If it were against the law to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Judging by the way you act; would anyone know you were a Christian?
Is your “Faith” of any real use to anyone?
This is the question James posed:
15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. James 2:15-17 NAS
Can there be transformational Faith without visible Works?
Works as Evidence of Faith
18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.“ James 2:18 NAS
Pastor Paul Mizzi from Truth for Today agrees:
We are justified by faith alone, but works justify our faith, and declare that we are justified. Men cannot see our faith, except by our works (cf. Luke 7:47,50). If you have faith, demonstrate it. The only evidence visible to human eyes is the deeds of obedience. Though God can read the heart, our only view of the heart is by the sight of outward fruit.
Also, from a CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ International in the US) training brochure:
While the Bible clearly teaches that we are saved by faith alone, it is also clear that true faith will always be evidenced by good works or “fruit” of some kind.
Christians are made for Works
7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7 NAS
15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Genesis 2:15 NAS
Humans are made to work. Meaningful, creative, nourishing labor is very satisfying and fulfilling. However, tedious, mind-numbing, back-breaking work destroys all joy, peace, delight from mind, body, and soul.
Christians are made for Works. While we, as do all humanity, enjoy meaningful, creative, nourishing labor, we also have the Works that God has for us to do.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 NAS
The Results of Faith without Works
Is the lack of “fruit” (outward evidence of Faith, i.e., spiritual growth of believers and numerical growth of the Church) in Protestant churches today a sign, a manifestation, of the belief that Works are not a part of, nor required of, Faith?
- If Faith is not shown by action (Works), there is no witness to the world.
- If there is no witness to the world, there is no evangelism to the world.
- If there is no evangelism to the world, there is no salvation offered to the world.
- If there is no salvation offered to the world, there is no obedience to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
- If there is no obedience to the Great Commission, the Church (the Body of Believers – those who are to have Faith) is not fulfilling its purpose.
- If the Church is not fulfilling its purpose, what must be done?
There must be Works as evidence of Faith.
Works of Faith are seen by the Church, by the Body, as evidence of the in-dwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
The Works of Faith are seen by the people of the world as evidence that life with, through, and in Jesus Christ is different from life in the world.
And that difference is what other people see and desire – an intimate, personal, relationship with God – with YeHoVaH: the Father, through Yeshua: the Son, in the Ruach Qodesh: the Holy Spirit.
What if there are no Works of Faith visible to the people of God and the people of the world?
- If there are no Works of Faith, there is no discipleship.
- If there are no Works of Faith, there is no spiritual growth.
- If there are no Works of Faith, there is no kingdom growth.
- If there are no Works of Faith, there is no reason for the existence of the Church.
And the Church will disappear.
Is this the state of the US Protestant church today?
There are those who agree.
The church’s witness to the world has been sacrificed on the altar of cheap grace. Shocking forms of open immorality have become more commonplace among professing Christians.
The now-pervasive influence of the no-lordship doctrine among the evangelicals reflects the shallowness and spiritual poverty of the contemporary evangelical movement. It is also doubtless one of the main causes for evangelicalism’s impoverishment. You cannot remove the lordship of Christ from the gospel message without undermining faith at its core. That is precisely what is happening in the church today. John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith? Zondervan, Harper Collins Publishing 2009
There are a lot of Believers, but few Doers.
As reported in The State of the Church 2016, Barna Group, 9 15 2016:
Barna … to identify key faith groups in America, including “born again Christians,” “evangelical Christians” and those who are “Bible-minded.” The largest of these groups are born again Christians, which make up roughly one-third of the population (35%). These individuals have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today and believe that, when they die, they will go to heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.
When asked whether they, personally, have a responsibility to tell other people their religious beliefs, most people (54%) disagree (46% believe otherwise, very close to an even split).
This study [What Do Americans Believe About Jesus? 5 Popular Beliefs, 4 1 2015] also shows the extent of Christian commitment in the nation—more than 150 million Americans say they have professed faith in Christ. This impressive number begs the question of how well this commitment is expressed. As much of our previous research shows, Americans’ dedication to Jesus is, in most cases, a mile wide and an inch deep.”
Is this why the Church has been so ineffective in expanding the Kingdom of Heaven?
Is this why most American people do not believe that Faith in Yeshua is required for salvation?
Getting at orthodoxy (or, rather, heterodoxy) among the American population, most (55%) agree that if a person is generally good, or does good enough things for others during their life, they will earn a place in heaven.
There is some “Good News”
From What Do Americans Believe About Jesus? 5 Popular Beliefs, Barna Group, 4 1 2015
On the whole, America is still committed to Jesus. The act of making a personal commitment to Jesus—often seen as the “first step” in becoming a Christian—is a step that more than six in 10 Americans say they have taken and, moreover, that commitment is still important in their life today.
Among adults who have made a personal commitment to Jesus, most also believe that Jesus is the way to heaven. When given several beliefs about the afterlife to choose from, nearly two-thirds of those who have made a personal commitment to Jesus say they believe that after they die they will go to heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior (63%). Only 2 percent of adults who report a personal commitment to Jesus say they will not go to heaven. About one in seven admit they don’t know what will happen after they die (15%).
Among Millennials who have made a personal commitment to Jesus, only 56 percent say they believe they will go to heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. This percentage climbs to two-thirds of Gen-Xers (64%), six in 10 Boomers (62%) and nearly seven in 10 among Elders (68%).
So, what can the Church do?
What can the Church do to return to “the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints”?
3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. Jude 3 NAS
If you consider that the Church is not just the building, not just the clergy, not just the staff,
If you consider that the Church is the people, the believers,
it’s up to YOU!
Of course, that’s you and …
The Power of the In-Dwelling Holy Spirit
It’s ok to doubt, if you check it out!
Be a Berean!
10The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:10, 11 ESV
Please join me in this journey of discovery.
- Leave a comment, or ask me a question.
- Share this blog with others, whether they are doubting, or not.
- Take what I say and CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF!
© 2017 by the author