We discovered and know without a shadow of a doubt that Abraham was justified (saved) by grace through faith.
Let’s continue to LOOK at Abraham’s example to understand the link of works to faith.
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You can print off this post and put in a Notebook!
Let’s Ask the Lord for Help
Oh Lord God, you tell us in Scripture that he who has ears, hear what the Spirit is saying. Seeking Your Truth takes energy and focus; it takes a willingness on our part to be challenged and changed. Today we ask that you unplug our ears and give us ears to hear. Help us to understand what You are saying to us through Your messenger James. Thank You!
LOOK at What God Says
Let GODcha point the way.
How will you dive in?
Always Begin By Reading God’s Word
Read James 2:21-26, asking the 5W’s and H.
Let’s pick up where we left off yesterday, concentrating on James 2:21-24.
Abraham was justified by grace through faith.
James and Paul both teach justification, salvation, is by grace through faith alone, in Christ alone!
Now let’s LOOK at the association that justification by faith has with ‘works’.
God Uses Truth To Explain Truth
Hear God Speak!
1. What did Paul say about works (deeds)?
a. We are saved by grace through faith, not of ourselves, not of works, so that any could boast. We were created for good works, and we are to walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10)
We have looked at this before, but. . .
Understand: We can never be accepted by God or be right before God by what we ‘do’.
Understand: We are NOT saved by good works, but for good works.
b. For it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. (Rom 2:13)
c. Grace appeared bringing salvation to all men; we have been redeemed from every lawless deed, purified and to be zealous for good deeds. (Tit 2:14)
d. Those who have believed are to engage in good deeds. (Tit 3:8)
Works are the RESULT of salvation.
2. What did James say about works (deeds)?
We are to be doers of the Word. (Jam 1:22)
Now then THINK,
How do others know someone:
has believed God by believing in Christ;
Abraham’s Example answers this question. Let’s LOOK.
1. WHEN does James say Abraham was justified by works?
When he offered up Isaac his son on the altar. (Jam 2:21); (Gen 22:1)
Do you know when this was?
This was many years after Abraham believed and was justified by faith.
When Isaac, was a young man not a boy, and in God’s eyes Abraham’s only son, the one the promised seed would come through.
2. Why did Abraham offer his son on the altar?
Because this was God’s test to prove Abraham’s faith.
God told Abraham to take his only son, the son of the promise, and offer him as a burnt offering (voluntary offering, one of love). (Gen 22:1)
Do you remember James is giving us a series of tests to prove our faith?
THINK about our tests:
Is God saying, ‘Do you serve Me because of what you can get from Me, or because you love Me?’
Remember it is impossible to please God apart from faith!
3. Because James said, “Abraham’s faith was working with his works”,
what were Abraham’s works, according to Gen 22?
v3 doesn’t argue with God;
v5 believed – saying we (he and his only son that he loved) will worship and return to you;
v8 confident God would provide the sacrifice;
v12, v18 obeyed, he didn’t withhold his son;
v12 feared God.
THINK: I always thought making a meal for my sick neighbor was a good deed, a good work.
It is, but God wants us to see one’s works of faith go much deeper.
THINK: Isn’t Abraham’s attitude; his actions; and doing what God said not only his works, but the conduct that gives evidence of his faith?
Remember: Faith is Conviction, Commitment, Conduct.
4. What did Abraham believe God would do?
Abraham believed God would be faithful to His promise even if He had to raise Isaac from the dead. (Heb 11:17-19)
5. Explain how Abraham’s works perfected his faith? (Jam 2:22)
Do you remember the meaning of perfected?
Faith reaches its perfection [it’s goal, its state of completion or fulfillment, maturity] by works.
Abraham’s faith was fulfilled in his works.
It’s like a tree, a tree is a tree that is alive and it has all the principles of life but it isn’t perfected until it bears fruit. And so a man is redeemed and he has pulsing in him the life of God and the pulse of divine principle beating within him, pumping divine and righteous life through him, but that’s not brought to its goal until he produces the fruit. It’s there, it has to be seen. John MacArthur
6. Do you understand how the ‘Scripture was fulfilled’? (Jam 2:23)
What the Scripture said in Gen 15:6 –
“Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,”
Was fulfilled (proven, shown, demonstrated, revealed) to others in Gen 22 –
WHEN he was willing to offer up Isaac.
7. What was the result of Abraham’s proven faith? (Jam 2:24)
He was a friend of God. (2Ch 20:7); (Isa 41:8)
8. Who are the friends of God?
That’s a title reserved for people who obey God, who obey His Word. (Joh 15:14-15)
Do you see how wonderful to just let God speak?
But you, then, must LISTEN carefully!
You must THINK and REASON what God says.
What Did We LEARN
Sum It Up!
Abraham is not only the father of the Jews, but of all those who believe in Christ.
There is NO contradiction, between Paul and James.
On WHEN Abraham was justified by faith. Gen 15:6
Abraham was justified [made right with God] by faith before God.
Abraham believed God’s promise of an heir; the seed=Christ; and the land.
Abraham’s belief by grace, NOT the law, brought him righteousness.
This was Abraham’s day of salvation is in Gen 15:6.
On WHEN Abraham’s justification was proven by his works.
Abraham was justified [made right with God] by his works before men when he was willing to offer up Isaac.
God tested Abraham to prove his faith.
Abraham passed the test proving his faith to be real.
Abraham’s works were: his love for God; his obedience to God; his fear of God that proved his faith to men.
Abrahams‘ faith was perfected [fulfilled] in his works.
The Scripture, Gen 15:6, was fulfilled when Abraham proved his faith to mankind by offering up his son, Isaac, in Gen 22.
Justification, salvation, has always been by grace through faith.
That justification, salvation, by grace thru faith, produces works!
Listen and Respond!
Am I a friend of God?
When was I justified by faith (believe God and made righteous)?
Do others know I have genuine saving faith?
How is God testing me to prove my faith?
What sacrifice is God asking me to make to prove my faith?
What act of love and obedience is He asking of me?
Do I argue with God, or do I obey immediately?
Why am I confident God will provide what is necessary in my test?
Am I withholding anything from God?
What is the proof that I fear God?
How are my works perfecting my faith?
Respond to God as the Spirit speaks to your heart!
LIVE it out…
That’s It For Today!
“I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways,” (Psa 119:15)
Ponder and chew on all that God has taught you.
Talk to the loving Father, He is waiting!
Don’t Forget to Journal Your Time with God
As we bring this day to a close, journal your discovery about Abraham and his faith, in your Notes – save them forever so you can review them and bury them into your head and heart.
Journal your communion with the Lord too!
You will be so glad you did.
Turn What You LEARNED into a Prayer
Perhaps. . .
RIGHTEOUS FATHER GOD, thank you for Abraham’s example. May we understand salvation was set forth clearly for us. May we understand salvation was set forth clearly for us as we see how Abraham was blessed with the faith to take You at Your Word, and that faith was by Your grace, bringing him the gift of righteousness. It has always been by grace through faith. We who are undeserving sinners, who have simply trusted in Christ, may we prove daily that our faith is the real deal! May we too be justified by our works before men. May others see our works of love and fear for You, and obedience to You in the midst of our trials and temptations; in how we respond to Your Word; and in how we treat others. Oh, may we understand true religion needs to be seen, and may it woo and draw others to You! We praise You and thank you through Christ our Savior. Amen!
Next: we will zoom in on Rahab’s Faith.
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