Friday, August 21, 2015

The Gospel According to the Chicken and the Egg

The age old question of "which came first; the chicken or the egg?" has baffled people for ages.  I find this question a bit of a no brainer if you believe in a world created by God, which I do.  The chicken came first.  Duh.  On the day God created the animals, chickens were first.  He didn't create an egg that hatched one day and "poof" - chicken.  

Now that you can sleep better at night because you know the answer to that question, I'll pose one that is similar to the chicken and egg debate.  "Which came first; faith or works?"  In a recent time of personal study, I re-read the passage in James 2 that discusses this very topic.  Let's look at verses 14-26:

?What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him?If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it?  In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?  Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?  You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected.  So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.  You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by a different route?  For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."
So, is it faith that saves you or your works?  This question separates the wheat from the tares, and one denomination from another.  The Bible teaches here that faith does come first, but faith alone without works (or evidence, we might call fruit) is dead.  Some religions believe that you can do enough good 'works' and earn your way to eternal life with God.  But the Bible teaches that works are merely the evidence of your faith.  We don't do works, and then have faith.  We have faith that produces works.  The theological Chicken and the Egg.  
The verse that always causes me to pay attention is verse 19 "The demons also believe—and they shudder."  Just believing is a dead faith.  It requires works to show your faith is real and active.  I'm not better than a demon if I say I believe in God, but I have no evidence in my life to reveal that belief.
You may think you are on a journey to earn yourself a ticket to Heaven.  But, dear readers, this passage very simply shows what faith looks like in those who know Jesus personally and will spend eternity with Him.  Faith first, works second.  Knowing I possess a living faith, also helps me sleep at night.

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