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Defending the Faith

These Daily Reflections supply the messages from Grace Church as daily video clips from the most recent sermons. Each day's clip will last about 10 minutes and if you watch them all, you will have reviewed morning and evening sermons from the previous Sunday.

Ministry Reflection - June 27, 2009

Faith Perfected by Works: James 2:22

The obedience John has in mind is more particularly love to the brethren. “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us” (4:12). Grace is revealed in how it moves our hearts towards one another: “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things” (1 John 3:16-20). Jesus showed us what love is by His own example. When we see that same love in us moving beyond the mere desire to help to actually helping, when we see ourselves living as Jesus lived, then we can know we have this love, because it has achieved its goal. Through works of love, the love of God is completed in us. We wouldn’t say that a tree has fulfilled its purpose just after we planted the seed. Nor would we say it has once it germinates, or sprouts up, or grows and develops leaves, and blossoms. It doesn’t fulfill its purpose until it bears some useful or profitable fruit. The same is true of grace. God didn’t plant grace in our souls merely to give us the sensation of love towards Him or others, but that we might actually love Him and others. Negatively, it works in the same way sin does, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:14-16). When the principle of sin in our hearts has been enticed, it becomes lust; when lust has conceived, it issues in sin; and when sin has been committed, it brings death. Lust reaches it goal in sin, even as love reaches its goal in good works. The Lord sets us free from the power of sin by introducing grace – or a love for holiness – in our hearts. If we are to overcome our sin, we must exercise this grace – use the means of grace to strengthen our love for the Lord, and in this love to attack the root of our sins – our lust.
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