Skip to comments.Faith Without Works is Dead
Posted on 03/20/2011 12:22:47 PM PDT by Ari Bussel
Pastor Billys Legacy of Faith By Norma Zager and Ari Bussel
Regarding the debate about faith and works: Its like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most important. C.S. Lewis
Many times, we believe we know someone, until we are surprised to discover things we never knew about him.
This Postcard is about an extraordinary person who possessed numerous facets, most known to all. He was a renaissance man, a basketball player, a preacher and a photographer, and he led a massive congregation. He was a man of color, tall and striking in appearance with his hair formed into long, cascading cornrows.
When he entered a room, heads turned. He cut a very impressive figure, reflecting the image of his Creator whom he loved, respected, adored, promoted and whose gospel he enthusiastically spread.
He enjoyed playing jazz; music, sports and preaching brought him closer to his Father.
Tragically, he recently passed away in his sleep at the age of 58. Completely unexpected, it stunned everyone left behind. At the funeral, when people were asked to stand if they knew him, were part of his church, were affected directly by his actions or even indirectly so, an audience of thousands stood.
There were only eight Jewish people in our group, sitting among thousands of African-American mourners, all there to celebrate Pastor Billys extraordinary life. We were present to show our gratitude for his consistent devotion and support for Israels welfare.
Before the service started, I spoke with a 20-year member of his church seated nearby. I explained that in Judaism, the greatest deed a person can perform toward another is to attend that persons funeral. It is the most selfless act, because the departed can never pay back the kindness, and there is no earthly reciprocation for the action.
Eight grateful and dispirited Jewish mourners represented the Jewish community at a memorial and life celebration for Pastor Dr. Billy Ingram of Maranatha Community Church in Los Angeles.
We felt a great debt needed to be repaid. A great show of love was appropriate for such a true friend. Pastor Billy, as we used to call him, was always there for us, for Israel. He had many great loves, his Creator, his wife Solombra, his children, his congregants and Israel.
Patricia Johnson of the Israel Christian Nexus described him:
Pastor Ingram was a man of passion and conviction, who served God with all of his heart and strength, and showed us all by his example the power of one committed individual to make a positive difference in our community.
He was a faithful friend of Israel, who led tours there with members of his congregation. At the request of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, he organized and led a tour of key African-American pastors to the Holy Land. He could be counted on to stand with the Jewish State when it mattered, appearing with the Israeli Consul General and area rabbis at demonstrations of support and in front of media during the Second Lebanon War. He served on the board of directors of the Israel Christian Nexus since the organizations founding in 2002.
When Israels Consul General eulogized him at the funeral he evoked laughter from the crowd as he related that at their first meeting when he walked into the room, he thought Pastor Billy was an Ethiopian Jew. He praised his efforts to strengthen Israel and noted with sadness that the Jewish people had truly lost a dear and loyal friend.
I personally recalled August of 2006, when Israel was at war with Hizbollah, an Iranian-and Syrian-backed terrorist organization that took over Lebanon.
Pastor Billy was about to pick up his twin boys, then five, when I called him asking if he could join us at a major event at the Simon Wiesenthal Center to support Israel. Pastor Billy did not hesitate for a moment and said, I will be there.
Later, when he walked into the courtyard filled with hundreds of people, all heads turned. He was imposing and majestic in a suit, with his long cornrows down his back, like a warrior in a protective army of the devoted. He spoke that day with a warm and loving heart about Israel, of standing steadfast with the Jewish state.
At todays funeral service his image projected from huge screens as he praised higher values and the love of God. He was a preacher who knew his Bible, the Bible that is the common denominator that joins the Saturday Jews and Sunday Christians at the hip.
Those gathered today at the memorial were reminded of that special side of Pastor Billy that extended beyond the Bible, making it real and tangible. From within the Old Testament to the modern-day manifestation of Gods Chosen People, from the Hebrews to the Israelis, blessing the children of God was integrally important to Pastor Billy. He connected the Book to life and human beings; his faith was a real entity, and he truly practiced what he preached.
As his Jewish admirers, our presence was a testament to a connection he re-established, the inter-dependence and mending of the vital bridges between the Jewish and African American communities.
There is no question that bridge is built on very solid foundations, for Christianity without Judaism cannot exist. However, that once strong bond between the Jews and Blacks has deteriorated slowly as African-American leaders like Jackson, Sharpton and Wright malign the Jews and the Zionists, spreading hatred and misinformation among their followers and a new generation.
Pastor Billy Ingram knew the importance of the state of Israel. He knew the deeply ingrained commonality of the struggles that drew us together and the necessity to re-forge those bonds in the new millennium. He remembered the past, the troubled times when Jews and Blacks walked arm in arm to battle the wrongs that confronted them and formed a wall of strength too deep to penetrate for it was forged of unity.
Jews and Blacks once worked together to end racism and hatred. Pastor Billy renewed the bond and shared the works because, most importantly, he believed Faith Without Works is Dead.
He believed love is a verb. It is in the actions not the word that the power lies.
For Pastor Billy, supporting the State of Israel and the Jewish people were one and the same. It came without any preconditions. In fact, it came before much else. He had a priority assigned to it, a higher importance for loving and supporting Israel tantamount to loving and supporting the Almighty, and nothing short of a full attention and complete devotion will suffice.
We must all pray Pastor Billys incredible legacy is carried forward by the multitudes his life inspired. May he be an advocate, as he now sits at a circle with the Almighty, to further and to strengthen the ties he and others have built with effort and dedication with the Jewish People.
His memory must serve as an example of the true meaning of Christian values, to love and support a neighbor, to embrace all mankind with a generous and forgiving spirit.
These times are more perilous and dangerous than ever before. It is now we must look into our hearts and set an anchor, one solidly resting in deep, inner belief and conviction and love for one another.
Support of Israel is not only necessary, but also the right thing to do for the sake of all people. Pastor Billy stood beside a friend in need, Israel. He loyally defended a people, the Jews, constantly attacked and maligned, showing his true character and integrity to Gods principles.
Pastor Billy Ingram was a true man of character, and character meant for him living the manifestation of Gods will and commandments. The world and the Jewish people lost a giant. May we all be so blessed to have more friends like Pastor Billy and may his good works serve as a light to guide us all out of the darkness.
The series Postcards from AmericaPostcards from Israel by Ari Bussel and Norma Zager is a compilation of articles capturing the essence of life in America and Israel during the first two decades of the 21st Century.
The writers invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, Israel visitors rarely discover.
This pointand oftencounter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.
© Postcards from America Postcards from Israel, March, 2011 Contact: email@example.com
First Published March 18, 2011
Salvation is NOT BY WORKS
18 But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believeand shudder. 20Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith without works is barren? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. 23Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God. 24You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? 26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.
Good passage. Works don’t make you saved, but yet if you claim to be saved and yet have no good works to show for yourself, then your faith may be dead. A tree is known by its fruit.
Thanks for posting, btw. :-)
That’s passage is always the prominent message to the ‘faith without moving a muscle crowd’.
**Abraham believed God**
And how did he believe God?......by his actions!
One has to move some muscles to believe, whether it’s walking to hear a preacher, mouthing a confession of faith, and yes,.....obeying Acts 2:38, to fulfill the Lord’s command to be born again, and thus having one’s sins remitted by baptism in the name of Jesus.
To any that disregard the Acts 2:38 conversion,.....isn’t that behavior really rebellion, and that, against God?
Bingo! We see lots of scripture quoting blowhards who call themselves Christians have no good works, nor integrity in their interactions with others. Our good works and deeds are fruits of a living active faith which give glory to God and not ourselves.
Amen and they are fruits of genuine repentance. The crowd you speak of argues to justify their behavior than take action. They do not understand how blessed you become and how God’s love truly starts to flow in your life.
Works has nothing to do with Salvation, as no one can boast..
I think *Works* will determine our *rewards*
Very nice article, however thier is truly nothing we can offer GOD, he needs nothing from us...It is however what GOD has done for us in *Jesus Christ*
No one can boast in the name of the Most High, wether Jew or Gentile nor matter King or Pauper..We are seen the same to the Most High GOD...Jesus is what cleanses us, and reedems us worthy to stand worthy in his sight....
It is high time Americans learn the unblemished truth of early American history. Without a single doubt we are now engaged in a spiritual war of wars, and to recognize who we are and to Whom we owe our allegiance is imperative. Please be apprised of the following:
Of utmost importance is the question in these dire times: What you need to know about the founding of America. Fill in the deliberately discolored gap in your knowledge of early American History by reading Peter Marshalls and David Manuels books, The Light and the Glory, The Sounding of the Trumpet and From Sea to Shining Sea.
I am nearly finished reading The Light and the Glory:, and though my formal education ended in l950, I have never read a better researched or a more compelling book on this vitally important subject. I will have the other two books downloaded onto my kindle this week.
No matter what the question, there is no substitute for the truth. To be victorious in restoring our amazing God given Republic, we will need to join forces in common cause under His Faultless Leadership as did our “first comers”.
Works without Faith are nice, but no one gets saved from Hell. The mainline churches are the United Way with pews.
There is *Faith* and there is *Belief*
Belief with all your heart soul and mind that Jesus Christ is LORD saviour of the world, the only begotten son of the One true living GOD, who takes away the sins of the world is the *Gift of Salvation* Faith in that belief is what prompts you to lead a life of Christ, loving other’s as yourself....
Justification and Sanctification are 2 separate things. I’ll say no more.
Jesus makes clear the order of our love: God first and our neighbor second. If we love our neighbor without loving God and bringing His Good News to our neighbor, then we really don't love our neighbor, do we?
So, the works without the faith are just as dead and generally are done to make ourselves feel good.
Ditto to the thanks-for-posting.
Minor linguistic note: The Hebrew word “Emunah” (”faithfulness”), related to the familiar “Amen”, should be at the core of our understanding of this faith issue. The Greek “Pistis” does mean faith, but to the Hebrew writer Shaul (Paul), it was more verb than noun: i.e. “Faithing” is the essence of our walk with Jesus. We are to manifest His faithfulness. As Chesterton noted, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been tried and found difficult.”
That is why the King James has a correct translation in Romans, Galatians: we are to have the faith OF Jesus. Not just a faith in Jesus (which is still critical as the quote from John 6 shows). The notion of mere intellectual assent to the proposition that Jesus is Lord and Saviour being the sole component of a trip ticket to the Good Place would have been alien to Paul. The NIV and other translations applying what is called the “objective genitive” (faith IN Jesus Christ) instead of the “subjective genitive” (the faith OF Jesus Christ) miss the point. The Greek is clear, I believe.
That said, the thief on the cross didn’t have time to get baptized or do a bunch of good works, yet the Lord still said to him upon his confession, “This day you will be with me in Paradise.” How merciful is the Lord!
Again, thanks for starting an interesting thread.
True. G-d's Judgment is by works. And instead of Paul I suggest you heed the Master Himself:
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Try READING your Bible for a change.
I think it is sad how so many other people get all caught up in "faith vs. works", as if the two are against each other. The book of James points clearly to the contrary. Of course works don't save us, but one's faith surely can be questionable if there is no good fruit to back it up.
See post 20. Salvation is one thing, Judgment is quite another. Works matter to G-d.
*Works* come into play with the rewards G-d grants to his believers.
I see it like the Military
From Private to General....
From Private to General....
Then go read the Parable of the Talents again. It is not enough to accept G-d's gift of Salvation and sit on it. By that standard, "Privates" get to wail and gnash their teeth.
Further, if you think the Law is done, I have news for you. Few properly understand Paul, both because of the temporal nature of his letters and because of the limits of the Greek language at that time. There was no word for "rabbinic legalism." Hence, he had to work with the language of the time. Please do not think the G-d of Israel would simply drop the Mosaic Law. It defies logic. His principles work without temporal or spatial constraint, whether anybody believes them or not. Replacement theology is long bankrupt as an idea.
I never said any of that...Yes I know the Mosaic Law is always in effect....
I said..Salvation is not contigent on the Mosaic law..
You need to understand thier is nothing you can do on your own to stand before the Most High GOD....nothing...
Our works is what we do as people saved by grace...
The Millenial Kingdom is about learning more and more about GOD’s LAWS and his mysteries....
This is a nice argument with no end until Christ returns. In the meantime, it should be posted in the religion thread... because the unsaved will never understand!!!
I will accept Gods judgement of me but not yours
Does Salvation result from Works or from Faith?
An analytical answer by Don W. Stoner
We are told by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. -Ephesians 2:8,9 (all quotations will be taken from the KJV)
But we are also told by James:
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? -James 2:14
Here, as with many apparent contradictions in the Bible, the difficulty disappears when we critically examine the possible meanings of the terms (words) used. Once we know the different possible meanings of those terms, we can examine their usage, in Scriptural context, to determine which of the possible definitions was originally intended.
In the question of whether salvation comes by works or faith, we first need to get a clear understanding of what the term faith (and its synonym belief) really means. Looking up faith and belief in an unabridged dictionary, such as Websters, reveals that they both have about a half dozen possible definitions. Further, except for the modern legal usage of the term faith, the two words are virtually interchangeable.
Although the words, themselves, are interchangeable, their definitions are not. The first thing we need to do is get a clear understanding of what differences exist between the different definitions so we will not confuse them with each other. There are two different definitions which we need to understand particularly well.
First, the terms faith and belief can be used to mean: To hold to be true, unwaveringly. A non-biblical example of this kind of belief can be found in the story of Peter Pan. In order to save Tinkerbell, children hearing the story must convince themselves that fairies exist and shout, I believe in fairies. This sort of belief has been suggested as a model for what is required for salvation in the Biblical sense. For our discussion we will refer to this definition of belief as, definition one.
The other definition of faith and belief that we must consider is: To trust in or rely on. A non-biblical example of this definition would be belief in the U.S. Dollar. In this example, the question of whether or not Dollars exist is not an issue; a persons level of trust in the Dollar is what matters. A person who believes in the Dollar, in this sense, will probably not be selling his Dollars to buy Swiss Francs or Japanese Yen. This sort of belief has also been suggested as a model for what is required for salvation. Here we will refer to this as definition two.
Now that we have a clear understanding of the differences between these two definitions for faith or belief, we are ready to examine the Scriptures. When we apply these two possible definitions to individual verses, the surrounding context can tell us which definition is correct. We will start with John 3:16. Correct understanding of this verse is very important because the verse is foundational to Christianity.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. -John 3:16
As we learn from the first three verses of John, chapter three, the speaker is Jesus and he is addressing a man named Nicodemus who came to Him at night. When Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must believe in the Son of God, the question of whether or not Jesus exists is never an issue. Nicodemus is standing right in front of Jesus and can verify that for himself. Instead, Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he must trust what Jesus is saying about Himself. What is important is whether or not Nicodemus will rely on Jesus not whether he believes Jesus exists. Belief in the sense of “definition two,” not “definition one,” is what Jesus requests here.
Next we will examine a verse from James: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. James 2:19
Here we are reminded that the question of Gods existence is not an issue to the devils. Their belief , in this sense, is unwavering. Here James is telling us that the kind of faith specified by “definition one,” although good, is no more than what the devils possess. It is not enough to usher in salvation. This is why James says:
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? James 2:14
We can see from context that James is using “definition one” for his meaning for the term faith. This kind of faith cannot save anyone. James provides some more information in verse 18:
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:18
Here James reminds us that the kind of faith which is required for salvation will produce actions. Returning to our non-biblical example, a man who is selling his Dollars to buy gold, proves, by his actions, that he does not believe (definition two) in U.S. Dollars as much as he believes in gold. James argument is that a mans actions will tell us where his trust (belief - definition two) really resides. The kind of faith which the devils possess (definition one) can stand alone, apart from works, but the other kind cannot.
Finally, lets examine Pauls statement about faith in his letter to the Ephesians:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9
Lets suppose that I intend to give you a Dollar; I hold it out and offer it to you. Because you believe the Dollar has value, you reach out your arm and take it, making it yours. Your physical action of acceptance shows that you believe the Dollar has value; but that action is not enough work that you could claim to have earned the Dollar. It is still my gift to you. What Paul is telling us is that no matter how much work our faith (definition two) causes us to do, it will never be enough to earn the gift of salvation. That is still a gift that we can never claim to have earned.
In conclusion, are we saved by works? Certainly not. The works, which our faith (definition two) demands, could never pay for salvation. Are we saved by faith? Faith (definition one) will not save us; but faith (definition two) is the means God has chosen for delivering his free gift.
There are two different meanings for the terms “faith” and “belief.”
1. The sense implied by “belief in fairies” where the individual has never seen a fairy and must decide whether or not they exist.
2. The sense implied by “belief in the Dollar” where the question of existence is considered settled, but the question of trust remains.
In John 3:16, where Jesus addresses the need for “belief,” the question of existence is settled because Jesus is standing physically in front of his audience Nicodemus. This leaves the question of “trust” for Nicodemus to consider. What James, chapter two, is getting at is that settling the question of existence is insufficient to save a man. Even the devils have this kind of faith - and tremble (verse 19). Correctly settling the question of “trust” is also necessary for salvation.
There you go with that New Testament stuff!!! /s
Mr. Stoner also talks around the issue rather than addressing even as directly as Paul. In other words, and IMHO, his analysis is sophomoric.