Faith without works is dead. Works without faith is futile. Works prove faith, but faith comes before works.
26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:26
We continue with the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees in John 8,
37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”
39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
James said that we show our faith by our deeds (James 2:18). Jesus pretty much said the same thing. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3). The Pharisees did not believe and were trying to kill Jesus, something that Abraham would never do. Jesus used the term, “father,” to mean who they were following, which was the devil. They certainly didn’t believe they were, but their actions proved who truly was their god. Jesus says as much,
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
The Pharisees had stopped up their ears and could not hear God. Why would they do this? Because they didn’t want to hear. They did not want the system to change; they had it just like they wanted it. Had they truly been seeking God’s instruction, they would have recognized Jesus as God. Instead, they believed a lie and followed the father of lies. They were children of the father of lies.
As followers of Jesus, we want to hear God’s instruction. We want to hear the Spirit’s voice. In order to hear, we must silence the other voices that vie for our attention. Learning to tune out these other voices takes patient practice with His guidance. It’s a daily thing.
I may listen to a thousand tongues
But I only hear one whisper*
Abba, it is Your voice that we seek to hear. You speak to us through Your Word, through others, and through circumstances, but it is in prayer that we hear You the most clearly. When we silence all other sources and focus on You, we sense You, we feel You, we hear You. Teach us to pray, O Lord, so that we can enjoy Your Presence in our daily lives. Amen.
First Call (group), Undivided (album), The Future (song)