Do I have a living faith?
We read this section about faith that is alive with a purpose, asking questions to see clearly what God says.
Let’s take a small bite, and LOOK at Abraham’s faith.
Open GODcha to the Book of James.
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Or, you can use your hardbound Bibles and follow along.
You can print off this post and put in a Notebook!
Let’s Ask the Lord for Help
OH LORD GOD, You are the author of this Holy Word we are coming to. Quiet our hearts today and show us if there be anything, any sin, that would hinder us from listening to You clearly and impede our understanding. Oh, these are Your Words to us to hear and pay heed to. And we know You never contradict Yourself in the Word! So please help us today as we LOOK at Your Word that is Truth. May we carefully pay attention to what You are saying and grant us the understanding we need. Thank you!
LOOK at What God Says
Now, let GODcha guide you in your discovery.
How shall we kick this off?
First, Remember Context
CONTEXT is the setting that Rules Interpretation.
We just finished looking at dead faith and demonic faith, with James saying, “show me your faith”.
Now, he is giving us 2 examples of those who had a faith that was definitely shown to others.
Read God’s Word
Read James 2:21-26, asking the 5W’s and H.
Then, focus in on James 2:21-24.
Who’s the first example of living faith?
How was Abraham justified?
When was Abraham justified?
How was faith perfected?
Unlock the Meaning
What words popped out that you would like to unlock?
Understand God’s Words
Check Out the Meaning
What about justified? Perhaps perfected?
Justified, dikaióō, to render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent:—free, be righteous, to declare one to be just, righteous.
Spoken especially of the justification bestowed by God on men through Christ, in which he is said to regard and treat them as righteous, i.e. to absolve from the consequences of sin and admit to the enjoyment of the divine favor.
Perfected, eleióō, to complete, accomplish, or (figurative) consummate (in character):—consecrate, finish, fulfill, make) perfect. To complete, mature, make perfect by reaching the intended goal.
TIP: Remember to take the meanings back to the text.
v21 “Was not Abraham our father justified [regarded as righteous; declared righteous] by works…”
v23 “And as a result of the works, faith was perfected [fulfilled, to complete, make perfect by reaching the intended goal.]”
Well, we need to get some background information on Abraham to understand James.
Why don’t we check out the Cross References.
God Uses Truth To Explain Truth
Remember don’t hurry.
Our goal is to engage with the LIVING God, hear Him, and be set free!
LISTEN to God speak and consider how you will LIVE it out!
Remember to REASON and THINK by asking questions.
1. What do you understand about Abraham ‘our’ father?
a. Abraham was the father of the Jews, according to the flesh. (Jam 2:21); (Jos 24:3); (Isa 51:2); (Rom 4:1)
b. Abraham is the father of all who believe, all who are of the faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. (Rom 4:11)
c. If one believes in Christ, he is Abraham’s offspring. (Gal 3:7, 9, 29)
2. How was Abraham justified [declared righteous]? WHEN was he justified?
a. Abraham was justified when he believed God’s promise in Gen 15:3-8.
God promised him:
Descendants [seed], the promise of Christ through whom his descendants would be like the stars (Gal 3:16); (Rom 4:18); and
The land (an everlasting possession Gen 17:8).
b. Abraham was justified before the Law ever came through Moses.
Thus, Abraham was justified by grace through faith. (Rom 4:10-13)
c. This is the day of Abraham’s salvation, when God gave Abraham righteousness as a gift. (Rom 5:17)
VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND. . .
1. In the Old Testament all were justified by believing the promise, looking forward to Jesus, the Messiah and the cross.
2. All in the New Testament and on, are justified by looking back to Jesus, the Christ, and the cross.
Understand: Justification, salvation, has always been by grace through faith.
Understand: We are made righteous (right before God) by faith.
Now, let’s see what Paul says about justification.
a. By the deeds of the law will no flesh be justified in His sight … righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ…a man is justified by faith apart from works. (Rom 3:20-28)
b. Abraham was NOT justified by works before God, or he would have something to boast about Abraham was justified by faith before God. (Rom 4:1-5)
c. Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Gal 3:6)
d. Paul also quoted (Gen 15:6) in (Rom 4:3) and (Gal 3:6)
We see: Paul says we are made right by faith.
Now what does James say about justification?
How do we know James believed Abraham was justified by faith?
a. In verse 23, James quoted Gen 15:6 (just as Paul did).
The day Abraham believed God and was declared righteous, showing us that James believed in justification by faith.
b. Remember Jam 1:17-18, James said, the Father of Lights gave us the most perfect gift —
Salvation (justification), by bringing us forth by the Word of Truth.
We see: James believed we are made righteous by faith.
What Did We LEARN
Sum It Up!
Is not only the father:
of the Jews, BUT
of all those who believe God about Christ.
Believed God’s promise of Jesus bringing him righteousness.
All in the Old Testament were justified by believing the promise, looking forward to Jesus, the Messiah and the cross.
All in the New Testament and on, are justified by looking back to Jesus, the Christ, and the cross.
James and Paul, BOTH, teach justification (salvation) is by grace through faith alone, in Christ alone!
That’s It For Today!
“I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways,” (Psa 119:15)
Think deeply about what God has just shown you in His Word.
How has God corrected your understanding and thinking? (2Ti 3:16-17)
Don’t Forget to Journal Your Time with God
Note the main points about Abraham, then you can recite, review and reflect upon your notes regularly which will enable you to memorize the information stored in them longterm!
Turn What You LEARNED into a Prayer
OH FATHER, what a wonderful illustration You give us as we learn from James’ example of Abraham. We see and understand that he received Your gift of righteousness, freely, because he believed in the promise of the seed, the Christ, the One who justifies the ungodly. May we comprehend that no one is godly, righteous (right with You) apart from Your doing. As Abraham looked forward to the coming of Christ and the cross, we look back to the coming of Christ and the cross. Help us all to understand that Abraham was blessed with a faith [conviction, commitment and a conduct] and it was reckoned [credited] to him as righteousness before the Law. Oh Father, salvation has always been by grace to those who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Work in us a faith like Abraham’s. In Jesus name we ask these things. Amen!
Rest tomorrow and worship God!
Meet you in a couple of days to: examine Abraham’s Faith a little more closely.
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