Faith in Action: Titus – II Peter 3

You can find a one-year Bible reading plan here.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…

Hebrews 10:19-22

Hebrews portrays the supreme excellency of Jesus Christ in all his glory. But if you stop there, you have missed the most important lesson of the book. Do not file away the knowledge of Christ’s superiority as a random fact, but wield it as the power to fuel your faith. As the author of Hebrews said, let it give you full assurance of your faith so that you can confidently engage with God with a true heart.

In Chapter 2 the supremacy of Christ gives us power to overcome the temptation to drift away from our salvation. In Chapter 3 our confidence in Christ protects us from an unbelieving heart and the deceitfulness of sin. In Chapter 4 the great high priest gives us confidence to approach the throne of grace and enter God’s rest. In Chapter 6 Jesus is the anchor of our soul giving us strong encouragement to hold fast to our hope. In Hebrews 7 Jesus is the guarantor of a better covenant who will save to the uttermost those who draw near to him in faith. In Chapter 9 he is the high priest offering himself as the sacrifice, whose blood purifies our conscience from dead works to serve God. Hebrews 10 exhorts us to hold fast the confession of our hope with full confidence because of the blood of Jesus. Chapter 12 reminds us of Jesus’ example of endurance under suffering, so that we do not wither but remain strong in our faith when tested. Hebrews closes with a reminder that there is a heavenly Jerusalem where Jesus mediates a new covenant. With this in mind, we should be grateful and worship him with awe and reverence.

James carries on this doctrine of faith in action. He proclaims that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Our faith, when tested, should produce steadfastness. We should make our requests to God without doubting. When tempted we should not give in to earthly desires, but instead have faith in the eternal rewards of righteous living and persevere. Our faith causes us to be doers and not just hearers of the word. By faith we deny ourselves and meet the needs of those around us.

James’ strong stand on the necessity of a working faith has caused some consternation through the years as Christians compare his words with Paul’s repeated claim, echoing Habakkuk, that the just shall live by faith. “Faith Alone!” has been a Protestant rallying cry after all. This apparent contrast between James and Paul is not so great as it seems, however. I picture James and Paul standing back to back, each defending faith against a different enemy. In Paul’s view, legalism (especially the Jewish form of legalism) threatened Christianity most of all. For James, it was perhaps spiritual license, the belief that a believer could live as they pleased, sometimes called antinomianism or easy believe-ism, that endangered faith. I believe both of these men would have agreed that is not faith or works that saves, but a faith that works.

When the telegraph cable flashed no message across to America, when they tried to telegraph again and again, but the only result following was dead earth, they felt persuaded that there was a fracture, and well they might; and when there is nothing produced in the life by the supposed grace which we have, and nothing is telegraphed to the world but “dead earth,” we may rest assured that the link of connection between the soul and Christ does not exist.

Charles Spurgeon

About this blog

During 2020 I plan to post weekly writings covering the material you would read during each week as you proceed from Genesis to Revelation in one year. And so for this week I have covered Titus – II Peter 3. Next week I will write about I John – Revelation 22. I hope you will continue along with me. You can find daily posts about these chapters archived here on the Bible in a Year blog. For your convenience here are the previous posts covering Titus – II Peter 3.

Leader Do’s and Don’ts: Titus 1

Firm to the end: Hebrews 1-6

A Better Way: Hebrews 7-10

Faith is the substance: Hebrews 11

Faith that Works: James 2

Living with suffering: I Peter

Truth vs. Heresies: 2 Peter 2

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