Understanding and Action
Devotional Thought of the Day:
22 Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves. 23 Those who hear God’s teaching and do nothing are like people who look at themselves in a mirror. 24 They see their faces and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like. 25 But the truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy. James 1:22-25 CEV
Hence a closer look is in order. A real assent to a proposition includes the intellectual acceptance of it plus the concrete carrying out of it in the nitty-gritty of daily life, that is, making this truth part of one’s personal reality
It is also taught among us that such faith should produce good fruits and good works and that we must do all such good works as God has commanded,6 but we should do them for God’s sake and not place our trust in them as if thereby to merit favor before God.
Assent, Belief, Faith, Trust, Dependence. Obedience (to hyper-hear)
We need to realize that these are synonyms, and that realization has a specific reason. All of those words lead to actions based on them. If they do not create action, they are merely sophistry, thoughts that lead no where, and are vain and worthless.
The challenge is letting the assent/belief/etc. determine the action, rather than the action defining the faith. This is important, it is critical to understand that the relationship precedes and causes the action.
Despite our focus on the Doctrine of Justification, this has always been part of Lutheran Doctrine! We can’t separate Eph. 2:8-9 from verse 10. It is one solid concept.
8 You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. 9 It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about. 10 God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are. Ephesians 2:8-10 (CEV)
One movement – God calls us to life, draws us into this relationship with Him, and then we work with Him, serving others, helping them, being within Him.
So what is it that God is calling you to do? Where is your dependence on Him leading you to walk with Him? Who is God leading you to be there for, reminding them that the Lord loves them enough to die on the cross for them.
Then, depending on His grace, go to them – and serve… knowing the God you depend upon is with you!
Thomas Dubay, Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006), 41.
Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 31–32.