Monday, March 27, 2017

One Bible – One Author

 

One Bible – One Author
 

          The lost world is floundering within the dark and stifling depths of their own spiritual ignorance.  There is a hopeless despair in humanity’s lost estate of unbelief in the Bible.  Most professing Christians have never been properly discipled to know the doctrines that come to us in the depth of understanding God’s inspired Words.  Such people are willfully content to live in the darkness of their ignorance because within that darkness they never see their own failings or their moral obligations to live to be light in the darkness.  Without the Bible, humanity would know nothing more of the God than what rationalism and reason might provide. 

God, Who “commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6).  Willful ignorance of the Bible is gross moral failure.  A believer’s willful ignorance of the Bible extinguishes the light of Truth that God gives to humanity.  Jesus spoke to this issue in Luke 11:29-36 in rebuke to the Jews who continued to want miraculous proofs from God when God had already given them the testimony of His Word.  The intent of Scripture was to inwardly light the believer with the intimate knowledge of God.

29 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation {the evil was unbelief because they sought for additional sight miracles when they already had God’s written Word}: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet {God sent a prophet to the Ninevites with the Word of God}. 30 For as Jonas was a sign {the idea is that the messenger and the Message of repentance and redemption was the miracle} unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here {refers to Jesus as the incarnate Word of God; John 1:1 and 14}. 32 The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here {refers to Jesus as the incarnate Word of God; John 1:1 and 14}. 33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle {referring metaphorically to the Word of God}, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick {God gave His Word to be read and studied so as to inwardly ‘light’ the believer}, that they which come in may see the light. 34 The light of the body is the eye {the eye brings spiritual understanding into the body through sight and reading God’s Word}: therefore when thine eye is single {having no worldly philosophical input}, thy whole body also is full of light {knowledge and understanding of God}; but when thine eye is evil {mostly worldly philosophical input}, thy body also is full of darkness {ignorance of God}. 35 Take heed therefore that the light {knowledge of God} which is in thee be not darkness {false doctrine}. 36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light {right doctrine}, having no part dark {false doctrine}, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light” (Luke 11:29-36).

          The first obligation of every believer is to know the Word of God so that he might know the God Who inspired the Word of God.  It is this intimate knowledge of God and His will for our lives that is the “light” that comes into us through reading and studying God’s Word.  There is a basic knowledge of God’s existence ingrained within every human being born into this world (“the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world”; John 1:9).  However, this ingrained knowledge of God’s existence is basically ignorant of Who and What God is.  This is why the innumerable types of false worship practices in idolatry and paganism are so rampant.  These types of worship practices usually are satanic traps that imprison people to their own carnal propensities capitalizing on their fears.  This is what religion always does.  God hates religion.  Even the Jews had corrupted the Law to the degree that they made a prison of oppression out its Truths. 

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word {the idea is to live what God’s Word teaches}, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you” (John 8:31-37).

          We must understand that the words “because my word hath no place in you” (John 8:37), were spoken to the those who professed faith in God’s Word.  They believed they practiced a strict interpretation of the Words of God.  However, their great failure was that they saw themselves righteous in their own works.  Therefore, they were self-righteous.  No one, understanding a strict interpretation of God’s Word, could ever conclude that he was somehow righteous in his own works.  The first Beatitude is “Blessed are the poor in spirit”; meaning those that understand their own bankruptcy in self-righteousness.  God’s Truth is to be known and live, not tread upon by manipulation, disregard, and disobedience.  We do not reverence God if we do not reverence His Word in a way that sees our lives through His eyes. 

      Humans are by nature lazy and judgmental people.  We look upon the man who has just come from the pig pen with manure on his boots to venture into the city for supplies.  His looks offend sophisticated senses exceeded only by the smells coming from him.  He is immediately judge as being uneducated and uncouth.  Few will see him as a hard-working family man trying to support a family and raise his children to be hard working, respectful citizens.  Fewer yet will ever invest the time to know his heart and to try to understand him as a fellow human being.  Such things take time.  Humans are too busy with sports and entertainment for such things as knowing and loving our neighbors.  If we are too busy to know and love those we see each day, how can we invest the time needed to know and love the invisible God Who gives us life?  In most part, humans are shallow, superficial beings.

When quoting from a particular book of the Bible, we often find ourselves saying, Moses said” . . ., or “Paul said” . . .  Most people credit the books of the Bible to human authors.  Moses is said to have written the Pentateuch; the first five books of the Bible.  That certainly is true – Moses did write them.  However, Moses was not the author of those five books of the Bible.  Moses was merely the secretary that took God’s dictation of the very Words in the syntax that God gave him.  God authored these five books along with the all the other sixty-one books of the Bible. 

12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. 16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by {the agency or means} the Holy Ghost (II Peter 1:12-21).

       We speak of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures and at the same time give credit of authorship to numerous men.  When dealing with this issue at my ordination, I was asked if God inspired the Bible or did God inspire the men who wrote the Bible.  My answer was yes to both inquiries.  God breathed out the Words of the Bible and God chose certain men to record those Words exactly as He had breathed them out.  The word “moved” in II Peter 1:21 is what defines God inspiring men to write down his Words.  The word “moved” is translated from the Greek word phero (fer’-o), which means to be compelled or driven, like the wind drives the sailboat, “by the Holy Spirit” to speak the Word from Heaven.
   
          L.S. Chafer in his Systematic Theology gives three qualifying considerations regarding the inspiration of Scripture.  Each should be carefully considered.

1. Inspiration provides that the exact divine message be given.  If it is God’s Truth which is reported, it is recorded exactly.  If it is Satan’s lie, it is presented as a lie, for inspiration does not change a lie into truth.  If it is history, it is true to the facts.  If it is prophecy, it indicates precisely what will come to pass.
2. Inspiration aims at inspired writings and not at inspired men.  The very infallible Scriptures themselves record the sins and failures of the human authors.
3. Since we depend upon the Bible alone for the knowledge of the most vital facts of our existence, there is every reason to contend for the divine accuracy of God’s Word and to be grateful that it is ‘God-breathed’ and therefore not merely as fallible as its human writers, but is as infallible as its divine Author.”[1] (bolding added)

          The weaknesses and pride of men would corrupt the Scriptures if they were to choose what was to be recorded as God’s Word.  Do we honestly think David would have written of his many failures if he could have chosen the record of his own history?  The nature of sinful man is to write history favorable to their own reputations.  Most men would mask their failings behind false piety emphasizing their accomplishments, not their failures.  Would Solomon have written the self-deprecating book of Ecclesiastes if he could have chosen his own words to record his numerous Hedonistic failures?  In almost every other instance of human history, the accuracy of that history was manipulated and aggrandized by those that controlled the writing of it.  This is not the case with inspiration of Scripture as evidenced by the accurate and honest historical records of Word of God.

There are many today, claiming to be fundamentalists, who get angry and offended at the single Authorship view of Scripture, or what is often described as the dictation view of inspiration.  We do not know how God accomplished the insurance of His choice of every Word placed within His chosen syntax.  We only know by faith that God did this because of His statements in the Bible – Autopisticism.
 
     The essence of the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible rests within the context of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible according to the singular authorship of God.  Verbal and plenary inspiration of the Bible is God’s choice of Words within the historical context of the use of those Words within the syntax that communicates the exact message that God wants communicated.  Preservation is God’s promise to preserve those exact Words and syntax throughout the generations of humanity.  Therefore, preservation of His inspired Words and the syntax in which they are placed is promised only in the original languages.  Translations of the original inspired Words of the Bible are not a second level or second degree of God’s inspiration.  Although it certainly is apparent that God was involved in the historical event that brought together the large number of incredible linguistic scholars that spent seven years translating the original inspired languages into English through a method known as Formal Equivalency

        Another question that is often asked when dealing with the single authorship of the Bible by God is, “How can you explain the many different writing styles credited to certain men regarding the books they wrote?”  The point is, we cannot explain these different writing styles.  Simply because we cannot explain something does not mean that such inability should explain away the Divine Authorship of the Bible.  These are the types of questions that seek to create incredibility and casts doubts regarding the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture.  When these kinds of questions arise, we must simply return to an autopistic belief in II Timothy 3:16 –17; “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 

          In 1978, the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy met in Chicago, Illinois and formulated a statement that was entitled, “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.”  It was signed by about three-hundred noted Evangelical scholars.  Although, the vast majority of these men were Reformed in their theology, their statement is a solid representation of the historical view of verbal, plenary inspiration.  It is as follows:

A Short Statement

1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge.  Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.
2. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms: obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.
3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.
5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.[2]

The number five statement is particularly relevant to the subject of this treatise.  Certainly “[t]he authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired” if the inspired texts of original inspired languages are not preserved.  If inspiration does not mean that God superintended over human secretaries, the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture immediate comes under scrutiny for the viability of such claims.  Such is the case mitigated by the many professing Christians who deny both the dictation view of inspiration or those who deny the verbal, plenary preservation of God’s original inspired Words. 

In that same meeting, the 1978 International Council on Biblical Inerrancy explained and defined the above five statements with twenty-nine Articles of Affirmation and Denial.  At least three of these articles pertinent to the subject of this treatise are given below:
Article VI.
WE AFFIRM that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration.
WE DENY that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly be affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.
Article VII.
WE AFFIRM that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us His Word.  The origin of Scripture is divine.  The mode of divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to us. (underlining added)
WE DENY that inspiration can be reduced to human insight, or to heightened states of consciousness of any kind.
Article VIII.
WE AFFIRM that God in His work of inspiration utilized the distinctive personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and prepared.
WE DENY that God, in causing these writers to use the very words that He chose, overrode their personalities.[1]

         The issue before us is every Word inspiration and preservation of the Words of God, not merely the Word of God.  For many using the terms, there is a subtle form of deception connected to the use of the phrase inspiration and preservation of the Word of God.  This deception is that the vast majority of people using this terminology do not believe in the preservation of the Words of God in any Greek text, or even group of Greek texts.  The phrase inspiration and preservation of the Word of God is the terminology of Textual Reconstructionists who are unwilling to admit they do not believe we have the inspired Words of God preserved for us by God.  They believe this preservation exists only in Heaven.  The verbal plenary inspiration of the Word of God is a practically meaningless and dead doctrine if the verbal plenary preservation of the Words of God is not true.  There would be no practical reality to which a believer might cling with surety if the verbal plenary inspired Words of God do not exist anywhere for us to read and study. 
         
[1] Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Essential Works of Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952), president of Dallas Theological Seminary, SwordSearcher\Modules\LSChafer.ss6book. Module file time: 7/4/2012 1:49:06 PM UTC, 7.02 The Bible: Inspired of God.
[2] http://library.dts.edu/Pages/TL/Special/ICBI.shtml. link available to whole eight-page statement, THE CHICAGO STATEMENT ON BIBLICAL INERRANCY
[3] Ibid
  
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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fideism




Fideism
Objective Bible Facts Equal Objective Bible Faith

As our nation, and the world, runs gleefully into the fires of Hell, we must remember the words of Paul to the Lycaonians that God “in times past suffered {allowed} all nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16).  When people choose the beginning of a way, they choose the end of that way.  Every road has its own ultimate destination.  Faith in God’s inspired Words of the Bible is the only sure way to ensure that the way upon which we travel will end at the destination God wants and for which His loving grace provides.  “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

Belief in the Bible is what transitions a person from mere imaginations of the mind to the concrete realities of the eternal existence of Gods domain.  The Bible gives us historical facts in words inspired by God and recorded by men.  Faith believes these facts and all that God says about Himself in the Bible.  Therefore, faith is objective.  This means that faith is foundationed upon reliable facts

If the Bible is authored and inspired by God as it claims (II Timothy 3:16-17), every single word in the Bible is true, inerrant, and infallible.  To believe the Bible is God’s Word is to believe these realities.  Therefore, the Bible is the most objective book ever written.  The fact that the Bible is objective truth does not mean that people object to what the Bible says more than any other book.  That fact is true.  However, the Bible is objective truth because of the perfect reliability of its author. 

Objectivity is something that is completely separated from prejudicial opinions or theories.  Something objective is true in and of itself apart from human experiences or tastes.  Objective truth is verifiable by facts upon which the truth originates.  The Bible is objective truth.  Faith based upon the facts of the Bible is objective faith.  To possess objective faith a person must know the facts that the Bible teaches.  Objective faith is the kind of faith exemplified in Hebrews chapter eleven.  Satan’s goal is to question and undermine the objectivity of the Bible in any and every way possible. 

4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:4-9).

There is nothing more frustrating in the “work of the ministry” than to pour hundreds of hours into the discipleship of a person only to see the trials of life attack him at the weakest point of his character undermining his faith and thereby destroying his life and the lives of his family.  No human minister can hold the hand of every child of faith as he walks through the fiery trials of life. 

Sometimes adults are really like little children that do not even know the dangers of the things with which they want to be involved.  As much as we might want, a person cannot hold every child by the hand until he grows to understand the “wiles of the devil.” Building real, living faith into the lives of sinful people helps them understand that when life’s trials begin to pose threats with which they cannot deal, they can grab onto God’s hand and walk with Him through the fire.

Colossians 2:8 is addressing the corrupting influences of Ancient Gnosticism upon “the faith.”  Ancient Gnosticism, much like post-modern Christianity, was a constantly fluid and evolving perversion of truth.  It absorbed religious beliefs from almost all pagan religions as well as Judaism and Christianity.  Both Judaism and Christianity were being paganized by the corrupting philosophies of Gnosticism.
 
This process of religious evolution is known as Syncretism. Syncretism is the combination of different beliefs or practices - the absorption and incorporation of various religious beliefs and practices.  Ancient Gnosticism evolved into modern Gnosticism and is what we know today as Ecumenicism and Pluralism.  It is about this process of syncretism that Paul warns in the epistle to the Colossians (as well as all local churches down through the ages).

The Colossian church was a local church surrounded by a society that mocked God, rejected authorities, experimented with Spiritism (Mysticism), and flirted with pagan cults.  The historic period was also very materialistic enjoying all the material comforts of their time.  Like the world in which we now live, it was wanting this society’s acceptance that was tempting the Colossian believers to abandon their distinctive Christian and biblical beliefs to become part of a larger and more socially acceptable community of people.  The peer pressure of political correctness is nothing new to Satan’s devices.   To counteract this tendency, Paul confronts this local church at Colossi with one simple question - Is Jesus Lord?

Up to this point in the epistle to the Colossians, the Lordship of Jesus has been emphatically established.  This brings the believer to a new question - is Jesus YOUR Lord?  The attack against these Colossian believers (and all separated, Bible believing Christians) is a philosophical attack.  When believers accept the subjective human philosophies that are contradictory to the Word of God, they become the “spoil” of spiritual warfare.  They then are taken captive by the enemy of Christ and the “god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4).  These philosophies are an assault on the very foundation of Christianity, which is the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

          Colossians 2:8 is a warning.  For the church at Colossi, there were four elements of false teaching that posed a constant threat to these new believers and their local church.  These four elements exist to some degree in almost every corruption of “the faith.” 

1. The rationalistic philosophies of men (vs. 8-15)
2. Jewish legalism (vs. 16-17) – “works of the Law” salvation and will-power sanctification
3. Spiritism (Mysticism) (vs. 18-19) – this involved spiritual mysteries revealed through spiritual mediums such as dead spirits or angels\demons.
4. Asceticism (vs. 20-23) - this involved a monastic lifestyle of self-denial, celibacy, self-starvation, deprivation of sleep, and self-flagellation so as to communicate with the gods.

These four elements continue to be a threat to individual Christians in various forms today.  The continuing warning of the epistle is against all these individual heresies and their combined influence.  Combined, they created a very complex problem requiring solid theological foundations for spiritual discernment so as to avoid doctrinal contamination.  Every one of these four corruptions of objective truth are interspersed throughout postmodern Christianity. 

A subtle trick of Satan is to espouse a social pressure upon true Christians to accept everything that comes forth in the Name of Christ even if it is contrary to everything Christ taught.  The person contaminated with any one of these philosophies would become pre-occupied with its ridiculous teachings, which in turn would result in his uselessness for Christian service.  The religion of tolerance has been so corrupting that the postmodern idea of this is to tolerate everything but true objective faith, which is really the only true biblical Christianity.
 
The faith of most people is inadequate and corrupted because it is subjective.  Subjective faith is based upon theories, imaginations, and postulations about God rather than upon knowledge of what God has revealed in the Bible.  Subjective faith, by the very fact that is subjective, is filled with doubts about Who God is, what He will do, and what He really expects of people.  Although subjective faith often has some degree of a basis in reality, this kind of faith is skewed because it is never confident in what it believes is right or wrong.  Because subjective faith doubts the reliability of the facts and doctrines of the Bible, the person with this kind of faith lacks any real substance to his beliefs and practices of life.  Faith is then reduced to mere rationalism and situation ethics.  Subjective faith is a contradiction against the faith exemplified in Hebrews chapter eleven. 

If Christians are ever going to be victorious in the battle for “the faith,” they need to begin to see the enemies of Truth through the eyes of God and through the Word of God.  This faith vision of reality sees the small bubble of existence in which we live within the larger bubble of existence under the sovereign omnipotent power of our omniscient God.  Who are the enemies of the Cross compared to the reality of Who God is? 

The ease of Satan’s deception lays within the fact that human beings are empirical beings trusting primarily in what they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell to determine reality.  The great tragedy of Satan’s deception is that all human beings begin with doubts and ignorance without any connection to the ultimate source of any kind of objective faith through the knowledge and belief in the Bible.  Therefore, Satan’s focus of deception is to undermine the trustworthiness of inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, and preservation of the Bible.  Therefore, the effectiveness of Satan’s deception can exist on numerous levels of subjectivity (Relativism) regarding faith in the Bible thereby corrupting faith in God.  Relativism is basically the belief that there are no absolute truths, which is an oxymoron because the statement is postulated as an absolute.  Satan has been effective in doing this from the beginning of time – “hath God said” (Genesis 3:1). 

1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5).

A central goal of satanic, worldly influence upon “the faith” is the attempt to subjectify the Word of God.  In today’s world, dogmatic Theology has been emaciated.  The body of doctrine of post-modern orthodoxy has little flesh upon it.  Objective and dogmatic Theology, produced by correctly knowing and understanding the Bible, is being reduced by the subjectivity of Theoryologians into little more than some nonsense of a Theory-ology.  True disciples of Jesus Christ must learn to resist and escape this nonsense of subjective Relativism in order to “keep the faith” and “fight the good fight of faith.”  The solution to subjectivity is objectivity. 

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (I Timothy 6:6-12).

There has been an historic antagonism against the Word of God and against Fideism since the fall of Satan and the corruption of humanity.  Fideism is the understanding that the only way to objectively know and understand eternity and spiritual realities is through faith.  The only way Fideism can possibly be objective is through God’s inerrant and inspired Words preserved by Him down through the centuries.  Apart from God’s preserved inspired Words, faith in anything spiritual is reduced to ambiguous guess work and pontificating postulations – Theory-ology!

Real faith is not a blind leap into the darkness.  Real faith is a blind leap into the light!  In God’s inspired Bible, God has given us a historical record of what He has done from which we can know what He will do.  The first thing belief in God’s Word does is to read and learn what God says and what God has done.  Real faith in God passionately wants to know what God expects from us.  To know the Word of God and experience the supernatural illumination of the Word of God by the Spirit of God understand the numerous levels of comprehension available to the searching believer.  Sadly most Christians seldom get past the “milk” of “the Word” (Hebrews 5:13) because they do not read the Bible and certainly do not study the Bible (II Timothy 2:15).  

13 I give thee charge {enjoin you to the message of which I have been given} in the sight of God {accountability}, who quickeneth all things {God is the only source of real, spiritual life}, and before Christ Jesus {accountability}, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession {Jesus was consistently faith in what we are now commissioned to do}; 14 That thou keep {to guard with the intent of preventing loss or escape} this commandment {warning about the love of money as the root of all evil; vs. 10 – do not let money become the governor of what you do} without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. 17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on {to catch or grasp onto; in the hand} eternal life {the victors crown that is ours now positionally but will be ours then practically}. 20 O Timothy, keep {a different word than in vs. 13; here meaning to preserve by doing as a living example to others} that {the Words of God} which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called {all are satanic attempts to subjectify the Word of God}: 21 Which some professing {were engaged and committed to the message of truth} have erred {missed the mark by deviating from the objective facts of the Bible} concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen” (I Timothy 6:13-21).

To be honest and transparent about personal faith in God and the Bible, the believer must be willing to confront the varying degrees of pretentious and hypocritical faith that lays within the fallen, and carnal nature of the human spirit.  While we still live within this body of flesh, we will continue to struggle with our natural propensity to resist objectivity in favor of subjectivity.  We struggle with this because in subjectivity we can excuse most of the choices we make based on a claim of mere ignorance.  God may understand and give patience and mercy to the new believer beginning in error regarding righteousness and sin by living in ignorance of God’s Word.  Eventually, that excuse will no longer be acceptable to God.  Just like the lost and unbelieving, for those who willfully continue in ignorance of God’s Word, “Destruction and misery are in their ways” (Romans 3:16). 

10 Called of God an high priest {referring to Jesus} after the order of Melchisedec. 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered {difficult to explain in words}, seeing ye are dull of hearing {lazy/sluggish listeners}. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles {the elementary fundamentals} of the oracles {logion; utterances} of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful {inexperienced and ignorant} in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe {nepios; yet unable to speak}. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age {teleios, full maturity} even those who by reason {though the medium of habit or practice of teaching and applying the Word of God} of use have their senses {the mind as an organ of perception and judgment} exercised {train or disciplined} to discern {a judicial estimation thereby making a clear decision about what is} both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:10-14).

There is often a great deal of frustration in trying to persuade people that the truths being taught are actually the chosen Words of God given to us in Scripture.  These Bible truths are objective, dogmatic, and undebatable in the eyes of God.  This dogmatism is often communicated by the Words of Jesus in His “verily” statements.  The word “verily” is from the Greek word amen (am-ane’), signifying firmness or certainty.  The idea of the word is that what is being said is undebatable and objective fact.  Yet, God warns the prophet Ezekiel that the children of Israel would hear him, but would not heed what he said.  There are but two reasons why a professing believer would hear but not heed the Word of God:

1. He is really an unbeliever.
2. He is subjectifying the Word of God. 

Obviously, neither of these are acceptable for professing believers.  Practically, this means this person sees the Bible as a philosophy with which he is to debate and develop.  Philosophies are fluid in that they are constantly being reconstructed.  This can also mean this person is merely seeing the Bible as an ideology which is to be promoted politically, which will necessarily require certain compromises to please everyone.  Ideologies are also fluid and are constantly being reconstructed.  A person who sees the Bible philosophically and/or ideologically does not see the Bible as objective absolutes given by God by which he is to live and for which he must fight to preserve every truth every day.  God addresses the issue of hearing but not heeding in Ezekiel 33:30-33.

30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. 31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. 33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them” (Ezekiel 33:30-33).

God’s Word is pure objectivity absolutely defining both right and wrong as well as good and evil.  God will resist and oppose EVERY corrupter of His Word, especially those seeking to subjectify His truths.  God expects His children to hate and oppose the corruption of His Word as much as He hates the corruption of His Word.  God’s faithful children are God’s warriors in this world to understand, discern, and identify every corruption of God’s Word and “the faith.”  When God’s Church fails in her corporate responsibility to preserve the objective truths of God’s Word, it will be “time” for God to intercede.
 
When the prophet Habakkuk heard from God of the pending judgment of God upon Israel, Habakkuk pleaded with God; “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).  According to Psalm 119:126, there is a “time” when God’s mercy and patience comes to a declining end.  God will vindicate His Word and the blaspheme against His Name by the misrepresentation of His character in subjectifying His Word.  Any corruption of God’s Word is an attack against the character and nature of God.

126 It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void {made of no effect} thy law. 127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. 128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:126-128).

It has been said that the Bible’s credibility is like a milking stool.  It must have three legs to be considered stable.  These three legs are inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility.  The inspiration of the Scriptures, the inerrancy of the Scriptures, and the infallibility of the Scriptures are intricately connected realities.  II Timothy 3:16a says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.”  If this statement of Scripture regarding its inspiration by God is a factual reality, Scripture then must also be inerrant and infallible to be consistent with the character and nature of God.  Therefore, to deny the inspiration of Scripture, the inerrancy of Scripture, and/or the infallibility of Scripture is to attack the very Nature and Character of God. 

          The degree by which individuals reduce their views on the inspiration of the Scriptures will also reduce their views on both inerrancy of the Scriptures and the infallibility of the Scriptures.  Therefore, there is the high view of inspiration of Scriptures.  This is known as verbal/plenary inspiration of the Scriptures.  There are also varying degrees of lower views of the inspiration of the Scriptures.  Each of these lower views on inspiration are varying degrees of Liberalism regarding the Scriptures.  Of course, the most liberal view is that the Scriptures are not inspired by God.

We must admit that the weaknesses of Christianity are directly related to inadequate teaching and very weak understandings of the inspiration of the Scriptures by God AND God’s purpose in giving humanity His inspired revelation.  Very few professing Christians have a high view of inspiration and, therefore, most have a very low view of God.  Very few professing Christians give much importance to reading and studying the inspired Words of God because they do not understand that God is seeking to directly communicate with them and reveal Himself to them.  Preachers try to guilt people into reading and studying the Scriptures without teaching the depth of meaning and purpose derived from the words “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16a).

          The words “inspiration of God” in II Timothy 3:16a are translated from one Greek word - theopneustos (theh-op’-nyoo-stos).  The theological question for ages has been, does theopneustos mean God breathe out the Scriptures or did God breathe into the Scriptures.  The best way to answer this question is by comparing it to the creation of Adam.  Did God create by the command of His mouth (breathed out) the elements from which He created Adam?  The answer is clearly, yes! 

      Secondly, did God breathe into Adam the breath of life?  Again, the answer is clearly, yes!  There was a theanthropic union in Adam before the fall.  This is equally true of the inspiration of Scriptures.  God breathed out the exact words He wanted to use and breathed spiritual life into those words.  Just as Adam was inspired in his theanthropic union prior to the fall, the Scriptures are theopneustos (theh-op’-nyoo-stos).  In other words, the Scriptures are both from God and the power and presence of God remains in them.  This understanding is clearly confirmed by Hebrews 4:12.

For the word of God is quick {living or alive}, and powerful {always working}, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit {which by all human qualifiers are indivisible}, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts {what we think} and intents {motives, why we think} of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

In most cases, a person’s view of the inspiration of the Scriptures, the inerrancy of the Scriptures, and the infallibility of the Scriptures is directly connected to his view of God’s transcendency, God’s eminency (high and exalted due to character and attributes), and God’s immanency (God fills the universe).  It is in understanding the connecting link to God’s transcendency, God’s eminency, and God’s immanency, revealed by God’s inspired Words, that we can persuade people of the importance of reading and studying God’s Word. 

Therefore, it can be harmful to merely teach inspiration without teaching God’s purpose of self-disclosure in the manifestation of His character, nature, and attributes through the inspiration of Scripture.

1. The fact that God is transcendent means that truly knowing or experiencing all of who and what is God is beyond, or outside of, the human ability to fully comprehend or understand apart from the illumination of His Spirit.  Therefore, understanding that God is transcendent helps us understand God’s central purpose of inspiration of Scripture is to accurately reveal Himself in all of His glory so that believers might glorify Him to the best of our Spirit-filled abilities.  Therefore, an accurate understanding of God’s transcendency gives us very high views of inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of Scripture.

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Corinthians 2:9-10).

2. The fact that God is eminent means that God is by His very nature and essence exalted far above and beyond any aspect, or glory, of created beings or things.  To understand the eminency of God is to hold an extremely exalted or high view of the Person of God.  One cannot truly worship God apart from the proper understanding of His eminency.  Therefore, an accurate understanding of God’s eminency gives us very high views of inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of Scripture.  This is the transition in Isaiah’s view of God in Isaiah 6:1-8. 

1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord {Adonay – most probably the pre-incarnate Jesus} sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke” (Isaiah 6:1-4).

3. God is immanent means that it is within the realm of possibility for anyone to grasp a certain degree of both intellectual knowledge (gnosis) of God and intimate, personal, and experiential knowledge (epiginosis) of God. 

The fact that God is omnipresent insists then that God is also immanent.  In Jeremiah 23:23-24 God says, “23 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? 24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.”

15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible {transcendency}, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him {eminency}: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist {immanency}” (Colossians 1:15-17).

These truths then lead us to the terms inerrant and infallible.  Many people think these terms are synonymous, but they actually refer to two different characteristics of the Word of God. 

1. Inerrant means the Word of God is without error
2. Infallible means the Word of God is incapable of error

Therefore, these terms are directly connected to the outcome of our understanding of the Greek word theopneustos (theh-op’-nyoo-stos) as used in II Timothy 3:16.  Since God is the sole author and superintendent of His chosen Words, those chosen Words MUST be both without error and incapable of error.  Since inspiration means God remains in union with His inspired words, those inspired Words must be equal with the character and nature of God.  This MUST be true since both inerrancy and infallibility MUST align with the character and nature of God in His purpose in giving humanity His Scriptures in the first place. 

Inerrancy and infallibility can be exemplified in the incarnate Word of God.  Christ is impeccable.  This means Jesus was both without sin and incapable of sin.  The fact that the character and nature of Christ is impeccable means that although Jesus was tempted externally there was no internal desire for that with which He was tempted.  Therefore, Jesus was both sinless and incapable of sinning.  Since the Scriptures are inspired by God, they can neither possess any error nor even be capable of possessing error.  Any other position or derivative degree of departure from this perfection in inspiration of Scripture is apostasy by that same degree. 

Inerrancy is the first essential of all fundamentals if any form of dogmatism is ever to exist.  Inerrancy is the area in which Liberals particularly start becoming sneaky in their verbiage.  For instance, some will say that the Word of God is inerrant in its purpose (faith and practice).  They will say that the Bible is not a historical record or a scientific book.  Therefore, for them, the Bible need not be without error regarding its accuracy in history or science.  This opens the door for questioning or disregarding what the Bible says about anything other than the ambiguity of its intended purpose (faith and practice).

Since “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16a), there is plenary (full) inerrancy connected to plenary (full) inspiration.  There are those who reject plenary inspiration by translating the Greek word pas in II Timothy 3:16 as “every” rather than “all.”  This issue needs to be addressed as to why it is ABSOLUTELY an incorrect translation.

The American Standard Version, translating mainly from the Westcott and Hort Greek Text of A.D. 1881, translates II Timothy 3:16 as, “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching.”  We can obviously see the many doors to false doctrine opened by this very faulty and corrupt translation of II Timothy 3:16.  This bad translation can then be made to mean that only those Scriptures that are inspired are profitable.  Thereby, this translation allows for the denial of plenary (full or all) inspiration.
 
Of course, this faulty interpretation must also deny the fact that Paul is using the term “scripture” in II Timothy 3:15 to refer to all Scripture collectively - “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures.”  The collective context of the word “scriptures” in II Timothy 3:15 defines the context of “all” into II Timothy 3:16. Therefore, the American Standard Version translation corrupts the plenary intent of II Timothy 3:16 and corrupts the plenary intent of inerrancy in the same way.  Although the grammar of the Greek text might allow for the ASV translation of II Timothy 3:16, the context does not. 

Another aspect of infallibility is that the Word of God is said to be enduring “forever” in I Peter 1:23-25.  This is true of the incarnate Word and the written Word.  This refers to the preservation of God’s inspired Words.

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word {logos}of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word {rhema –individual utterances} of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word {rhema –individual utterances} which by the gospel is preached unto you” (I Peter 1:23-25).

Therefore, the infallibility of Scripture intricately and essentially connects to the verbal and plenary preservation of Scripture if the statements of I Peter 1:23-25 are accepted by faith.  Therefore, the infallibility of Scripture means the authority of Scripture cannot be “broken” (John 10:35; luo – loosen or destroyed). 

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, February 27, 2017

II. Faith Works



II. Faith Works

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-20)?

The fact that real saving faith works is equally true of sanctifying faith.  In Hebrews chapter eleven, Abel is the example of saving faith.  Enoch is the example of sanctifying faith.  The action verbs of sanctifying faith are reckon and yield (Romans 6:11-13).  Sanctifying faith is a life lived in cooperative synergism with the indwelling Holy Spirit.  The Bible word for this synergism, or partnership in holiness, is “fellowship.”  Without these two verbs of sanctifying faith, the Christian life is reduced to a legalistic form of will-power sanctification produced through the power of the “flesh.  This is the opposite of a life of grace through faith.  Therefore, reckoning the “old man” to be “crucified with Christ” is necessary before a believer can yield to the indwelling Spirit of Christ. 

When the believer’s life is consumed with knowing God and living for God, the rotting scales of worldliness will begin to fall away from our lives.  This spiritual dynamic is a matter of focus.  Focusing upon getting rid of worldliness is like trying to disengage a fishhook embedded deep in the flesh by pulling on it as hard as possible.  The result of doing that will increase the damage already done.  The solution is to cut out the hook, not rend the flesh.  If we want worldliness removed from our lives, we need to change the desires of our hearts to wanting to know, serve, worship, and walk with God more than anything else in our lives.  This demands a kind of faith that transforms the human will.  Before this will ever happen, our faith in the reality of God must increase through the knowledge of God’s Word. 

This world is filled with millions of professing Christians who are baptized, confirmed, and who have become members of local churches.  They attend church services, but for most of these people, the reality of their profession of Christ will seldom get beyond the church-house doors.  They are not working at living pure and righteous lives.  Neither are they intent on studying the Word of God in order to know and do God’s will.  Most of these people have no real desire to reach the lost and make no real effort to reach the lost for Christ.  Their profession of saving faith never transitions into the manifestation of life transformation in working/ministering faith.  This anomaly is a contradiction against the supernatural effect of saving faith. 

The reality of faith that understands the eternal condemnation of a soul and the eternal salvation of a soul is discovered by asking one simple question.  “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matthew 16:24-28).  Notice that the question is not asking about the value you put upon an eternal soul.  Everyone believing in an eternal Hell would say a human soul is priceless.  The question is really, what would you GIVE for one soul, especially if it was YOUR soul?  The reality of faith is tested by answering this question. 

In Matthew 16:21-23, Jesus had just told His disciples that He was going to go to Jerusalem and there He would be killed by the Jewish Sanhedrin.  Peter rebukes Jesus for consenting to this death when He could avoid it.  Jesus rebukes Peter with some remarkable words; “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23).  Peter yet did not understand the necessity of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for the redemption price of lost souls.  The price being paid was unfathomable!  Jesus was establishing His answer to the question, “what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”  Jesus was willing to GIVE His life.  This is what Jesus is addressing in Matthew 16:24.  Real faith understands the value of an eternal soul and is willing to pay whatever price is necessary to bring ONE to Christ.  We will never understand this until we have learned to give out of our poverty rather than out of our abundance.  When the money is gone, what then can you give? 

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom (Matthew 16:24-28).

          Real Christianity is where real Christians live a real faith in the give and take of a real world.  James continues to bring us before the never lying mirror of God’s Word for self-examination.  We would be foolish to have God bring us to the never lying mirror of God’s Word for self-examination and not respond to the convictions of what that mirror exposes about the real us.  This is the warning regarding the possibility of an artificial faith spoken of in James 1:23-25.  If we bring what Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-28 into the context of what is said in James 1:23-25, we add a great deal of depth to what James is saying.  Real faith works as defined by what price we are willing to actually and personally GIVE in exchange for a soul. 

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:23-25).

          All true teaching of “the faith” requires that we take a long and hard look at our spiritual reflection comparing the reality of what is seen with the expectations of God revealed in the Word of God.  We must carefully compare what we see with any discrepancies or contradictions to what God’s Word says.  In doing so, we are looking for a living faith.  A living faith is a working faith that walks the walk, not just one that talks the talk.

There is a story of a little boy who came home after church services one Sunday morning puzzled.  He asked his daddy, what is a Christian?  His dad put him on his knee and carefully explained what it meant to be a Christian.  He said a Christian was a person who had trusted in Jesus Christ to save his soul from having to go to hell by calling on Jesus to be his Savior.  He said a Christian was a person who read and studied the Bible every day to discover God’s truth so he could live for God and obey Him.  He said a Christian was a person who talked to God and believed God would meet his every need.  He told him a Christian was a person who tried to love all people the way God loves them, even those people that hate you.  He told the little boy that loving them meant making any sacrifice necessary to get people saved and help them to become Christians too.  After the father finished, the little boy’s eyes grew big in amazement, “Daddy, have you ever met one of those kinds of people?”

Biblical “faith,” like biblical Christianity, is defined by what we do, not by what we know. The point of James 2:20 and 26 is that knowing truth, without doing truth, is dead faith.  Paul deals with the same issue in his confrontation of the continuing carnality in the lives of the Corinthian believers.  “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.  Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (II Corinthians 13:5).  Paul is saying, the change in the way you live will prove if Christ is really living in you.  Lives lived to the contrary of God’s revealed will in God’s Word reveals a contradiction to saving faith.  In fact, reprobation is the danger (II Corinthians 5:17).

Faith is the certainty (a real possession) of the spiritual things we hope for.  Faith is the proof of the reality of the spiritual things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1).  Therefore, faith comes:

1. By hearing the Word of God regarding an invisible spiritual truth
2. Resulting in a conviction that the truth is real (owning it)
3. Implying a pledge of fidelity to that spiritual truth
4. Resulting in obedient action that corresponds with that truth (living it)

Without anyone of these elements, neither saving faith or working faith is real.  Hebrews 11:4-40 gives detailed illustrations and personal examples of those who acted upon the truths of God as a reality (true working faith).  Faith holds the title deed to do what God promises and acts upon that title deed as if the property in question already belongs to the believer. 

Biblical faith deals only with truth and reality as defined by the Word of God.

1. By the Word of God, we know what is real
2. By the Word of God, we experience what is real by acting upon the Word
3. By the Word of God, we possess what is real because it is the immutable promise of God

God honors living faith (Hebrews 11:2)

“For by it {faith} the elders” {Hebrews 11:2; all the generations of faithful believers before us; both men and women, some of who are listed in Hebrews chapter eleven} were honored by God.  As we look at each of these people, we will see that God honored them by honoring His promises to them.  He looked after them, cared for them, corrected them, directed them, and gave them victories over their enemies and the world around them.  God has historically honored faith.  We can believe He will historically continue to do so. 

True life transforming saving faith expresses itself in moral obedience to God’s Word and in ministry to others in a working faith.  That is what James means by the use of the word “works” (ergon).  It can also be translated doing. In James 1:23, the word “doer is from the Greek word poietes (poy-ay-tace’), meaning a person who performs what he professes.  Faith without “doing” is self-deception about its reality.

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was” (James 1:22).

          James is not proposing that “works” (doing) is a means of salvation, but rather that it is a product of (and proof of) a real and living faith.  This is the evidence of the kind of faith that really saved a person.

    Any professed faith in Christ that continues in resistance to God’s will (as revealed by His Word), in rebellion against God’s will (by selfish disobedience), or that continues to reflect an attitude contrary to God’s Word, must question its own hypocrisy and its own reality.
 
     The groundwork of introduction to James 2:14-20 is verse 13.  “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”  Just as mercy is the inevitable response of real and true biblical love, verses 14-16 show us that works, a working faith that does what God says, is the inevitable response (action) of a real, true biblical saving faith.  When you take a real, living faith before the mirror of God’s Word, that which is reflected is an action of life that images a “doer of the word.”

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.