Are You in a Ditch?

Two friends were walking down the road talking and having a good time. Jack was walking on the left, and Jeff was on the right. As they were walking, Jack turned to look into the woods because he thought he heard an animal, but, in doing so, he didn’t see the hole in his path, so he tripped and fell into the ditch. Jeff, not wanting to end up like Jack, ran and jumped into the other ditch. While they were lying in their ditches, Jeff said to Jack, “Look at you in the ditch! Walk much?” Jeff said, “Well you put yourself in the ditch that you’re in, so you’re obviously wrong!”

Sometimes when we talk about the Bible, we see someone fall into a ditch, so we run and hop into the other ditch. At the end of the day, both are in a ditch and nowhere close to where they are supposed to be going. Let me give a few examples.

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

Jack: “Salvation is by works!”
Jeff:  “No! One can’t earn salvation! Salvation is by faith, and faith alone!”
So both of these individuals are in a ditch! Jeff didn’t reach his conclusion by reading the Bible, but by reacting to Jack’s misinterpretation. Jeff may seek to justify his position by using the Bible, but the Bible doesn’t teach what Jeff may want it to teach.
James said that faith without works is dead. It takes obedience of faith (Romans 1:5) to produce salvation. One can’t have salvation by faith alone, and one can’t have salvation by works alone. Abraham allowed his faith to work, and then he was considered righteous. 

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  (22)  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  (23)  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God” (James 2:21-23).

Let’s notice another example:

But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses” (Acts 15:5).

Allow this verse to be a synecdoche for the Jew/ Gentile issues in the first century. 
Jack: “We have to keep the law of Moses!”
Jeff: “No! God has cast away Israel!” (Romans 11:1)
The “Jacks” of the first century were trying to bind the Old Law on the people. The “Jeffs” of the first century were saying “God has cast away Israel!” The truth was, however, is that God was being long suffering towards the Jews to give them all a chance to hear the gospel of the kingdom and obey it (Matthew 24:14-15).
Be careful that the teachings that you hold to are not teachings built upon reactions to others, but are, instead, built upon the word of God (II Timothy 3:16-17).

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