Posted by IsoM on October 21, 2002, at 17:33:38
In reply to Re: Agreement or Confutation » IsoM, posted by Lou Pilder on October 21, 2002, at 15:59:48
I don't mind answering your question, Lou, but have no wish to further discuss matters in this forum. I agree with Dinah that I'd rather not discuss my views in forums. It's hardly the best medium for a truly meaningful discussion. So I'm answering your current question but I'd prefer not to continue the discussion & won't be answering further questions from anyone.
Yes, in James, it does say that "faith without works is dead". It's pretty obvious. If a research hospital stated that it has had a cure for a certain disease for a number of years now but had no examples of anyone being treated & cured, it would be a groundless claim. Genuine faith (as defined in the Bible - I'm not talking of other definitions of faith) requires understanding & knowledge of the Bible, understanding of the evidence plus true heart-felt appreciation of what this evidence points to. While faith requires sound reasoning processes & the use of logic, it's not something reserved for the highly intelligent or highly educated only. Knowledge is needed for genuine faith but faith is something that comes from an appreciative heart. (Rom. 10:10 "for with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness...")
Believing something to be true is not the same as exercising faith. The word 'exercise' implies that there's some sort of action with regard to faith. In James 2: 19, it says that the demons believe in God but shudder. Verse 20 goes on to say that faith apart from works is empty. James' comments were directed to those who thought they could earn "righteousness" by lots of good works. He told them it was important, but so was faith. The two work hand-in-hand, not separately from each other.
Something that I bear in mind is no one is perfect no matter how hard they might try. We all makes mistakes, slips, errors, if not always in action, at least in thought. The word sin in the Bible (Hebrew -chat-ta'th'; Greek - ha-mar-ti'a) simply means to miss a mark or goal. These word forms have also been used to describe when a person throws a spear or shoots an arrow & doesn't hit the target directly on. Hence, the words at I John 1:8 saying that if anyone says he's without sin, he's misleading himself. We ALL miss the mark of perfection, of achieving what we would hope to fully be.
So I don't browbeat myself over the normal everyday mistakes one makes, but do try to do better. And I make sure that mistakes don't become entrenched into patterns of 'oracticing' something that's wrong. But we can't 'earn' righteousness.
I'm also aware of another scripture that says (James 4:17) that "if one knows how to do what is right & yet does not do it, it is a sin for him." I think most would agree to that. If we had the means to help, or to do what is right, but didn't, it's wrong. It would be a sin. How much would someone think of another if that person stood & watched a neighbour's house burn without calling the fire department or running & banging on their front door - anything that might help. But if another was to see the same fire & want to help but were crippled, lying in bed helpless, not rushing to help isn't a sin for them.
I do my best to practice what I believe without being self-righteous (& I try to keep a mental check to not act as such) - I try to give to my faith, works. Sorry, Lou, forums aren't suitable for discussions of this sort. I won't bother posting here more. No one's been rude or such, I just don't wish to continue, but did answer your question.