Thursday, October 07, 2004

Faith <> Salvation

For the past few weeks, we have been going over the book of James at church. Last Sunday, we went through chapter 2, verses 14-26. The verse that catches my eye the most is verse 17:

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied
by action, is dead.

I would imagine some people are prone to take this out of context as argument that one must work for their salvation. But salvation and faith are not synonyms for one another:

NOUN: 1a. Preservation or deliverance from destruction,
difficulty, or evil. b. A source, means, or cause of such
preservation or deliverance.

NOUN: 1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or
trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

One of my favorite passages can be found in Ephesians 2:8-9:

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--
and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
9not by works, so that no one can boast.

Salvation is gained through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal savior, believing that He died for your sins, and committing your life to following Him. Salvation is gained because you have a confident belief in the truth and value of Jesus.

What we decide to do once you have been saved is what James is referring to. God wants us to fulfill our purpose of making disciples and to love one another, despite any differences we may have from each other. Without works/working for our purpose, aside from saddening our creator...there's no external proof that we have been saved. Salvation cannot be taken away, but life on Earth would be a hollow existence for us, if we did not put our beliefs into action.

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