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Faith, Not Works: Part 1

Have you ever heard of someone going to heaven because they fed the poor, volunteer in the soup kitchens, travels the world to preach the gospel, attends church 24/7, is kind to little children, or helps build missionary buildings? I never have! Why, you ask? Doesn't the Bible say that it's godly to possess charity? Yes (Matthew 5:7-9), but if you doubt and haven't accepted the Lord into your life, then your good works are pathetic (meaning that they will not get you into the kingdom). A relationship with Christ isn't based solely on what you do for Him, but rather on how much you believe. That's the purpose of this article: not strength and efforts alone, but your trust.
What is faith?

The definition of faith is complete trust. Hebrew 11:1 says, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, of things not seen." How can you believe in something you can't see? Let's look at some examples of daily life. You expect to receive a paycheck from your job, even though the boss doesn't flash the check before your eyes. Though you can't see the money, you are absolutely sure that you will receive payment for your work because you believe the company is going to render you fairly. Expecting that a vehicle to function properly, though you can't view what happens internally, is another example of faith. Individuals sometimes confuses it as "believing what you can see." Rather, it is the opposite: "seeing what you believe," or "believing what you can't see." Hope is "desire accompanied by expectation of fulfillment," but if you're satisfied already, there's nothing more to envision (see Romans 8:24).

Faith is imperative to Christianity. First, it's impossible to please God without faith (see Hebrews 11:6); Noah, believing that God would flood the world, built the Ark (Hebrews 11:7); Abraham's faith was counted for righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Believing is as important as godliness because without faith, there's no possibility of serving the Lord. How can an individual to trust in Him, and yet not confide in His abilities?. Second, faith produces many works. James 2:20 says "faith without works is dead." Can a woman perform the tasks of God, if she doesn't have confidence in the Almighty? When trouble arise, the person will immediately fall because she doesn't believe that nobody can deliver her out of affliction. A tree that is dead becomes chopped into many pieces because it's useless to keep it on the property; a car that's obsolete is either sold to another person or destroyed because it's an ineffective driving vehicle; faith, without works, ceases to exist because it becomes fruitless. If faith dies, how can a person trust God?
Salvation by faith, not works

The first verse that clues us to this is the infamous John 3:16-- "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes on him wont perish, but have eternal life." Why did God love this sinful world, which murdered His prophets, disobeyed His sacred and perfect laws, vainly attempted to overthrow His people, and acted wildly according to it's own lusts? The Old Testament testifies that "he will have mercy according to the size of his mercies." (Lamentations 3:32) This establishes that God is full of compassion, not because we put up pleasing performances, but because He is naturally kind. Giving His own Son to take away our sins illustrates how merciful God is. Again, not for our abilities, but because of our inabilities.

You're not "justified by the works of the law." (Galatians 2:16) Wasn't the law righteous? Yes indeed, but the purpose of the law was to act as a "schoolmaster" (Galatians 3:24), which explained to us what sin was (Romans 3:20). After we knew about sin, this "schoolmaster" then pointed to how we can rid ourselves of sin, which is now possible through faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24). If the "wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), then the wages of our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ is "everlasting life." (John 3:16, Romans 6:23) Hence, this verse is then correct: "If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." So then, am I saying that the other commandments of the Bible are made irrelevant? God forbid! "Do we make the law void through faith in Jesus Christ? No! Rather, we establish it through faith." (Romans 3:31) You are more able to uphold the Bible because your faith in Christ causes you to have an obedient heart, not the opposite. If you love Christ, then you'll obey Him (John 14:15), and to have the ability to comply requires trust (Romans 3:31). How does all this relate to salvation? Believing in Jesus Christ redeems you from sin to obeying God, and you're displaying your affection to Him when you keep His commandments. Therefore, works never brings a person to the kingdom that's after this life, only faith can. "Without faith, it's impossible to please God."

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