Shannon’s article on faith today supports this month’s theme “awareness of God.” A life of faith includes a daily awareness of God. This post makes faith in God highly attractive.
Thanks Shannon. God bless you!
“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” – Romans 3:28
Our forgiveness, salvation and justification from and before the Father are found only by faith; by trusting whole-heartedly that Jesus’ death on the cross was enough for us to become right with God. We are not saved by works. Only by FAITH.
“Why does God save us by faith alone?
(1) Faith eliminates the pride of human effort, because faith is not a deed that we do.
(2) Faith exalts what God has done, not what people do.
(3) Faith admits that we can’t keep the law or measure up to God’s standards – we need help.
(4) Faith is based on our relationship with God, not our performance for God.” – (NIV Study Bible footnotes)
If faith eliminates our personal pride for what we practice, then as we come before Him…
God gave us the cogent example of the Pharisee in the Gospels to demonstrate how human wisdom and human interpretation of God’s word leads to spiritual blindness. The Pharisees were experts in the letter of the law but they did not have a clue about the significance of Christ – whose identity originates in the Old Testament to prophets like Moses, who wrote the Torah.
Consider the lesson contained in the reaction Christ demonstrates towards the Pharisees.
If you too are so focused on keeping your outside clean for others to think you have it all together, yet you continue to neglect God’s goodness to your spirit, through his love, forgiveness, grace and mercy at Calvary, then, like the Pharisees, you too are guilty of hypocrisy.
Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law — justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others.
23:24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!23:25 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites!You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
23:26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too! (NET Bible)
Are you aware of what false teaching sounds like? When you hear someone who is “making sense”is the message lining up with scripture or human ideology? How do you know when to tune someone’s message out or when to readily receive it?
Finally, when words are “sounding good” and you are inclined to consider spiritual application, do you “consider the source” of the message being from The Word of God or the word of man?
1 Timothy 6:3 If someone spreads false teachings and does not agree with sound words (that is, those of our Lord Jesus Christ) and with the teaching that accords with godliness, 6:4 he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in controversies and verbal disputes. This gives rise to envy, dissension, slanders, evil suspicions, 6:5 and constant bickering by people corrupted in their minds and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a way of making a profit. 6:6 Now godliness combined with contentment brings great profit. 6:7 For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either. (NET Bible)
These verses are the "flashing light" of caution against false teachings that are designed to attract human interests rather than genuine Godliness.
The Apostle Paul was extremely familiar with how humankind IS predisposed to deny any behavior that is “Godly.” His epistles to the Corinthians, for example, consistently spoke against the Church trying to “understand” the gospel and God’s will in their flesh. His writings expose the elements of a Godly lifestyle and how the life of a child of God – one who is born again through the belief and acceptance of the finished work at Calvary – does not mirror a life of one who is in the flesh and living in the world.
In Corinth there were matters of division, revelings, immorality issues, and an assortment of Christian error that was based in carnality, rather than heresy. Carnality in these books refer to Christians who continue to adhere to worldly principles and fleshly, human ideology rather than the Spirit of God, His Word and His will. Paul had to repeatedly design the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to be palatable to the hearers who were looking to hear “a word” that was pleasing to the ear and that edified the flesh. His descriptions of love and the resurrection are eloquent renderings that depict the power of change that comes through the spirit and NOT the flesh.
The gospel that he taught, preached, stood for and lived was a message of hope that, when received, changed peoples’ lives from the inside out. This is the message that matters. It is the message that heals, delivers, restores and renews a Christian day after day. Paul knew that a life that was lived in the flesh was destined to do EVERYTHING possible to discredit Godliness. “So then they who are in the flesh can NOT please God.”
The message of the gospel is CRYSTAL CLEAR! It does not need to be reinterpreted through countless attempts to humanize it. These tactics to “tickle” the ears of listeners with “words” that “sound good” are so prevalent today. One must ALWAYS BE AWARE of God’s Word through personal Bible study. If you don’t study the Bible, you are not equipped to discern what messages mater most. If you don’t have a firm foundation originating from the TRUTH of God’s word IN YOU, the following scripture will be your experience:
Ephesians 4:14 So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes.
I pray that your life’s experience lines up with a desire to “be filled with the Spirit” and realize true”spiritual discernment.”