Monday, April 4, 2011
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. [Hebrews 11:5-6 KJV]
I’ve written quite a bit about faith. That’s part of the Christian view that God requires faith, it is the foundation of our belief regarding salvation:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [Ephesians 2:8 KJV]
Sunday morning I was reminded that while God’s grace is all sufficient, our faith is not. Oh, I’ve known this and I’ve written of it, but it’s always a good thing to be reminded. Paul did an excellent job in his first letter to the church at Corinth:
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. [1 Corinthians 13:2-3 KJV]
Enough faith to move mountains, and it would be just like today’s graphic – nothing. Oh, that faith would comply with scripture, but would bear no fruit. Charity is important. That English word was translated in 1611 from the Greek word agape. In some places it was translated as love and in other places as charity.
I know people today who would frown if charity was offered to them, for the word has come to mean giving something to people in great physical need, and they don’t want to be seen as needy. Well, we are. I need the charity God has to offer, but I also need to have charity for others. That’s the point of James’ verse:
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. [James 2:17-18 KJV]
I could stay right here at home and tell God in prayer each and every day that I love Him, but if I do nothing with that love, I am simply confirming Paul’s conclusion: I am nothing.
It is up to us to do the works that accompany our faith, not because they will buy our way into heaven or even create friends for us here on earth. We do the works because we truly have the charity, the agape, the love of God showing through our lives. Each of those are only words, without the works. What’s your something?