Why even bother asking as question like this? Don’t we know that Jesus rose from the dead? Our faith is based on Christ rising from the dead, and yet, there are some who do not believe that Christ really was resurrected, but simply that the disciples believed it to be so. In this lesson, we examine some evidence that should shows us that Christ did in fact rise from the dead.
As we continue how we ought to be prepared to give an answer to those who ask why we believe, we are looking at another argument for evidence of God’s existence. In this case we are considered the Teleological, or Design, Argument, making the case that because this universe maintains all the characteristics of being fine-tuned, there must be a designer.
We live in a world that has changed a lot. Scores of people decide every year that they do not believe in God or the Bible. These people need the gospel just as much as any of us, so how do we reach them? This is where the study of apologetics can be a helpful tool. If we can show them evidence for the truth, and they accept that evidence, we will be one step closer to teaching them the gospel.
Recently I preached a sermon on the relationship between faith, works, and salvation. And as we study that topic, we should be able to understand from James Chapter 2 that faith without works is dead, that one is only justified when, because of his or her faith, they obey God. In fact, James says, quite clearly, that we cannot be saved by faith alone. This same principle is echoed throughout Scripture, in a number of places where the faith and obedience are brought together.
Take for example John 3:36. John writes:
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36) (all quotations from ESV unless otherwise noted)
First of all, understand that some older translations like the KJV have the word “believe” in place of “obey” in the latter part of the verse, but the better manuscripts support the use of the word “obey.” Notice how John brings the two ideas together. If belief equals eternal life, then unbelief equals no eternal life. On the other side, if disobedience equals no eternal life, then obedience must equal eternal life. If belief equals eternal life, and obedience equals eternal life, then belief equals obedience. Faith is not just saying “I believe in Christ,” but faith involves everything that is involved in obeying him as well.
Consider another place where these two ideas are brought together.
In 1 Peter 2:7-8 we read:
So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (1 Pet. 2:7-8, emphasis added)
Peter marries the idea of belief and obedience together in much the same way that John did. Look at another example in Hebrews 3:
And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. (Heb. 3:18-19)
In fact, if we were to look later in Hebrews, in that great chapter on faith, Hebrews 11, we would find that those who are commended for their faith, are commended because of action that the took (works) that were based in their faith.
We cannot ignore plain Bible teaching. Faith and obedience cannot be separated from one another. Without obedience, faith is empty, even dead, according to James. Without faith, obedience is meaningless, as there is no basis for the obedience. The two must come together.
It seems to be a commonly held belief in the religious world, that faith alone is enough for salvation, but the Bible teaches something entirely different. James said, very clearly, that we are not saved by faith alone. Faith must be completed by action. Join us as we consider these things from God’s Word.
In a world filled with so much information, and so many doctrines and ideas about the Bible, it falls on God’s people to make sure that they are equipped for defending the truth. We must earnestly contend for the faith.
Continuing our study of the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5 with the next of the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the Meek”
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