A lot of different folks have an opinion on what faith is/looks like. But, James summarizes neatly what “real faith” looks like in real life: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”(James 1:27)
Terry said: He has this one-two punch of what authentic faith looks like:
- How you treat others (here seen in how you treat the most vulnerable of people)
- What you are becoming on the inside (keep from being polluted by the world)
Question: Does it really matter what we believe?
Question: Does what we believe is true form what we value? How and why?
Our objective is to know and understand that authentic faith plays itself out in our daily lives as we continually remain in debt to loving one another. The fact is, we can’t fully live/show this kind of love (agape) on our own; we must clothe ourselves in Lord Jesus Christ. We do this by actively choosing to not gratify the sinful nature and by looking to love others with a Christ-like love.
“8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. For he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this (love), understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently (befitting the gospel), as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
Look at verse 8…how we are to treat God and others in view of the gospel facts?
If we do this are we doing all that God requires of to do? How can this be?
How would you sum up the verse?
Read verses 8b-10… What does this even mean?
Does it mean that if I love people I don’t have to do anything that God requires? Or does it mean that if you love people, you will do all that God requires? Discuss your answer.
In verses 11-13… Paul challenges us to wake up! Live awake!
Question: are you awake, are you living under his control? If not why?
Verse 14… To clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ…means you want to be like him.
What do / can you do to cloth yourself in Christ?
For the application, spend some time thinking about the following:
- Will you think about and practice living like a debtor of love this week?
- What would it look like this week to pay on the ‘debt of love’ you owe to others?
- Do you do what is best for you…take care of yourself and your needs first? Why? What is something you could do this week to put the interest of others before yourself?
From what you have just discussed and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?