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Living Faith B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
August 26, 2021 4:00 am

Living Faith B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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August 26, 2021 4:00 am

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Work support the reality of saving faith where you have a man who has imputed righteousness, you have a man who has manifest righteousness where you have a man who is made just before God.

You have a man who made just before man when you have a man who has received righteousness to have a man show that righteous and yet there was one man in Scripture who was willing to sacrifice his son and it turned out to be not only a great act of love. But perhaps the greatest example of complete trust in God will study that man named Abraham today and one other hero of the faith as John MacArthur looks at the difference between living faith and dead faith.

His current study on grace to you is titled show me your faith and with the lesson here is John.

It is possible to believe in God. To believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to affirm the cross and the resurrection and never be delivered from sin and never be given eternal life is what James would call did say James has shown us what dead faith is. I want to show us. By contrast, what living faith.

It is not to make his point of what really constitutes a living faith uses three illustrations number one is Abraham and this goes from verse 21 to 24. Let's begin in verse 21 was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar now immediately everything in us that evangelical ghosts hold it right there justified by works, what is it me, to be justified means to be considered right with God you mean to say Abraham was considered to be right with God by works. You cannot be justified by works before God. You say will then what does James mean when it says here in James was not Abraham our father justified by works. Listen to this Abraham was justified by faith before God, but he was justified by works before men see the difference. That's the whole point James is making works are the only way his faith can be seen and verified as real saving faith by himself or any other man always emphasizing justification before God.

James is emphasizing the vindication of a man's claim to salvation before other, so it was at the Chaldees and in the walk of faith that Abraham exhibited that God saw his faith and imputed to him righteousness, but notice what James says he identifies very specifically when Abraham was justified by works, he says it was when he offered Isaac his son on the altar.

That's when the whole world could see the reality of his faith and he, having been justified before God already was not justified before men, the watching world could perceive the reality of his faith.

Go back to Genesis chapter 22 and let's look briefly at that record. Genesis chapter 22. It came to pass after these things that God did test Abraham very important. This is a test. A test of what it's a test of Abraham's faith in order to demonstrate its reality, its genuineness, he said to him, Abraham, he said, here I am, he said, take now your son.

He rubs it in your only son rubs it in again, whom you love to kiss on your only son. The son you love go to the land of Moriah and get this offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains. I'll tell you about absolutely unbelievable. Abraham knows this. He knows that God is made of a promise and God made a promise years ago. By this time Isaac is a maybe 10 to 15 years old. This is nearly 50 years after he first believed God, and he's been walking in this promise all these years.

Somewhere between 40 and 50 years and God's been saying, your seed will be as the sands of the sea, and as the stars of heaven and I'll make out of your lungs a great nation.

We were blessed that will be blessed and whoever curses them will be cursed and Abraham for years is believing this, even though he has no daughter. He has no son. He has no child is married to an old lady was barren. Finally, God gives them a child rings 100 years old. Now 10 years later, or 15 what is between 110 and 115 and all he has to look at regarding this promise of the seed as wide as the sand of the sea is one measly kid and now God comes… Take that kid to mount Mariah and Kellan and everything he knows about the covenant keeping character of God is is violated in his mind, and everything he knows about God's standard of sacrifice is violated because God is never required human sacrifice never permitted, it's meant as murder. How can God reverse himself.

How can God be on God. How can God contradict everything about his nature that I know to be true. God says take your son and offer him as a sacrifice but but but there's never been a human sacrifice but but he's the promise you made.

What about your nature. What about your truthfulness. What about your faithfulness is a violate everything I know to be true about you.

This will destroy your reputation, what is he do does he argue with God. No, here is the evidence of his faith, no questions asked.

Got up early in the morning verse three settled is asked of two of his young men with you Isaac his son cut the wood for the burnt offering rose up, went to the place which got a told off they go couple young men.

Isaac and the beast of burden carrying the wood on the third. Abraham lifted up his eyes saw the place far off.

Abraham said to his young men stay here with the@the lad will go yonder worship marked this in your Bible and come again to you. There's a space has you going to do that.

God says go kill the son he says I'll be back in Seoul. He will come back.

He believed that Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering. Later on Isaac his son took the fire in his hand and a knife and they went both of them together. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father. This ulterior heart.

My father, he said, here I am, my son, he said, behold, the fire in the wood but where's the Lamb for a burnt offering and Abraham said to my son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.

So they both went together.

He believed in his heart that whatever the sacrifice would ultimately be God would provide it came to the place regatta told him Abraham built an altar, laid the wood in order, I can imagine the scene behind these two words bound Isaac. I don't know whether Isaac is said here I am time you will whether there was a little bit of discussion or whether there was a fight but anyway laid them on the altar stretched forth his hand, took the knife ready to plunge into the heart of the sun is of the Lord stopped and cried out of heaven, Abraham, Abraham, he said, here I am a stopped and you nevertheless the store there was a ram caught in the thicket they sacrifice the ram away. They went Jehovah Gyro the Lord provides in Hebrews chapter 11, you know it says it says Abraham went all the way put Isaac on the altar tied him up, got ready to start the fire got the knife up the plunge in his heart because he believed in the God who could raise the dead.

He believed that he would take Isaac take his life. Isaac would come the life they would come back again and go home.

He believed in the God of resurrection to the degree that he was willing to sacrifice the life of his son because he was so strong in faith that God raised him from the dead say widely believe that God raised him from the dead because he believed so unalterably in the character of God that God was a covenant keeping God who under no circumstance could ever violate is from and that God was a God who when he said he would do something would indeed do it and everything was based on the life of Isaac, and James says that is where Abraham was justified by works before all the watching world yes justified by faith in believing God and justified by works in this greatest act of human sacrifice on his part. I don't mean the sacrifice of Isaac I mean the sacrifice of Abraham. He was a man of great faith all through his life, but it reached the pinnacle here now market. He wasn't a perfect man. His face was so weak he lied about Sarah when he was in Egypt to protect her right. His faith was so weak that he stupidly went in and had a baby with a handmade hag are committed adultery and produced Ishmael who fathered the Arabs and that's always been a thorn in the side of the people of God. Not only wasn't a perfect man, but there was in his life a pattern of believing God that culminated in this incredible act of trust where he would've taken the life of the son believing God raised him from the dead, though there had never been a resurrection to that point. So Paul is saying yes he was justified by grace through faith is recorded in Genesis 15 and James is saying. And yes, he was justified before men in Genesis 22. Some 40+ years later by the way just to support that perspective. The barest indicative verb was justified as to general meetings and I did a study of this because I was curious about it when it says in verse 21 he was justified by works. The word justified has two general meanings number one it means to acquit or to treat as righteous. Number two it means to vindicate to show or to demonstrate as righteous how interested definition number one is what Paul uses in Romans four he was acquitted treated and described as righteous definition number two is what James uses. He was vindicated, shown and demonstrated to be righteous in the act of a willingness to sacrifice his son so he concludes in verse 22. Look at you see then how faith was cooperating with his works. You see that there's no antagonism. Beloved.

That's the point there's no argument there is no debate works support the reality of saving faith where you have a man who has imputed righteousness, you have a man who has manifest righteousness where you have a man who is made just before God.

You have a man who would be made just before man where you have a man who has received righteousness. You have a man who will show that righteous. That's Paul and James put together in the end of verse 22 by works was faith brought to its goal brought to its and brought to its fullness. That's the idea of the made perfect.

It isn't that salvation was imperfect. It isn't that it's faith plus works to be saved. Isn't that the faith is part of it and then later on, the works are part of the salvation it's like a tree. A tree is a tree and a tree is a tree that is alive and it has all the principles of life, but it isn't perfect until it bears fruit. Faith then reaches its goal in works justification book before God is manifest in justification before men, not only was Abraham's faith fulfilled his works. Look at verse 23 and the Scripture was also fulfilled which says Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness. And there is a city quoted Genesis 15 six.

The reality of that truth was demonstrated now made manifest. The Scripture said Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness. The Scripture said that and now what the Scripture said has been made visible in his works demonstrated righteousness was put in his account, and righteousness was declared the word fulfill does not make this a prophecy is a very broad word.

It has broad possibilities. It simply means that that which was true about Abraham was brought to fruition brought to fulfillment in anyone. I say again genuinely saved will demonstrated in life behavior and a wonderful result came about, look at the end of verse 23 he was called the friend of God. He was called a copartner with the holy one, what a thought. What dignity, what an honor and wanted joy because his fate was manifest and proven to be real. He entered into that wonderful arena of people who are called the friend of God disabled who are the friends of God. Jesus put it this way in John 15 you are my friends if you do whatsoever I command dear friend of God.

That's a title reserved for people who obey God will obey his word. As John Calvin put it, faith alone justifies, but the faith that justifies is never alone. Never. So James then simply says in verse 24, summing it up.

You see, then, that by works man is justified also and not by faith only that's only part of it. It's not enough to just have faith there must be faith and the resulting works so we could say it this way, that by works of man he is vindicated not by faith alone.

So Abraham is a classic illustration of salvation by faith before God and salvation made evident before men. The second illustration in verse 25.

In like manner, I love those were that's a knockout punch. One word in the Greek home oils in the same way as Abraham also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works when she had received the messengers and sent them out another way. In like manner, didn't this one of the worst kind demonstrate her true salvation by what she did was not the harlot justified by works. Listen very carefully again. You must make the same twofold feature in understanding this very important account. Just briefly I want to touch base with I don't want you to spend a lot of time on it because we don't have the time, but let me just mention to you from Joshua chapter 2.

Couple of things about the story Rahab grant was a hard living in Jericho, she ran in and ends were brothels and she had women and are in the sleep with men, and that was how she made her living so into the land has come the the wonderful people of God in mass and they are there because God's will to give them Canaan. They arrived at Jericho. There obviously going to take Jericho. They send some spies in the spy out the city and see what's there despised when they stay in, and in the end is owned by Rahab. Rahab is a harlot they're not there for those purposes.

There simply there to lodge this woman then takes in these spots when she gets the spies there obviously finds out who they are. Verse nine she said to the men I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land fate because of you, for we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan sigh Hana Naugle you utterly destroyed and as soon as we heard these things, our heart did melt. Neither did there remain any more courage and any man because of you for listen the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in the earth beneath.

Now when that woman believe that she was justified before God. She believed that God was the true God. She believed that God was the God of miracles would lead his people out of Egypt.

She believed that God was the God of power, who had defeated the Amorite kings. She believed all she knew about God, the true God, and it was imputed to her for righteousness and that point she was justified by her faith that faith justification was then made manifest.

James says verse 25 when she received the messengers and sent them out another way to protect them from the soldiers who would've taken their life.

So again it's the same idea. This woman believe the truth then it was imputed to her for righteousness by her faith and then that righteousness was vindicated by the action she took to save the life of the spies by the way, remember what she did still delighted people say was at right, of course, it wasn't right, but she's a pagan coming out of a pagan culture with pagan ethics who does understand the premium God puts on truth. She's working with whatever knowledge she's got is very limited. She's got little paganism still mixed up with her true faith, not unlike all the rest of us and her ethics are the ethics of a corrupt file degraded to botch Canaanite society about to be wiped out by God, so we don't justify the lies she told she did. That is a part of her own environmental understanding because she was a victim of the fallenness of her own nature.

The time would come when she would understand the value that God puts on truth and she would trust in God instead of in her own in a bit of her own new ability to get out of things but here was a woman basically who was in the pit of moral muck.

She sold her body for sexual favors as a Canaanite she had succumbed to the prevailing immorality of her environment. She believes in the true God. It's accounted to her for rights. Now watch this. When given the opportunity.

The only opportunity she ever had in her life to do something to demonstrate her faith in God. She put her life on the line if she had been found out. It would've cost her her life. She had the spies in the flax on the roof. She let him escape. She told the guys he came to find them but they weren't there. She told him how to escape the whole thing.

She protected herself for the court in the window said when you come back, save me and my family we want to be a part of the community of people that worship the true God. She demonstrated her faith by works or lie was unnecessary. Who knows what God might've done to spare her if she hadn't done that I want to conclude these two illustrations listen carefully what kind of works vindicated true salvation, going to church now doesn't say and she went over and worship God. It doesn't say of Abraham that he built an altar and worshiped God. In both cases, the visible vindication of their justification was putting their life and their dreams and their hopes on the line.

That is the kind of work that I believe God wants us to understand is demonstrated in true faith is that you went to church read a Bible saying a song is that you are so supremely committed to God that you would sacrifice your hopes and dreams and ambitions and yes you would risk your own life to be true to your faith. That's the issue.

Jesus put it this way, if you're not willing to take up your cross and what was that an emblem of death. An emblem of painful death and emblem of excruciating death and follow me or not worthy to be my disciple. The issue is not, do you go to church. Do you read your Bible, do you have a little spiritual activity. The issue is when it comes down to the crux of why you live and what is valuable your faith in God is more valuable to you than everything you hold most dear and you put your own life on the line you put all your dreams and hopes on the line because you have such implicit and total trust in him. That's the issue that's the kind of evidence that is monumental.tell me a person's faith is real because it come to Bible study you don't know that see them in the vortex of a life choice. Yes it's in the vortex of the dire decisions of life where hopes and dreams and destiny and ambition, and life itself is on the line that true faith always reveals itself in the fact of the matter is if you never get into that vortex. Sad to say, some people might go through the world self deceived until the very time they meet the Lord. What a tragic James and concludes with the final analogy, Abraham, Rahab, and finally the analogy of a corpse.

Very vivid as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. Just as even so Holy Spirit who to us just as even so, it's an analogy, and in both cases. If the second member is missing. The result is death.

If the spirit is missing from the body. If works are missing from faith a body without life is putrid and has absolutely no value, and so is belief without behavior.

Just as did so James is really saying look at yourself. What about you you have a belief without behavior you believe but not obey. You say you believe are you Orthodox, but you no longer serve God you don't love them to the point where whatever it may cost you your willing to pay that price because he is supremely dear to you. You say you love him. Do you say you care about him. You say you believe in him, but do you love sin you court unrighteousness, or do you love evil both pride, seek humility is your faith useless or is it saving faith.

That's the question James wants to ask the test of living faith is in the direst moment of life's exigencies when everything is at the cross. Do you choose to honor God no matter what the cost.

Abraham did Rahab the faith was alive and this is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John is Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary the lesson you just heard is part of John's series on how salvation should visibly transform your life. It's titled show me your faith at John today. You ran down a list of questions that we need to ask ourselves, to see if our faith is living or dead, and I'm wondering what you say to a person who answers yes to some of the questions but no to others. Is there an intermediate zone between living faith and did faith I know there's no there's no purgatorial faith here, either alive or dead.

And that's pretty clear. But again, what we are talking about what you're referring to is questions like do you confess your belief in Christ you either say yes or no that you believe in Christ or you don't. Do you believe the word of God, but not have any interest in obeying the word of God you can answer that. Do you long to serve God do do you want to please him.

Do you confess your love for Christ.

Do you court unrighteousness or do you hate unrighteousness. I'm thinking about it in your own heart.

These questions are just black-and-white questions. Of course you don't perfectly obey. Of course you don't perfectly serve God. Of course you don't perfectly love Christ. Of course you don't perfectly follow the path of righteousness.

But it's not about perfection, it's about direction, real living faith is driven in the direction of God and Christ and righteousness and love and service and obedience. This is the foundation of your own understanding of where you stand with God.

So I encourage you to review the vital biblical truth in these messages again. The MP3s are free to download at our website. The series we been doing.

Show me your faith. For those of you who would rather have CDs. We have the two CD album will send you reasonably priced.

This is a great series to give someone struggling with the issue or assurance of salvation title again to show me your faith available exclusively from grace to you yes and friend. This series will help you rejoice in trials and proclaim the gospel without fear, and honor the Lord in any circumstance, simply put, it will help you develop true and living faith to order John study titled show me your faith. Contact us today. The CD album is reasonably priced and shipping is free to order, call 855 grace or you can shop Also keep in mind you can download the lessons from show me your faith, free of charge in MP3 or transcript and if you're looking for more resources on the nature of savings faith any other topic. Let me encourage you to visit our website. We have thousands of free resources that can teach you how to honor God in the gray areas of life or equip you to serve your church or show you how to follow God's design for the family much more you can read blog article, or follow along with the Arthur daily Bible reading plan and you can download any of John's more than 3500 sermons again. All of those resources and more now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson.

Thanks for tuning in today and make sure you are here tomorrow for a special Q&A where John answers questions from his home church, maybe even a question that you have join us Friday for another half hour of on teaching God's truth one verse at a time on racing.


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