Wednesday, December 4, 2013

If We Divorce Our Actions from Our Beliefs, We Are Left with "Dead Works"

"Faith is the substance of things HOPED for, the evidence of things NOT seen." 

In that light, our faith consists of those things for which we hope but for which we have no objective evidence that has been observed.  I have not seen the resurrected Lord, and I have not heard him tell me personally what he taught in the Bible (and, I believe, elsewhere), but I absolutely hope he was right and his words are true.  That is my hope - that he really will accept me and my sincere efforts to do what he has told me to do - that he will "find favor with me". 

At a deeper level, how we act (the things we do or our "works") is the manifestation of that faith - the "evidence" that we really do believe what we can't see but for which we hope.  That's why James said so simply, "Faith without works is dead, being alone." 

If we divorce our actions from our beliefs, we are left with "dead works" - since there is nothing that animates those beliefs and makes them "living" (which, interestingly, means "capable of growth and change").  "Repentance", at the root, means nothing more than "change" - and when we act without an intent to change, we become "dead" (or nothing more than "inanimate" objects). 

Jesus made one very radical alteration in the Jewish culture of his day; he repositioned humanity as supreme and the law as created to change humanity (rather than humanity being created to serve the law).  He made the law all about "repentance" (progressive change that produces growth and literal transformation), instead of an end unto itself. 

That's the true focus of our "works" - a recognition that they are nothing more than our best attempt to create evidence that we really do believe that in which we say we hope.  That in which we hope is the heart of the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - that we really are "children of God" who can become "heirs of God and joint-heirs of Christ" and, ultimately, "be one, even as we are one" - seeing Him as He is, because "we shall be like Him."


Eric said...

Another day another beautiful post Ray. Thanks!

jmb275 said...

Love it Ray. Very good thoughts.