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Our Works are from Jesus

  • James 2:17- In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
    Ephesians 2:10: For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    I have spent an enormous amount of time focusing on the word of God that liberates those oppressed by not seeing themselves as good enough for salvation in Jesus Christ. They feel that they must work to earn their way into heaven. I will often hear yes but...James 2:17 Jeff. For some time I would rationalize this scripture offering up my own perspective about who James was talking to, and what the circumstances are around that scripture, but it always left a big question mark in my heart. Was I leading others away from the truth? The truth is, the bible will not contradict the bible, and so James 2:17 is in agreement with the message of the gospel. I just saw it different. We are talking about two different things here. What I have been focusing on has to do with salvation of non-believers into believers. James 2:17 assumes that we are already believers and so it takes on new meaning for the reader.

    Faith comes first, and as we believe in Jesus Christ, there becomes in us a rebirth. When we go through a rebirth, we are no longer the same person with the same mindset. We will experience real change, and when our faith grows, we see the power of Jesus in our lives. He will guide our steps and lead us into the works and deeds that He has for us, not the other way around. Everyone who came into contact with Jesus was a sinner. Even the rich man who was blameless before Jesus, when He came to Jesus, and heard that he must sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor went away sad ( Matthew 19:16-30). The man starts out saying, " What good deed must I do to have eternal life?" Jesus tells him to sell all of his possessions and follow Him. That is what happens, first we must have faith, and the deeds and works will follow. Nobody said, before I meet Jesus, I better do some good works and get right with God. No, everyone who came to Him in faith was renewed and from that renewal, Jesus provided the work for them to experience by Him to others. Let me put this from the perspective of the Ephesians. Ephesians 2:10 says that we were created to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. You see, our works are God's works. We don't have to be consumed by what we will do to prove our worth as a Christian. What James is saying is that if we dont see those works start to manifest, or we let someone leave our house hungry, or without clothes then our faith is worthless. What we believe in will dictate our outward appearance from the inside. If you believe in Jesus, you will see the fruits of that belief. Jesus always provided for others. This does not mean that we must work tirelessly to prove our faith, they will come naturally. Listen to the Lord to prompt you into what to do next. He will guide your every step. Proverbs 3:6 says- in all your ways, submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Remember that story about Martha and Mary, and Mary sat and listened to Jesus while He visited, while Martha was upset because she was working tirelessly. Jesus said that what Mary did was right. Another time, Jesus said that the alabaster jar of perfume that was broken and poured out on Him would be remembered in scripture wherever it was shared. Judas, as you recall wanted to sell the perfume and give it to the poor. Jesus said, the poor you will always have with you, but I will only be with you for awhile. Our first reaction should always be to focus on Jesus. When we see Him in our lives, and listen to Him, the works will come. If you are listening and you dont hear the promptings to help others, then it may be time to ask the Lord to come into your life by faith once again. I can assure you that if Jesus lives in you, there will be nothing stopping the works from flowing through you to others. Regardless of how we perceive them, they are there. We cannot put our own thoughts into the works aside from what Jesus has for us though. For example, I may want to lead worship for ten thousand people with miraculous healings, but instead Jesus asks me to engage with someone on the street who has made the decision that if no one acknowledges him today, he will take his own life. His ways are above our ways, and when we submit to Him, the works He has for us will flow. When we have faith in Jesus Christ we carry around the works ready to be birthed at the right time. We cannot have faith without them. They may lay dormant for a while, but they are there. James goes on to say in 2:26: As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. How powerful is that? It is there, the spirit of works is wrapped up by our faith, and when we release that faith, then the works will be released as a fruit, to share with the hungry. We cannot carry works without faith, but we cannot help but bless others with works. Where do the works come from? God the Father, who prepared them in advance for you, and me. We all have them. He ordained them, and they will come automatically with our faith in Jesus Christ. Give Jesus the praise, it is through Him that we are blessed and through Him that we bless others with His works and deeds, not our own.


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Carol VanBemmelen
Carol VanBemmelen Thank you for the great message, Jeffrey!  Thank you for reminding us God the Father has works prepared in advance for us to bless others.  Yes, I will "give Jesus the praise, it is through Him that we are blessed and through Him that we bless others with His works and deeds, not our own."  Amen
December 17, 2015