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Seeds of the Kingdom

Faith Without Works is Dead

by Sue Cronk

3 September 2019

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What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds … in the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James 2:14 &17, NIV

Every morning I receive an email, advertising job vacancies in the geographical area in which I live. There are not many jobs advertised in my area of expertise, but I regularly check, nevertheless. One morning, half asleep and not yet having drunk my coffee, I read, ‘Pew sitters wanted.’ Blinking in disbelief, I reasoned to myself, “Why on earth would a church advertise for ‘pew sitters’?” Surely the Church has more pew sitters than it can cope with already. What a bizarre advertisement!

Checking again, I realised that the job advertisement read, ‘pet sitters’ and not ‘pew sitters’. I laughed at myself and then downed a strong coffee, having decided that I didn’t want to be a ‘pet sitter’ or a ‘pew sitter.’

Later on, that day, I recalled my morning experience and remembered a verse from James, where he states that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). The Amplified version of that verse reads ‘So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up) by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).’ People who are accused of being ‘pew sitters’ are usually those who sit and listen to the gospel week after week in church, but it is not outworked practically in their lives.

They are ‘hearers’ and not ‘doers.’ The message they hear does not motivate them to change where they need changing, nor to reach out to others in their physical or spiritual poverty. They are often the last people to put up their hands when church rosters need filling or casseroles need making.

Those who see these people outside the church walls may not even realise that they are Christians. This should not be. We are not called to be ‘pew sitters’, but ‘world-changers’. In the book of Matthew, Jesus is recorded as saying, ‘You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world … Let your light shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:13-16). Let us not be simply ‘pew sitters’ or ‘pew warmers’, but rather people who actually ‘walk the talk’ and show our faith in practical ways.

Am I suggesting that we should all work ourselves to the bone to near exhaustion? Absolutely Not! That is the opposite extreme, and perhaps some of you fall into that category instead. If that is the case, then God is more likely to be saying to you today, ‘Draw aside and rest a while.’ It’s the perpetual pew sitters who need the gentle reminder that each of us are, ‘created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ (Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer: Father God, I want to live a balanced life where I am neither a ‘pew sitter’ nor working myself to the bone. Bring Your godly order into my life, I pray, and help me to do the good works You prepared for me in advance to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sue Cronk now lives permanently in Australia and is married to Peter. She is involved with Ellel Victoria and is presently teaching on the Explore Course in Melbourne. Her passion is to encourage God`s people by speaking hope and courage into their lives.

 

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