Our scripture this morning is Romans 9:30-33.

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.

Paul writes that seeking righteousness on our own terms (works) rather than by belief (faith) will never be successful. We must first have faith and then act as a response to our faith if we want to be righteous in the sight of God. This has been a source of discussion for centuries.

The familiar passage from the book of James says “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). Jesus taught us that acting out of God’s love for us is essential. At the end of the Parable of the Good Samaritan He tells us “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

Faith and works are a powerful combination for spreading the Good News to all God’s children. Faith is between us and our Creator; works are between us and our brothers and sisters. Both are needed if we are to be saved and effective servants of our Savior.

Loving Lord, we are grateful to be in relationship with You and all Your people here on earth. Help us to share Your love everywhere and always. Amen.

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