faith without works is dead

Was the Apostle Paul always positive?

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There is a strain of thought that no negative or correctional thing should ever be said.

Paul the apostle wrote 13 or 14 books of the New Testament.  Some debate about the book of Hebrews, but it sounds like Paul.

In any case, he wrote at least 13 books.  Was he ever negative?  If you read I Corinthians he had some strong correctional words.

1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.


In another place he said this.

I Timothy 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.


Paul also said this.

Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;


He also said this.

II Corinthians 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.


Hebrews says this.

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.


There is profit in correction. People hire coaches. And while the coaches may affirm what is already being done correctly, they also point out areas of improvement.

Taking care of business ultimately creates “the peaceable fruit of righteousness”.  But usually there is something that has to be done in the process.

If someone is too lazy to take the trash out, for a while, maybe a day or two, it may not matter too much.  But then flies, cockroaches, rodents, stench, germs and sickness come.

It’s better to take out the trash before there are repercussions.

The fact that Jesus has given gifts and graces to mankind through his redemptive work does not absolve mankind of the need for obedience.  The switch between the Old Testament and New Testament, the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant is that with the Holy Spirit within for those who have been born again, for the believer, that becomes an internal awareness of things to be done … or not done … as the case may be … rather than reading a list of items and checking them off throughout the day.  The finished work of Christ does not mean that obedience is no longer necessary.  As a matter of fact, the book of James points out that if you have faith, there will be works.

But with bad teaching, even a believer can walk in wrong ways.

Romans 12:12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.


James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?


Pastors are hindered because people never want a correctional message, or at least enough of the congregation pushes back against a correctional message that sometimes pastors can’t say what needs to be said.

Everyone wants the promises of God, but there is discipline and obedience in receiving them.  If nothing else, there is at least discipline of the tongue and life.  And in the case of financial prosperity, there is the discipline of obeying the law of the tithe (read Malachi chapter 3* below).  You can’t skip part of the process and expect a full reward.

Psalm 24:3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?

4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

5 He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

6 This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.


If you say that is Old Testament, that doesn’t matter, that is incorrect. The only thing from the Old Testament that became unnecessary after Jesus went to the cross was the necessity to bring lambs and goats and various offerings to the temple to cover sin. Jesus was the last Lamb, he was the final sacrifice to deal with sin.

But the work of Christ does not absolve mankind of the need for obedience. The Ten Commandments are still in effect.  So is all scripture.  There are lessons to be learned from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  And if you have not read the Bible through, today is the first day of a new year.  Grab yourself a Bible reading plan.  Many are offered by various groups.  There are even Bibles that divide up readings by the day and you can read a little bit each day of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.  If you have never read the Bible, that would be a good New Year’s resolution and if you will be faithful to do it day by day, it will change your  life.

II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.


In the natural, if one part of the body is injured, the rest of the body has to compensate for it.  The rest of the body is aware, in some way, that there is a problem.

God lives by his own rules, so to speak.

Jesus said this.

Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.


Peter said this.

II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.


It is quite possible for God to pluck away parts of the body that simply insist on doing their own thing rather than finding their place of responsibility within the body and doing what they have been told to do by the Holy Spirit. The burden is simply too great on the body that is functioning properly to keep rebellious cells.

That is what cancer is. Cancer is formed by rebellious cells and the way it is generally dealt with is to be cut out of the body.   Or the cancerous cells are killed by chemotherapy or by some other means.

It is a warning to us in 2024 not to be like that within the body of Christ.

The body of Christ is coming up against a hard stop.  There is a phrase of letting it “slip by” or “slide by”. Because the consequences of the weight of disobedience fall disproportionately upon certain members of the body of Christ, there is a hard stop so they don’t have to keep carrying that weight.

Can I just say this?  I have other things to do.  But I cannot get away from the fact that at least one person out there needs to be aware of these things and I keep getting sent back to focus on this theme for the last few days.  The whole body of Christ is aware at some level when there is a problem and I am not saying anything that a lot of you don’t already know.  I’ve learned by experience that if I write something, all I do is voice what a lot of you already know; you are not ignorant.    I’ll get judged if I don’t write at least enough to make the problem clear, and like Paul, Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.   I really want to get onto other things I need to do today, so hopefully this is sufficient.


*Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.

6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.

12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.

13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?

14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?

15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.

17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.


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