made complete by what he did—by his actions. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous.” He was even called “the friend of God.” So you see, we are made right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
Rahab the prostitute is another example of this. She was made right with God by her actions—when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. Just as the body is dead without a spirit, so also faith is dead without good deeds.
Strengthen your drooping hands and weak knees! Make straight paths for your feet so that if any part is lame, it will be healed rather than injured more seriously. – Hebrews 12:12-13 (CEB)
Nola Passmore’s (Queensland, Australia) story is titled “SPIRITUAL EXERCISE;” here is a portion of Nola’s story:
“. . . Just as physical exercise helps strengthen our bodies, spiritual exercise can strengthen our spiritual muscles. Bible study, prayer, and Christian fellowship are a great start, but we also need to exercise our faith in other ways. This may mean applying a biblical truth to a specific situation, such as giving food to a needy neighbor. It could mean being obedient when God calls us to a certain task or ministry, even though we feel ill-equipped for that role. When we exercise our faith, our spirits will be strengthened as we see God work in us and through us. When we trust God to give us strength, we’ll be amazed at the results.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – What can I do today to exercise my spiritual muscles?
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to give as much attention to our spiritual health as our physical health so that we can serve you with all that we are. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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