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    A FAITH THAT IS NOT ALONE(Questions 62-64)

    If I were to ask you what is needed to see, what would you say? Probably an eye. It is through our eyes that we are able to see the world. But if we were to get more specific, an eye is not enough to see. We also need a brain, and nerves, and many other things that make it possible for us to see.

    In the same way, we can only see Christ for who He is truly is if we have faith. Faith is the only means God has used to help us do this. But if our faith is alone, if it does not change our lives, if it does not produce good works, then it is not true faith. A faith that is alone is like an eye sitting on a table. Even though it is an eye, it will never see. And a faith that is without works will never be a faith that saves.

    Q.62 Why can't our good works make us righteous before God?
    Because the only righteousness that God accepts be be absolutely perfect and our works are imperfect and mixed with sin.

    Q.63 Won't God reward us in heaven for our good works?
    God will reward us because of His grace, not because we have earned it.

    Q.64 Doesn't this make us want to be lazy and take advantage of God's grace?
    Not if we have true faith. For those who are truly Christians will do good works out of gratitude.

    Now we need to understand that it is not our works that save us. It is our faith, and our faith alone. BUT-with this faith that God gives us comes gratitude and a willingness to do good works. It is not something we even think about. It is just something we want to do.

    Let's just look at one section of scripture that will explain this completely.

    Matthew 25:31-46

    We see in these verses two groups of people. The sheep, who are Christians, and goats who are nonChristians. And what is very interesting about each group is their attitude towards good works.

    With the sheep, Jesus will say that they may enter into heaven because they have done all sorts of good works(feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc.,) But notice that the sheep are unaware of the works they have done. They are honestly shocked to be rewarded in such a way. This shows that the works they have done as Christians are done out of gratitude, and in a way that is natural. They didn't do it because they had to but because they wanted to. And when we do things that we want it is effortless and fun.

    Now notice the goats. They are not allowed into heaven because of the works they did NOT do. Because of their lack of gratitude, because of their selfishness, they are sent to everlasting punishment.

    Again, we don't want to make the mistake of thinking that it is our works that determine whether or not we go to heaven. We see in another part of the Bible where those who THINK they are righteous in themselves tell Jesus they have done mighty works in His name. His response is "I never knew you". So it is not our works, but our faith that saves us. However, with that faith, comes gratitude, and with gratitude, good works. In closing, let's look at one last verse that puts good works into perspective:

    James 2:14-17

    1. Is faith all we need to be saved?
    2. What does true faith produce in us?
    3. How come our works can't get us into heaven?
    1998 Pomona Youth Chapel/Pastor Tim Shultz