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In 1953 a Biopic was released about Martin Luther. When it comes to movies about this man. It is the best out there, in my opinion.
Because it also addressed the mentality of not only those in power, but the reaction of the common people as well as those in scholarly pursuit of the truth.
At a crucial point in the movie. What they portray as the culmination of his studies and determination. They announce this one statement.
“It is through faith ALONE!”
Now it is here that I have issue. The worst of all is that this is stated four hundred years after Martin Luther is implied to have stated this.
I understand where Luther is coming from if he did state this. For at the time he makes this proclamation. The duty of Christians to perform works had been perverted beyond that required within the Bible. This was done by those in power of the Catholic Church, which was the only allowed church. Who were more interested in money than the true teachings within the Bible. The selling of “indulgences” and the worshipping of “relics,” were the “works” forced upon those that were kept in ignorance of the true teachings of the Bible. Those in power desiring to control and manipulate the masses to their whims and wishes. Therefore, Martin Luther, making the declaration that is it “through faith alone,” makes total and complete sense.
However here is the problem with this.
There are many out there that say things like: “I believe in God,” “I have accepted Jesus as my Savior” or “I know I am going to heaven.”
These are all statements of faith. A belief in the one and only God, the Creator of the Universe.
We are in a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. We have a responsibility in this relationship. That is why we are call “stewards.”
What is the definition of a “steward?”
The best definition of this is found at dictionary.com: a person who has charge of the household of another, buying or obtaining food, directing the servants.
Stewardship is accomplished by doing works.
But didn’t I just say that works were a problem during the time of Martin Luther? Yes, I did. But I also said faith alone is an issue.
James 2:14-26 – What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. 18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” 19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? 21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. 25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”
“Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”
Works are not that which is forced upon you by those within power of a denomination. They are the action you feel led to do by your faith in God.
“How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
Our good deeds are not something that is for the world to see or even know about.
Matthew 6:1-4 – “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
Many do this in many ways and think all is well with them. Note though how Jesus described those that do this and especially where:
“Don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity!”
Think upon this description hard and long.
Hebrews 10:24 – Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
How is this accomplished? That answer is given in the second chapter of Titus:
Titus 2:1-15 – As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. 2 Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. 3 Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. 4 These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, 5 to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. 6 In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. 7 And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. 8 Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us. 9 Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back 10 or steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way. 11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. 15 You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.
Truly being “Christian” is a lifestyle choice. To live in virtue and to do the will and teachings of God takes all of what is shown within these verses. Not just part, but all. That is why I said it is a “lifestyle.”
A lifestyle is defined as – “someone’s way of living; the things that a person or particular group of people usually do.”
“People usually do,” is action, is works. So, we are told to do works. We are told to live with both faith and works.
Works that show honor to God. That reflect the teachings of the Bible. Especially those given unto us by our Savior Jesus Christ. We are told to have “self-control.” To live wisely and worthy of respect. To treat our boss with loyalty. A key statement is made in verse twelve:
“We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,” by not living godlessly or seeking after worldly pleasures. However, millions that profess to being “Christian” live godlessly and seek after worldly pleasures. Believing that they are right with God all because of faith alone.
Many are taught that it is through faith alone. As I have shown in the verses in this study this is a lie. A false teaching. Cleaver words meant to deceive and blind those that are not willing to have the self-control required to seek after God through Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Bible.
When living with both faith and works we end sin within our lives with self-control and the grace of God through our Savior Jesus Christ. Who gives us righteousness. (Matthew 6:33, 1 Corinthians 1:30) Especially those sins that the Bible clearly states are transgressions which will not allow entry into the presence of the Creator of the Universe.
Only those that are the true followers of Jesus Christ and the teachings within the Bible will stand before the throne of God. Yet many will think they are followers, nevertheless Jesus Christ will look upon them and in Jewish legalism state that He never knew them.
Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
Mainly because they did not pursue both faith and works but relied upon faith alone. Continuing to live their lives according to their true gods: Themselves and their sins.