Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Faith Without Works

By Odon Bulamba (15 November 2002)

Grace is essential for Christian life, and without grace our belief is useless. Without grace we are nothing in God’s eyes, but His grace is sufficient because it makes us worthy before Him. When we wake up in the morning sometimes we don’t realize where or what happened during the night. When we sleep we can forget that we are alive but by God’s grace, He lets us see another day. Nobody can fight sleep or the tiredness of his body, but by God’s grace we feel strengthened and free in the morning from a night’s sleep.

This is how Christian life works in spirit. When you feel tired or weak ask God for His grace to comfort you, call upon God to give you strength and know that every prayer is done by faith. When you wake up in the morning and tell God to keep you safe all day long during work etc, be assured that you will go to work and come back safe. Nobody wants to have an accident while going to work that is why we ask by faith for God to bring us home safely.

For example it is by faith that you make an appointment at 11am to see your friend because you don’t know if you’ll be alive. First of all you believe that at 11am you will be at your appointment, and then second you will act upon it. So first of all you believe, second you act and third you meet the person. This is the secret to faith. To have a good faith in the Lord we must make a decision. If one of these things is missing your faith is a bit disabled. If you don’t act upon it then your faith is dead, if you lack making decisions then you have no faith. We will talk about these three things; faith without deeds is a dead faith.

James 2:24-26
24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Everyday we talk about faith but on top of this the Bible asks us to perform something else, which is our deeds. Having this faith we decided to become Christians, and from the time of your conversion you decided to change your life. You also decided to leave the life you lived before to start a new life in Jesus Christ, and from this time you started believing and faith started to grow. After faith we need deeds. 1st of all you make a decision, 2nd you act upon it and the 3rd point is the result of what you want.

One day in Africa there was a Palm tree 10 or so meters high. In order to get the sap you had to climb the tree, make cuts into the tree and the sap then dripped into the container below, and after two weeks your container would be full. This drink is very nice and natural, something you can’t buy in a supermarket. Because I couldn’t climb the palm tree we use to throw stones at the buckets but they were always tied to the tree. However, one day a monkey came and climbed the tree without any problems and drunk the sap in front of us then left the container empty. The monkey made a decision to climb the tree and drink the sap, and even though a man put it up there the monkey wasn’t afraid. But when it comes to humans doing what the monkey did they doubt because they are afraid.

When we have faith in the Lord we can climb as high as the sky and catch whatever we want, but we must think about what God gives us. If you use what God has given you that is not His way, woe to you, you’ll find that your spiritual life will drop down like an empty container. You could lose control.

There was a famous servant back in the 1960’s who was strong in the spirit. He would say to the dead get up and they did. When he would pass people who were crying for their loved ones, he would ask them, what happened to this person? After telling him he would tell the dead person to get up, get up! He would command the sickness to leave this person and the dead person would then had a few more years to live.

But when God gave this servant more power he couldn’t control it and started to use it for business. This servant used to go to the mortuary in hospitals and ask people, how much money would you give me if I raised your loved ones back to life? People would say anything you want. So he touched the body and it would rise. God wasn’t happy with this and after a time he lost all his gifts. First of all he had the faith, secondly he put his faith into action by praying, but when he got the result of his prayers it wasn’t in a good way.

We as Christians must not say that our faith is enough, we must work and act upon it. Faith without deeds is dead. It is good to have faith but the second step is to see what deeds you have. If you observe Christians today in churches you’ll see that sometimes it is better to live in the world than live their Christian lives, why? It is because of the works we do. We know the Word of God and His will, we have the faith to believe that everything God gave us is the truth, but when we work and act upon this faith it becomes the opposite. When we tell people that we are Christians they can’t believe it because of what we do.

When I first came to this country and found out that the Prime Minister was a Christian, I was surprised. She would put Political laws before Christian laws. If you say praise the Lord to her she will say Amen! I am not judging her and saying that she is wrong but it is just a little example. You can see that some people are 20% Christians and 80% in the world.

Some preachers preach the Word to others but tell them not to follow their example, but Jesus said follow Me, Paul also said follow me as I follow Jesus, so how can people follow us if our actions are not good?

As we read about Rahab in James 2, deeds or works followed her faith. Everything is written about Rahab in Joshua 2. Rahab had been a prostitute for over 20 years and one day she received two men into her house thinking they were clients, but these two men were sent by God to spy on the city of Jericho in order for God’s people to find a way through it. As Rahab welcomed these two men she started talking to them and discovered they were Israelites.

In Joshua 2:9 she told the men not to forget her because their God was a strong God. I don’t know who taught her about God but she knew, and after she learnt about God she believed. Rahab had faith to believe that the God of these two Israelites was powerful, and if these two men were in her city she knew something was going to happen, so Rahab chose life. This is why she told the men not to forget about her.

The men accepted her plea on the condition she was to keep quiet. When Rahab accepted the two men into her house a neighbor saw them. Rahab’s neighbor spread word to the king so the king sent troops to arrest them. The Bible says that Rahab hid the two men on her roof and fortunately the troops didn’t find them. Once the troops left, Rahab helped the men go through a window, and then they left her. But before the men left they told Rahab to leave a red ribbon by her window as a sign for them to remember. Nobody touched this red ribbon for Rahab’s faith was alive.

As Christians today God wants us to get closer to Him so that we can be transformed from spiritual prostitution. Also, sometimes an act of faith can ask us to be quiet in certain things. When you pray don’t tell everyone you are praying for this and that, and definitely don’t go telling people that it was because of your prayers that this or that happened. Sometimes we have to keep silent and when we do this it will help our faith become strong. As Rahab put the red ribbon on her window, we as Christians must always think about the blood of Jesus. Every time people walk past you they must see the blood of Jesus in your life, which means forgiveness, repentance, joy etc. This is the result from the cross.

Because Rahab saved a man (or men) she also was saved, and from this time on she became the descendant of Jesus Christ. Faith without works is dead. You can have 5000 Bibles at home and you might know all the verses, but without works you are nothing before God. It’s true that Muslims have good works but they don’t have faith in Jesus Christ, and it’s true that Christians have faith in Jesus Christ but their works are not good. So why are good works missing for Christians? Do we lack good will? Do we neglect God’s Word? What is lacking because sometimes Christians are worse than pagans?

For example when a brother goes through a hard time some people rejoice or they think it is time to play music, and if someone succeeds we as Christians become angry. So when are we going to perform good works? Why do you spoil your faith by doing deeds not according to God’s Word? If this were so, then it would be better for you not to have faith in Jesus Christ.

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