The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 52

“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only”.

(James 2: 24)

We must be aware of two equal but opposite enemies of salvation. The first is that of trusting in our own righteousness. The second is a subtle trap, which consists in having a distorted view of God’s grace! Let me explain.

The basis of our salvation lies in the truth that we are saved by faith in Christ alone, “not by works, lest any man boast”. Faith in this context means believing in the person of Christ and in the all sufficiency of his work of redemption for us who, as sinners, are powerless to save ourselves. So far, so good!

But when there is not a proper understanding of the word “believe”, then the grace of God is made a cheap commodity. In our day the word ‘believe’ has been reduced to a mere mental acknowledgment. Thousands of ‘believers’ have prayed the ‘sinner’s prayer’ because they believe that Jesus exists. But they were emotionally moved by non-confrontational messages, which have lacked the call to true repentance. They were not challenged to turn from their lifestyles of sin or admonished to pursue holiness. Consequently, they continue to live trusting only in their intellectual or emotional salvation. Their salvation is not real!

When the Bible uses the word ‘believe’, it means not only to acknowledge a fact (albeit intellectually and emotionally), but also to obey. So when we say we believe in Jesus we are also saying that we obey His will and His word. In other words, belief and obedience go hand in hand. They cannot be divorced from each other. In Hebrews 5:9 we are told, “…even though he was a son…..he learned obedience …and once made perfect, he became the source of salvation for all who obey Him”. James makes the point that Abraham was called a man of faith; this is because his belief in God was proved by his corresponding actions of obedience.

Just saying that you have faith does not prove your salvation. You can read what Jesus said (in Matthew ch.7) about those who profess his name but are really not believers. There are false preachers and teachers around today that are preaching a ‘cheap grace’. Beware! No one can come to salvation in Christ who has not repented. When we invite people to accept Christ, let us not forget to explain what ‘believing in Christ’ really means. We will give account for not speaking the truth! Furthermore, when we declare ourselves as believers in Christ we are really saying that we have heeded the call to sanctification - being made holy! This means a repentant lifestyle, which is the fruit of a commitment to obedience.

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues