"You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar: You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to Him as righteousness, ‘ and he was called the friend of God."
My motive for this devotional is not to make anyone feel judged or condemned, but it is to reveal the truth in God’s Word. My heart is deeply grieved that the majority of people I know who profess to be Christians have no idea what that means according to Scripture. Because you have a knowledge of Jesus and believe He is who He said He was doesn’t make you a Christian. To declare you are a Christian you are taking on the name of Christ. That comes with serious responsibility and accountability to give up your will for His. It means you must deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him. More importantly, to be His disciple He must have first place in your life, and you must love Him above all else. You must be willing to die for Him as He was willing to die for you. That is according to Scripture. It is not my opinion. I gained this knowledge from reading the Bible and meditating on His Word day and night as Scripture says.
Most professing Christians I know and love do not have this understanding. That is because we are a Bible illiterate church. There is no accountability in most churches to live according to God’s ordinances and truth. Nothing is really required except to show up. The sad part about this is the blind are leading the blind, because no one knows what the Bible has to say about Biblical church order.the order.
James, the half brother of Jesus, is revealing to the church just to believe and shudder at the name of Jesus doesn’t make you His disciple. Remember, even the demons do this. We have to be transformed by the renewing of our minds which requires an ongoing knowledge of God’s Word.The ultimate result of truly being saved is evolving into His bondservant as all the disciples professed.
Knowing the demons believe and shudder at HIs name, when was the last time you have seen, or have you shuddered with fear and reverence because of the greatness and holiness of the Christ? Or do you qualify along with the foolish fellow who doesn’t understand, and claiming to have faith without works, which makes us useless in the body of Christ? To be a follower of Christ we must become a servant of all if we want to be great in His kingdom.
James then gives us Abraham as an example of faith with works that justified his faith and were counted unto him as righteousness. Please notice Abraham was acting out of obedience to what God asked him to do. He wasn’t acting out of his own will. It was an act performed from hearing the voice of God, and acting out of obedience. Therefore it wasn’t a "dead work" which is when we do our will in His name.
Notice how sacrifice is God’s love language. It also has to become our language of love to profess ourselves Christians. That means we are willing to become a living sacrifice daily declaring our entire life belongs to God. This is the truth from God’s Word.
All of the disciples of Christ died for their faith. John’s was a longer, slower death, for he was placed in solitude on the island of Patmos til he died. These men gave their lives for the truth of what it really means when you claim you are a Christian. They spoke the Words of Jesus, which is the only absolute truth we have. The Bible was written under the inspiration of God Almighty who created man and woman. It was written from a source much bigger than His arrogant created beings.
They were not the majority. They were a minority then and they are now. John the Baptist was Jesus’ first cousin, and he was beheaded for revealing sin to leadership and authority who didn’t want to hear the truth. They loved their sinful desires that eventually ruined their lives and those around them. So I ask you as I ask myself, do you still want to claim the name of Christ, because it will cost you everything you cling to without Him — that is on this earth. If you truly believe He is your Saviour, then it requires He become your Lord for you to become His disciple. Read the Bible for yourself. Allow it to set the standard for your life before it is too late.
I come into agreement with Paul as he proclaims:
"More than that, I count all things as loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ. Phillippians 3:8
"…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." Phillippians 3:10
My heart is heavily burdened for us to recognize how serious it is to proclaim ourselves to be His when we have no idea who He is. Notice God called Abraham His friend! Do you believe He can call you His friend? Paul is saying there is no price that is too high to pay to know Christ. Knowing Christ involves suffering in our flesh. But what we lose in our flesh is rubbish compared to gaining the love of our Christ and learning to love Him and each other as He does us. To know Him and have the power of the resurrection, we must know the fellowship of His sufferings being conformed to His death. The death is in surrendering your will for His. But it truly is where we gain life. He is the Lifegiver! It will be so worth it when we see Him face to face! I want to conclude with the Words of Jesus Himself:
"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. and he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. "
I would like to testify to you after living almost 66 years this is a true word. I have lost much in life at times for my faith, but oh what I have gained in seeking the arms of God during my times of suffering! He truly has become my all in all, and I have found His love to be more than enough for my needs. In my weaknesses He is my strength. He is the One who keeps me going as I rely on His promises. Only He has the Words of Life. There is no other source. I ask you to decide from the Word of God if you truly want to be a Christian. Jesus tells us to stop and count the cost, but just calling yourself a Christian doesn’t make it so. Jesus said you will know them by their fruit, not their gifts. The fruit of the Spirit is the character of God. We will always be struggling Christians as we daily battle our selfish flesh. We know the flesh wars against the Spirit, and it will not end until we shed this fleshly body with all its selfish desires. As long as there is repentance, there will always be forgiveness and cleansing. Jesus is the way; He made the way. You have to decide to follow it. I do not believe you will ever regret following Him. But if you choose to reject Him you have everything to lose, including your family.
In His love.
I always linger on runs at the top of Fisher’s Peak for obvious reasons. Watching the birds soaring just below us inspires our "eagle’s stance!" 😊