"But if anyone keeps looking steadily into God's law for free men, he will not only remember it but he will do what it says, and God will greatly bless him in everything he does" (James 1:25).
Jim expressed his displeasure with the Epistle of James.
"I agree with Martin Luther," he said. Bothered by the apparent contradiction between James and Paul, Luther for a long time rejected the Epistle of James. Later, however, he had become satisfied that it was a part of the inspired Scripture.
"I am no longer under law, but under grace," Jim continued. "I feel free to do whatever I want to do, knowing that I have already found favor in God's sight through what Christ has accomplished for me on the cross."
Having been reared in a very legalistic church, he was now liberated. And, he said, the rest of his life he would emphasize the importance of grace and faith.
I endeavored to explain to him that he was allowing the pendulum of his life to swing to the other extreme. There had to be balance. "Faith without works is dead." The extreme of either view leads to heresy. Trying to please God and earn salvation through works alone is impossible; it is an insult to God and leads nowhere.
But believing that Christ's death on the cross had paid the penalty for all of our sins and that now we are free to live any way we like and do anything we want to do without any thought of obedience is also heretical. Throughout the Scriptures, from Genesis through Revelation, obedience is important. Our Lord emphasized that fact in John 14:21, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me" (KJV).
We prove that we love Him by our actions, by our obedience. In this verse for today we have the promise, "God will greatly bless him [the believer] in everything he does," when he obeys God's commands.
TODAY'S ACTION POINT: Since the supernatural life of the Christian is a life of good works, I will demonstrate my faith by my good works, for faith without works is dead. I will share this truth with someone who is living in the bondage of legalism.
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