May 19, 2020
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 19 May 2020
An old Scotsman operated a little rowboat for transporting passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the good old man had carved on one oar the word “Faith,” and on the other oar the word “Works.” Curiosity led him to ask the meaning of this. The old man, being a well-balanced Christian and glad of the opportunity for testimony, said, “I will show you.”
So saying, he dropped one oar and plied the other called Works, and they just went around in circles. Then he dropped that oar and began to ply the oar called Faith, and the little boat just went around in circles again—this time the other way around, but still in a circle.
After this demonstration the old man picked up Faith and Works and plying both oars together, sped swiftly over the water, explaining to his inquiring passenger, “You see, that is the way it is in the Christian life. Dead works without faith are useless, and ‘faith without works is dead’ also, getting you nowhere. But faith and works pulling together make for safety, progress, and blessing.”
Hebrews 11 details the works of Old Testament saints who demonstrated that faith pleases God and that He rewards those who seek Him. Faith in God enabled a multitude of believers to honor Him in their daily life. Hebrews 11 proves that when a person trusts God, he or she acts upon his revealed Word.
Works are not combined with faith in order to accomplish salvation. Hebrews 11 does reveal that works are the inevitable and necessary consequence of a faith that is more than mere intellectual assent, in the same manner as the visible fruit of a tree demonstrates that there is life within it (cf. Matt 7:16; 12:33; Luke 6:44; Jas 2:14-20).
Matthew 7:16; 12:33 – “You will know them by their fruits. . . . “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.
Luke 6:44 – “For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.
The faith that a follower of Christ is called to emulate is not only a general confidence in God and his revealed Word, but also a specific trust in the components of biblical hope. Faith is confidence in God’s Word, and leads to obedience to his revealed will in Scripture. Genuine faith is based upon what God has revealed in the Bible, and is proved by one’s works (actions). People with faith in God, labor for Him; and, the Lord God expresses lovingkindness toward them.
Faith is not a luxury; rather, it is indispensible. Moreover, as Hebrews 11:4-38 reveal, faith is not only essential for those who lead, but also is necessary for common people. Faith is expressed when worshipping (v. 4), working (v. 7), obeying (vv. 8-9), waiting (vv. 10-12), and conquering (vv. 30-34). Faith is necessary in all aspects of life because “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23).
- Faith allows believers to have a more meaningful relationship with God (vv. 5-6; Gen 5:22-24). Even in the midst of terrible wickedness, Enoch demonstrated his faith by living a life pleasing to God.
- Faith allows believers to foresee danger and devastation (Heb 11:7; Gen 6:8—9:17; cf. Matt 24:36-42; 2 Pet 2:5). Noah saved his family, while others regarded God’s warning with contempt.
- Faith allows believers to obey God, even when the journey is not known and when victory in a given circumstance appears impossible (Heb 11:8-12; Gen 12:1-3; 17:1-22; 18:10-15; 21:5-7).
- Faith allows believers to endure, even when the promise is not fulfilled immediately (Heb 11:13-16). Trust in God never disappoints!
- Faith allows believers to sacrifice what appears to be the only means for receiving God’s promise (Heb 11:17-19).
- Faith allows believers to recognize the blessing of God, and in being blessed by the Lord is able to be a blessing to others (Heb 11:20-21; Gen 27:1-40; 48:12-20; 50:24-25). Ordinary people who trust God can achieve the extraordinary!
- Faith allows believers to be dependent upon God in circumstances beyond one’s control (Heb 11:23; Exod 2:1-4).
- Faith allows believers to surmount obstacles and perils (Heb 11:29-31; Exod 14:10-31; Josh 2:1-21; 6:1-27). Trusting God allows ordinary people to endure many challenges in life and to win the favor of God for such faith (Heb 11:32-38).
The message is to trust God for his faithfulness and reliability. One can believe his Word and act upon God's promises because the Lord's character is trustworthy. God rewards those who seek Him wholly. Therefore, live your life based upon God’s promise and trust Him for the victory.
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.
*Our ministry funds are being greatly impacted by the COVID-19 virus. If you have the ability and should God lead, please consider a donation to the ministry. You can use standard mail (Capitol Commission, P.O. Box 244, Rincon, GA 31326-0244); or, you can give electronically: under the "Fund," click "Active State Ministry," then under "Sub Fund" click "Georgia – Ron Bigalke" and designate the amount you wish to invest. Your gift is much needed and will be greatly appreciated. Thank you to those who have already helped! We greatly appreciate your investment in this vital ministry!!