Friday, September 16, 2011

What We Say and How We Live

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)
Here, Jesus poses a sobering question to His disciples and the surrounding multitude. ‘Why do you profess one thing and live another?’ In the parallel passage in Matthew, we read:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
We must learn that our acceptance into heaven is not a matter of us knowing the Lord, but is solely dependent on Him knowing us (see Matt. 7: 23). Furthermore, we can’t simply profess our faith in Christ — we must “do what He tells us” and live out that faith, lest we deceive ourselves.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. (James 1:22-26)
Guys, it might be easy enough to impress people with a superficial profession of faith in Christ, but remember, one day you will be called to give an account before God and He won’t be deceived! You may be able to convince your friends that you are living a life of devotion to Christ, but are you really? Be honest. Do you say “Lord, Lord” but completely ignore what He tells you? True faith is never exercised in a vacuum; It bears fruit in the lives of those who possess it, and is characterized by obedience to God’s commands.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27)
Lest we drift into legalism, remember that faith is impossible for those to whom it has not been given by God. This isn’t something we can conjure up ourselves. Only God can grant saving faith, and only He can draw us to Himself and preserve us from our own hypocrisy, giving us the grace to continue in obedience before Him.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

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