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Working faith essential

Word of the Week Sept. 2

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POSTED: September 19, 2007 5:05 a.m.
Christians have always had a high work ethic.  The annual celebration of Labor Day, the first Monday of September each year, reflects this. Hard work can raise our standard of living and provide the necessities of life.
Work also has eternal significance.  James 2:21 asks, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?” The expected answer is Yes.  Does this mean God grants access to heaven on the basis of our works, our so-called good deeds?  No!  Titus 3:5 answers. “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”  We do not merit heaven.  Salvation is by grace on the basis of God’s mercy.
What about our works? We may translate James 2:21 like this. “Was not Abraham our father vindicated by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?” Jesus uses the same word when He says, “Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds” (Matthew 11:19).
If we say we are Christians and we trust Christ, how we live should vindicate our faith. Christianity involves “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). “Faith without works is useless” (James 2:20). Consider this carefully. Works are never meritorious but good works are necessary.
 

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