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An Emaciated Gospel

January 22, 2020

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? James 2:14 (NIV)

If someone asked you to draw a picture of sin, what would you draw? You could draw an arrow missing a target, because sin is falling short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). You could draw a clenched fist, because sin is rebellion against God (13:2). Another way to illustrate sin would be to draw a man bent over, gazing at himself.

When Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden they were able to behold the face of God. They walked upright, and they talked with God face to face. But Satan told them they could be like God! So instead of looking to God, the man looked to himself. He became bent over on himself. Instead of loving, trusting, and obeying God, the man loved, trusted, and obeyed himself. He became his own god.

That’s what sin does to us. This is the condition of the man James describes. He claims to have faith in God, but he doesn’t really care about other people. He sees a person in need, and he doesn’t want to get involved. Why? Because he only cares about himself.

James challenges the ‘easy believism’ that is rampant in the church today. This happens through an emaciated gospel that offers Christ as Savior but not as Lord, that invites us to receive Christ by faith without turning to Him in repentance, or that promises to save us from hell without also saving us from sin.

The devil’s faith won’t save you! Evidence of faith that justifies will be seen in a life of love, trust, and obedience to God.

What aspect(s) of an emaciated gospel are you most tempted by? What kind of confidence does ‘easy believism’ give you?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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