Monday, May 9, 2011

True Faith Produces Good Works Not Just Nice Words

Why Confirm Our Fatih?

The man so-called, ‘Doubting Thomas,’ was one of the twelve disciples, the Bible also calls him the Twin. Thomas was not originally present with the other disciples when Jesus came and visited them after His resurrection. He was the only disciple not in attendance at that time. Upon his return he heard from the others what had happened when the resurrected Jesus came to see His disciples but, at that time, Thomas refused to believe their report. When Jesus appeared a second time to His followers; He offered His open side for the disbelieving disciple to touch, He held out His punctured hands, and showed Thomas the disfigurement of His wounds, and in so doing, Jesus healed Thomas’ wound of disbelief. (John 20:19-31)

What does this event say to us? Should really suppose that it was coincidental that this doubting disciple was missing when Jesus appeared the first time to his followers, then later came and heard the tale told by the other disciples? When he heard what they told him, the Bible says, he doubted. He said that unless I touch His wounds, I will not believe what you are telling me. No, it was not by chance but it was in God’s plan and this event continues to speak to us today, (Habakkuk 1:5). In an extraordinary way God’s mercy and grace prearranged that the doubting disciple would not be there the first time Jesus came to His disciples. When Thomas touched the wounds of his Master’s risen body, God healed his wounds of disbelief. The skepticism of Thomas is like our own and his story has done a lot to help us understand how powerful an encounter with Jesus can be. Seeing God in Christ, in our innermost hearts causes us to be converted from unbelieving doubters to sound followers of Jesus. When he touched His Lord he went from unbelief to faith, all his doubts were cast aside and his faith was strengthened. So the man who doubted, when he touched Jesus’ wounds, was turned into a witness to the truth of the resurrection. (2 Corinthians 5:19)

Seeing Jesus and touching Him, made Thomas say out loud: My Lord and my God. Then Jesus said to Thomas: Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. And he did. The Apostle Paul tells us: Faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1). It is obvious that faith is the proof of what you can not see with your eyes but that you can sense and know in your heart and mind. What one can see and touch gives knowledge, but not faith. When Thomas looked and touched Jesus, he was told: You have believed because you have seen me? What Thomas first saw and what he eventually believed were two different things. Of course, God is Spirit and cannot be seen by human beings, (John 4:24). What Thomas first saw was with his eyes was a human being, a Man, whom he accredited to be God. Thomas said to Jesus: My Lord and my God. Seeing, with his heart, he then believed in his soul; looking at the One who was truly man and truly God, after his heart kicked in, then he said that this man was also God, God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the whole of Humanity to Himself. (John 14:8-11)

What Jesus says then, is also very important to us: Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. This speaks to men and women of all the ages, even to us; when we sincerely hold in our hearts the One whom we have not seen in the flesh, yet see with our hearts, we are called the blessed of God by the Son of God. All true believers are included in these words, but only as we demonstrate or follow-up our belief and faith with good works. The bona fide believer practices what he believes and preaches. Yet, there are many churchgoers that only use religious lip service when it comes to their ‘faith.’ The Apostle Paul has to say: They profess to know God, but they deny him in their works. (Titus 1:16) That is why the Apostle James writes: Faith without works is dead. So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is an empty word, a nice platitude and therewith, it is dead and useless. (James 2:14-26)

Let us confirm our faith by extending our hands to help the poor and needy of this world. (James 1:26&27)

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