In Faith Without Works (March 1,2020), we studied God's teaching on the relationship between faith and works From James 2:14-26. James writes in James 2:14, "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
He concludes in James 2:24, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." We can not be saved without works! We are saved by grace through faith and we must have a working faith.
On the other hand, works do not save us! Paul writes Ephesians 2:8-10:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
What James and Paul are saying is that we are not saved by works, but we cannot be saved without works. We are saved by grace, we cannot earn salvation by working, but we cannot be saved without works.
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
We should not be worried about anything! We need to do as Peter urges us in 1 Peter 5:7, cast "all your care upon him; for he careth for you." If we trust God to take care of us, we have nothing to worry about.
You Have Offered Polluted Bread upon My Altar
In You Have Offered Polluted Bread upon My Altar, we learned about the kind of worship God expects of us. Malachi writes in Malachi 1:7-8, "Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible, And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick..." The Jewish priests were guilty of offering sacrifices with deformities. They were required by law to offer perfect sacrifices (Lev. 22:21-23; Deut. 15:20-21). They were specifically forbidden to offer animals with blindness and lameness.
Jesus told the woman at Jacob's well, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). We should worship God with our whole body and spirit. Further, our worship should be according to the truth. Jesus' answer reveals that it is the kind of worship that is important, not the place of worship. We must worship God with our spirits not just our bodies. Worship must not be simply actions, but actions that are motivated by our feelings and decisions to give God worship. We must also worship God in truth. Thayer writes that truth refers to:
"The truth as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man..."
We must worship God according to His word (John 17:17), not according to the teachings of men.
The year, 2020, was a difficult year. However, we learned some great lessons. Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 2 Cor 8:11 (NKJV), "...but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have." Though in context this referred to the contribution for the needy that the Corinthians had spoken of, it would apply to everything that we learned from last year's articles and many other things from God's word. Have you completed the doing of God's will?