Saturday, April 21, 2007

Faith

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins." 2 Peter 1:5-9 (New International Version)

To be real, faith must be more than a belief in certain facts. If a Christian's faith is real, it will become a part of all they do resulting in good deeds and spiritual maturity. True faith changes a person; it will change behaviors, attitudes and thoughts. If a person claims to be a child of God, but remains unchanged then that person does not understand faith or what God has done for him or her. (James 2:14-17)

In 2 Peter several actions are listed which will occur in the presence of real faith: learning to know God better, developing self-control, patience, devotion to God, doing God's will, concern for others and loving others. These by-products of faith are not optional, and all must be a continual part of a Christian's life. We don't get to finish one before we start on the next one. Instead we must work to simultaneously incorporate all of the by-products of faith into our lives.

Good deeds do not gain salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, loving deeds of service are proof of a person's faith in Christ. If you truly belong to the Lord, your actions will show it.

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