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"Desire the Whole Gospel"

Date published: 05/11/2017
James 2:20-24 “You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.  And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” (NIV)  

(By the way, God provided a ram for the sacrifice so that Abraham did not have to sacrifice Isaac!) 

   In our Christian culture, faith and action have often become dislodged from one another. Believing in the powerful message of God’s love and the free gift of God’s grace can be life-changing, but believing without action is not enough.  Believing the gospel message of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection is the first step to salvation, but without action believing is lifeless. A better word for action is Lordship. Romans 10:9 gives the steps to salvation: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NIV) Your new life in Christ as a Christian involves not just faith, but also Lordship. Your mind can be moved by the Spirit to believe the gospel message, but are you willing to submit your life to action by making Jesus Lord of your life? James 2:19 illuminates this further: “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.” (NIV) Faith without Lordship is lifeless and empty. Lordship activates your faith by allowing Jesus to take control of your life. 1 Corinthians 8:1b-3 describes it this way: “We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.” (NIV) Do you love God just enough to believe in Him, or do you love Him enough to make Him Lord of your life?  

   It is out of your Lordship with Christ that His power and life are manifested in you. Just as your salvation is consummated in Lordship, so your sanctification (becoming like Christ) is consummated in Lordship. Your life in Christ is a lifelong process of making Him Lord. Each profession of “Jesus is Lord” allows Christ to overflow that much more into your walk with Him. It is this filling and expression of the Holy Spirit in your life that not only brings greater abundance, but also a greater fruitfulness due to His life in you. Your life will move from self-centeredness to a life that desires others to know Christ as their Savior; you will have a heart for helping new and stagnant Christians experience the living Christ; and your compassion for others will be expressed in ministry.

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV) 

Do you know someone who needs this message on Lordship? If so, sign them up to receive weekly or forward this devotion to them as a blessing for their growth in Christ. 

Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “God’s Purpose For You” and “Transformation.” 

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