Thursday, July 28, 2011

faith without works is dead.

inspiration: tonight's message at theWell

tonight, we went through Romans 2:5-11 and focused on how as believers, we are judged by God. but as believers, we aren't judged for our salvation - once we believe, we are saved by our faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) - but we are judged by our actions.

Ernest spoke about how God judges our faith by our actions and how our faith is proven by our obedience. it kind of pricked my heart tonight. are my actions displaying my faith??

a few months ago, my small group went through the book of James and it was an absolutely powerful study and i really enjoyed it. James 2:17 states: "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

most of the time, we as humans get it backwards.
we try and earn faith through actions. but that's simply not how it is.
read through Romans chapters 1-3 and you'll soon learn how lost we are.

Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God"

But Christ alone redeemed us through his death and resurrection

Romans 3:24: "and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

those two verses are powerful! it shows us God's infinite mercy and grace in that even though we are separated from God because of sin, we have been justified freely by Christ.

we get it backwards.
we think we can earn it.
we think if we do enough "good things" we are justified.

but when we turn ourselves around and come to faith, what then?
i feel like, as a body, sometimes, we tend to try and float by on faith.
but true faith, RADICAL faith, is lived out through actions and obedience.

i don't want people to say of me "oh, Nikki. she is a good person"
i don't want to just be a "good person".
i want to be a person sold out for Christ.
i want people to say "Nikki loves Jesus with all her heart"

i can't do that by just floating by on faith.
i can only do that by serving.
studying the Word.
surrounding myself with others who push me closer to God.
stepping out in faith.

it's not easy.
but faith isn't meant to be easy.
we aren't promised "ease". in fact, the opposite is true: we are promised suffering!

in my Bible, John 15:18-27 is titled with "the world hates the disciples"
John 16:33, Jesus states we WILL have trouble but to take heart because He has overcome the world.
Paul writes about suffering and rejoicing in his sufferings for the sake of Christ all throughout the New Testament.

faith is shown persevering through it all.
faith is shown by being radical and humbling ourselves and serving others.

Romans 2:7-8: "To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger."

i want to be one who seeks glory and honor, not self-seeking pleasures.
it's hard.
it won't be easy.
but i want to be a true woman running passionately toward Christ.
not someone who just floats on faith.

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