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Two planes arrive at the same airport. They agree their destination is the same, it's a long trip. The Pilots, both familiar with the path, take off again from that same airport. They both have checked that their instruments are working and believe they will guide them safely. Both planes run into storms and great turbulence, they are in jeopardy. Pilots need to take the right action to survive and arrive. So what do they do? To one Pilot, during the storm his instruments appear to have an irregularity, a slight miscalculation for the particular situation he's in. The Pilot can read the instruments easily, he has done it thousands of times, so he decides the only way to arrive safely is to make a very minute correction* that will get him back on the path. His gut feelings, and from what he was taught* tells him to make the change, so he does. The other Pilot, studies and checks his instruments over and over, he confers and confirms with his Co-Pilot and Navigator** about what if anything should be changed. His experience tells him to stay on the original path, his Co-Pilot and Navigator verify this action. So this Pilot makes no changes but faithfully continues on. That very "minute correction", actually changes the one Pilot's ultimate destination. One minute change in trajectory makes one miss the target. Two may totally agree on one tenant of Faith, the differences make a huge difference ***in the long run and cannot be ignored. Even Satan even knows and believes Scripture, and changes the wording to interpret it to his needs, but his destination is not with God. What path you take is your choice! The WORD of God**** or the decisions, teachings, and traditions of man? Same Airport...one agreed point in doctrine. Ex:Salvation; Faith; Works; etc. Pilot....each individual soul. Storm...life's difficulties, trials, pain, temptation, sin, etc. Miscalculation...omission, addition, or change to the Word. Instruments...God's Word, Scriptures. Co-Pilot and Navigator...God the Father, Jesus Christ. "Experience"...the indwelling Holy Spirit. Desired Destination...Eternity with God, Heaven. Path...Spiritual journey getting there. * Matthew 15:6-9 NKJV, Mark 7:13 NKJV ** Matthew 21:22 NKJV, James 1:5 NKJV *** Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV **** Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Proverbs 30:5 NKJV God Bless!
The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification is a document created, and agreed to, by the Catholics and the Lutherans in 1999, as a result of extensive ecumenical dialogue. It states that the churches now share "a common understanding of our justification by God's grace through faith in Christ." To the parties involved, this essentially resolves the conflict over the nature of justification which was at the root of the Protestant Reformation. Simply put, when Lutherans say "We are saved by faith alone", they mean that salvific faith is enough. And when Catholics say "We are saved through faith and works", they mean that intellectual faith is not enough, it must be supplemented with good works. With this new understanding, James 2:24 and Ephesians 2:8 can resonate harmoniously.
I believe the answer is in the question. "What is your motivation?" Faith is the engine. Works is the get up and go. There is a difference between intellectual understanding of doctrine and the underlying acts or works that come from the Holy Spirit. Works alone motivated by pride and selfishness as seen by the Pharisees getting the first seats in the Temple, making a show of the amount of tithe, etc. Were exposed by Jesus as hypocrisy. Jesus Christ spoke of woman penny giver in the temple. She gave ALL she had. Therefore what matters is what is in your heart. Let me explain. Picture a sea-saw at a playground. On one end sits a child called "Faith" and on the other is a child called "Works". They try to bounce back and forth up and down. Each one pushes with their feet to help the other achieve the upward lift. This action would not occur if the middle of the sea-saw did not have a "fulcrum" to distribute the weight and balance. The fulcrum is the HEART. Yes, we have faith that grace is enough, but how should we serve God, our fellow man or be witnesses? We cannot hide or lock ourselves out from the world. Works should come from the result of believing what a wonderful God we serve..a God that gave us a way to eternal life. When our hearts are filled with the love that comes from this realization, works are manufactured void of intellectual pre-meditation. These types of works I believe are blessed by God. We just cannot pat ourselves on the back for doing works that are pleasing to man. In this way, works can be a trap if you think that God is running a contest, tally or lottery system. Again, Jesus exposed the Heart or motivation of the penny giver at the temple. May we all become rich by becoming poor!
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