|Listen to the Bible|
Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading
Today I'd like to focus on the subject of living faith, which James talks about in chapter 2:
To understand living faith, we must first understand "Grace". But Grace is one of the most misunderstood words in the Bible. But before we begin, we must back up one step more, in order to lay a proper doctrinal foundation.
James 2:18-24 - "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?... Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."
Surprising as it may seem, it isn’t possible to talk about Grace without first talking about the Law. So, we will begin our study of living faith (faith that works) with the Law of God.
The word Law in the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew word Torah. According to the Strong’s definition, the Torah is not only the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20, it is the whole Pentateuch, or first five books of the Bible.
The Bible clearly indicates that the Torah will be an important part of the last days. In fact, teaching the principles of Torah and reminding the people to keep them is the final Elijah Message.
Malachi 4:4-5 "Remember ye the Law of Moses My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the Statutes and Judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of Yahweh."
But when most Christians hear that the Law of Yahweh is still important and should be obeyed, they protest, “Wait a minute! We’re not under the Law! We’re under grace! We’re free from the Law.
Of all the Bible writers, Paul is perhaps the most misunderstood. Oddly, this man who studied Torah under Gamaleel, is often seen as the reason for nailing the Law to the Cross. Yet, this misunderstanding only happens when we isolate certain texts and ignore the rest. Taken all together, Paul’s writings and teachings clearly support obedience to the Law as part of living faith. In fact, this is how Paul explained Grace.
According to 1 John 3:4, sin is the transgression of the Law. With this in mind, let us consider Paul’s statements in Romans 6:18 & 20:
Romans 6:18 & 20 "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness... For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness."
We become the servants of righteousness when we are made free from sin. And while we still fell prey to sin, we were free from righteousness! So if transgression of the Law makes us free from righteousness, that doesn’t sound like Grace does away with the Law at all!
James 2:19-20 "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"So rather than jumping to dangerous conclusions about "Grace", which just might make us free from righteousness, let’s slow down and let Paul define "Grace" himself. This he does very well in Romans chapter 6.
Romans 6:1-2; 15-18 "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that Grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?... What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the Law, but under Grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."
Understanding Grace is a big deal. If we don’t understand it, we may lose out on the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is because the Fire of Blessing doesn’t just automatically fall on everyone. Only those who are preparing for it, will receive the Pentecost Fire soon to fall.
This is why the Bible tells us time and again to get ready for the Latter Rain!
When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostles, 3000 people were converted in one day. The Holy Spirit was on those anointed ones so mightily that people came flocking to Yahweh from all directions. Even some of the former persecutors became converted.Hosea 10:12 "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek Yahweh, till He come and Rain righteousness upon you."
We can learn what the final Pentecost will be like by reading the book of Acts. It will be just like that again. And just as the Gospel was carried to the world after the Holy Spirit fell upon the apostles, so the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit will begin the last Gospel call.
Acts 1:8 "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a lot like lightning. Lightning is one of the most powerful and spectacular natural events. Here are a few, amazing, lightning statistics:
- A bolt’s current is up to 30,000 Amperes
- Lightning strikes with 1,000,000+ Volts
- In less than 1 second, lightning heats the air up to 15,000-60,000 degrees F (that's 8,315-8,871 degrees C) The rapid air expansion causes thunder.
Science has uncovered an amazing fact about lightning. It starts on the ground! This is because the positive ions must be gathering on the ground and begin rising upward to form what scientists call a channel or upward leader. Then the ions in the clouds become attracted to the positive ions on the ground. Lightning strikes down the channel prepared by these ground ions. Lightning doesn’t strike randomly. It only strikes through channels initiated from the ground!
In the same way, we cannot receive Yahweh’s spiritual Lightning (outpouring of the Holy Spirit) until we have prepared for it.
Did you know that the biggest spiritual lightning inhibitor is unconfessed, unsurrendered sin? In fact the Bible tells us plainly that when we are idolatrously involved with our old man of sin, Yahweh withholds the Latter Rain from us!
This point is echoed in Jeremiah 5:23-25:Jeremiah 3:3 "Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead (spiritual prostitution is having a "love affair" with our old man of sin - letting sin reign instead of walking in victory and being faithful to Heaven), thou refusedst to be ashamed."
Jeremiah 5:23-25 "But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear Yahweh our God, that giveth Rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you."So what do we need to do to prepare to receive the Latter Rain?
Leviticus 26:3-4 "If ye walk in My Statutes, and keep My Commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season..."
In fact, the gentle early rain, which prepares us for the powerful lightning-filled latter rain experience, is the principles of Torah.
Deuteronomy 32:2 "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass."
What does Yahweh mean by doctrine and speech? When we look these words up in Strong’s Concordance, we find that Doctrine is “instruction” – Torah literally means “Yahweh’s Instructions.” And “speech” is “Yahweh’s Commandment.”
Clearly, the Early Rain which prepares us to receive the Latter Rain is understanding and living by Torah.
But most Christians have missed the importance of the Law by misinterpreting Grace. Grace is usually defined today as “unmerited favor.” But, this is not the Biblical definition of Grace.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, this picture accurately depicts Grace. Grace means “Yahweh camped within you.”
For Israel, they experienced Grace when Yahweh dwelt in their midst. And what sort of dwelling does the Father require? Can it be a vile and unholy place? Of course not! God does not camp in an unfit place.
The Bible tells us that our bodies are the temple of Yahweh. We are to be the holy place where He dwells. His Presence is a refining one. He calls us to purity and total submission. This practice of being totally surrendered to God, having turned away from our old man of sin is living Grace at its essence. And as we live in His Grace, we are also demonstrating living Faith - Faith that Works!