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Double Justification

James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Our Christian faith is an amazing thing and the justification from this faith is beyond our understanding and to the point that many believe we can just sit in that justification and become sluggards in that faith.  James has a different word about our faith and what it really is.  Let me give you an example.

I have been sitting at a red light many times when the car in front of me doesn’t do anything when the light changes.  So I usually say “Just push the little pedal on the right down just a little and you will move forward because THE LIGHT IS GREEN and I have somewhere to go.  Almost every time they will wake up to the fact that the light is no longer red, but green, and then they speed off.  In my mind I am thinking “Wake up!”  This example shows just how lethargic our faith has been in the Christianity community over the past few years and it is getting worse.  It’s like we have the car, Jesus, and we have the power, Holy Spirit, and we should be sitting on go because we have somewhere to go, The Great Commission, but we don’t.  We just sit there distracted or asleep.  And we ponder the fact that we cannot get anywhere and don’t realize we don’t have any works to add to our faith.  Or there is no pedal push from us to get the car (our faith) to get on with it and become alive and active.  So we sit at the light of God’s Will and miss it because we are not wanting to invest time, talent, or anything else that might make us work to get on with our faith.  Look at what Proverbs 15:19 says, Proverbs 15:19 The path of lazy people is like a thorny hedge, but the road of decent people is an [open] highway.  So we might think that people who are active and working in their faith are “decent” people and those who don’t are like thorns.  Wow!!  It’s gets better. Proverbs 18:9 Whoever is lazy regarding his work is also a brother to the master of destruction. Rather indicting don’t you think?  Look what happened to Sodom and the reason it happened. Ezekiel 16:49 Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.  

This is the bad side of a dead faith.  But there is a good side of alive faith that must be looked at and pursued.  James 2:“And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.  Wow.  To be called the friend of God is an amazing thing and what generated that happening?  Abraham believed God!!  So belief is huge, of course, and our initial faith in accepting Jesus is vital in the area of justification.  But there is more!  When you commit to SERVE the Lord you are committing to giving all your life in service to the Lord.  This is best illustrated in Jesus’ words where He says in Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  The cross he is talking about involves putting self interests to the side and putting His interests in the forefront of our thinking.  It is definitely more than just saying we want to serve Jesus as it says in Proverbs 14:23 In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.  We use the term Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk and this is where that comes from .

There is a danger of having the wrong heart in doing this work though and it doesn’t make our faith come alive, but it does make our self righteousness meter go to the highest setting.  If we do this work to make us seem better in God’s eyes we lose the battle of our faith and works giving us new life.  1 Corinthians 10:31 is a good standard to go by 1 Corinthians 10:31  So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Our prideful life is crucified with Christ which compels us to do everything to the Glory of God.  Self righteousness is not an issue when you are realizing all your strength comes from the Lord and He is the one making your faith come alive.  God can elevate the most unlikely person to a leadership role  when they are faithful to serve Him.  Look at Rahab the Harlot and all she did to preserve the lives of the spies by sending their pursuers the wrong way so they could escape. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? Back to the car illustration.  We need to realize, of course, there is great power in the faith we have in Christ and Holy Spirit is in our lives empowering us to do great things and live a life of surrender.  But, we also need to realize the fire that lights the fuse has to be lit and the foot that pushes the peddle has to move to make the car move forward.  We have developed so many helps to keep us from doing anything, and it has bled over to our Christian way of living and we have become dead in our faith.  This has to stop, and the only way it will stop is to have a change of heart and begin doing, as well as, being in our walk with God.  Galatians 2:20 shows us exactly what needs to happen to make our faith come alive with faith and works.  Galatians 2:20. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.  The old me that goes along with the world is now dead, but our faith must live as we put works with it.  As it says in the above scripture and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith,. Our faith will come alive when our justification is a double dose of faith and works.  We need both, and if one falters, they both suffer.  Time to get to work and see our faith get the power it needs.  Real power found in Double Justification.

The Pilgrimage continues…

David Warren

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