“Faith Active In Love” ( 1 John 3: 18, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“My children,” writes the author of 1 John, “love must not be a matter of words or talk; it must be genuine and show itself in action.”

James writes, “My brothers, what use is it for a man to say he has faith when he does nothing to show it? Can that faith save him? Suppose a brother or a sister is in rags with not enough food for the day, and one of you says, ‘Good luck to you, keep yourself warm, and have plenty to eat’, but does nothing to supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So with faith; if it does not lead to action, it is in itself a lifeless thing.” (James 2:14-17) He tells us, “The kind of religion which is without stain or fault in the sight of God is this: to go to the help of orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself untarnished by the world.” (James 1:27)

Paul writes, “The only thing that counts is faith active in love.” (Galatians 5:6) He warns, “I may have faith strong enough to move mountains; but if I have no love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2)

Love is not a lifeless thing. Although kind words are involved, love is primarily action directed for the benefit of our fellow humankind. Love looks for opportunities to show others the same love God shows to us. Therefore, says Paul: “Put love first.” (1 Corinthians 14:1) After all, love is everlasting.

Advertisements

“True Religion” ( Isaiah 1: 17, NIV ) by Carley Evans


Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 8:14pm

“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”

I personally love the positive nature of “true religion.” True religion seeks justice, encourages the oppressed, defends orphans, pleads for widows. “True religion” seeks “to do right.” “Against such things there is no law,” says Paul. (Galatians 5:23)

James tells us, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27) Paul puts it succinctly,”The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6)

And Jesus reminds us, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:46-48)

“The Lord’s Standard” (Proverbs 21: 2, NEB) by Carley Evans


“A man may think he is always right, but the Lord fixes a standard for the heart.”

A person justifies his acts to himself. For example, if you are running late to an important meeting and many are waiting on you, is it right to run a red light if there are no cars coming in either direction? Some say, ‘Yes.’ Others say, ‘No.’ Some are just bewildered, knowing they’d consider running the light.

Whatever you decide, you justify your decision to yourself as the correct one. Otherwise, if you are like most people, you won’t do that which you’ve decided is wrong. In order to commit an illegal or immoral act, you must first decide it is ‘not so bad,’ ‘the correct or better thing to do in this situation,’ or ‘okay because everyone else is doing it.’

You see yourself as being in the right.

“But the Lord fixes a standard for the heart,” writes Solomon. Jesus knows that it is what comes out of the heart that defiles a man. And, unfortunately, a person’s heart is deceitful above all things, says Jeremiah.

God’s standard is high; fixed so high we can not attain to it. We must place ourselves under the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ where God’s mercy overshadows us. Here we are justified not by ourselves, but by God Himself. Rejoice! I say again – Rejoice!

“True Religion” (Isaiah 1: 16 – 17, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Your hands are full of blood,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 1: 15) He does not look; He does not listen. He says, “My soul hates” your solemn assembly, vain offerings, Sabbaths, convocations, and appointed feasts. (Isaiah 1: 13, 14) He finds each to be “a burden.” He is “weary of bearing them.” (Isaiah 1: 14)

Can you imagine God not listening, not looking at your “solemn assembly” in which you sing songs, preach sermons, baptize new believers, have altar calls, light candles, share pot lucks, pray prayers?

Can you see His back as He turns from you and your “vain offerings?”

God commands, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before My eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good.”

Can you make yourself clean? Can you learn to do good? Can you cease to do evil?

God offers a solution, “Come now, let us reason together; though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword.” (Isaiah 1: 18 – 20)

“Seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1: 17)

True religion, “that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1: 27)

“Though Your Sins Are Scarlet” (Isaiah 1: 18, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord; though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

God asks the people to stop bringing “vain offerings.” He is unable to “endure iniquity and solemn assembly” in the same place, at the same time. (Isaiah 1: 13) The “appointed feasts,” He hates. (Isaiah 1: 14) He is weary of “many prayers” with hands “full of blood” spread out before Him. (Isaiah 1: 15)

God commands, “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before My eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1: 16 – 17)

James writes, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1: 27)

Jesus tells us that those who suffer do not suffer because they are worse sinners. “No , I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13: 3) In other words, “though your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow.” As sin increases, grace abounds. Yet, this is not to say that we should commit sins so that grace becomes abundant. Paul says, “By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6: 2)

“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove all of your evil deeds from before My eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good,” says our Lord and Savior.