After decades of intense Bible study I state without hesitation that this series presents one of the most important, eternity-determining, life-or-death teachings to be found in the Holy Scriptures. Ironically, its message has been summarily rejected by the masses of professing Christendom who simply refuse to believe and obey the Words of the living God. I trust that you are not following in their moral footsteps.
Beyond a doubt the most widely known and often quoted Biblical passage is John 3:16,17: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever BELIEVES IN HIM should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the WORLD THROUGH HIM MIGHT BE SAVED.” Case closed–all one need do is believe in Jesus and one is saved. When asked about his relationship with God, the Governor of Texas replied that his soul was fine because: “I believe in Jesus.” Case closed. He had just repeated what professing Christendom has been told for 2000 years–that everyone on earth who believes that Jesus is the Son of God and has taken Him as his Savior is saved, born again and rapture ready. If the governor’s statement had gone out over the world some three billion people would shout “amen!” Then they would return to their respective cult meetings the following “venerable day of the sun (god)”–Sunday–where they would hear that same message spoken from tens of thousands of pulpits and Sunday School lecterns. Following their “I’m o.k., you’re o.k., we’re all o.k.” ear-scratching message they would spend the following six days harboring total assurance that they are one with God. Satan smiles because that is exactly what happens every week around the globe.
Does billions of people believing a religious “fact” for thousands of years make that “fact” true? Over three billion people would shout a unanimous “Yes!” upon hearing the question. When asked how they know that the “fact” is true, they would reply that it is written in the Bible. When asked how they know it is written in the Bible, their reply would revolve around what their leaders had told them and what their parents, their grandparents, etc. had been told throughout the generations. Then when shown the numerous Biblical passages that prove their “fact” to be a Satanic lie, the usual comeback sounds something like this: “Well, I took Jesus as my Savior and I know in my heart that I am saved.” Is what we “know” in our hearts (minds) always the Truth? Does our collective “fact” overrule God’s Word? Does ignorance of His Word excuse our believing a wrong “fact?” Our eternity depends on our ability to distinguish God’s Truth from Satan’s truth, then to choose the right one. Therefore, let us consult the Book in which we find God’s Truth in written form. The Holy Bible is man’s ONLY source of spiritual Truth. Let us approach it as such, believe what we read, then obey it. Only those who complete all three steps will enter the Kingdom of God.
We are told that man must live by faith, and that we are (being) saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). God-commanded faith is based on His Truth (Rom. 10:19), which Jesus said was His Word (Jn. 17:17). Knowing and believing the Bible are steps one and two on the long, treacherous, holy path to salvation. Only those who remain on that path to the end will receive it (Mat. 10:22). See Persecution. With that in mind, let us turn to the second chapter of the Book of James where the Lord tells us repeatedly that faith, though necessary, is not enough to save the soul, that man must do WORKS of faith–obey God’s Word. Between 2:14 and 2:26 He tells us that faith without works is dead and cannot save the soul; that we must prove our faith by our works; and that a man is justified by works and not faith alone. In the following postings we will study specific Scriptural passages that prove that faith in God does not qualify the believer for salvation. A long, pit-filled journey separates faith in God from the Kingdom of God. This series will show that the only way to complete that journey is by doing the works that will prove our faith in God and His Word. L.J.