James 2:14-26 (NASB)
14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;
23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God.
24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
The “deeds not creeds” crowd is quick to remind us that faith without works is dead. In part, these purpose driven students are correct in that our faith is dead without our works. The flip side of James chapter 2 that many in the Seeker Sensitive Purpose Driven Church for the Carnal Nature of Mankind fail to understand is that works which are based upon false doctrines is dead. In order to please God we must obey God. The saints mentioned in James chapter 2 obeyed God’s Word and then performed their works in obedience to God. Without a solid foundation built upon the Lord and His Word, all our work is in vain.
I urge anyone who is buying into the “deeds not creeds” dogma to ponder Cain and Abel.
Genesis 4:2-7 (NASB)
2 Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground.
4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering;
5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Cain sought to please God by his deeds thus straying away from what God required. Cain sought to prove his love to God by his works and by his own methods. We can see the same thing today manifested in the “deeds not creeds” crowd as they work ever so hard to do “good” while ignoring the Lord’s requirements for salvation, Christian living, and repentance from sin. Abel simply did what God required, therefore God accepted Abel and rejected Cain. Just like Cain, many in the “deeds not creeds” movement get angry when we point out that our deeds must reflect sound biblical doctrine and how we must obey God’s rules concerning separation from the world’s sins.
I fully understand that creeds will not get us into Heaven. Creeds are like an outline to our Christian faith which are built upon the Word of the Lord; the key is that they are built upon the scriptures. I have no problem with many of the ancient creeds of our Christian faith because they serve as a reminder of our core doctrines and beliefs. When we run away from a scriptural foundation to a movement built upon works and good intentions, we create a system of religion that overshadows God’s Word.
Our works should be the result of how the Lord’s salvation has worked in our hearts. If we truly love the Lord, then we will obey His Word as we show the world our works in Jesus’s name.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.