The Love of God truly is difficult for the human psyche to grasp. Over the last 55 years I have sat under a few different pastors, and God has taught me different things that He wanted me to know about Him and His love for me through each of those men of God.
Over many years I have read in God’s Word about how Jesus understands everything we go through because He has been through it too. I always had this question in my mind, “How could a sinless God know how I feel when I am feeling burdened and shameful of sin?”
God reminded me of another aspect of His love for me through Pastor Denson’s preaching of how it effected Jesus and how He must have felt when He was bathed in the whole world’s sin, from the beginning of time unto the end of days. Add to that the fact that He was separated from His Holy Father for the first and only time throughout all time.
I say reminded because this is exactly what led me to the Lord on Easter Sunday 1965. In my grandmother’s church, a Sunday School teacher taught on just that subject – how sad it must have been for Jesus when all of our sins were dumped on Him on the cross of Calvary, and how sad He must have been especially when His Holy Father had to turn away and could not look on Him because of all that filthy sin. It is so true that some of us who have been saved for a long time can forget some things about that miracle God did on our day of Salvation. I am thankful for this reminder.
This past Sunday Pastor Denson preached about the betrayal of Judas from John 13. Verse 21 says, “When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.” In times past when I have read or heard those words, my reaction has been to become angry at the thought that Judas, who had spent 3 1/2 years with our Lord and was one of His disciples, could so betray the Lord like he did. Anyway, there is a lot more to that verse that we can miss if we are not careful.
I always thought that the words, Jesus was troubled in His spirit, meant that Jesus was disappointed in Judas for what he would do. BUT, our pastor pointed out that the word troubled is very significant here. Jesus was feeling overwhelmed and sad for Judas because, number 1, He of course knew what Judas would do, He knows everything, and number 2, He knew how Judas would feel after he had done it. He knew that Judas would be so convicted that he would not be able to forgive himself and that he would end his own life. I am sure Jesus wanted with all His heart to spare Judas of all that pain. Did you get that? Jesus felt more sorrow in His heart for Judas over the grief He knew it would cause him than He did for being betrayed or even what Jesus knew He would have to endure to save a lost and sinful world.
For us parents/grandparents we can surely relate to this when we see our children/grandchildren heading down a path that we know will cause them much pain and heartache. We know because much of the time we have been on some of those paths ourselves, and we know how it feels when we come to ourselves and we realize our sin and are overwhelmed with the conviction of it. Like Jesus must feel when any one of us heads down a wrong path, we want to spare them of what they will experience for their choices. But we have to understand, as He assuredly does, everyone has free will and has to face the consequences of our actions, even though we would like to spare them such pain.
Oh my yes He is in control. He always has been and He always will be! Do those knuckleheads in our U.S. Congress not understand that?! Evidently not! I find it so very embarrassing to have the world see the complete and utter evil ignorance that is going on in our House Chamber for now over 3 years. All because they hate the man that God has placed in our White House because he is uncovering all of their crooked and corrupt policies that have made them so rich and powerful. Sadducees and Pharisees did the same garbage when Jesus came. BUT, the American people are not stupid as these evil ones in our congress would have us think! If you love America and you love the Lord God Jehovah, pray and get out and vote these fools out of office in 2020!
I am reading in Isaiah in my morning devotions and as I read Chapter 45, I could not help but see the similarities between when God used King Cyrus of Persia as His anointed vessel, and how He is using our President to accomplish His purpose. And, get this, King Cyrus did not even acknowledge Jehovah as God! Can we not understand that God always always always places those whom He wants in places of leadership in all the world’s countries/governments for His purpose.
It is obvious that the LORD has place our President Trump in position of President of the United States. I believe it has much to do with the remnant in this country of believers who are staying true to God and praying fervently for our country for the sake of our children and children’s children. We can hope that God will send His Son for His church soon, but in the meantime we must be about His work. Part of that work is getting His Gospel out and praying for our leaders.
Then there is the question, “Is Donald Trump a born again Christian?” Well it has been reported by very credible sources that he did, in fact, accept Jesus as his Lord and Saviour just prior to his winning the presidency. I believe he did, by his actions. But only he and God know that for sure. Do I like how he says things sometimes? Of course not. Remember, he is a babe in Christ and has much to learn. Either way, I see God’s hand directing our president and accomplishing so very much to truly make this country great again, and bring our awesome God back into so many areas that evil has used unbelievers to take Him out of; our schools for one.
I will add the Chapter 45 of Isaiah below for you to see for yourselves; if you truly know Jesus as Lord and Saviour and want to see truth.
In conclusion, I beg each and every one of my brethren to daily, fervently lift up our president and those who support him for guidance, direction, and power from the one and only true God Jehovah, to accomplish His purposes in our times!
Isa:45:1: Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 2: I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: 3: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. 4: For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. 5: I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7: I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. 8: Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. 9: Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? 10: Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth? 11: Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. 12: I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. 13: I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts. 14: Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God. 15: Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. 16: They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols. 17: But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. 18: For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. 19: I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. 20: Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. 21: Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 23: I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 24: Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. 25: In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.
There is a great song I love to sing and play on my guitar, “For Those Tears I Died”. The Isaacs do a great job on it:
Yes, it is so true that God knows every tear we cry and He feels our tears and cares about them.
We did get our house in Colorado sold and moved into our new home here in Amarillo on July 15th. We are nearly all settled in. It was quite an adventure that God was in total control of.
I am reading in the Psalms in my Bible at this point, and I was reminded of how God knows all about us, even every thought we have and every tear we cry. It had been a while, probably last year when I was reading the Psalms ;-), but I always receive something new each time I re-read any of God’s Word. Psalm 56:8 “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” It is always a comfort to me when I read this Scripture, but especially at this time in my life. God cares so very much that He puts our tears in His bottle and in His book!
A couple of weeks ago I received word that my 20-year-old grandson has left this world; so so very young. I have been witnessing to him, trying to lead him to salvation for the past 2 years. He was part of a gang, and admitted “he did not know Jesus as Saviour as he did not believe in Heaven or Hell; just that things just happen and that’s the way it is.” I can only hope that the Lord reached him before he died and I will see him in Heaven.
I know that God’s Word does not return to Him void – Isaiah 55:6-11 “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.“
ALL things are possible for Jehovah and He would that none should perish.
My heart hurts much for my daughter who had gone away from our Lord as well, but she is saved. I cannot even begin to imagine her pain. I share my love and the Scriptures with her as I am led by the Lord, as well as fervently lifting her up for mercy and that God place someone in her path that is very strong in Him who will help her come out of this horrible darkness she is in. I know with all of my heart that if there is a chance that she will be able to reach out to and help even one person through something like this, down the road, God will not let her leave yet.
I know that our tears are a cry from our hearts, and I pray that when my girl is ready to receive it, she will experience God’s mercy, comfort and presence. As her momma, I so wish I could make this go away for her, but I must leave her in the hands of our loving, capable, and merciful God Jehovah.
I understand that we are all brought to tears at different times in our lives, for many different reasons. Tears have always been closely spun together with the human heart and may express such various emotions as grief and joy. God’s Word has much to say on this matter.
In the Old Testament, tears were often an expression of remorse – Lamentations 2:18, 19 “Their heart cried unto the LORD, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease. Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the LORD: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.”
Esther wept with a troubled soul over the predicament of her people – Esther 8:3 “And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.”
Hannah shed tears from a grieving heart and a bitter soul – I Samuel 1:8, 10 “Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons? And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.”
Mary and Martha wept over the loss of their brother Lazarus – John 11:31 “The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.”
The sinful woman at the feet of Christ shed tears, not from remorse, anxiety, or grief, but rather in humility as a grateful response to God’s mercy and love toward her in spite of her sin – Luke 7:38-50 “And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”
Every one of us will experience circumstances in our lives that will move us to tears. In those times, we must hold fast to the promise that a day is coming when God will wipe away all tears – Revelation 7:17 “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” And Isaiah 25:8 says, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (And God cannot and does not lie!)
Until that glorious day comes to us, may we each have a desire for tears of repentance, adoration, thankfulness, and joy!
All of the great religions of the world claim to worship god. In our society, any form of worship, when sincerely practiced, is thought to be acceptable The Bible tells us otherwise! It teaches that God Himself commands how He is to be worshiped. He also tells us how to dress when we worship Him, in a Holy manner – in modesty and humility. Not dancing around on a stage with tambourines, drums and electric guitars blasting over the loud speakers while we shake ourselves about, as if putting on a concert. This is bringing the world into God’s church and trying to bring Him down to our level instead of lifting Him up with praiseful Holy words to help prepare our hearts for the man of God’s message given him from on high.
Too many today use entertainment to draw the crowds with itching ears who only want a show and only want to hear that God loves them. Heaven forbid they are told that God hates our sin! They might leave and then the church would be out the money. And if you think God is present for these shows, you are sadly mistaken. He is at enmity with the world and therefore so are we His children. If we bring the world into a place meant for Holy worship, it is no longer Holy unto God and He cannot be there.
God called His people Israel to forsake other religions. He commanded them from the beginning not to worship the Lord as other peoples worship their “gods” – Deuteronomy 12:3, 31 “And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place…Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.”
The Lord instructed that His people were to worship only in the place He chooses to make His name abide and that they come with blood sacrifices – Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 14, 18, 26 “But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:…Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD:… But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee…But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto…Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose:”
Worshiping God in any way we may choose is still not acceptable to Him. God must be worshiped where He chooses to make His name abide. God still requires an atoning sacrifice for sin. As God’s work in history progressed, He revealed Jesus Christ, the “name which is above every name” – Philippians 2:9 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:”, as the final atoning Sacrifice for sin – Hebrews 9:12 “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
Though there are many competing religions in the world, Jesus Christ came to reveal that He is the one and only way to the Father – John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” It is the job of God’s church to lead the lost to Salvation and healing through the Gospel/Good News of Jesus Christ. When so many are putting on a circus and trying to tickle the itching ears, they neglect to let the lost know that they need a Saviour. But, those false teachers calling themselves pastors, who only tell people that God loves them and teaches them out of worldly self-help books and corrupted versions of what once was God’s True Word, as they let the lost continue to be lost, will stand before Jesus on That day and give account. I sure would not want to be in their shoes. Can you imagine how it will feel as we, God’s Saints, have to stand and watch the lost we did not give the Good News to dragged into eternal hell and damnation as they look at us and ask, “Why did you not tell me?”
Christians can be assured that worship centered around Christ, and not for self-edification and euphoria, will glorify and please God, and that is what true worship is meant to be-glorifying and pleasing to God:
Luke 19:28-38 “And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him. And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”
Ephesians 1:6 “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Many of these feel-good churches of today are confusing the masses with all the different corrupt versions of God’s Word and they are deceiving them instead of leading them to Salvation through Christ. And we wonder why our country is in the Godless sinful state it is today, tolerating all sin “because God loves us!” Shame on the churches who confuse and deceive! Repent and turn to true and Holy worship that prepares hearts for the message of Salvation. We are running out of time.
As I near the end of God’s Word again in Revelation, as usual, I am learning new things from Him and being reminded of things I may have forgotten.
Today Revelation 7:13-17 spoke very powerfully to me about those who will be left behind in the Rapture of God’s church, but will be brought to Salvation during the Great Tribulation. God is revealing things that will happen in the end of times to John for our knowledge and encouragement.
Here we see a description of the honour and happiness of those who have faithfully served the Lord Jesus Christ, and suffered for His Great Cause-Martyrs.
Though it is just a few short verses, there is much to glean from it. I have shared some of Matthew Henry’s commentary as it touched my soul and he puts it into words I never could. I find it encouraging as it helps me through the times when my selfish flesh wants to say, “Why bother?” after so long a time of witnessing to and praying for lost souls, and in my finite, human mind, not seeing the results I think I should see, when I think I should see them. Weeping only lasts until the morning! One day, we will stand before our Lord and be glad for anything we may have done to further His precious Gospel! Unlike these martyrs, I have not been called on to lay down my life for it. I must hope that I will trust in the Grace of God to get me through, should I ever be faced with that.
13 “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” (A question asked by one of the elders, not for his own information, but for John’s instruction. Now the question has two parts:– 1.What are these that are arrayed in white robes? 2. Whence came they? It seems to be spoken by way of admiration, as in Song of Solomon 3:6 – Who is this that cometh out of the winderness!)
14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.” (The answer returned by the apostle, in which he tacitly acknowledges his own ignorance, and sues to this elder for information: Thou knowest, Those who would gain knowledge must not be ashamed to own their ignorance, nor to desire instruction from any that are able to give it.)
“And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (The account given to the apostle concerning that noble army of martyrs who stand before the throne of God in white robes, with palms of victory in their hands: and notice is taken here of:
(1. The low and desolate state they had formerly been in, they had been in great tribulation, persecuted by men, tempted by satan, sometimes troubled in their own spirits. They had suffered the spoiling of their goods, the imprisonment of their persons, yea, the loss of life itself. The way to Heaven lies through many tribulations, but tribulation, how great soever, shall not separate us from the love of God. Tribulation, when gone through well, will make Heaven more welcome and more glorious.)
(2. The means by which they had been prepared for the great honour and happiness they now enjoyed: they had washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, Revelation 7:14. It is not the blood of the martyrs themselves nor anything the martyrs did, but the blood of the Lamb, that can wash away sin, and make the soul pure and clean in the sight of God. This is the only blood that makes the robes of the saints white and clean.)
15 “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” (The blessedness to which they are now advanced, being thus prepared for it. They are happy in their station, for they are before the throne of God night and day and He dwells among them. They are in that presence where there is fullness of joy! They are happy in their employment, for they serve God continually, and that without weakness, drowsiness, or weariness. Heaven is a state of service, though not of suffering. It is a state of rest, but not of sloth. It is a praising, delightful rest.)
16 “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.” (They are happy in their freedom from all the inconveniences of this present life: from all want and sense of want: They hunger and thirst no more, all their wants are supplied, and all the uneasiness caused thereby is removed; from all sickness and pain. They shall never be scorched by the heat of the sun any more.)
17 “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (They are happy in the love and guidance of the Lord Jesus: He shall feed them, he shall lead them to living fountains of waters, He shall put them into the possession of every thing that is pleasant and refreshing to their souls, and therefore, they shall hunger and thirst no more. They are happy in being delivered from all sorrow or occasion of it: God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. They have formerly had their sorrows, and shed many tears, both upon the account of sin and affliction. But God Himself, with his own gentle and gracious hand, will wipe those tears away, and they shall return no more for ever, and they would not have been without those tears, when God comes to wipe them away.)
(In this He deals with them as a tender Father who finds His beloved child in tears. He comforts him, He wipes his eyes, and turns his sorrow into rejoicing. This should moderate the Christian’s sorrow in his present state, and support him under all the troubles of it for those that sow in tears shall reap in joy and those that now go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again, rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.) THESE THOUGHTS ARE VERY COMFORTING TO THOSE OF US WHO SOW THE SEED AND CONTINUALLY PRAY AND WEEP FOR GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WORK AND HIS WILL THROUGH OUR EFFORTS!
Today’s tidbit is concerning faith and works. Works have absolutely nothing to do with our Salvation, other than as fruit of our Salvation; works will not get us to Heaven. But, once we are saved, we ought to want to work for Christ, and our works are evidence of our faith in Jesus unto Salvation. Our works are our fruits of our Salvation. So faith without works is dead. All born-again saints will stand before Jesus and have our works (after Salvation) tested by the fire. Those works born out of wrong motivation and not glorifying Christ will be burned up. Those works done for the sake of Christ and the Gospel will come out of the fire and we will receive our crowns for them. I look forward to laying those crowns at the feet of Jesus in gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice He paid for me so that I can live eternally with Him as my Lord and King.
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (This is a great example of when a brother or sister says to us that they have a need and we respond with, “I will pray for you.” That is all good and well. We are to pray for our brethren. But what about actually using some of the increase that God has blessed us with to put our prayers into action and help them by supplying their need, as the Holy Spirit leads. God blesses us and provides well for us in order for us to help those less fortunate, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.)
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary:
Those are wrong who put a mere notional belief of the gospel for the whole of evangelical religion, as many now do. No doubt, true faith alone, whereby men have part in Christ’s righteousness, atonement, and grace, saves their souls; but it produces holy fruits, and is shown to be real by its effect on their works; while mere assent to any form of doctrine, or mere historical belief of any facts, wholly differs from this saving faith.
A bare profession may gain the good opinion of pious people; and it may procure, in some cases, worldly good things; but what profit will it be, for any to gain the whole world, and to lose their souls? Can this faith save him? All things should be accounted profitable or unprofitable to us, as they tend to forward or hinder the salvation of our souls. This place of Scripture plainly shows that an opinion, or assent to the gospel, without works, is not faith. There is no way to show we really believe in Christ, but by being diligent in good works, from gospel motives, and for gospel purposes.
Men may boast to others, and be conceited of that which they really have not. There is not only to be assent in faith, but consent; not only an assent to the truth of the word, but a consent to take Christ. True believing is not an act of the understanding only, but a work of the whole heart.
That a justifying faith cannot be without works, is shown from two examples, Abraham and Rahab. Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Faith, producing such works, advanced him to peculiar favours. We see then, in verse 24 , how that by works a man is justified, not by a bare opinion or profession, or believing without obeying; but by having such faith as produces good works. And to have to deny his own reason, affections, and interests, is an action fit to try a believer.
Observe here, the wonderful power of faith in changing sinners. Rahab’s conduct proved her faith to be living, or having power; it showed that she believed with her heart, not merely by an assent of the understanding. Let us then take heed, for the best works, without faith, are dead; they want root and principle. By faith any thing we do is really good; as done in obedience to God, and aiming at his acceptance: the root is as though it were dead, when there is no fruit.
Faith is the root, good works are the fruits; and we must see to it that we have both. This is the grace of God wherein we stand, and we should stand to it. There is no middle state. Every one must either live God’s friend, or God’s enemy. Living to God, as it is the consequence of faith, which justifies and will save, obliges us to do nothing against him, but every thing for him and to him.
9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: (Though some are just common and perhaps poor in the eyes of the world, they have much to rejoice about if they are high and lifted up as rich in their faith in Jesus and heirs as adopted children of God.)
10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. (The rich may rejoice because they are under the care and protection God gives if they are saved by the blood of Jesus, which usually leads to a humbling attitude of gratitude. But, we are to understand that the temporal wealth that this world offers is a withering thing. So, let the rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises that teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from enjoyments of the world that pass and fade away as the grass that withers. Let the rich man not put his faith in his riches, but in God alone.)
12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (Now not all who suffer are blessed; but those who persevere through the trials, not blaming God and whining, “why me.” We can get through those times knowing that it is our duty, and be thankful for tough times to bring us closer to our Lord. It is not the afflictions that make us miserable, if they come through no fault of our own choices. Those of us who make it through the testings that come to make us more like Christ, will be crowned with the Crown of Life by Jesus himself. Jesus promises us this crown if we have Him in our hearts and if we nurture our love for Him as we mature. Every saved soul that truly loves God, shall have its trials in this life fully rewarded for eternity in Heaven where love is made perfect. The commands of God, and His dealings with us as He prepares us for our future with Him forever, will try our hearts, but in time they will show us to be strong in character and count as our testimony to bring others to Salvation.)
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: (Though we all have those fiery trials throughout our lives, we must never think that the temptations to sin comes from God. He is pure and Holy and cannot sin. We must remember that there is evil in this world that we must battle every day of our lives. Because we are saved, does not mean that we will not sin anymore. Our saved spirits will battle our selfish, evil flesh until we see our Lord. We are just sinners saved by His grace. Jesus gave us the victory over that evil in His death, burial and resurrection. All we need do is go to His Word and speak it against the evil tempter as Jesus did when He was tempted by him.)
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (Temptations come to us in our thoughts that, if we spend time thinking on them, bring about a lust to sin. The temptations themselves are not sin. It is when we spend time thinking on the temptations and then put action to them that they become sin. We must immediately recognize the evil temptations and cast them out through the power of Jesus’ name and the power of His Holy Word, replacing those evil thoughts with God’s pure and powerful/alive Word.)
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (God never changes. He is the same today as He was yesterday and thousands of years ago and will be for eternity. So we know that any good thing comes from Him, but we also know that all thoughts that would lead us to sin come from God’s enemy and our enemy, the devil. God has, has always had, and will always have power over that sinful creature who only wants to destroy anything and anyone belonging to God. It is up to us if we let him have his way in our lives or not.)
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (In Israel, the first sheaf of harvested grain was always offered to God – Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:9-14. Those firstfruits were a preview of what was yet to be gathered. James explained that he and other Jewish Christians were a kind of firstfruits. They were the first yield of a much greater harvest that was yet to be gathered as a result of the spread of the Good News/Gospel. We are products of those firstfruits.)