June 1, 2016

bible study imageSubject: Faith

Golden text: Galatians 6:17*

Quite frankly, I don’t want to be bothered anymore by these disputes. I have far more important things to do—the serious living of this faith. I bear in my body scars from my service to Jesus.

James 2: 1-7

1-4 My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?

5-7 Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn’t it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind? Aren’t they the ones who scorn the new name—“Christian”—used in your baptisms?

From 21st Century Science and Health**

Material wealth, fame, and social organizations have no authority or influence in the presence of God. We attain clearer views of Principle as we break up cliques, level monetary wealth with honesty, and let worth be judged according to wisdom. We also get better views of humanity as we remove our self from biased personal perceptions.

The epoch approaches when true religion will be built on the understanding of the truth of being. However, people are slow to understand truth because they are obsessed with fashion, pride, bodies, and opinion. The fixation of materiality makes us weary and old because it goes against our higher nature.

Science shows that conflicting convictions and opinions repeatedly transmit mixed signals. The signals symbolize confusion, but we can be safe from confusion when false convictions and opinions are promptly and persistently tuned out. As we tune into divine Science, Truth and Love buffer confused mentalities and thereby invigorate and sustain existence. Knowledge picked up by the five senses is disposable.

Unwell bodies will become healthy as individual opinions improve and human belief loses some portion of its error.

James 2:8-13

8-11 You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: “Love others as you love yourself.” But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. You can’t pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God’s law and ignoring others. The same God who said, “Don’t commit adultery,” also said, “Don’t murder.” If you don’t commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you’re a murderer, period.

12-13 Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.

From 21st Century Science and Health

To understand God is a work of eternity and it demands pure commitment of thought, energy, and desire.

Are our thoughts of Deity empty? We admit theoretically that God is good, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. And yet, we try to give information to this infinite Mind. We may even ask for undeserved forgiveness or benefits. We can rather ask, “Do we really appreciate the good we’ve already received?” If so, then we will put to good use the blessings we have and be prepared to receive more.

Infidelity is “the pestilence that stalks in the darkness…the plague that destroys at midday.”[1] The instruction, “You shall not commit adultery,”[2] is no less imperative than, “You shall not murder.”[3]

A person who refuses obedience to God is chastened by Love, and individuals who know and obey God’s will run up against the hostility of envy.

James 2:14-20

14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

18 I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”

Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

19-20 Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?

From 21st Century Science and Health

The custom of telling people that if they take one doctrine and have total faith in it, they will be filled with the Holy Spirit, receives a strong rebuttal in the Scripture, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”[4] Faith, if only belief, is like a motor piston shifting between nothing and something, having no fixity. Faith, advanced to spiritual understanding, gains evidence of Spirit. Spiritual evidence rebukes mistaken mindsets of every kind and establishes the claims of God.

In Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English, the word faith and its corresponding words have these two definitions: trustfulness and trustworthiness. One kind of faith trusts one’s well-being to others. Another kind of faith understands divine Love and how to “work all the more strenuously at your salvation with reverence and trembling.”[5] “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”[6] This expresses the helplessness of blind faith; whereas the directive, “Believe…and you will be saved,”[7] demands self-reliant trustworthiness, which includes spiritual understanding and confides all to God.

The action of so-called human mind must be destroyed by the divine Mind to bring out the harmony of being. Without divine control there is disorder, manifest as sin, sickness, and death.

Spirituality in action, demonstrates the government of God, good, in which is no power to act against life, truth, and love.

James 2: 21-26

21-24 Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?

25-26 The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.

From 21st Century Science and Health

Human-made theories divide faith and understanding between matter and Spirit, and as a result, people turn to the inanimate drug for help rather than the intelligent and divine healing Principle.

Human flesh is neither self-existent nor a product of Spirit. The physical eye only sees an image of human thought reflected on the retina. Matter cannot see, feel, hear, taste, or smell. Matter/energy is not self-cognizant—cannot feel itself, see itself, nor understand itself. If you take away the human mind, which constitutes mortal selfhood, matter can take no cognizance of matter. Does the comatose patient ever see, hear, or feel? Why doesn’t a corpse use any of the physical senses?

We turn from the un-godlike and lose sight of the mortal self, before recognizing our relationship to God and our divine posterity. Our spirituality is linked by Science to our Maker.

To the physical senses, the strict demands of divine Science seem final. However, humanity is quickly learning that Life is God, faithful good.

When we come to have more faith in the truth of being than we have in error, more faith in Spirit than in matter, more faith in living than in dying, more faith in spiritual being than in human beings, then no material suppositions can prevent us from healing the sick and destroying error.

The history of Christianity furnishes sublime proofs of the supporting influence and protecting power bestowed on us by our heavenly Father-Mother. Omnipotent Mind gives us faith and understanding whereby to safeguard our self, not only from temptation, but also from bodily suffering.

*Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

**Text from 21st Century Science and Health can’t be reproduced in part or as a whole without the written permission of Healing Science Today

 

[1] Ps. 91:6

[2] Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18; Matt. 5:27

[3] Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17

[4] James 2:17

[5] Phil. 2:12 (Moffatt)

[6] Mark 9:24

[7] Acts 16:31

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