Sola Fideles

Who do you trust?  I find a deep cynicism seeping into my thinking as I listen to political debates, aids on which product is going to make me thinner, or am encouraged to get a second opinion.  All think they are telling me the truth as they see it…I hope.  But I am slow to believe and trust.

In the Reformation, Luther proposed that our beliefs must rest on truth found in scripture only.  Not just one verse but themes that go throughout Scripture.  We looked at scripture last week.  Sola Scriptura is our first foundation stone.  Second is Sola Fideles, Faith Alone.  This tension between faith and works is found in the question of the rich young man who wanted to know what he should do to inherit eternal life.  In the book of James, the author asks, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?”  He continues on to say, “Is the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  This week we will look at faith.  We do not work our way into heaven (indulgences) nor idly cast our vote for Jesus as if it were an election.  Somehow faith and works are molded together in our journey.  We do not do good to get to heaven but our faith is the foundation that is revealed in our actions.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)”  The example in youth meetings is blind-folding a youth and telling them there is a chair behind them.  They may believe but when they actually sit down, trusting that the chair is there and will hold them, that we see faith being lived out.  James talked about Abraham who at an old age believed God who promised a child by his old wife, Sarah, so slept with her and they conceived.  Rehab believed the spies in Jericho and called her family to her house and hung a scarlet scarf out of her window during the falling of the walls.  Faith believes but then entrusts our life to that belief.

Must I keep doing good deeds to earn God’s love or because I know God loves me, I am motivated to do good deeds, that is the question.  It is a bit of a chicken and an egg discussion.  This week as we live out our Christian beliefs, let us take time to reflect on how motivated we are by fear of punishment or love to please a caring God.  Is our faith a historical statement that we keep in our scrap book or is it the foundation to daily decisions?  Blessings!

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