Faith Through Works?
The Book of James has played an instrumental role in my study of the Bible. One of the things I like most is the repetitive nature that James uses to drive home “faith without works is dead”. Being as hard-headed as I am it’s important to have most ideas, sayings and teachings told or shown to me multiple times. On rare occasions I will get it on the first go but it helps me, a lot, to have something repeated multiple times so I am better able to digest whatever it is that is coming at me.
Does Paul contradict himself in Ephesians? Paul, in other books of the Bible, says in effect the law is fulfilled and it is by belief and faith that delivers us to Jesus Christ. The law says pray, carry the message and deliver whatever we are carrying to God and offer it to Him. These are in essence “doing something”.
What I learned in AA is carrying the message to those that suffer is paramount to staying clean and sober. It is the difference between not drinking and being clean and sober. If a person simply doesn’t drink, well, they aren’t “doing” anything to maintain a healthy disposition. In our Christian life we are to carry the Gospel to others and in doing so we maintain a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ, continually invite the Holy Spirit into our lives and into our environment and we maintain a connection with God that fills our hearts and minds with love instead of other things. Paul, once again, details what this looks like in our lives.
Ephesians 4 NKJV
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head —Christ—
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.