Yesterday I discussed passages of the Bible that quote Jesus,
concerning entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven and about “greater works.”
I have met many Christians who seem to downgrade “works” and are very
quick to protest that salvation comes through grace and not works. This
is true: We are indeed saved by grace – but for good works. In
the Bible, the second chapter of James makes it abundantly clear that
faith without works is dead. Concerning works, here are just two of the
verses from James Chapter 2:
14. What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he
has no works? Can that faith save him?
26. For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith
without works is dead.
If works were unimportant in believers’ lives, why would Jesus even
mention “greater works” (John 14:12)?
12. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works
that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;
because I go to the Father.”
As I’ve written before, “In a nutshell, cheap grace preaches
forgiveness without repentance.”
For more on “cheap grace,” see:
Concerning faith and works, another passage of the Bible that can be
misunderstood is Mark 11:23-24. Here Jesus says:
23. "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken
up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but
believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted
24. "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask,
believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.”
(New American Standard Bible)
We should remember that these verses are not to be used as permission
to sit back and do nothing but pray. James 2:20 makes it clear that we
are to act on our faith. Mountains won’t be moved if we are lazy. And as
Frank is fond of saying, “Belief is passive; faith is active.”
20. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that
faith without works is useless?
It’s a fact that along with ongoing human poverty and degradation,
the extremely cruel exploitation of billions of animals is increasing
dramatically in the world. This is a downward spiral fueled by
tremendous greed and the manipulation of the masses who contribute to
their own detriment. This “contribution” ranges from money given to
powerful “charities” that fund unnecessary, redundant animal
experiments, to money spent to purchase animal products used for food,
clothing, etc. This truly is a “mountain” to be removed by faith!
That “mountain-removing” faith should motivate us to educate others
and ourselves so that we can take intelligent, positive action
proceeding from heartfelt kindness and compassion. With perseverance we
can and we will remove this “mountain” of wasteful cruelty.