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Christian Counseling - Works is the Apple Proving the Type of Tree

There is only one road or one way to heaven--faith in Jesus Christ. Besides it becoming increasingly politically incorrect to say such things in America anymore, many in our culture remain faithful to the idea that just good "works" will bring the ultimate reward of a Key to the city of God. A key that will open those pearly gates to heaven. How unfortunate for them to be lead by what seems to be a good thing, but in reality is a deception beyond compare. Proverbs says, "There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." For those who lean exclusively on their own understanding, rather than the truth of scripture, it will cost them their soul.
On the other hand, equally unfortunate, many evangelicals rely only upon faith to get into heaven. Don't jump out of your skin yet, I'll explain. I have met many self-professed Christians who espouse to be believers in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus who is God, but there it ends. They have a faith, but what kind? Is it possible to have faith, but remain unsaved? Yes, it is possible.
James, and Paul supports his views (Galatians 5:6 and I Timothy 5:8), says in 2:17, "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself." And in verse 22, "You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected." James goes so far as to say in verse 24, "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." Amazing!
This latter verse gets many into trouble because they buy into the false idea that a person can be fully justified (declared innocent and blameless, in the Greek) by good works or actions of their own. However, the context is that works justify us when we first have been justified by faith. Faith is always first, and that faith must show itself through works or it is "dead" and "useless," as James tells us. Faith without works, and it is faith, is not a saving faith. We must possess a living, breathing faith, which will always show itself through our actions and good works. In that sense, works also justify.
When we examine ourselves and others regarding the viability of saving faith, we should be asking two questions. First, what does one believe about Jesus? And second, what works support one's belief in Jesus? You cannot have one without the other and possess a Key to heaven. Assuming you are a person of faith, in what works are you engaged?
If you find yourself sitting on the sidelines rather than showing forth your works, begin finding ways of expressing and growing your faith. Here is one thing you can do. Consider visiting and joining http://www.manhattandeclaration.org/. It is very rare for me, as a therapist, to recommend an organization, but this one is exceptional.
This nondenominational Christian organization supports courageous people willing to take a stand for cornerstones, such as the sanctity of life, marriage between a male and female and religious freedom, despite social pressures or unrighteous laws of government. It has about a quarter of a million members, so far, that include more than 175 mostly recognized Christian leaders of various churches and organizations, such as: Chuck Swindoll, James Dobson, Kay Arthur, Ron Sider, Josh McDowell, Chuck Colson and Joni Eareckson Tada. Here is an excerpt from their declaration:

Further, let it be known that we will not be intimidated into silence or acquiescence or the violation of our consciences by any power on earth, be it cultural or political, regardless of the consequences to ourselves. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God's.

This organization sees the writing on the wall. Conservative Christians round the world will experience further social censuring and likely the long arm of the law. It isn't unimaginable that in the not-to-distant future there could be something like an appointment of a Censor Czar who, along with his or her workforce, has the congressional power to ban all politically incorrect media--magazines, books, movies, text messages, Internet sites, etc., and to punish violators. These infractions of imposed governmental morality might even be added to the definition of "hate crimes."
It is clear from passages like, Matthew 24:9 and Revelation 6:9, that in the latter days Christians will be persecuted throughout the world. Regardless, as Christians, we need to have faith that God will see us through and always abound in good works and speaking the truth. In those days, courage will be a commodity more valuable than gold. But courage is not something that will magically appear. Courage is a discipline to be developed through practice in facing one's own fears and overcoming them.

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