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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

August 7, 2020

Lip service or actions based on conviction?

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

In general, people tend to attach more importance to their actions than their words. After all, words without corresponding actions are only lip service. This is also true of our Christian faith. It was no different with Jesus Christ.

For he said: "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). For Christ, words alone are not enough. James characterized a religion based solely on faith as pointless and foolish: "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:19-20).

How does the apostle Paul, who wrote the majority of New Testament books, fit into this discussion? Most denominations that teach "all you need is faith" claim that Paul's epistles support their viewpoint. But it is interesting that Paul claimed to be the "most active" of all the apostles.

In his first epistle to the Corinthians Paul wrote: "For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (1 Corinthians 15:9-10).

The message of the New Testament is that our heavenly Father wants to have doers and not just hearers (James 1:23. 25). Even common sense shows us that promises that are not kept are empty and worthless. Do you always entrust your car to the mechanic who never finishes the job on the promised date? Certainly not. You will look for a mechanic who "practices what he preaches".

In preserving and defending the true faith handed down once and for all (see Jude 1:4), it is essential that we understand that true Christianity is a religion of works. Faith alone is worthless. James expressed it in a fitting way: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:26).

Let us avoid lip service. Instead, let us be doers of the word!

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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