|Volume 17 Number 12 December 2015||
In James 2:26 we read, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The body cannot be alive without the spirit. God created Adam’s body, but Adam was not alive until God gave him the breath of life. When the body dies, the spirit does not remain in the body.
James says that faith is like the body. Faith requires works. Without works, faith is dead. Works of righteousness are what give life to faith. A person needs both faith and works to be a proper Christian. This is shown in Colossians 1:9-10. “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding“ (v. 9). This verse shows us faith. Faith is based on a full knowledge of God’s desire for us. We are to get spiritual wisdom and understanding. Faith is based on the facts given to us in the Bible. Knowledge, wisdom and understanding are based on facts. Our faith (belief and trust) is grounded in the faith (system of rules, commandments, statutes) given by God.
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (v. 10). In this verse we have the works. We must be fruitful. Spiritual fruit is produced from and in good works. Further, a result of doing good works is that one will grow even more in knowledge. Without these works, faith is dead. One can know every verse in the Bible; one can quote every verse in the Bible. Yet, if one does not put those verses to use by doing good works, one is spiritually dead. That person is useless.
This shows that when a person claims to teach and preach the Bible, but says that works are not necessary for salvation, that person is not telling the truth. One cannot have a saving faith if one does not have spiritual works.
Study your Bible. Learn how to have faith and works. Learn how to please God. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.
A Letter to the Youth
Nowadays many of the youth are thinking that preaching the Gospel is just only the job for adults as Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 1:6, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” Yet, note what God said in the following verse. “But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a youth”; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak’” (Jeremiah 1:7 ESV). According to this verse, we are not to say, “I am just a youth. I do not know much about God. So how could I preach these deep words to others? Even I myself do not understand very well.”
After noticing the above sentence, there are some questions we should consider. These are: “Do we know God?” “Do we know that He loves us?” “Do we know Jesus Christ?” “Do we know what He has done for us?” Our answer will be, “Yes, I do.” So then, why don’t we help others who do not know God to know God, His love, His son Jesus Christ and what Jesus has done for us? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). We all are familiar with this verse, and some can recite it very well. However, have we ever considered the meaning of this verse with all of our hearts and minds? When our English teacher asked us to write an essay entitled, “My Best Friend,” we all wrote about the friend we love most. Meanwhile, have you ever talked about Jesus to your best friend? That is the first and best place where we can start sharing about Jesus to others.
Many of the youth from nowadays misunderstand Ecclesiastes 11:9 by reading only the first two sentences, which read, “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes.” After reading these two sentences, we used to say Solomon said to do whatever you want, go wherever you would like to go. Instead, we should read the next sentence, “But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.” We should know that God will judge us according to what we have done in our lives.
In Mark 16:15 our Lord Jesus said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” He did not talk about who can proclaim and who cannot. He just taught us to proclaim. It does not matter whether we are a youth or an adult. We all have the responsibility to preach the Gospel to the whole world.
As youths, we each have our own dream. Some youths used to say that after accomplishing their dreams they will serve God. Here we have another thing to consider. Do we know when our lives will end? Are we sure that we will see the next new day? “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). “Remember that my life is a breath” (Job 7:7). “For my days pass away like smoke” (Psalms 102:3). Our lives are so short; we have no guarantee of tomorrow. The present is the best time to seek God and serve for him (2 Corinthians 6:2). Never say “I will do so later.” So, let us try to use our precious time as young people by sacrificing for God and His kingdom.