Friday, January 14, 2011
Faith without works?
Lolium temulentum. That's a big word there, but it's one we need to understand as Christians. Many people in other countries already know this plant, but it's called by a more common name. Darnel or cockle. It's also called false wheat. Why is this important to us as Christians?
Jesus gave us a parable about the weeds:
Mathew 13:24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
It's really important to understand the spiritual nature behind this simple parable. So many of us are living in a false sense, that God has freed us from any sort of obedience, that we have grace and as such we do not have to produce fruit. While grace is indeed sufficient, if you have truly received grace, you will produce fruit. As James so succinctly put it, Faith without works, is dead. (James 2:17)
What does this have to do with wheat? Well this parable so eloquently describes something that would have been completely apparent to the audience of the time, especially the farmers. When wheat becomes ripe, it's fruit is heavy. It bows down under it's weight. Much like we Christians, bow down in obedience to God! When we produce fruit, it does not give us more grace, because grace was enough. But when we produce fruit, spiritual fruit, we are acknowledging God as our Lord. We, like wheat, bow down.
The tares were false wheat, sowed by the enemy. They look like real wheat, they even grow much the same, but when it's time for harvest, their fruit is very light. They stand up tall. Much like many false Christians, try to stand by their own works. They stand up in front of God saying, “I did all this, I should get into heaven!” Instead, our Lord walks through and he picks the tares, which are obvious because they are not bowing down like the wheat. He throws them in the lake of fire.
It's important that we produce fruit, it's important that when we get before God, we do not say “Look at all my fruit!” Instead we say, “Thank you for your work on the Cross, because you first loved me, I have loved you. I have done these things in your name!” We need to produce fruit, and we need to be obedient to our Father. We are free from the law, but we are obedient in Love. We now live in the Law of the Spirit, not the law of the flesh.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.