“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:17
Is salvation a gift from God that cannot be earned? Is Satan real? Most reading these questions would unequivocally, without-reservation answer passionately in the affirmative. A 2009 survey conducted by Pollster Barna revealed that each person responding as such is in the minority. The analysis of survey responses revealed that less than half of self-identifying born again adults (40%) were convinced that Satan is a real force. Likewise, only 47% of these adults strongly reject the notion that it is impossible for someone to earn their way into Heaven through good behavior. Why, you may ask, do so many Christian fail to rightly answer questions concerning the basic tenants of the Christian faith? It is my conviction that the church as a whole has failed to pass on a truly living faith to the next generation of believers.
In the book of James, one can see an explanation of the concept a living faith. James 2:14-26, declares that faith without works is dead. It removes the notion that a true, living faith can be an empty claim (v.14). Rather it asserts that one’s profession of faith should be evidenced by one’s life of faith. James gives a powerful illustration (v.15-16) and then the inescapable conclusion that a faith without works is dead (v.17). This section of scripture continues to shed light on the reality of a dead faith when it states that knowing the truth is not enough. For you see, a true, living faith is not merely and intellectual acceptance but a soul-level recognition of Jesus Christ.
Whether the church as a whole does not possess a living faith or it has failed to communicate this faith, the results the same… dwindling dedicated devotees and powerless parishioners.
In II Timothy 2:2, we are called to impart the living faith… to entrust others with the gospel message so that it may radically alter the world. So what are we willing to do to see this happen? I am summoning all those who read this to be a mentor, to intentionally pass on to others the living faith. I am calling Millen Baptist Christians to live a life of modeling and teaching other Christians the precepts of the Bible and Christian life day in and day out. This has always been and continues to be the strength of the church. Without ‘disciple-making’ we will fail personally and as a church. Yes, this is time consuming and intimidating but it is our duty and privilege as a Christian.
Let us each of us give all for the cause of Christ. Let us live out the reality found in the statement of Christian martyr Jim Elliot, “He is not a fool who give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”