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"And I, when I am lifted from the earth, will draw all people to myself" ~Jesus Christ (John 12:32 ESV)

The Gratitude of Naomi (Ruth 2:17-23)

Posted by Aaron on May 4, 2010


So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.  And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. And her mother-in-law said to her, Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you. So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz. And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, May he be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead! Naomi also said to her, The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers. And Ruth the Moabite said, Besides, he said to me, You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest. And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted. So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

~Ruth 2:17-23

This time we look at what happens after Ruth’s first day of work.  She left to go and glean in the fields (very dangerous) and was richly blessed by God.  She brings out everything that she has gained through her labors and the generosity of Boaz and Naomi is shocked.  When Ruth left, they were expecting to get enough for 1-2 days.  Ruth returned with a couple weeks worth of food.  Additionally, she informs Naomi that she was offered a temp-job in the field of Boaz that would enable her to earn enough money to keep them going for a good while after harvest, likely a year, until the next harvest.

Naomi’s reaction is very important.  First, she is grateful.  This bitter old woman is beginning to soften up.  She is exceedingly grateful to Boaz, whom she may never have even met, for how generous he has been.

Second, she recognizes who these blessings ultimately came from: God.  She recognizes what James echos hundreds of years later that “every good and perfect gift comes from God.”  This is one that we can often lose site of.  We may be thankful to the person, but often forget the God who gave you the very breath with which you said thanks.  We should continually remember that each breath, each gift, each person and everything we have in our life is a gift.  The truth is we could never deserve anything but death, and the fact that you are still reading this is a gift from God (or maybe a trial, you decide).

My main point is that we need to recognize the generosity of others and God, and be grateful.  Living out of a grateful heart, especially in light of what Christ has done for us on the Cross, completely changes your attitude for the better.

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Some Questions for This Monday’s Study

Posted by Aaron on April 26, 2010


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Christians Don’t Have Curse Words

Posted by Aaron on April 21, 2010


An interesting observation. Not saying I necessarily agree with everything, but I know where he’s coming from, for sure. Who’s up for making a new vocabulary of Christian-curse words? Any suggestions? Post them below 😉

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The 4 Ways You Can Live Your Life

Posted by Aaron on April 14, 2010


I was listening to a sermon from Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church recently and he spoke of this idea that there are 4 different ways we can choose to live our lives.  I tried to find the video online to repost here but I couldn’t so I’ll do my best to summarize what he says.

The concept he speaks of comes out of a book called Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro.  The first way we can live our lives is through Reaction.  These are the people who are always running, because something happened, and they have to deal with it NOW.  This can often result in a person who always kowtows to others’ demands/requests, can’t say no, etc.  It’s always GO, never BE.  These people have difficulty pulling back to get their time with Jesus.  They are always letting the circumstances dictate their behavior and results in constant chaos and urgency.

Conformity is the second option.  This often results in the fear-of-man, being a people pleaser, wanting people to like you and say nice things about you.  Obedient, moral, compliant are words that are used to describe this person, along with being really nice, sweet and totally ineffective.  They are often pushed around by demanding people, and don’t know how to say “no”.  These people are never able to pursue God’s calling, because they are too busy being “called” by everyone else.

The third option is Independent.  This tends to be me.  These people prefer to try to function on their own, they don’t join their local Bible Studies, and if they do they don’t really participate.  They have difficulty submitting to authority, and doing what their pastor or leaders tell them to do.  They don’t let others speak into their life.  They prefer to live anonymously and rebelliously.  “I do what I think.  I do what I need.  I do what I want.  I’m in control.  I’m in charge.  I’m very smart.  No one has any right to exercise any spiritual authority over me.”  You are your own god, and that is your authority.

The final and best option is Intentionality.  This person intentionally avoids the first three and focuses on and includes the following.  Retreating from your life, to focus on your life and organize your life, then reengage your life.  Poor yourself out, do what you need to do, then come back, review what you’ve done, do what you need to get refilled (pray, read, study, relax, enjoy, be), and then go back and continue doing what God has called you to do.  These people also can say “no”.  Because they know what God has called them to do, they can recognize when things for them, that otherwise might be good things, are off mission.  Not everything that is a good thing needs to be done by you, God may have called you to something else.  Doing it sometimes is fine, but if you allow your life to get wrapped up by something that is not your primary calling then you aren’t doing what you were created for, and God will not be fully glorified by your actions.

Jesus lived His life intentionally.  Did Jesus heal?  Yes.  But did Jesus allow healing to become the foundation and purpose of His ministry?  No.  Healing is a good thing, and as Jesus went, He healed people.  However His mission was to renew the hearts and lives of His people, and ultimately to die for their redemption.  Jesus never allowed things that were good to get in the way of what He had been sent to accomplish.

I hope this encourages you as it has encouraged me.  Take a few minutes today to evaluate how you tend to live your life, and how you can live your life better, to the glory of Jesus Christ.

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What’s Wrong with The Shack?

Posted by Aaron on March 29, 2010


The Shack is a book that many Christians today are singing it’s praises.  Many claim that the book is very insightful, a great story, and Biblically accurate.  However nothing could be further from the truth.  This book is in-fact very heretical, not Biblically accurate, and potentially damaging to a Christian’s walk.  The following video from Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA details why this book is not what many claim it to be.

There are essentially 4 reasons why this pastor claims the book is heretical.  First is that is violates the second commandment of making a graven image of God the Father.  Second is that it encourages goddess worship.  Third is that it denies any authority or rank amongst the trinity.  And fourth is that it teaches Modalism, which is that there is one god who takes on different forms.  These are all unbiblical, and completely refuted in scripture.

Can some good come out of The Shack?  Yes.  God has a knack for drawing straight lines with crooked sticks.  However this book does have some glaring faults and in my humble opinion should not be at the top of the bestsellers lists.

For more on the theological errors of The Shack, check out these reviews below:

Bad Theology Meets Bad Writing – amazon.com

The Shack Reviewed by Scott Lindsey of theresurgence.com

A false god – amazon.com

A Review of The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by Glenn R. Kreider of Dallas Theological Seminary

Universalist Mysticism Masquerading As A Christian Novel – amazon.com

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What is a Godly Woman? Ruth 2:1-16

Posted by Aaron on March 23, 2010


“Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor. And she said to her, Go, my daughter. So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, The LORD be with you! And they answered, The LORD bless you. Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, Whose young woman is this? And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers. So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.

Then Boaz said to Ruth, Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn. Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner? But Boaz answered her, All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge! Then she said, I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.

And at mealtime Boaz said to her, Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine. So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

~Ruth 2:1-16

This week we look at the concept of a godly woman. Every woman has the potential to be godly, however the concept is often poorly defined for women today. This is not because the Bible isn’t clear, but because our culture doesn’t like what it says. The Bible is blatantly clear about what a godly woman looks like and what women were created for and created to do (the same is also true of men). The problem is that when most women look at it, they don’t want it. The common belief about what the Bible says about women is that it is male driven, and demeaning to women. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is that the Bible holds women in much higher esteem than probably any other religion in the world. There is no other religion I am aware of where if one woman is raped, a whole city is killed (Genesis 34), or where men are commanded (not suggested) to NOT be harsh with their wife. The Bible in fact shows more dignity and respect to women than most give it credit for.

In this passage we see a few things in Ruth that are very characteristic of what God wants his women to be. First, she is humble. Ruth humbles herself to go and glean, which can be very demeaning, and is reserved only for the lowest of Hebrew society. Ruth willingly humbles herself to perform this service for her mother-in-law. Ruth also trusts in God. Gleaning was also very dangerous, especially for a foreign woman. This is the very reason that Boaz offers her his protection, because if she went to another field then she could be assaulted, raped or even killed. Ruth trusted God to provide for her safety, which He did.

Another thing that we see is that her reputation precedes her. She has built a reputation of being faithful and honoring to God and her mother-in-law in a very short time. Her reputation is so great that Boaz knows all about her before they had ever met. This is a principle that is often true, both good and bad. Women tend to have a reputation either of godliness, or not godliness. This reputation is often known by many people before she ever meets them. This means that people will often make up their mind about someone before they ever meet them because of their reputation, this is why it is so important.

She also is a very hard worker. Ruth works very hard, and takes only a brief rest, then goes back to work. Harvesting grain is hard work, period. And she did it, didn’t complain, and did it well. The fact is that women, and men, should work hard, without complaint. Ruth is also a respectful woman. A godly woman is respectful of the men God has placed in her life. Now, this does not include all men who happen to be in her life. It does however include her father, husband, pastor, and any other male authority figure that God has placed over her. The fact is that these men are placed there by God to both lead, provide for, and protect her. And for this reason they should to be respected.

The last resource for the attributes of a godly woman is spoken of in Proverbs 31 starting in verse 10. In this passage of scripture God saw fit to have this one woman written of in scripture. She is a very godly woman, and is the example in scripture of the ideal woman. This passage should be on every girl’s mirror or door to read regularly and compare herself to. This is a goal and something to aspire towards.

I pray this helps women learn the Biblical truths about what God created womanhood to be, because it is truly beautiful to see God’s creation at it’s best. I pray that the women who look at the Bible and disagree will realize that they are disagreeing not just with Paul, or Peter, or Moses, or the Bible, but with God. I pray that men would be men of God, and would seek to provide an environment where a woman can flourish into this, as opposed to trying to force it, which never works. And lastly I pray that God is glorified by both our masculinity and our femininity as we pursue righteousness through His son, Jesus Christ.  God bless.

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What is a Worthy Man? (Ruth 2:1-16)

Posted by Aaron on March 16, 2010


“Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.  And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor. And she said to her, Go, my daughter.  So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech.  And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, The LORD be with you! And they answered, The LORD bless you.  Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, Whose young woman is this?  And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab.  She said, Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers. So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.

Then Boaz said to Ruth, Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women.  Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.  Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?  But Boaz answered her, All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before.  The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!  Then she said, I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.

And at mealtime Boaz said to her, Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine. So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.  When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her.  And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

~Ruth 2:1-16

This time we look at only one side of this passage.  We look at the attributes of a godly man, and the next time we will look at the attributes of a godly woman.  Both are exemplified in this passage and it’s a good place to discuss what they look like.  For the men, being a godly man should be our ultimate goal.  Every man wants to be respected, therefore it would be prudent to follow a life worthy of respect.  That is the very thing that makes a man godly.

In this passage we see some very godly attributes in the character of Boaz.  First, he spends time with his employees.  Most employers won’t show up in the middle (heat) of the day and bring his employees lunch.  That is exactly what happens.  Boaz shows up, greets his employees with a blessing, which they return, and he fixes them a barbecue.  I want a boss like that (actually I have one, but that’s beside the point).

Second, he’s a protector.  In that culture it was very dangerous to go gleaning, the equivalent of the soup kitchen or welfare, especially for a woman, and even more so for a foreign woman.  Boaz offers her protection forbidding his workers from doing her any harm (maybe threats, that’s how I read it).  He also offers to let her come back to his field so she doesn’t have to risk going into another field where she may be harmed.

Third, he is gentle and honoring to women.  Here is a woman who is not a virgin, may have come out of a pagan background, is from the country of Moab, and in general women wouldn’t have been highly esteemed.  This man recognizes that women too are created in the image and likeness of God with dignity, value, worth and purpose.  He treats her the way Peter says women should be treated, with gentleness and respect.

Fourth, he provides for her.  A man is to be a provider.  That is his role given by God.  A good man will work hard, work smart, and do whatever is necessary to provide for his family.  A real man is driven by a willingness to provide for his family’s every need.

The second passage that we looked at was 1 Timothy 3:1-7 where Paul tells us what the standard of a man is.  This is the passage by which all men should measure themselves continually, whether they want to go into formal ministry or not.  A man who fits this description, or aspires to do so, WILL, by God’s grace, be a good husband and a good father.  And that is what we are lacking in our society, men who can lead their families in godly ways, for the glory of Christ.

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Family of New Birth (Ruth 1:19-22)

Posted by Aaron on February 25, 2010


“So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, Is this Naomi?  She said to them, Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.  I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?

So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.”

Ruth 1:19-22

This lesson took place shortly after my father passed away.  Therefore the topic of the Family of New Birth had a new-found meaning for me and my family.

This week we see that as Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem everyone takes notice.  This is interesting for us today because in a city of hundreds, maybe a few thousand, people noticed who was new.  How many of us today in our church of a couple hundred notice when someone new walks in the door.  This is something that the people of God commonly fall down on.  Just something for us to think about.

As we continue on with the passage, we see that Naomi has some pent up anger.  She has lost everything that she held dear in this world, and is, rightly or wrongly, a little bitter.   There are many who would rebuke Naomi here, saying that she shouldn’t feel this way toward God.  However I would say that we should look less at what she feels and look more at what she is doing with those feelings.  She has run to God and His people.  Regardless of how she feels, she has come to the right place, and is confessing what she is feeling.  My question to you is: when all hell breaks loose, and things are going horrible, and you’re angry at the world or even God, what do you do?  Who do you turn to?  For the Christian the answer should be to your Family of New Birth.

The Family of New Birth is your Christian family.  These are the people who have, like you if you are a Christian, placed their faith in Christ, and come together to form His Church.  The benefits of the Family of New Birth are many, so I will simply list the benefits that our family experienced at the loss of my father.  It was a 40 minute drive for my wife and I up to my parents home, and less than 5-10 minutes after we got there, our pastor was there to do what he could for us.  There were many of our church family who came up to spend some time with us, and to cry with us, and many more who would have come had they not been told to wait.  We needed money to help with some of the affairs, and it was given.  We needed support, and it was given.  We needed prayers, and they were prayed.  Through our church family, within hours we had thousands of people praying for us, some we had never met, in states we had never been to.  That kind of mobilization and support is only possible in the Family of God.

So I would just like to take this time to reflect on the Family given to us by God.  By His saving work on the cross, and the power of the Holy Spirit, we are connected.  And through His power we can make it through anything this world has to throw at us.  Is it easy?  No.  But that is why we have been given the Family of God, to support and build one another up.

My question to you is only this: are you participating in the Family of God?  Who would be there for you?  Who would you be there to support?

I hope my story helps you understand the wonders of the Family of God.  Thank you for being my brothers and sisters.  God bless.

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Discernment and Right Judgment (Ruth 1:6-18)

Posted by Aaron on February 24, 2010


“Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the LORD had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The LORD grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband! Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said to her, No, we will return with you to your people. But Naomi said, Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me. Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

And she said, See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law. But Ruth said, Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you. And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.”

Ruth 1:6-18

This time in Ruth we looked at the above passage.  Naomi is on her way back to Bethlehem, and the three women stop to have a conversation.  Naomi recognizes that it is too much to ask that her daughters-in-law accompany her back to Bethlehem.  It will be very dangerous, they won’t know anyone, and they will have nothing of familiarity.  On top of that Naomi does not need someone who is not committed to her to come with her.  The last thing she needs is to depend on someone, and have them leave.  So we see Naomi encourage her daughters to go back to their own culture and family.  We see that Orpah (**cough, Oprah, cough**) does indeed leave, however Ruth commits to going with Naomi and staying with her for the remainder of her life.

There are two main topics that I see in this story.  The first is discernment.  Naomi, having lived with both of her daughters for at least a fair amount of time, would have known they’re character very well.  This means that Naomi knew the outcome of this conversation before they had it.  Ruth and Orpah are very different in that one is a Christian (OT version) and the other isn’t.

Ruth has had a genuine conversion.  She is selflessly faithful to Naomi, and trusts God.  It has been said that the faith of Ruth might have even been greater than that of Abraham.  Abraham left his family, culture and people on the hopes that God had something better for him in store.  Ruth did the same except for one thing: Ruth never heard from God.  Ruth was never told by God what to do, and that is the reason her faith might be the greatest in scripture.

Orpah on the other hand goes where there is the most gain.  She makes the selfish decision to return to Moab, and her family.  And Naomi makes the right observation that she is also returning to her gods as well.  Naomi knew that, though Orpah appeared to be a Christian, she wasn’t.  That is why I believe that Naomi gave her the opportunity to leave, knowing she would, for both her and Ruth’s benefit.

The second topic is that of right judging.  People today have some naive notion that Christians aren’t supposed to judge people.  Now, like most lies, this is half true.  We do not have authority to pass judgment as to whether someone is going to hell or not.  However, using the clues we have around us we do have to pass judgment as to whether someone is a benefit for us to be around.  Naomi knew that if Orpah was the person that she thought she was, she was going to be a bad influence on both her and Ruth.  Now, Naomi did not condemn Orpah, merely allowed her to do what she really wanted.  We as Christians do need to look at the fruits one one’s life and decide whether or not we should be around them.  Proverbs is full of stories where people choosing the wrong friends, and pay the consequences of it.  Just because someone claims the name of Christ, doesn’t mean they are good to be around.  Even Jesus had Judas among the twelve.

So the lesson for this week is on being discerning.  Pay attention to the little things.  And don’t be afraid to pass judgment on what you see.  We as Christians are to call sin, sin.  Simply be cautious in how you go about it, and do everything out of love, and for their good, and the building up of the Church.  God bless.

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James 2:14-26

Posted by Aaron on February 19, 2010


From Tyler Hamilton-Graves

Reading Time: About 3 Minutes

In our study of James 2:14-26 we covered the topic of what faith in Christ will produce, being the evidence of true faith and how this relates to justification before God throughout our life.

James begins the passage with a series of questions creating a picture of dead faith. The scenario of a brother or sister poorly clothed and lacking in daily food and being denied the help needed by someone who claims to have faith is an example that we may often see in our world today. Proclaiming Jesus Christ as your savior, but not acting in love for your brother or sister, as James puts it, or your neighbor, as the example Jesus gives in the story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), is what James calls dead faith.

To answer the question in verse 14, “Can that faith save him,” the answer is no. When we are saved, we are brought to life. This faith of this person who lacks the action demanded in this scenario is dead and someone with dead faith is dead himself.

The following video depicts this well. It shows two men so wrapped in themselves, that when a man asks for help these men who claim faith in Jesus do little to help and show none of the evidence of faith that James writes of.

The faith of a saved soul shows love for its God and for His image bearers.

In verse 18 James challenges a critic who might say, “You have faith and I have works.” James makes the case that faith and works can not be separated for a true believer. The evidence of faith is the good works. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

James continues to give an example of faith without works and the evil of such a thing in verse 19. He gives a very illuminating statement: “Even the demons believe-and shudder!” Satan and the demons know much. They know the scriptures well and enjoy playing mind games with God’s children. They know God is real, they know “God is one,” Satan is a fallen angel. If you have faith without works, like the demons do, what good is such faith?

The last adjective James uses to describe this dead faith, this demon faith, is “useless.” Verse 20: “Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?” James is strongly concerned about his readers having this wrong idea about faith. He calls them fools with useless faith. It can be translated as empty, idle, vain or ineffective faith.

Hebrews chapter 11 is a great example of what faith producing works looks like. In this chapter we see many examples of actions taken by faith. One example is verse 24 and following, “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”

The examples James gives of Abraham and Rahab are just as significant (verses 21-26).

A question asked at the end of the study: Paul taught that we are justified by faith, while James in this passage teaches “a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (verse 24). Look at how James explains this. How is this seeming contradiction resolved?

There is a sermon recommended in response to this question. In August of 1999 John Piper delivered the sermon, “Does James Contradict Paul?” Pastor Piper does a great job on the subject. The sermon can be found for free in audio form and in transcript here.

More Questions:

What does Luke 19:1-10 reveal about saving faith and it brings about in a person? How does it relate to what James is getting across?

Read 2 Corinthians 13:5. How does this verse strike you? How are we to test ourselves?

Examine your life. Does it show evidence of saving faith? What can and will you do to grow in your faith that produces the works that God has prepared for all believers?

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