Friday, September 18, 2020

Can't have One without the Other

Can't have One without the Other 

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 ESV

 The two most important things in our Christian religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith. The person who correctly understands these is not far from being a master in experiential theology—for they are vital points to a Christian. You will never find true faith unaccompanied by true godliness. On the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life that does not have as its root a faith living on the righteousness of Christ. Woe to those people who seek one without the other! There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these people may be very high in orthodoxy, but they will be very deep in condemnation—they are holding the truth in unrighteousness. And then there are those who have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith—like the old Pharisees, who Jesus said were “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27). We must have faith, for this is the foundation, and we must have holiness of life, for this is the building. In a time of storm, what protection would people get from a foundation by itself? Can they hide themselves in it? These people want a house to cover them, as well as a foundation under that house. In the same way, we need the superstructure of spiritual life if we want comfort in the day of doubt. But don’t seek a holy life without faith, for that would be to erect a house that can offer no permanent shelter—it would have no foundation on a rock. Let faith and life be put together, and like the two abutments of an arch, they will make our piety to endure. Like the light and heat that stream from the same sun, they are each full of blessing. Like the two pillars of the temple, they are for glory and for beauty. They are two streams from the fountain of grace; two lamps lit with holy fire; two olive trees watered by heavenly care. Oh, Lord, today give us life within, and it will reveal itself on the outside to your glory. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Two parts of the life of a Christian are necessary, as Spurgeon says.  What passage that comes to mind to me is the one about faith without works is dead.   

You see many commercials about a great many things.  This is JUST LIKE that. That if you just had this then that will happen.  

To cultivate a garden requires more than just planting seeds.  It does require weeding.  Does require watering.  Does require watching for pests that disturb it.  One cannot call themselves a farmer simply because they put a few seeds down and sat, idle, waiting on something to pop up out of the ground. 

Same goes with being a Christian.  It's not a label obtained by just coming to Christ.  We don't become Christians to, as a popular television Preacher has said, "we didn't come to Christ to just sit on our blessed assurance". 

Often we are referred to as soldiers of the cross.  We aren't Apostles, anybody who has lived who had not seen Jesus in person can ever call themselves that.  But there are Pastors, men only, who have been entrusted by the Spirit to preach and teach.  Elders, again, men empowered by the Spirit to lead and teach. Deacons, men, who are entrusted to support the functioning of the Church. Deaconess's who are women over women only in that role of supporting the functioning of the Church.  There are no other roles for women in Church leadership.  In the original language, Elder, Pastor, Teacher was in the male description.  The world may disagree, but as this devotional began mentioning, the foundation of the Church is Christ.  He wrote the Bible and expected it to be the final word on the functioning of the Church. Not worldly desires or influences.  Read 1st and 2nd Timothy. 

Without a proper foundation you cannot have a solid house built upon it.   That's the other key part.  With both faith and working out your faith, both come into play.  Just believing, but not living it, is to be the same as demons. They believe in Christ yet don't walk the talk either.  To believe in Christ it must follow to do as He said in denying yourself and taking up your cross and following Him.  Two parts again.  An action following an action. 

To be in Christ means to intentionally live out being Christ like in word, thought and deed.  Not a label stuck to your shirt saying who you are and then doing what you want.  

Yes it means denying things in your desires.  Yes it means not doing what we see people in the world doing.  Yes it means actions appropriate for someone calling themselves a Child of God. 

Your choices each day are yours to make.  Honor God, or honor yourself. React as Christ would, or react as you want.  We make more choices than we realize every second.  You cannot live for self and live for Jesus too. 

My friend this world is not going to give you what you think you want out of it.  You may have a list of things that if only you had or could do that would make your life complete.  It's not that simple.  If we had what WE THINK we wanted or could be like, we would actually, likely, be farther from God than we are now.  My prayers don't include being rich.  I want to be debt free, there's a difference.  My prayers include a good day, not daily spectacular days. Why? Because if a tree only experiences great days it has no root system to help it hang on during storms. 

We need all the parts of Christianity that the Spirit says we need.  This is all part of God's plans for those who are saved in Christ.  A foundation and a structure upon it.  Faith and works that reflect it. Belief and deeds that bring honor and glory to our Savior.  Hand in hand.  Salvation is not merely a get out of Hell free card.  Nowhere does it say in the Bible to come to Christ an then go back to doing what you want.  We all who are in Christ have to give an account of the deeds done in this body.  The words "Well done" are what we hope to hear from Jesus.  Not just making it by the skin of your teeth.  But deeds that go with a life that tries to live for the one who saved you. 

Make sure today that your actions say more about the God of Heaven that you serve than they do about you.  

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