Faith and Works

Faith and works, which is more important? When it comes to salvation, the Bible is pretty clear. So why are we still confused?

“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him?

“If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.

Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected.” James 2:14-22

What is more important, faith or works?

It is a long held assertion that faith is more important than works Taking the verses Ephesians 2:8-9 at face value, this appears to be true. Indeed, through faith we are saved by grace. The verses go on to say that salvation is not from ourselves, that it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast.

James clarifies this in chapter 2 where he states that faith without works is useless. Works are a natural manifestation of faith. That is to say that when you have true, genuine faith, you will naturally want to do good works.

Do I have to do works to be saved?

Well, no. Faith in Jesus as your eternal salvation is all that is required to be saved. If works are a natural manifestation of faith, however, not desiring to do works could be a sign that your faith isn’t as strong as you think it is.

Look at the life Christ lived. His faith was on display through the lessons he taught, the miracles he performed, and the people he loved. He didn’t just give lip service to the Father. He lived out his lessons, and led by example.

This was the point James was making when he said that Abraham’s works when he was willing to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice displayed his faith.

Do works prove I am saved?

Sorry, but no. While works are one sign to look for in a person claiming to be saved, it is not the only sign. Many “good people” do good works and are outspoken about their unbelief.

A great number of world faiths also teach doing good works. Buddhism, for example, teaches karma. Karma is the belief that whatever good or bad a person does comes back to them.

The message of Christianity is that we all deserve eternal death for the sin we commit, therefore God’s grace is required to escape eternal death. We don’t have to do good works to earn salvation because God has already given this to us freely. We are free to do good works because of God’s gift of grace.

How can I start doing good works?

Often, Christians get hung up at the beginning. With stories throughout the Bible of godly men like Moses, Joshua, David, and Peter, Christians tend to think big. We really don’t need to deliver the world to God. It already belongs to Him.

Start small. Ask your preacher how you can help at your church. Many churches have so many needs and so few people to help. Jobs like kitchen duty, help with children’s ministry, technical services, janitorial services, lawn care, and more are neglected because church staff can only do so much.

Contact a local charity. Don’t do this instead of helping at your church. Do this in addition to helping at church. Outreach needs to be all of our mission. Don’t leave this to church staff or those involved in “outreach ministry”. All kinds of opportunities exist from feeding the homeless to staffing a women’s shelter or joining a prison ministry.

What’s next?

After you start doing good works, now it is time to engage with others. Don’t do this with an argumentative heart, however. In love, you must learn to listen and address the concerns and issues others have. We don’t win people to Christ. That’s the job of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to spread His word and allow Him to work in the lives of those we share our lives with.

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Jesus Prayer For Us – A Prayer of Blessing and A Purpose

Jesus Prayer – Blessing, Purpose, Protection

Jesus prayer for His followers was both a blessing and a mission. It was a prayer of purpose and one of protection. Read: John 17:1-26

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.

Jesus’ Prayer For Us

“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.

“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

Not of This World

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Prayer For Future Believers

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

We Belong to Christ

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

John Records Jesus’ Prayer

When Jesus spoke to the Father in His most intimate encounter, John recorded it in his Gospel. How fearful the disciples must have been when Jesus turned his focus from His requests for Himself to requests for His disciples.

Jesus says that as He delivered The Father’s message to His disciples, so he sends them into the world to continue his work.

Jesus then continues to pray a prayer of protection for all Christians, present and future.

Our Work Isn’t Finished

Our work continues to this day. We are to deliver God’s message of hope and salvation to a world doomed to destruction. Jesus has even prayed for us in this mission. Do you continue to fulfill the Great Commission, or have you considered your job finished in the matter?

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message…” John 17:20

Prophet Role – Boldly Proclaiming God’s Message To The World

The Prophet Role – What is it?

The prophet role is boldly proclaiming God’s message to the world. Consider 2 Kings 2:15-18

Elisha and Elijah

Elijah was Elisha’s mentor. When God was ready to take Elijah up to heaven, he directed him to go to Bethel, so Elijah told Elisha to stay behind, but Elisha insisted on going.

Once they got to Bethel, the prophets told Elisha that Elijah was being called to heaven, and Elisha told them he knew. Then Elijah was called to go to Jericho. Again Elijah instructed Elisha to stay, but Elisha refused, so they went to Jericho.

At Jericho, once again prophets told Elisha that God would take Elijah from him that day. He said he knew. Then Elijah told Elisha he would go to Jordan and instructed him to stay. Elisha told him where Elijah went, he would go.

Elisha’s Inheritance

After crossing the Jordan, Elijah asked Elisha what he could do for him before leaving the earth. Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elijah said if Elisha saw God take him up to heaven, it would be his.

Then Elisha watched as Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind to Heaven. He then returned to Jericho.

Elisha Becomes God’s Prophet

When the prophets from Jericho couldn’t find Elijah, they wanted to go look for him. Elisha told them there was no point.

They pushed Elisha until he relented and told them to go. They searched everywhere, then returned to report they couldn’t find him.

Elisha told them “Didn’t I tell you not to go?” He wasn’t taunting them, but exercising authority and confidence that he carried the message of God.

Christians – Modern Day Prophets

We as Christians should also proclaim God’s word, not in anger or out of some self righteous spirit. We should do it with the full confidence and authority of the great I AM. God is where we draw authority, and there is no higher authority.

Be confident. Proclaim the Gospel. Share God’s word without fear of consequence.

They sent fifty men, who searched … but did not find [Elijah]. When they returned to Elisha … he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”
2 Kings 2:17-18