Guest Author: Bobby Stewart
Faith, Fruit and Perfection
This week I would like to take the opportunity to briefly discuss Faith, Fruit and Perfection. The last couple weeks we have learned a bit regarding avoiding certain pitfalls. One is to avoid allowing anger into our hearts, as well as having learned not to misrepresent scriptures simply to excuse ourselves from bad behavior. There is a common argument many have over what indeed saves us. I have known many people who say they know they commit plenty of sins, don’t go to church, do whatever they want, yet believe in Jesus Christ, therefore they are saved. As though faith is simply a belief that Jesus Christ is real.
James 2:17 states that “faith, if it hath not works, is dead” One who has true faith will show that faith through his works as the prophet James discusses. In this chapter, he mentions several examples of those who showed their faith through works. Faith is not passive, simply sitting back and saying you know Christ paid for your sins so all is well, faith is active, faith is to be shown. We are told in Matthew 7:17 that “every good tree bringth forth good fruit.” And then we are told that by our fruit may we be known. Therefore to be known as good, we must bring forth good fruit.
In fact not only are we expected to have faith, show it in our actions and bring forth good fruit; but we have an even more overwhelming instruction issued by Christ during the Sermon on the Mount: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”. I would be willing to bet most of us have heard, if not said, “Well, nobody is perfect” in response to having a flaw pointed out. Yet here Christ just told us to be perfect. Not to “try”, or to “give it our best shot”, but to be perfect. How do we do that? Through Repentance made possible by the Atonement. When we know we are wrong and make mistakes, we have been given the amazing gift of forgiveness if we but repent. Sure, we can’t be perfect on our own. But as the scriptures tell us in Matthew 19:26, “with God all things are possible”.
Christ would not have told us to be perfect if there was no way to do it. There is a way. There is a way, Jesus Christ, He is also the truth and the life. Let us allow him to work his perfecting power in us, through the power of the Atonement. Christ paid that price for us, so that we could follow his counsel to be perfect. Let our faith be shown always, let us not sit idle and think about how great it will be when we one day get to heaven and are “perfected.” Let us get to work and allow Christ to begin that process here today, right now. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16