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Most of us have trouble maintaining balance in our thinking and conduct. We tend to go to extremes. If we are deficient in one area of responsibility, we often correct that imbalance by putting such an extreme emphasis on the thing we lack that we end up neglecting something else in the process.
In regard to the gospel of Christ, it's important that we not emphasize one aspect of salvation at the expense of another. For example, the Bible clearly teaches that faith is important in a very basic sense. And if we've not been giving enough emphasis to faith, we need to be reminded how crucial faith is in God's plan of salvation. But in supplying this deficiency, we need to be careful. We need to make sure that we don't leave the impression that simply believing in Christ is all that is required for our salvation.
True faith means more than mental agreement with the facts of the gospel. As important as it is, faith must never be thought of as simply believing that Jesus is the Son of God. It is certainly a fact that we must believe this truth and be willing to confess it publicly. If we don't, we'll be lost. Jesus said, "I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins" (Jn. 8:24). But the faith we must have in order to be saved involves much more than mental assent to Jesus' deity. It means trusting Him enough to obey Him, and it is this combination of trust and obedience that pleases God (Hb. 11:5-7).
Faith is the best foundation for obedience that we could ever have. If we genuinely trust God, we'll be eager to do whatever He instructs us to do. We'll do it wholeheartedly, without complaint or questioning. And we'll do it abundantly, giving full measure, rather than seeking to do a bare minimum. Real faith will motivate us and move us. It will be an active force in our daily lives. Throughout the coming week, let's make it our aim to grow in faith. Let's show our faith by our obedience, and let's make sure that our obedience is based on faith. This "obedience of faith" (Rom. 1:5) is what God is looking for in our lives. When we grow in both faith and obedience, we are growing in God's direction.
Monday: Romans 1:16,17
Key Idea: Faith is the key element in the gospel plan of salvation.
Questions for Family Growth: In this text, why was Paul not ashamed of the gospel? Who are those saved by the power of the gospel? What is revealed in the gospel? What does it mean, "The righteous shall live by faith"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:8.
Tuesday: James 2:14-26
Key Idea: Saving faith involves far more than "faith only."
Questions for Family Growth: In vv.15-17, what example is given of the ineffectiveness of faith without works? In vv.21-24, who is given as an example of obedient faith? What does v.26 say about "faith without works"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:9.
Wednesday: Romans 1:5; 16:25-27
Key Idea: Obedience to the gospel is the "obedience of faith."
Questions for Family Growth: What is meant by the expression "obedience to the faith" (NKJV) or the "obedience of faith" (ESV)? Can faith without obedience save us? What about obedience without faith? How do faith and obedience help each other?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:10.
Thursday: Hebrews 11:1-7
Key Idea: True faith will cause us to actively and diligently seek God.
Questions for Family Growth: How is "faith" defined in v.1? According to v.5, is it possible for us to "please" God? In v.6, what is the key to pleasing God? What are some things that a person will do if he or she seeks God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:11.
Friday: Galatians 2:20
Key Idea: As Christians, we live on the basis of faith in Christ.
Questions for Family Growth: How is it possible for a person today to be "crucified with Christ"? How is it possible for Christ to live "in" us? What kind of life will we live if we live "by faith" in Christ?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:12.