Reflecting on the life of faith

Within societies around the world, the practice of auditing one’s life is an integral part. Many do this at the New Year or during part of a religious or civil festival. Yet while many of these festivals are not biblical, the concept of auditing one’s life is. It is an integral part of the biblical Moedim, as we take stock of where we are, what we have achieved or not done.
Auditing our lives, should be part of the rhythm of our year and walk with YHVH as we seek to walk in accordance with HIS word, which enables us to mature in our faith. This week when listening to a song, When its all been said and done – by Robin Marks, I began to contemplate what I have done, in service to YHVH, and what more I could do in His service. The song, which if you click on the link you can listen to, speaks about only those things which have been done for YHVH will stand the test of time. One of the lines state ‘Did I do my best to live by TRUTH, LORD, did I live my life for you?’ what a statement, one that challenges and compels us to check ourselves, as we seek to declare ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven’ specifically, in our lives!
Scripture repeatedly informs us that as believers, we will stand before the judgement seat of Messiah; however, it will not be for condemnation but to appraise our life.
‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.’ ‘…For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.’
Paul writes that when we stand before God, we will give account for our lives as the holy fire of YHVH will test the works we have done.
‘For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.’
What Paul writes poses the question, just as the song I have mentioned, what will remain when you stand before Messiah? What have you done thus far in your life to serve our Lord and Saviour Messiah Yeshua – Jesus the Christ?
Yet, before we can seek to answer this, we need to understand what it is that God is looking for? What are the things that make precious gems and gold, or wood, straw and hay?
Paul writes further, in his letter to Timothy stating –
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.’
Here we see that those vessels people, who are to bring honour to God, their master, prepared for good works. Just as Paul states in his letter to the Ephesians:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Here we see that we are created to do good works, works which God has already prepared in advance, or to put it another way, instructed us to do in advance. But what are these good works?
‘What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’

James clearly states here that it is through his works that his faith is evident, for it is the combination of both faith and works that reveals a person’s heart and the humility they walk in before God. So, if God seeks us to do good works, He has ordained and revealed to us, then do you not think our adversary would seek to thwart all attempts for a believer to fulfil this very purpose? Therefore, preventing a believer from maturing and storing up treasures in heaven that we present to our Messiah.
Should we not search scripture to ascertain what the good works are that we should be doing? The sad reality is, if you search scripture, you will find that the good works are the commandments of YHVH. For it is these instructions which bring life and not death, for sin is the transgression of the Torah, the holy instructions and commandments of God.
Yet keeping these commandments cannot bestow salvation, for salvation is free; it is the gift of God made available through the death and resurrection of our Messiah. We are saved because of God’s grace, which we receive through faith, a faith which God gives us so no one can boast. However, once we give our lives to God and accept His gift of salvation, we are to submit our lives to Him and live a life according to His word, his decrees. Not though by the letter of the Torah but by the spirit of the Torah.
Furthermore, we should not keep the commandments of YHVH expecting to obtain a reward, but rather because we love God and seek to please him. For it is as we keep his commandments, we show God we love him. Obedience is an expression of the heart, it reveals that our heart is being circumcised, as the commandments are being written upon a heart of flesh.
‘For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.’
‘Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.’
While I could write much more on this very topic, pointing out in scripture how we should observe the commandments of YHVH, such leading must come from the Holy Spirit. Thus, I urge my brothers and sister in Messiah who seek to keep the commandments, to not ostracise themselves from others who may not keep the biblical feasts or eat a biblical kosher diet, rather seek to walk with them in unison, for we are all saved by the grace of God. Furthermore, while they may not observe what we observe, many do seek to keep many of the commandments, such as looking after the widow and the orphan, proclaiming the gospel of salvation and much more. Therefore, let us show the same grace YHVH showed us when we did not understand certain biblical truths. For our salvation is not dependent upon what we eat or what festivals we observe, but instead through the grace of God. Let us, therefore, seek to be imitators of our Messiah as we endeavour to work out our salvation in fear and trepidation, while at the same time seek to look after the widow, the orphan and those in need, as we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For Messiah Himself instructed His disciples to go, make disciples and teach them everything I have commanded you. Therefore, let us seek to not only walk as Messiah did, but make disciples who also do likewise.

May YHVH bless you and keep you,
Shalom.

References
1. 2 Corinthians 5:11 NIV
2. Romans 14:10 NKJV
3. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
4. 2 Timothy 2:19-21 (NKJV)
5. Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)
6. Ephesians 2:8-10.
7. 1 John 5:3
8. John 14: 23-24 (NIV)
9. Matthew 28:18-20

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