At the day of Doom men shall be judged according to their fruits. It will not be said then, “Did you believe?” but, “Were you doers, or talkers only?” -- John Bunyan
should be accountable in the present.
John Bunyan has made a statement which sounds non-Biblical; let us examine the different aspects of this quote. The question, “Did you believe?” is an important question, since according to the Bible it is by faith that we are saved, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
But, the faith that saves us is inherently bound together with works. A faith that simply believes and does not penetrate into action is empty. Belief which does not transform the heart and reflect in the face, resound in the voice, and move hands to service is without value and will be accorded no more value on the day of reckoning than the empty recitation of verses memorized without understanding.
James 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?
The quote, "Were you doers, or talkers only?" must be put in proper context. Doing is important as emphasized above, and talking only is the equivalent of faith without works. For salvation to be complete, we must combine belief/faith/talking with a sincere reflection of our hearts in the way we act.
If works alone were sufficient to transform our hearts and bring us into right relationship with God, then we would need no relationship with God at all. We would be in essence gods ourselves. Such a philosophy is very seductive since it supports our innate belief that man alone is in control of his destiny. The common secular view of life is that “I am a good person; I will be judged as adequate and worthy by God.” Such a view of life requires no relationship with God, and no posture of obligation, submission, or humility need be exhibited by man. But, God has created a firewall that protects entrance into His presence. We must acknowledge our insufficiency to save ourselves, accept His grace and provision for our salvation, and then attempt to act in a manner as closely reflective of the spirit of Christ as possible.
Yes, it is good to be
accountable in the present; that is the only place we can actually
live. But, acts that proceed
out of faith are of higher effect than simply good works.
pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you
will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with
joy, 12 always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the
inheritance that belongs to God's holy people, who live in the light. 13
For he has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness,
and he has brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son. 14 God has purchased our
freedom with his blood and has forgiven all our sins. 15 Christ is the visible
image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and
is supreme over all creation.
16 Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven
and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see --
kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created
through him and for him. 17 He existed before everything else began,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is
the first of all who will rise from the dead, so he is first in
everything. 19 For God
in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and by him God
reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven
and on earth by means of his blood on the cross. 21 This includes you who were once
so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your
evil thoughts and actions, 22 yet now he has brought you back as his
friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human
body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and
you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it
firmly. Don't drift
away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The
Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been
appointed by God to proclaim it.
24 I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am
completing what remains of Christ's sufferings for his body, the
church. 25 God has given
me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his message in
all its fullness to you Gentiles.
26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past,
but now it has been revealed to his own holy people.
is, accountability in the present is tightly interconnected with eternal
consequences, and current accountability is connected with
culpability. Our hope in the sacrifice of Jesus is that a change of
heart, an acceptance of His sacrifice is sufficient and acceptable for the
cleansing from eternal spiritual consequences.
Christianity is examined for the purpose of producing doubt, the logician
will be successful, because the Bible speaks to the same circumstance
under many different conditions.
Likewise, words have latitude in their reference, and those who
wish to prove inconsistency can choose the definition and implications of
phrases. But the same is true
of those who have faith, and wish to prove consistency and scriptural
integrity to justify their faith.
Thus, argument is enlightening to a degree, but it is not adequate
to produce faith. Ultimately the heart must be drawn to the
The problem with sin is that it is sweet. And the problem with sweetness is that the short term attraction obscures the long term pain and death that follows. The path to diabetic decay is accessed through the door of sweetness, and the seduction of sweetness today hides the horrors of diabetic ulcers, amputation, blindness, and kidney failure in 40 years.
Christianity is not about being perfect, it is
about biasing one's life toward a commitment to ongoing purification,
resisting temptation, and submitting to the wisdom in the Way of the
give a good cause a bad name, and given the weaknesses of humanity,
looking at individuals will be disappointing. There is no one worth
using as an example of the potential of mankind, except Jesus. That is why
we should look to the source for our judgment of the standard
of Truth. If we look inside for divine revelation of Truth, we
have opened a pathway for intervention in the soul that cannot be
otherwise accessed. Such a trek for Truth is far from a simple
process and will not be successful when engaged as a dilettante, rebel, or
mocker. The posture of sincere and persistent desire
produces the most excellent results. If we dedicate ourselves
totally to God's guidance and ask persistently for the truth to be
revealed, eventually the Truth will come. The proper method of
searching for the truth is not with force that attempts to break
down the barriers and blockades protecting God's mysteries, but
rather with an open and perceptive heart, looking for the clues
and invitations to the Truth.
Dwell on the positive aspects of a
person’s ministry rather than attempting to prove that their entire intent
was evil and that their ministry and message was without value simply
because of an error in the past, an accusation of impropriety, or the
appearance of shortcoming.
Let go of your habit of cursing the ministries of people who are
sincerely attempting to advance the cause of Christ. Look for the good they have done;
try to find the Truth and value in the teachings of the Word of God. Simply pointing out other people’s
flaws is the equivalent of the life function of a dung beetle. Yes, it helps to break down waste
and refuse, and it helps make way for future growth, but without planting
and watering, seeds never grow.
Focus on the positive intent in people’s ministries, not just their
failings. You will then be
part of lighting a candle that dispels the darkness instead of just
cursing the darkness, an activity which produces only
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