As we consider Faith and good works many people at once think of James 1:22 , “be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves,” and of course James 2:18 , “show me thy Faith without thy works, and I will show thee my Faith by my works.” In this same Epistle of James, which was written TO the twelve tribes of Israel, we have this question, “hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich ‘IN FAITH’?” (James 2:5 ).
In Titus 3:8 we find recorded the message which the LORD directed the Apostle Paul to write to Christians: “affirm constantly, that they, which have believed in God, might be careful to maintain good works.” Christians, according to Titus 2:7 , should be a ‘pattern of good works’. But these believers in God, Christians, were redeemed by the redemptive work of God’s Son, Who is called, in Titus 2:13-14 , “the great God our Saviour Jesus Christ,” “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.”
As the LORD directed James to write that God hath chosen the poor of this world to be rich ‘IN FAITH’, He directed the Apostle Paul to write this message to those in this world who desire and struggle to be rich, “that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute.” (1 Timothy 6:18 ). Not only does God greatly desire that every person on this earth should be ‘RICH IN FAITH’ and ‘RICH IN GOOD WORKS’, but God permitted His Son, Who was ‘RICH’, to become poor, that we through His poverty may be ‘RICH’ (2 Cor. 8:9 ). And the Son said to the Father, “I come to do Thy will.” (Hebrews 10:4-10 ). Note what this meant…In John 6:38 the LORD Jesus Christ said, “I came down from heaven; not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.”
Then behold the Man of Sorrows in the Garden of Gethsemane and hear Him say to several of His disciples, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death.” (Mark 14:34 ). Then hear His prayer to His Father, as the Son was sweating drops of blood (Luke 22:44 ), “Father all things are possible unto Thee: take away this cup from Me: nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36 ). “He prayed that. if it were possible, the hour might passed from Him.” (Mark 14:35 ). What is the answer? Christ on the cross, crowned with thorns, crying “My God! My God’ Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34 ). Christ was delivered up to death by wicked men and by Satan, but He was delivered according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. (Acts 2:23 ; Acts 3:18 ). “But God raised Him from the dead.” (Acts 13:30 ). Christ was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:24-25 ).
So we have the good news, WONDERFUL news in Ephesians 1:6-7 , “To the praise of the glory of God’s grace, wherein He hath made us accepted (‘GRACED US’) in the Beloved, In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of God’s grace.”
After reading of this eternal redemption in and through and by the LORD Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:12 ), and carefully considering 1 Timothy 2:5-7 , “God will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth: For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all,” we should accept at FULL FACE VALUE the words of Christ in John 14:6 , Matthew 11:27 , John 5:23 and John 17:3 .
Now most carefully receive into your hearts these words from the Son of God Who loved us and gave Himself for us, which the rulers, (spiritual and physical), of this world did not know, for had they known, they would not have crucified the LORD of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:8 ). Christ said, in John 14:6 …“I am the way, the truth and the life: NO man cometh to the Father but by ME.” Christ said, in Matthew 11:27 …“NO man knoweth the Son but the Father: neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” Christ said, in John 5:23 …“that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father: he that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father Who hath sent Him.” Christ said to His Father, in John 17:3 …“and this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent.”
Thus we see why the unbelieving, RELIGIOUS people took up stones to stone Christ to death, when Christ said, “I and Father are ONE.” (John 10:30 ). Christ asked them, “for which good work do you stone Me?” Note the answer…“for a good work we stone Thee NOT; but for blasphemy: because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.” (John 10:31-33 ).
Was Christ a blasphemer or was He God? Thomas called Christ, “my LORD and my God!” (John 20:28 ). Was Thomas mistaken? God called His own Son, “GOD”, in Hebrews 1:6-8 , after the statement in Hebrews 1:3 , that Christ was the express image of God’s Person and the effulgence of His glory. In Colossians 2:9 we read that in Christ dwelleth all the fulness of the God‑head bodily. In Isaiah 35:3-8 we read that God was to come to earth and perform miracles. God came in the Person of His Son, Emmanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 , and Matthew 1:23 ). Christ said, “he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9 ). Read Romans 9:4-6 and Colossians 1:15-18 and then this statement in 1 John 5:20 , “And we know that the Son of God has come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
When Christ told the self‑righteous religious leaders of His days on earth, “ye are of your father the devil” (John 8:44 ), they disagreed with Christ, saying, “we have one Father, God.” Who was right? Christ said to those blind, religious, men; “if ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24 ). When some of their company asked Christ, “what shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28 ), note carefully the answer of Christ…“This is the work of God that ye ‘BELIEVE’ on Him Whom God hath sent.” Then Christ added…“Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47 ).
After reading what we have quoted from the Bible, surely you will never join with the foolish people who say, “with God it is unimportant what man believes…it is what man does that counts with God.” That is the thinking of a moron! Now, this brings us to the very interesting question…
IS CHRISTIANITY A CREED OR A LIFE?
Quite frequently some well‑meaning religious person makes some such remark as this…“I am not interested in creeds, dogmas or doctrinal controversies…I am for practical Christianity; for the Christian religion in action.”
Of course many people today are displeased, if not disgusted, with the ever increasing number of sectarian religious organizations, and the amazing LACK of unity among Christians. God only knows how many of these Church-members are saved and how many are unsaved. “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal; the LORD knoweth them that are His; and let every one that nameth the NAME of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19 ). Because of the great number of church‑members who confess that they have never experienced the Divine miracle of regeneration (John 3:3-8 ; John 1:12 ), the supernatural work of God called ‘God’s workmanship, created ‘IN CHRIST JESUS’, (Ephesians 2:10 ; 2 Corinthians 5:17 ), we quite frequently hear saved Church-members referred to as ‘born‑again’ Christians, or ‘Bible Christians’.
The term ‘Bible Christians’ needs to be analyzed as to the believer’s standing and state in God’s sight. But there is no such thing as a Christian who is not a new creature in Christ, or a regenerated believer. A Christian is a Child of God. God’s Word clearly teaches how a person becomes a child of His, “Ye are all the children of God by Faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26 ), “which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; but of God.” (John 1:13 ). “if any man be in Christ there is a new creation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ). Who are to be glorified when the LORD Jesus comes for His own? “All them that believe.” (2 Thessalonians 1:10 ). Then the saved believers are to be rewarded according to their works. (1 Corinthians 3:14 ; Hebrews 6:10 ).
We have learned in John 3:36 , John 8:24 , and Revelation 21:8 , the after‑death state of unbelievers. To whom will God send the strong delusion and let believe the lie and be damned, and why? Hear God’s answer, “who believed NOT the Truth…but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
A person need not be an immoral, ungodly sinner to have pleasure in unrighteousness. He may be like the very religious, sincere, conscientious, devout people of Romans 10:1-4 , who were ignorant of God’s righteousness, and went about to establish their own righteousness, and would not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God which is by the Faith in the LORD Jesus Christ.
Referring to such people, the LORD Jesus Christ said, “ye are they which justify yourselves before men: but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15 ). This was another way of saying what is written in Proverbs 28:26 and Proverbs 14:12 , “he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool”…“there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
The Apostle Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to write that if man could be saved by his own doings, Christ died in vain. (Galatians 2:21 ). Any rational person, unless completely deceived by Satan, who will compare Galatians 2:21 with Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane, His cry on the cross to God and His own words in John 12:27-31 , certainly would not claim to be a saved person, if he does not believe the record that God has given concerning His Son. No Christian will be guilty of making God a liar, which unbelievers do, according to 1 John 5:10-13 .
We can see how unregenerated, moral, religious people, rather than submit to God’s Righteousness through the LORD Jesus Christ, prefer ‘the golden rule’ and ‘the sermon on the mount’ to the glorious doctrine recorded in Romans 4:4-5 , which the great majority of them perhaps have never read…“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt: But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his Faith is counted for righteousness.”
God wants every Christian to walk in the Spirit, and fulfill the righteousness of the law. (Romans 8:4 ). Before a person can walk in the Spirit, which means to be both indwelt and controlled by the Holy Spirit, that person must receive the Holy Spirit. in Galatians 3:13-14 we learn that Christ was made a curse on the cross, that Israel might be delivered from the curse of the law, and that believing Gentiles might receive the righteousness of God and the Holy Spirit.
Thus we learn that salvation and righteousness and the Holy Spirit are all the gifts of God. “The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD.” (Romans 6:23 ). Believers pass out of death into life. (John 5:24 ; John 11:25-26 ). “He that hath the Son hath life.” (1 John 5:12 ). “Even when we were dead in sins (God) hath made us alive together with Christ.” Those who have been made alive by believing in the LORD Jesus Christ are thus instructed in Romans 6:13 …“yield yourselves unto God, as those who are ‘ALIVE FROM THE DEAD’.”
In Hebrews 5:9 we read that Christ having been made perfect, became the Author of ‘ETERNAL SALVATION’. The word ‘Author’ is literally ‘Causer’. In Hebrews 9:12 we read that Christ, by His own blood, entered into heaven, having obtained ‘ETERNAL REDEMPTION’ for us. So in and through and by Christ, Who is called the believer’s ‘LIFE’ (Colossians 3:4 ), the believer, or Christian, has…‘ETERNAL LIFE’…‘ETERNAL SALVATION’…‘ETERNAL REDEMPTION’.
In 1 John 5:13 we learned that God wants those who believe in the LORD Jesus Christ to KNOW that they have eternal life. In John 6:47 the LORD Jesus said that believers have everlasting life. This is stated in John 3:36 , and in John 3:16 , and John 3:15 .
A creed is a belief. The word ‘believe’ is found in the Gospel of John one hundred times. No Christian will join with the foolish, unsaved, religious people who say a creed is unimportant for a Christian. When the Apostle Paul testified in Galatians 2:20 that he had been crucified with Christ, he added, “nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the Faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Here we have the creed and the life working together.
CHRIST is in the word ‘CHRISTIAN’. According to Colossians 1:27 , CHRIST is in the CHRISTIAN, the hope of glory. Think of this, ‘THE HOPE OF GLORY’. Then note why the Christian may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, in Romans 5:2 . Because being justified by Faith he has peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ, and because he has access into God’s grace by Faith. (Romans 5:1-2 ).
WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING
Saved and unsaved church‑members, who are determined to add their own religious doings or spiritual activities to the finished work of the LORD Jesus Christ to help God save them, which means to have Christ as a “Helper” rather than the omnipotent Saviour that He is,, quote Philippians 2:12 …“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” This message was written to saints in Philippi. They were saints because they were ‘IN CHRIST JESUS’. (Philippians 1:1 ). We learn in Colossians 2:10 that saints are ‘complete’ ‘IN CHRIST’. The Holy Spirit wanted these saints to have in them the mind which was in Christ Jesus. (Colossians 2:5 ). They believed that Christ had been in the form of God before He became a man to die on the cross and rise again the third day. (Philippians 2:6-11 ). Their citizenship was in heaven. (Philippians 3:20-21 ). They were NOT told to WORK to HOLD on to their salvation. They were told that GOD was WORKING in them both to will and do of His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13 ). Note what He wanted them to do. To be “blameless and harmless sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the Word of life.” (Philippians 2:15-16 ).
Christians are the sons, (and daughters), of God by the Faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26 ), and have not received the spirit of bondage unto fear, but the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry ‘Abba Father’. (Romans 8:15-16 ). Christians are not a race of servants, but a race of sons (Galatians 4:4-7 ); Christians are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14 ).
In part 3, we will examine…CHRISTIANS ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” Acts 16:31 , while there is still time!
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide. The time is short
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20 )
Subscribe Here to the LLM Newsletter , Follow LLM on Twitter , Subscribe to LLM on Youtube , LLM on MySpace , and FaceBook