The Response of Faith!
The Jewish Christians were teaching the Gentile converts that they had to be circumcised and follow the law. Paul addressed the issue by showing in the O.T. that the promise was by faith and not by works. Abraham was saved by faith, not works, a prelude to God's grace, before he was circumcised (Gen. 15:5, 6, 16; 16:1-3; 17:1, 10, 23-27; Acts 10:47; 1 Cor 7:18-19; Gal. 5:6; 3:11; 6:15; James 2:21-26). Faith, not works, provides righteousness; faith, not ritual, or religion, or wages we earn can we brag about (Rom. 7:18).
· Faith is not feelings or emotions; it cannot be defined in subjective ways.
· Faith is not passive, but is a response, by knowledge and belief, through agreement and trust, demonstrated by obedience and commitment.
· Faith involves our will being surrendered to God's will, involving all of our being-heart, mind, and soul; all sealed by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 10:14).
· Abraham, without a Bible and past history to rely on, believed in God's promises. · Faith is directed to a real and personal God who loved us first.
· Faith is not just obedience, nor is it in an object or idea. It is through faith we receive Christ.
· Faith excludes all other means of obtaining righteousness. The world believes that through pious acts, a person can earn his or her way, because God is love and will not reject the good. The Bible tells us we have no good. God had Abraham wait for his child of promise to remove the "human equation" and strength, so only reliance on God was left.
· The response of faith is developing the fruits of character (Isa. 40; Gal 5:22-23).
· Faith is not sanctification; faith is a result thereof, not a cause.The promise of salvation is through what Christ has done, and through our faith.If we try to go to God by our works, we are attempting to cheat grace and nullify its purpose and greatness.
· David's redemption (2 Sam .11; Psalm 32) was by repentance and then forgiveness, yet there was still the consequence (2 Sam. 12).
· Our salvation is accomplished by believing by faith, as Abraham did. Abraham looked toward the promise; we look back. Faith and promise go together as bread and butter, as Law and works. When we have a right relationship with God, our natural response will be to do as He pleases for us to do, out of our love and gratitude for what He did (2 Cor. 5:14).
· Our service must be motivated by our love, not an obligation or some kind of payback or barter. Abraham is our spiritual father, as he is the father of the Jewish nation (Matt. 3:7-9). He did not flounder at God's promises (Phil. 4:19). He ignored his abilities and wealth and possible actions, and trusted God (Isa. 55:8-9). He praised God and believed, even before God did anything for him (Isa. 40:15; Eph. 3:20).He is our example! · Since we have been given faith, we must live it out and not let it fall lifeless (Gal 5:6; Eph. 2:10).
· James, chapter two, is not expressing "works-righteousness" as Catholic doctrine teaches; it is the outward expression of the proof and response of faith that has been received. Our works are only accepted by God because of what Christ has done on our behalf (Gal 5:17)
· Being prideful and arrogant is a slap in the face of our good and great God! We are to exercise humbleness, and reset ourselves to the example of our Lord Jesus Christ of goodness. We may not understand God's plans and purposes, but we can rest assured in His love; He is there, loving us, even when we do not feel it or see it. He is there! Glorious times will come-if not in this life, then in the life to come. Paul, even in his sufferings, adored the depths of God's wisdom, and the glory of His persevering love. God's judgments are pure and perfect; He is sovereign, so we have firm reason to trust Christ, casting away our anxieties and fears.
1.Faith, not works, provides righteousness. So, why does the world place the emphasis on being a good person and doing good works?
2.Is there a difference between boasting, or being glad of your position and communicating it to others?
3.When do we cross the line from confidence to pride?
4.Faith is not a feeling or emotion; so, how can it be defined without using subjective (feeling based) answers?
5.How can you keep faith from being passive? How can you demonstrate it?
6.Faith involves our will being surrendered to God's will. So, how can you do this?
7.Abraham, without a Bible or past history to rely on, believed in God's promises. How does his faith compare to yours? (Remember, you have a track record to look to in the Word and the testimonies of others!) Why would Abraham, a rich and prosperous man, feel he needed God and His promise? Why would he bother?
8.Abraham did not flounder at God's promises (Phil. 4:19). So, what can you do to take to your heart and mind God's goodness even when your world is crashing down?
9.Paul is writing about hope and faith in the mist of horrible persecution, wars, diseases, church strife, and chaos we can barely comprehend. So, how can you capture that passion for your life and ministry?
10. Abraham ignored his abilities, wealth, and possible actions, and trusted God. What do you have to ignore? Abraham praised God and believed, before God did anything for him. What has God done for you that you can praise Him for?