(Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.)
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed me, not as in my presence, but now much in my absence. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
This once was interpreted to mean a “works righteousness,” that one had to do good works to prove their way to heaven. This so clashed with Martin Luther’s “justification by faith” that in the true Martin Luther Bible, you will find the book of James missing because he stated: “Thou hast faith, and I have works, show me thy faith without thy works and I will show thee my faith by my works.” — James 2:18 The works James speaks of are plainly illustrated by Jesus. “Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” —Acts 10:38
The key is, he went about doing good. In today’s language, if we believe, then we will “put. our motley where our mouth is,” so to speak. We will be doers of the word as well as hearers. If there is one in need, we will help; if one is oppressed, we will pray. We will lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. Spiritual trophies are not won by those who warm the bench. The crown of victory, which the heavenly umpire wishes to bestow, will not be granted to those who go around doing evil to gain heaven, with dancing girls thrown in. The very difference between Christianity and other religions is that Satan is the father of lies, and came to kill and destroy. Jesus came doing good. The sin of unbelief is the sin God’s people have been guilty of through the ages. Failure to exercise faith was the undoing sin of the Israelites. Weak faith plagued the early church, and our failure to trust God is the same. So we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, learning our own weaknesses in prayer. We must ask God to expose these so we may bring them to him, asking, along with David, “Create in me a clean heart, 0 God, and renew a right spirit within me.” — Psalms 51:10
Sami Perez is a retired pastor and member of the Carson City, Nevada
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