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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FAITH AND DEEDS

BY IRMA FULOP MATRAI

How can we receive a place in Heaven, or eternal life?
And is there any relationship between faith and deeds? - We may ask.

How can we receive eternal life?

Most people believe that we can earn it with our good deeds. In other words, if we don't steal, cheat, murder, commit adultery, but support the poor, the orphans, the widows, the sick, and our churches; furthermore are kind to our fellow men, obedient to our leaders, etc.; we may earn a place in heaven by our goodness. I heard several people's confession already who confidently proclaimed that - DUE TO THEIR GOOD-NESS - they will naturally end up in heaven. Yet, The Bible clearly teaches that a place in heaven cannot be earned because - in spite of all our good deeds - we are sinners (Romans 3:23) and sin cannot enter there. Instead, what we need is faith in Jesus Christ, and his forgive- ness; in order to be allowed to enter. In other words, according to Ephesians 2:8 (NIV) "...it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." But faith in what; is needed? Faith in the deity of Jesus, as we find in John 3:16 (KJV): "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Then, afterwards it doesn't matter anymore how we live because we already got eternal life? Or, is there a relationship between our faith and deeds, after all? - Someone may ask. Yes there is! For in James 2:14-20 (NIV) we find the following: "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."



Which means that anyone who truly believes in Jesus Christ, and invited him into his/her heart, should naturally want to glorify him with his deeds as well, so that he may express his thanks for the Lord's great sacrifice on the cross, thereby. Thus, for that reason, he may not only practice regular Bible study, prayer, and church attendance, but may also want to carry out Christ's teachings in his every-day life. Meaning, that he will not send away the hungry and the poor; will not curse or use bad language, cheat, or lie, etc. Instead, he will love his neighbors and relate to them graciously, and be kind; even to the rude. So much so, that his behavior will surprise everyone around him. In other words, he will prove his faith with his deeds. Yet, he will not do so in order to earn eternal life by them; rather because "by grace, through faith" he already received one. Which means that the first step should be faith in Christ, and that should be followed by Christ-like deeds performed by Christ's Spirit, who moved into our heart.

For, if someone believes in Jesus, and even attends church, but commits adultery; or deceives his boss, or government; or beats his spouse and children; drinks; cusses; etc.; he actually contradict his faith with his action. As, with his mouth he confesses to believe in Jesus, but with his deeds he proves the opposite to be true. In fact, if he would truly believe, he would not dare to be so evil, because he knows that his faith and deeds have bearing on each other. Or, to express that another way:

he knows that true faith is actually expressed by deeds.



Nevertheless, sometimes it may happen that we truly believe in Jesus and even yielded ourselves to him so that our faith and actions may match; yet we still don't exactly know what we should do, or what kind of a decision we should make in a given situation. In those cases, we should ask God in prayer - like the apostle Paul did - "what do you want me to do?" And he will show us somehow what he wants us to do; or what kind of a gift or gifts he plans to bestow upon us; and where and how he wants to use us. In other words, he will clearly reveal to us our calling and mission. Then, when we understand what his plans are for our future; it will be very important for us to obey him! So that his name maybe glorified through us and people of the world may realize, through our words and deeds, that we are his children, and may even develop a desire to follow him also. For, when the Bible talks about the people of the world desiring to see the appearance of God's children; we may safely assume that their desire is to meet some true, obedient, yielded, practicing Christians, who are capable to provide good examples for them. Thus, it is very important that we not only "feel," or "say" that we believe, but also prove our faith with our actions. Especially since Satan believes in God too! Yet, opposes him with his deeds. Trying to prevent people from following the Lord. Thereby revealing what or who is truly in his heart.



The combined signs of our faith and deeds prove who lives in us, and who we live for. - We mentioned. In other words, Our actions may prove or disprove out faith. Let me give you an example. Years ago, there used to live a Hungarian family of ten, in Yugoslavia. The parents regularly attended church and took their children also. However sounds of loud quarrels were often heard from far off their house. Thus, from the mailman to the neighbors, everyone knew that they fight a lot. In addition, that the father was a wife and child abuser. As a result, the family had a bad reputation and people stayed away from them. Moreover, they also whispered behind their back things like: "If Christians are such bad people; then it doesn't pay to follow their God, or go to their church, or even befriend them. For, they are worse than the ungodly." In other words, they turned people off because they contradicted their faith with their deeds.



Therefore, it is essential that when we believe in the deity of Jesus Christ and ask him to move into our heart; we immediately and totally yield ourselves to him too, so that he may continuously cleanse, rule, and use us. For, even though our actions do not save us; yet they will prove or disprove the sincerity of our faith. For, true faith is followed by good deeds; while "if it is not accompanied by action, it is dead." Let us examine ourselves. If we are God's children already, then let us check what kind of reputation do we have? What do people say about us behind our back? Do they know us as people who proclaims to believe in Jesus but contradict their faith by their deeds? Or like someone who practices what he preaches? Then, in case we belong to the first group; let us repent, ask God to forgive us, and take over the rule of our life so that our actions may match our deeds. On the other hand, if we belong to the second group; then let us stay yielded, prayerful, and obedient, so that the Lord may be glorified in and through us.





How wonderful the Lord is in all His acts!
Glory to His Holy Name!



JESUS IS MY LIFE
(song)

Jesus is my life, strength, peace.
Jesus is my companion, my joy.
I trust in You. You are the Lord.
I do not have any fears any more because You live in me.
I do not have any fears any more because You live in me.

Jesus lives! Halleluja! MARANATHA!

Translated by Eva Varga

A HIT ÉS A CSELEKEDETEK ÖSSZEFÜGGÉSE



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