Belief Trap

James 2:20

Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?

Salvation begins with believing Jesus Christ is who He claims to be.

Belief is more than a wish or superstition. Real belief is built on facts, logic, and experience. Yet some people, after battling and working through the reasoning process, think that is all there is. Why? Didn’t Jesus himself say that if you believe on him you will receive eternal life?

From what I remember my psychology classmates telling me, belief is the centerpiece of action. Belief leads to action. We act upon what we believe. From our central belief system lies our values and worldview. But if we believe and do not act upon those beliefs, then do we truly believe?

James writes in his letter that belief without action is dead. He likens it to the body without a spirit: dead.

Belief is demonstrated through its fruit. An orange tree may have hundreds of green balls (the real color of oranges before the factories paint them for resale to the public) hanging on its branches, but when you take one from the tree and begin to peel it only to find dryness in the inside, don’t you throw it away? It may look like an orange hanging on the tree with other oranges, but is it a healthy orange?

Belief in Jesus Christ is like taking an escalator in a high-rise shopping mall. We start on the first floor and the moving steps take us higher unto other floors with more stores to discover. After we experience the 2nd floor, we take the escalator up to the next floor, and the next floor, and the next floor, where we discover more. Belief in Jesus Christ is, in a poor analogy, the escalator that takes you to places where you can experience real life.

Real life begins with believing Jesus Christ is the Messiah promised to the Jewish and Gentile nation back when Adam and Eve were discharged from the garden. When that fact hits us in the head and heart, our values and worldview begin to change and leads us to action which demonstrate our belief in Jesus Christ as King and Savior. Yet inaction may not tell the whole story on some who believe but are frozen from doing good work. Some may believe but be lazy; a character flaw. Others may believe, but are ensnared by the world’s glitter. And others may believe, but be angry with God and like a 2-year-old still pouting in the corner until lesson learned.  So, we need to be extra careful and not condemn the heart of others. Instead, let’s first pray for our brothers and sisters and let God lead us how best to relate with them. Maybe God will open a door for you to discuss the situation and help restore your sister/brother into a closer relationship with Him. Or bring another solution for their struggle. Either way, if God makes you aware of a problem, He will lead you.

Is that not what turning belief into action all about? Therefore, doesn’t our actions demonstrate our beliefs?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Faith of Christ

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2:16 KJV

faith 1

So many translations; so many different opinions. What is a person suppose to believe?

There is debate among Biblical scholars that the verse in Galatians 2:16 is correctly written in the King James Version. Newer Bible versions have altered the meaning by using the word “in” versus “of.” (I have underline the two places above). The problem is the meaning. When we use the word “of” we are placing the emphasis on Jesus’ faith. When the word “in” is used, we are placing the emphasis on our faith.

I will leave the scholarly details for those who are better trained to educate. Instead, I will simply say that I lean toward the KJV interpretation because it makes more sense from a holistic basis.

If I am justified based on my faith, than what is the difference between human works of law and human works of faith? Both employ an emphasis on saving oneself by oneself.

On the other hand, if I am justified by the faith of Christ, than it is not my work, but Christ’s work. He made it all happen and grants us the grace to accept it.

My part is to believe in Him. He lived, died, and was resurrected on our behalf. He is the cornerstone. The faith or trust that I have in Jesus is because He did it, is doing it, and will accomplish it. He made it all possible.

Even the faith that I have in him is a gift from him. Through the Holy Spirit, he has empowered us to believe. Yes, I had to acknowledge that Jesus is who he claims to be. Yes, I had to ask for the Holy Spirit. And yes, I submit to the authority of the Father/Son/Spirit.

It is a relief that my tiny belief is being upheld by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Isn’t that simply a breath-taking, grace-filled, and life-giving fact that makes one more thankful and grateful for our Triune God sharing His life with us without heaping religious burdens on us? I for one am more at peace for placing trust in Jesus’ faith than in my own. How about you?

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married